Don’t Shoot Yourself in the Foot

There’s a little fracas going on in Texas regarding open carry of firearms. Apparently there are a couple of bills in the Texas state legislature attempting to make the open carrying of firearms legal anywhere without the need of a concealed carry permit or license. Another bill allows students to carry on college campuses. Among the zealots favoring these two bills is an individual who craves attention and stretches the notion of a constitutional right well beyond anything even the strictest constructionist would support.
I won’t help this individual sate his desperate addiction by naming him. Those who are really interested in the details can find that easily enough. This individual posted a video on Facebook last week implying anyone who did not support this so-called constitutional carry bill was guilty of treason, a crime punishable by death. He later claimed that his video did not threaten lawmakers who opposed the bill(s), but the damage has been done. The committee where these bills were supposed have their first reading has canceled those readings, effectively dooming both bills.
It is one thing to have unalterable support of our Second Amendment rights—and for all the rights enumerated in the Constitution. It is quite another thing to by innuendo threaten the life or wellbeing anyone if they are not in lockstep with one’s interpretation. We regularly lampoon the lunacy of gun control advocates like Gabby Giffords, Michael Bloomberg, et al. That’s fair game. We are free to point out the distortion or prevarication of facts, a lack of logic or reason as a part of their philosophical arguments. We are not free to—and it does significant damage to our arguments and cause—physically threaten our opponents.
I would also add that it does us no good to rub the public’s nose in it regarding open carry. Slinging up your AR to stroll through a Home Depot just because it’s legal does not mean it is a smart thing to do. We gunners—especially those of us with grey hair and wrinkles—have expended a lot of energy and capital to cultivate our image as law-abiding citizens and not just a bunch of wannabe wild west gunslingers. Just because something isn’t illegal, doesn’t mean you should do it. All it takes is a few people looking like asses to change the public opinion and get them working against us.

Dave Campbell
Dave Campbell began his hunting career with a spear off the southern California coast in the late 1960s. It did not take long for him to graduate to the gun on land. Campbell is the founding editor in chief of the NRA’s tremendously successful Shooting Illustrated magazine. In 2006 he also edited the iconic book of terminal ballistics, Rifle Bullets for the Hunter—A Definitive Study. He returned to his beloved Wyoming in 2007 as a freelance writer, though he usually refers to himself now as a “recovering editor.”
  1. Peter Caroline Reply

    Thank you, Dave. Those two Chipotle Commandos and their ilk have done us more damage than a carload of Bloombergs and Demanding Mothers. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I’ve been carrying a gun legally since 1957, for many reasons…but never to make a political statement!

  2. Brad Woodward Reply

    Reasonableness and wisdom, amazing concepts. Obviously, some folks do not have a grasp of these qualities and must be reigned in…Great job, sir!

  3. Bill Miller Reply

    Dave … You are so right on there is nothing to be added to the conversation. These same principles should be generously applied to our advocacy of hunting, too.

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