Open Carry: If You Can Read This, You’re in Range

open carry

Go ahead, says Jason Dias. Buy a gun. Take it hunting or put it under your pillow. But if you show up in public with your weapon, don’t be surprised if you scare people and if cops have questions. Here are the real issues with Open Carry. Commentary.

aNewDomain — I don’t really care about most gun control legislation. We will stop having a gun problem when people are no longer scared for their lives all the time. That’s because the problem of the day isn’t guns or gun laws. It’s racism.

But when people talk about guns, and open carry, they usually say two contradictory things. The first is: You can’t blame law-abiding citizens every time someone commits a crime with a gun! The second is: You can’t turn back time and get back all the guns that are already out there — you’d start a revolution or a civil war if you tried! 

In essence, this says that they, the law-abiding citizens, don’t actually believe the law-abiding-citizen statements as promulgated by the NRA and its affiliates. And the statements you see on all those right-to-carry bumper stickers. Like:

fear the goverment that fears your gun bumpersticker open carry

if you can read this you are in range 

a gun is like a beer cooler open carry NRA bumper sticker

one shot one kill NRA bumper sticker open carry

The people who display bumper stickers like the above comprise the segment of the population that needs and wants us to know they are armed. 

They want us to know, too, that if the law changes and their arms become illegal, they will use those arms against law enforcement. 

In other words, law-abiding gun owners are law-abiding only so long as the laws are in their favor. And if the law should change, all bets are off. 

And then there’s the open carry movement.

I don’t understand the open carry thing. Really. My more responsible gun-owning friends don’t, either. 

I mean, what’s the point here? Part of it seopen carryems to be about scaring people. Folks call the cops, then you get to tell the cops you have the legal right to be there with your scary guns, and they can’t do anything to you.

It’s a small win, but I guess it’s a win.

Here’s the thing: There’s no way for us average people to understand the difference between this guy below, in the yellow shirt with that assault rifle-looking gun …

open carry

And this guy …

open carry

It might be legal for you to walk into public places armed to the teeth. But is it the right thing to do? 

There are lots of things in our culture that we could hope to change. Like, I don’t know, racism, celebrity worship, consumerism, exploitation of labor, exploitation of women. 

Is this really the issue for our times: your right to intimidate people with your law-abiding assault rifles?

See, I know what these people are here to do:

open carry

And these folks:

open carry

The tools people bring with them tell you their intentions. Look at this guy, for example:

open carry

When a guy shows up with a pistol or a rifle or an assault weapon, those things are tools. 

Guns are designed to accomplish a job: killing stuff. They aren’t like your record collection or your Hot Wheels cars or the other objects of your enthusiasm you gather around you. These objects have social salience. Guns are designed to kill.

So take them hunting. Keep one under your pillow if you’re scared, but do consider if that’s realistic and consider the data: The guns you keep for self-defense are more likely to cause tragedy than prevent harm to you. 

But when you show up in public with tools designed to kill a lot of people really quickly, you don’t get to act really surprised that people are scared. And you can’t be shocked, appalled or disgusted when the cops show up to ask you some questions.

For aNewDomain, from a secret location, I’m Jason Dias.

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About the author

Jason Dias

Jason Dias

Jason Dias, PsyD is an existential psychotherapist who breathes words. He's a senior columnist at aNewDomain.

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