Thursday, November 14, 2013

Civil Carry

In a carefully worded letter, the CEO of Starbucks asked customers to “no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas.

The backstory is that Starbucks’ permissive policy – or rather, a lack of a prohibition – on firearms had attracted the attention of advocates of open carry, who were holding “Starbucks appreciation days” where they would, apparently in numbers, patronize Starbucks with their weapons in plain view.  This is, in fact, theoretically legal almost everywhere for everyone; it is only concealed carry that has required a license.  In practice, of course, open carry often attracts law enforcement attention, and usually provokes negative reaction from somebody.

America will be a safer, freer, more manly place when we recover a heritage in which almost all adults go about with arms, and those in plain view.  In the meantime, however, we’re stuck with the culture we have.  I agree with Ace:  a decent respect for the opinions of our fellow citizens ought to lead us to keep our weapons concealed.  At a minimum, it should make us aware that, say, carrying a rifle into Starbucks might be contextually inappropriate, and possibly provocative, even to people who don’t have a preexisting agenda about guns.


Elusive Wapiti said...

I am as ardent a supporter of the 2A as anyone else; yet I can also see how our open carry activist colleagues haven't helped things with their enthusiasm.

As amusing and risible as it is, the sad fact remains that the bulk of the population outside of the reddest of red states is very uncomfortable with the open bearing of arms. Worse still if the arms look scary, as is the case with "black guns".

heresolong said...

The sad thing is that open carry activists (of whom I am one) were helping things with our enthusiasm. In Washington state, for example, open carry has become pretty much accepted in most places to the average person. It was only when a small minority, against the advice of the larger group, decided to hold giant rallies with rifles and banners and flags that this became the issue with Starbucks. Prior to that many of us frequented Starbucks with no adverse reaction at all.

My problem with the "conceal so you don't upset people" meme is precisely the fact that then most people don't realize that anyone carries a gun, making it that much easier to pass restrictions. We have educated thousands of people in Washington to the normality of carry over the past ten years or so and were and are well on track to normalizing carry. Not "in your face, I can carry my AR-15 slung over my shoulder like a IDF soldier" but a barely noticeable pistol in a hip holster carried by a normal looking individual. This is precisely what we have to do if we want these rights back; we have to get people to realize that normal people carry firearms for normal reasons.

månesteiner said...

"I agree with Ace: a decent respect for the opinions of our fellow citizens ought to lead us to keep our weapons concealed."

Decent respect cuts both ways.

It's true that many open carry advocates have become unnecessarily provocative, even counterproductive.

But in our disagreement about firearms why shouldn't my fellow citizens respect my opinions regarding my lawful carrying of them? Why is the starting point almost always that I should accommodate them?

Dexter said...

Why should we care about upsetting the Left? They don't care about upsetting us. In fact, they do so every chance they can.

Dr. Φ said...

Dexter: I don't care about upsetting the Left. It's the "swing voters" I want to win over.

Heresolong: You make a good point. But an argument could be made that people will need to acclimate gradually. Start by making people accustomed to seeing armed men in the out-of-doors first before trying coffee shops.

Anonymous said...

It is also something to not take lightly. Being a butthole about gun carry is a sure way to get all the timid people, not all of whom are libtards, to demand laws against open carry. And since the timid folk are not really big on drawing fine distinctions or thinking through the logical consequences of their actions, concealed carry can become more difficult too. Thus, by flouting your right to openly carry, you merely point out all the good reasons why that needs to be suppressed in civil society.

But by concealed carry, you get your defense, and no one needs to get excited enough to try and stop you.

This is a strategic issue, not a tactical one.


månesteiner said...


Agreed, many open carry advocates are becoming buttholes. I don't defend their tactics. I wish they would stop. But there is a final line somewhere where 2nd amendment defenders will have to stand.

If wooing the timid people who are not too keen on drawing fine distinctions, or thinking logically, or even recognizing what the 2nd amendment actually means is the strategic key to preserving the 2nd amendment then we are done already.

We can conceal carry and pacify them for the moment, but inch by inch they are moving the goalposts.

Dr. Φ said...

Mane: But during my own lifetime, and especially in the last 25 years or so, we have moved the goalposts. Getting a concealed carry permit with even statewide recognition was difficult if not impossible in most jurisdictions, and open carry, while theoretically legal, was almost certain to get the carrier harassed by the police. Yet today the vast majority of states issue permits and recognize those of other states. Open carry is the next frontier, but we shouldn't move so fast that we antagonize the middle.

Anonymous said...

The easiest way to get timid guys to want to be in the club is to invite them to go with you, not to threaten them.

Anyone who shoots, KNOWS how awesomely fun it is and would never want the government, at any level, to restrict it.