When the NRA Calls You Scary…

As I’ve said before, I’m generally a supporter of the right to own guns, within reasonable limits and with necessary safeguards. This is the position of most Americans, I imagine. But the gun nuts who are showing up en masse in restaurants with AR-15s over their shoulders aren’t helping their cause at all. When even the NRA puts out a statement calling you scary, it may be time to reconsider your position.

Recently, demonstrators have been showing up in various public places, including coffee shops and fast food restaurants, openly toting a variety of tactical long guns. Unlicensed open carry of handguns is legal in about half the U.S. states, and it is relatively common and uncontroversial in some places.

Yet while unlicensed open carry of long guns is also typically legal in most places, it is a rare sight to see someone sidle up next to you in line for lunch with a 7.62 rifle slung across his chest, much less a whole gaggle of folks descending on the same public venue with similar arms.

Let’s not mince words, not only is it rare, it’s downright weird and certainly not a practical way to go normally about your business while being prepared to defend yourself. To those who are not acquainted with the dubious practice of using public displays of firearms as a means to draw attention to oneself or one’s cause, it can be downright scary. It makes folks who might normally be perfectly open-minded about firearms feel uncomfortable and question the motives of pro-gun advocates.

As a result of these hijinx, two popular fast food outlets have recently requested patrons to keep guns off the premises (more information can be found here and here). In other words, the freedom and goodwill these businesses had previously extended to gun owners has been curtailed because of the actions of an attention-hungry few who thought only of themselves and not of those who might be affected by their behavior. To state the obvious, that’s counterproductive for the gun owning community.

More to the point, it’s just not neighborly, which is out of character for the big-hearted residents of Texas. Using guns merely to draw attention to yourself in public not only defies common sense, it shows a lack of consideration and manners. That’s not the Texas way. And that’s certainly not the NRA way.

You can be sure that Gun Owners of America, the much further-right group for gun fetishists, will try to capitalize on this to get people to leave the NRA and join them.

Update: And perhaps cognizant of that fact, the NRA quickly backed down from its statement:

But on Tuesday, NRA official Chris Cox was quick to renounce the statement, describing it as a “mistake.”

“It’s a distraction,” Cox said during an interview with an NRA radio show. “There was some confusion, we apologize, again, for any confusion that that post caused.”

He continued: “It shouldn’t have happened. I’ve had a discussion with the staffer who wrote that piece, and expressed his personal opinion. Our job is not to criticize the lawful behavior of fellow gun owners.”

Cox’s repudiation came shortly after Open Carry Texas, a major proponent of open carry laws in the state, leveled harsh criticism at the NRA for disparaging the protests.

“If they do not retract their disgusting and disrespectful comments, OCT will have no choice but to withdraw its full support of the NRA and establish relationships with other gun rights organizations that fight for ALL gun rights, instead of just paying them lip service the way the NRA appears to be doing,” the group wrote on its Facebook page.

No wonder they feel the need to carry automatic weapons at all times: they’re obviously cowards.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Alverant

    Of course they backed down. They don’t want to lose membership fees (or they were scared of getting shot). The NRA is not about “rights” or “safety” it’s a business out to make money like any other. It’s just that their method of making money involves scaring people with bogus claims and encouraging gun irresponsibility by demonizing anyone who suggest some common-sense regulation and requirements.

  • sinned34

    They’re not cowards, they just got away from their core business practice. The NRA is supposed to be the lightening rod for all things gun-related in the US, so as to draw attention and responsibility away from gun manufacturers. I’m sure that, as soon as that statement about reasonable gun ownership came out, Bushmaster or Glock got on the horn and reminded the NRA that they’re not supposed to criticize any activities of ammosexuals whatsoever, or else their funding could easily be reduced and redirected to any of the other hundred gun fascist groups that exist in the US.

    Recommending reasonable gun ownership is not the NRA’s business model, and hasn’t been for almost half a century.

  • eric

    “Wooooop. Wooooop. Wooooop. This has been a test of the NRA’s Reasonable Staffer Alarm.”

  • eric

    Famous koans:

    “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”

    “If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around, does it still make a noise?”

    “If Open Carry Texas scares business away from a Chick-fil-A, who do we support?”

  • Doc Bill

    The Open Carry guy was interviewed and he said “We’re not just a bunch yahoos …”

    Oh, yeah?

    Did you check out the video of these guys at Chili’s? The Lead Yahoo starts by announcing, “We’re going to do a little open carry at Chili’s.”

    Do a little open carry? Seriously? These guys are the definition of “yahoo.” Just a bunch of ignorant, good old boy, rednecks with big guns, tiny dicks and no brains.

    “Hey, y’all, lookie me! I gots a big ole gun! Hay-yuh!”

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    To those who are not acquainted with the dubious practice of using public displays of firearms as a means to draw attention to oneself or one’s cause, it can be downright scary.

    It’s like the NRA doesn’t even understand that the whole point here is to feel a sense of power by intimidating other people. This is a serious blow to their gun-nut cred.

  • raven

    Person A walks into Chikfila, Dennys, or a movie theater showing Batman with an AR-15, opens fire and kills a dozen people.

    Person B takes his best friend, an AR-15, out for lunch, just in case there are any Moslem terrorists, atheists, BLM rangers, or Democrats lurking.

    How do you tell the difference between Person A and Person B? You can’t tell a bad person with a semi-automatic from a good person with a semi-automatic.

    So, if some guy walks into McDonalds with a rifle, either nothing will happen or you will end up dead a few minutes later. And you won’t know which it will be until it happens.

  • raven

    So, if some guy walks into McDonalds with a rifle, either nothing will happen or you will end up dead a few minutes later. And you won’t know which it will be until it happens.

    IMO, the thing to do if Person (Unknown A or B) walks into a restaurant where you are at is, just run out the other door. If it is an emergency exit and you set off an alarm, so what?

    Worst that can happen is you set off an alarm. And that isn’t your problem. It is between the management and the rifleman. (I’m sure the management will be happy to have a conversation with the rifleman about scaring their customers away.)

  • busterggi

    The NRA is like the GOP – they can’t crtiicise crazy because that’s their core.

  • Michael Heath

    I recall a time when guns were a tool one used to carry out certain functions. I increasingly perceive that guns are now a marker used by gun owners to describe themselves, similar to how so many people decide what vehicle to drive in order to project a certain image.

  • Trebuchet

    @8, Raven: I think I’d actually make it a point to go out a door with an alarm. And if it’s connected to the police, so much the better.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    raven “How do you tell the difference between Person A and Person B? You can’t tell a bad person with a semi-automatic from a good person with a semi-automatic.”

    That’s why you need a gun. To protect yourself, just in case it’s baddie. And the guy beside you needs a gun, to protect himself from you, just in case you’re a baddie. And the guy beside him and the guy beside him and the guy beside him…*

     

    Create a market whose own negative externalities help it expand. As business models go, it’s pretty good.

     

    * Americans need guns. To protect themselves from Americans with guns.

  • http://www.facebook.com/den.wilson d.c.wilson

    If you set off the alarm, though, the yahoo might think the place is being robbed and he’s finally got his chance to stand his ground and be a hero by shooting the person he thinks is most likely holding the place up. You can probably guess what his criteria would be.

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @ ^ d.c.wilson : Plus if someone sees someone else shooting and is also armed they might well start shooting too.

    Chain reaction.

    Lots of dead. Lots of confusion. Lots of needlessly lost lives.

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    P.S. d.c. wilson – Is it just me or did your name used to have capital letters?

  • Pierce R. Butler

    I’ve had a discussion with the staffer who wrote that piece…

    And I got the drop on him, so he was starin’ down my barrel and not vice-versa, so he called me “sir” an’ everything!

  • wildbill

    The texas republican party convention is going on right now in Ft. Worth. The open carry people were told they couldn’t take their weapons inside the convention because alcohol is served. I’m sure republicans were relieved, it gave them an out for an uncomfortable situation. Otherwise, think of the image it would convey of the party, people roaming the floor with these weapons. It would have forced the republicans to say no, you can’t take your weapons inside, and think how that would play with the open carry crowd (“how dare they deny us our 2nd amendment rights).

  • howardhershey

    I really think this group of open carry nut cases should start taking their long guns to football games, Little League baseball games (like one guy in Georgia did), kid’s ballet performances, fireworks performances on the 4th, church services, and picnic areas. They could also visit mosques and synagogs. Although I dread to think about what happens when the ump or referee makes the wrong call, doing this would make the effort to repeal open carry laws easier by pointing out the sorts of nut cases that feel this need. Perhaps we could make that one test of who is mentally fit to carry? If they do it everywhere, they aren’t mentally fit.

  • felidae

    I can’t wait till one of these fuckheads shoots themselves in the foot, unfortunately, it is likely they will shoot some innocent wall or bystander first. Guns and stupidity are a bad combination–just go to the Daily Kos and read their

    GUN FAIL series for some evidence

  • Jordan Genso

    “An armed society is a safer society”

    -the pro-gun enthusiasts who are showing up to restaurants with assault weapons, who also ironically claim it’s because they want people to feel safe around guns.

    How do these people not recognize the inconsistency there. Either:

    A) Society is not safe, in which case it makes sense to be fearful of strangers carrying assault weapons in public

    or

    B) Society is safe, in which case there is no need to carry an assault weapon in public

    It’s as though they only want you to be fearful of those who *aren’t* able to kill you (and everyone else around you) within a moment’s notice.

  • zmidponk

    raven #8:

    IMO, the thing to do if Person (Unknown A or B) walks into a restaurant where you are at is, just run out the other door. If it is an emergency exit and you set off an alarm, so what?

    I’m actually wondering what the details of the ‘stand your ground’ laws are, as, in states that have them, depending on the details, this might create a situation where someone would be justified, legally speaking, in pulling out a gun of their own and shooting these guys because they felt threatened by them being so ostentatiously bedecked by weapons.

  • http://kamakanui.zenfolio.com Kamaka

    zmidponk @ 21

    I’ve been at the scene of a shooting. I still have bad dreams about it 30 years later. Some guy with a long gun gets in line behind me at the store, that I think the worst of that person is not all that unreasonable. So when I “defend” myself and do damage to the gun-rubber, am I now the bad guy?

    Really, some asshole comes up behind me in a public place with an AK and I freak and take him out, who’s at fault here?

    These wankers claim to be exercising their rights, but their true motive is to get cheap thrills intimidating people.

  • John Horstman

    @Modusoperandi: You know, this whole time I thought you were doing satire, but now I’m suspicious that you’re actually the man behind the curtain. 😀

  • dingojack

    John Horstman – MO is Polonius?

    Dingo

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    You know what I might use as a criteria of suitability to carry weapons?

    I might ask the person to friend me on facebook and see how many photos of themselves bedecked with gunz’n’ammo they put up–exspeschly the ones with bandanas up over their faces.

    The photo at this link:

    http://www.ginandtacos.com/2014/06/02/stand-down/

    reeks of child abuse, imo.

    BTW, I have NOTHING against ammosexuals; I just wouldn’t want my sister to marry one of them.

  • velociraptor

    And wagers on how long a group of blacks openly carrying automatic weapons into a Chilis would have lasted?

  • sabrekgb

    @ 22 Kamala

    “Some guy with a long gun gets in line behind me at the store, that I think the worst of that person is not all that unreasonable. So when I “defend” myself and do damage to the gun-rubber, am I now the bad guy?”

    Yes, you are. I am very sorry to hear that you were involved with that incident 30 years ago, and i’m sure that it was traumatic, but that does not give you cause to hurt someone who isn’t hurting (or about to hurt) you.

    “Really, some asshole comes up behind me in a public place with an AK and I freak and take him out, who’s at fault here?”

    You are. You control (or should) your “freaking out”. Just like it’s not ok for someone to “freak” when another person insults mohammed and “take him out”. You can think the worst of that person with the weapon, but it’s mere possession in a non-threatening way is not cause for you to do violence.

    Let’s keep in mind that open carrying involves the weapon being visible, but also properly slung (or holstered, in the case of pistols). These are not people who are coming in pointing guns at others, or holding them at the ready. A slung weapon is not a threat. Let’s also keep in mind that the whole point of the open-carry texas long-gun open carrying is as a protest to Texas’ laws prohibiting the open carry of pistols. The people involved would much rather be carrying properly secured and holstered pistols than long guns, but the law precludes that at the moment. This is a political protest, highlighting the discrepancy in the law and attempting to get it changed. You can disagree with the goals, you can disagree with the methods (in fact, a lot of gun-rights advocates do), but there is a lot of hyperbole going on in this thread that is unwarranted.

    @26 Velociraptor

    If it’s a group of people (of any color) carrying automatic weapons, I doubt they’d be eating at Chilli’s…they’d probably be a much higher-end restaurant.

  • sabrekgb

    @25 democommie

    That was actually a pretty interesting article. I’m well aware of the increasing police militarization (Radley Balko does a great job of documenting this), but hadn’t quite thought about it in the same way as the author outlined in their article. Something to think about, thanks for the link.

    Child abuse, though? That sounds pretty dumb. I’m not sure why you’d say that other than a dislike of guns in general. Care to explain how you get child abuse (or the reeking thereof) from just that photo?

    Oddly enough, i tend to agree with you regarding the thugnificent weapons + bandana photos.

  • yoav

    The Daily Show had a good segment about the interesting possibilities that come from the interaction between gun fondlers taking their penis substitutes into crowded places (unless they’re black) and stand your ground laws that allow you to shoot anyone that makes you even a little uncomfortable.