Guns at Political rallies


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Mamertine
June 25, 2011, 10:42 PM
I had a conversation with a friend yesterday about guns at political rallies. He was convinced that the reason for bringing guns to political rallies was to intimidate people who have opposing views. He viewed it similar to the black panther marches in the 1960s.

I have never been to an open carry rally but my opinion on them was simply that the people who attend them are pro gun and going there to show support for pro gun legislation or it's a social event with a different dress code.

So this leaves me with two questions for anyone who has been to a firearms allowed rally:
Why did you bring a gun?
Are you concerned with how you will be viewed by mainstream America?

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mljdeckard
June 25, 2011, 11:10 PM
I have never attended a rally at which carrying or open carrying was the reason for the rally. BUT, if I did, I would certainly hope that I would be affecting how mainstream America views me. That's the reason for protesting.

Spcl
June 25, 2011, 11:17 PM
The reason for carrying is to show guns are not a problem or reason for problems and that having a gun both deters crime and does not cause crime on its own. IE would you mug someone at a gun rally? It also shows that legal firearm owners are not gun toting criminals but civilized, peaceful members society.

JerryM
June 26, 2011, 12:40 AM
I would not even consider OC at a political rally. There are enough disagreements and problems at many rallies without introducing another potential problem of OC.

If one wants to do so then if legal have at it. However, I think the odds of being hassled are great. It does more harm than help.

Jerry

jimmyraythomason
June 26, 2011, 12:44 AM
No OC or CC at political rallys here in Alabama. State law forbids it.

JohnKSa
June 26, 2011, 01:04 AM
He was convinced that the reason for bringing guns to political rallies was to intimidate people who have opposing views. He viewed it similar to the black panther marches in the 1960s.In my opinion, a large majority of those who don't own guns and even a significant percentage of gun owners will perceive it as being intended as a form of intimidation.

I don't want to open a can of worms, but it's worth pointing out that if a political rally is intended to influence the views of the public, one should certainly be concerned about how the actions taken at the rally will be perceived by the public. If the perception of the public does not align with the intended purpose then perhaps a re-evaluation of the initial strategy is in order.

JerryM
June 26, 2011, 09:59 AM
Well put JohnKSa.
Jerry

Mamertine
June 26, 2011, 11:07 PM
I agree well put JohnKSa.

hso
June 27, 2011, 01:33 AM
Yes, I've gone to public and political events carrying and no I didn't do it to intimidate anyone else.

He was convinced that the reason for bringing guns to political rallies was to intimidate people who have opposing views.

That reflects his opinion of you and other gun owners. He doesn't trust people with guns, believes that there's no good motive behind having the or supporting RKBA and therefore considers anyone that supports RKBA politically publicly to be intent upon mischief and thuggery.

Ask him if he thinks that you're a thug and only interested in having guns to bend others to your will? When he uncomfortably says, "No, you're not that sort of person.", point out that you are just like the guys that show up at political or public events to DEMONSTRATE that guns and gun owners are not a threat. That taking a visible peaceful stand is in the tradition of MLK and not the Panthers. His perception of gun owners is due to the brain washing he's received and due to the fact he's been convinced that 2A advocates are somehow fundamentally different than him and other people he trusts. Point all this out to him.

Nushif
June 27, 2011, 03:17 AM
He was convinced that the reason for bringing guns to political rallies was to intimidate people who have opposing views.

This, lead to this reply:

That reflects his opinion of you and other gun owners.

Now, I spent some time thinking about this and have looked at it from how the ones who are really opposed to private gun ownership must see this.
And I can honestly say, based on their premise, it actually is an intimidation technique.

Now, before you flog me in public, hear me out.

We, as a whole are not scared of guns, right? We acknowledge them as objects made of wood, steel, polymer and a bunch of other stuff. And frankly, they probably do, too. What scares them is the fact that we are (remember: at least to them) creating a disparity of force by not acknowledging their fears of people with guns.

Let's look at this and substitute guns.

Let's assume we have two political factions. One is the faction of "People Who Hate Waterparks" (PHW) and one is the "Waterpark Lovers United." (WLU)
Now, both sides regularly hold rallies and do their best and worst to convince each other to just stop building those scary waterparks anywhere near schools or public buildings and the other is trying to just have these ninnies hop into the wet watery fun.

So to draw a direct comparison to the debate at hand, what a gun at a political rally is to these Antis is similar to the WLU insisting on only holding political meetings in a pool. Obviously the PHW is simply appalled by this! Everyone knows they feel utterly unsafe around water and as such the insistence that all meetings must be held in the deep water pool, or no meeting will be held is very easily seen as "My Way or the Highway" instead of a "rational debate among peers."

And that is exactly what overt open carrying (which kinda is (sadly) a wedge issue) while in attendance of a political event is.
When large masses of people carry the very thing that makes the other faction scared, that is arguably intimidation.
I wouldn't feel comfortable in an environment where every person around me is much, much more heavily ... I don't know ... religious, anti-religious, bigger, whiter, blacker, yellower, redder, or whatever it is that I may be afraid of.
The fear and cries of intimidation on the part of the Antis, while utterly unintelligible to us, who are very much for the right to keep arms wherever we darned well please is justified.

Carrying openly during large demonstrations that already include many of the current wedge issues is intimidation to them. As much as it wouldn't be to us, it's the same as insisting to pace during a business meeting in a traditional japanese business meeting. It's one party not willing to compromise and thus creating a visible as well as physical force disparity. And while this can work and has probably been used very effectively, it is intimidation. (I'd even wager that large parts of international affairs are made up of very subtle intimidation.)

Now, I'm not saying I agree with this notion that openly carrying guns is somehow inherently intimidating, but what I am saying is that sometimes the unwillingness to compromise and just untuck ones shirt so the other party is more at ease can be intimidating, or at the least bullheaded.

I do think that if we somehow stopped insisting on this "no quarters" rule of engagement ... we could pull the second amendment out of this pot of wedge issues. And then, when guns once again are common fare ... open carry also becomes common fare again. Call it a minor loss to win the battle? Because if we create these hysterically screaming antis, they have more and more fodder to throw to those sitting on the fence.
Remember, folks: The more we appear civil, open to discourse and rational, the more the second amendment, and specifically those who pound on it the hardest are palatable to the public. the more shrill and grotesque we become the more we will be marginalized.

Think along these lines:
Wanna open carry among antis?
Be friendly, share your well-meant passion, carry as much as you can, and when everyone has accepted that you are always armed, and nothing bad has happened, one day simply forget the over-shirt. And then never wear one again.

Most people who have even the mildest form of friendly and moderately personal contact with me, for instance will know two things:
I am in the Army. I love it. They are welcome to come to Mary's Peak with me anytime I go and pop some cans. I love that, too. Also, I know where the local organic food markets are, like trees, don't like to waste resources, dislike the two party system and all this time ... I'm a complete person. Not a one issue entity.

Remember, as much as we tend to think that society at large hates us, most of us lead very fulfilled lives. We *are* integrated. We *are* respectable members of society, so why are we marginalizing ourselves? There's no shame in carrying a firearm, but somehow we're desperately afraid someone might know? There's no shame in hunting, but somehow we seal our lips when ti comes to the hobby?

So yeah, all this just to say that while we find the notion ridiculous that openly carrying a gun is somehow intimidating, the longer we take to sit down at the same table as the fence sitters who are only mildly anti ... the longer it takes for the taboo to go away. It's not hard. Before we come to the proverbial table to talk with people who are afraid of guns ... let's untuck our shirts, talk, leave and continue open carrying when we step away from the table of equals. Because arguably an unarmed person is not the equal of an armed person in conflict resolution. And they know that just as well as we do.

Sorry for the rant.

MisterMike
June 27, 2011, 10:13 AM
I have to admit that I've vacillated on this issue and I'd acknowledge that Nushif's line of reasoning is what led me to think that it wasn't a good idea. I've now wandered to the other side of the debate. First, I don't OC, though I do CC because I'm a retired LEO. I live in Illinois and, for most, carrying is a no-no (yes, we're . . . shamefully . . . the last).

It's impossible to look into the hearts of others, but I do perceive that some folks have OC'd at some political events in an attempt to intimidate. But, on balance, it strikes me that OC does benefit those of us who believe in the principles of the Second Amendment. I say that because of the historical precedents we've seen in other rights movements. It was only when black people started openly defying segregationist laws that their plight began to garner serious attention. Being in my mid-fifties, I can remember fairly clearly how appalled some otherwise reasonable folks were when this started to occur. Over time, attitudes softened and the "middle"--the vast majority of people who do not lie at either end of the political spectrum--began not only to accept the notion of racial equality, but to embrace it as a core moral value.

Whether or not you like it, the same things have occurred with respect to religion (many were absolutely appalled at JFK's election to the Presidency) and sexual orientation (controversial, I know, but something that I predict will one day be reduced to insignificance for the vast majority). Simply put, exposure to notions of freedom that some might initially be against fades once experience shows the masses that they are not affected negatively.

I only hope that no one betrays us by OC'ing and being a jerk. The temptation will occasionally be great on occasion, because it is a virtual certainty that some will be attacked for exercising their rights.

armoredman
June 27, 2011, 11:04 AM
I don't OC except in uniform, normally. If I went to a political rally, I would be carrying, and it seriously wouldn't even occur to me to disarm because of someone's opinion of my views on self defense. OTOH, they very likely would never see the sidearm, and the question would not arise. I also don't normally attend political rallies, preferring to do my activist stuff behind the phone and computer.

hso
June 27, 2011, 11:09 AM
There's a significant difference between the intent to intimidate and the fact that people who are fearful would feel intimidated.

The OP's buddy is claiming the reason to OC at a political event is to intimidate OIW the intent is to intimidate. It may secretly be the case with some who OC at political events, that they say they don't go with the intent to intimidate anyone, but secretly enjoy the idea that it will. I certainly hope that isn't the case with the majority of folks who do show up at an event openly carrying as a form of exercising their 1A and 2A rights together and know that it isn't with the folks I know that have done it.

The fact that some will be intimidated by the peaceful exercise of the 1A with a visible exercise of the 2A is inevitable just as the exercise of free speech is intimidating to some regardless and the vigorous exercise of the 1A is certainly intimidating to some. Siting quietly without confronting issues publicly is the only thing that won't intimidate some people, but it isn't how difficult social and political issues get resolved.

That question of intent

Deltaboy
June 27, 2011, 02:20 PM
When we went to CC classes OC and CC is forbidden at any Politcal Rallys in TX. But we can CC inside the State Capital. Go figure.

razorback2003
June 27, 2011, 03:15 PM
I carry my handgun for protection. I can openly or conceal my handgun in Tennessee. My little handgun is concealed on me all the time when in public. I don't want anyone to know I carry for a lot of reasons. The only time I may open carry a full sized handgun is when going to the woods or to the range and happen to stop and say get gas. Am I going to on purpose change my routine of concealing a little handgun for protection to go to a political meeting? Absolutely not. But that is me. Each one can do as he wishes I guess.

PavePusher
June 27, 2011, 03:51 PM
I open carried at on of Rep. Giffords' "Congress on the Cornor" events several years ago.

No big deal, then. Might be now, it'll be a while before we know.

jimmyraythomason
June 27, 2011, 06:12 PM
Each one can do as he wishes I guess. Or as the law allows.

saltydog452
June 27, 2011, 08:51 PM
Maybe it might depend on the politics of the LEOs who are supposed to enforce the rules.

Driving through picket lines to deliver groceries in Ontario, CA a few years back, I had more than one Unionista jump up on the running board, lift his shirt front to reveal a weapon.

The Unionista Po-lice who were there did nothing but sit in their air-conditioned vehicle drawing time and a half for watching the circus.

salty

Rembrandt
June 27, 2011, 09:11 PM
When GWB was running for President (and still Gov of Texas), we held a huge outdoorsman political event. Had Sporting clays, SASS shooters, trick shooters and Buckskinners in attendance. Event was attended by over 3000 people with live National media and TV coverage. (NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, C-SPAN, plus numerous print and radio coverage.) For appearance & security reasons we had everyone put their firearms in their vehicles when the speech makers and dignitaries did their thing. At the time campaign organizers did not want the media exploiting photos with firearms....didn't make sense at the time, but in hind sight it was the correct decision. Political opponents would have used gun photos in future negative campaign ads.

There are better ways to make a second amendment statement than doing it at a campaign event.....opponents will most certainly take advantage of the opportunity to exploit it for their own gain. Same thing goes for obscene language and signs....never give the opponents a gift to be used for future ads.

Mamertine
June 27, 2011, 10:11 PM
The fact that some will be intimidated by the peaceful exercise of the 1A with a visible exercise of the 2A is inevitable just as the exercise of free speech is intimidating to some regardless and the vigorous exercise of the 1A is certainly intimidating to some. Siting quietly without confronting issues publicly is the only thing that won't intimidate some people, but it isn't how difficult social and political issues get resolved.

That question of intent

Yes, but others will not understand intent. They will see what they want to see. Ordinarily I would agree with you, but if mainstream America (or the press) views these attendees as nut jobs, then law abiding gun owners could be demonized. Once demonized it would simply be a matter of time before more anti gun legislation came.

langenc
June 27, 2011, 11:59 PM
Guns are dangerous-should not take to a rally.??

What make politicians think someone who carries everywhere and then goes to a rally, church, restaurant that sells booze is suddenly going to start shooting everyone in sight??

Probably that infrigement was put in to make pistol licensing (another infringement) more palatable to some group!

Jonah71
June 28, 2011, 11:04 AM
I carry pretty much everywhere it's legal. But I don't think I'd carry at a political rally. Just too many ways for it to become problematic and for motives to be questioned. I think a person would be asking for trouble doing so. Just having the right to do something doesn't always make it the right thing to do.

Loosedhorse
June 28, 2011, 12:25 PM
Given that gun control continues to be a political topic, the OC of a firearm is political speech. If burning the US flag is protected by 1A, so too should OC be protected.

And, to observe the obvious: unless there are metal detectors and armed guards at the entrance, those "no guns" laws for political rallies don't keep guns out, only OC and legal CC. The Arizona shooter at Rep. Gabrielle Giffords rally would not have been deterred by such a law.

Neverwinter
June 29, 2011, 10:57 PM
Guns are dangerous-should not take to a rally.??

What make politicians think someone who carries everywhere and then goes to a rally, church, restaurant that sells booze is suddenly going to start shooting everyone in sight??

Probably that infrigement was put in to make pistol licensing (another infringement) more palatable to some group!
No, it isn't there to make pistol licensing more palatable.
You're misunderstanding the nature of the differences between those cases. The objection to OC in political events like rallies or voting is about the concerns about people being discouraged from participation.

See example of water parks
.
Except in the cases where OC is highly visible and common, the arguments of intimidation cannot be dismissed offhand. Things are made worse by the people who don't normally OC, but decide to "make a point" at the rally. They're making the opposite point of those who make it a point to carry regularly to show that RKBA can be exercised in a responsible manner.

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