The Chipotle Story Is About Gun Nuts, Not Gun Rights

24490867_SAFirst it was Starbucks, then it was Chick-fil-A, and now Chipotle has also told gun fanatics to please stop bringing their weapons into their establishment. Before we get into this issue further, let remind you there is a huge difference between gun owners and gun nuts. Simply owning a gun does not make you a nut. There are a lot of perfectly sane people out there who own and use guns for legitimate purposes, including self-defense. Then there are the gun nuts, like the folks behind Open Carry Texas who like to carry loaded weapons in public, in protest of Texas’s current law which does not allow people (other than law enforcement and security guards) to carry a handgun in full view. Texas has some of the loosest laws on gun ownership and what constitutes justifiable homicide in the entire United States, but even that isn’t enough for these people.

Absolutely zero restrictions on gun purchases, no registration or restrictions on where someone can carry one – even if it means forcing privately owned businesses to allow weapons on their premises against their will. This is the crusade of the gun nut, because somehow in their minds, the obvious answer to everything is “MOAR GUNZ!” What these people believe is that it is their right as white, heterosexual men Americans to be able to tote an AR-15, an SKS, a Colt .45 or any other weapon they want, out for all to see, regardless of the feelings or rights of anyone else. These aren’t gun enthusiasts or responsible gun owners exercising their Second Amendment rights. No, these are gun fanatics who want to flaunt military-style weapons in public to threaten and intimidate others.

At first glance, their mission statement seems just slightly wacky. Here’s what it says on their website:

1) To educate all Texans about their right to openly carry
rifles and shotguns in a safe manner.

2) To condition Texans to feel safe around law-abiding
citizens that choose to carry them.

3) Encourage our elected officials to pass less restrictive
open carry legislation.

4) Foster a cooperative relationship with local law enforcement
in the furtherance of these goals with an eyetowards (sic)
preventing negative encounters.

So let’s break down what these 4 points actually mean in reality. Yes, in Texas you can legally carry a long gun like an AR-15 into a Chipotle location or while walking down a city street, so long as you aren’t doing it in a manner considered to be threatening, which is exactly what these guys are doing. Here’s Texas law explained, without having to read page after page of statutes:

There is no legal statute specifically prohibiting the carry of a firearm other than a handgun, although there is debate as to whether doing so constitutes “disorderly conduct” (which defines an offense, in part, as “displaying a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to cause alarm”). Open carry of a handgun in public is generally illegal in Texas; exceptions include when the carrier is on property he/she owns or has lawful control over, while legally hunting, or while participating in some gun-related public event such as a gun show. A permit to carry concealed is thus required to carry a handgun in public. Concealed carry permits are issued on a non-discretionary basis (“shall-issue”) to all qualified applicants. In addition, Texas recognizes most out-of-state concealed-carry permits. (Source)

Next they state that they want people (including law enforcement) to feel comfortable with weapons being carried in plain view. Now if they meant hunting rifles or shotguns in a rural area, then they’d have a point. But Open Carry Texas isn’t talking about a bolt-action deer rifle or a pump shotgun, these fanatics want to be able to carry military-grade assault weapons anywhere they want, even into restaurants like Chipotle, which is why they’re advocating for even fewer restrictions than the very few that exist on the books in Texas.

As you probably know, I am a gun owner and I fully support the right of licensed people to carry a concealed weapon for personal protection. Carrying an AR-15 on your back or a Glock on your hip for all to see isn’t about protection, and it’s also incredibly stupid. Having a concealed weapon gives you the element of surprise if the situation calls for it, open carry just makes sure you’re the first person who gets shot during a bank or convenience story robbery. However, this isn’t about the Second Amendment or protection at all. What it is about is a twisted interpretation of the Second Amendment in which gun rights are unlimited and supersede the rights even of private business owners who don’t want their establishment being used for political points. More so, it’s about intimidation. These aren’t responsible gun owners, these are gun bullies. I’ll even go a step further and point out the fact that at all of these open carry rallies, do you see any non-white people?

These are individuals who believe that as white, right-wing Americans, they’re entitled to more rights than anyone else, including the delusional right to stalk and intimidate anyone who opposes them or even tries to take illegal guns off the streets through a buyback program. Open Carry Texas and others like them are not gun owners, they’re vicious bullies with guns. They aren’t champions of gun rights, they’re the greatest argument for more gun restrictions (especially mental health checks). It doesn’t matter whether you’re for or against more gun control, it’s time that the rest of us stand up to them.


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