The Open Carry Movement Isn’t About Rights, It’s About Fear – And A Little Racism

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Open Carry Texas backed off on their plans to march through Houston’s 5th Ward. Not because they finally realized the folly of their endeavor to somehow prove to the minority neighborhood that open carry of military-grade firearms was in their best interests. Oh, and apparently the neighborhood already had plenty of firearms, as demonstrated by members of the New Black Panther Party. Nice.

They were met by a chorus of voices telling them to stay out of the neighborhood and warned they will be “matched gun-for-gun.”

“I’m going to tell you something homie, this is Fifth Ward, you ain’t coming in here running nothing,” community activist Quanell X said while flanked by members of the New Black Panther Party, who were holding assault rifles. (Source)

They backed off citing the “controversy associated with this event,” but they still want to march through the 5th Ward to prove some sort of point. Regardless of whether you support or oppose gun regulations, I think that most of us (including my card-carrying member of the NRA mother) could agree that this is an incredibly stupid idea.

Currently, all but 6 states (TX, FL, SC, CA, IL, and NY) and the District of Columbia allow open carry, with varying regulations. I grew up in rural Virginia where guns were common. It was not unusual to see deer rifles or shotguns in a gun rack in vehicles parked at local churches, the feed store, or even at school during hunting season. I know it sounds weird, but this was a different time, before Columbine and the attention on school shootings. But even then, to walk around with a handgun strapped to your hip would have been considered extremely odd unless you were part of the local sheriff’s department or another law enforcement agency.

So why is the open carry movement receiving so much attention now? I’m not even really that opposed to being able to openly carry a handgun on your hip, which is what these people are really protesting – or at least that’s what it started off as. What I do have a problem with is the people who think that openly carrying a weapon is necessary, and their reasoning why. You see, open carry isn’t about protection, it’s about intimidation. It’s about advertising “I have a gun on me and I will use it” to everyone within view at the local Kroger’s, or anywhere else that currently allows open carry.

I believe it is a part of a fear by white Americans that their “way of life” is being threatened. Is it blatant racism borne out of the rise of hate groups after the election of the first non-white president? Yes, and no. Current predictions are that whites will be a minority within the next couple of decades and I think there are people who really are greatly concerned about that. Take South Africa for an example. While whites were always a minority there, they held all the power until the end of apartheid. Historically though, rule by the minority – not the majority – was quite common. Therefore, owning weapons and demonstrating that they own them, is part of their attempt to preserve “their way of life.”

It was recently brought to my attention that there was a book called “My Parents Open Carry” published and advertised on Amazon. Or, as my libertarian friend Ethan calls it: “My Parents Open Carry Because, At Their Core, They Are Sissies And Probably Couldn’t Win In A One On One Fistfight Like A Man/Woman/Adult, And Therefore Have To Prove What Badasses They Are By Carrying Guns In Public, Hiding Behind The Second Amendment, And Putting Other People At Risk To Prove A Point.

Here’s a snippet of the author’s description of the book, bold emphasis mine:

Come join 13-year-old Brenna Strong along with her mom, Bea, and her dad, Richard, as they spend a typical Saturday running errands and having fun together. What’s not so typical is that Brenna’s parents lawfully open carry handguns for self-defense. The Strongs join a growing number of families that are standing up for their 2nd Amendment rights by open carrying and bringing gun ownership out of the closet and into the mainstream…

We fear our children are being raised with a biased view of our constitution and especially in regards to the 2nd Amendment. Before writing this, we looked for pro-gun children’s books and couldn’t find any. Our goal was to provide a wholesome family book that reflects the views of the majority of the American people, i.e., that self-defense is a basic natural right and that firearms provide the most efficient means for that defense.” (Source)

Notice those key words? Rights are supposedly being infringed upon, even though laws restricting gun ownership are being loosened more than they are being restricted. In fact, gun ownership is on the decline in America with 20% of Americans owning 65% of the guns, but this comes out of personal choices, not restrictions. So in order to boost gun sales to the shrinking market, the NRA and others use fear as their marketing tool.

Look at the faces on the cover of that book. Fair-skinned, blue-eyed “good Americans.” Now, look under the listing at the other books that people who bought this one also purchased. “Raising Boys Feminists Will Hate” or “Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed!” and a book by Dinesh D’Souza about a world without America. Gee, I wonder what audience these books are meant for?

I’m not one of those people who feel threatened that people with my level of melanin or shared heritages may no longer be majority in this country. I’m not afraid that my “way of life” is under attack simply because others are now gaining the same rights that I’ve always had simply by being a white, heterosexual male.

So, go ahead and open carry your Glock or Springfield 1911 if you want. Let us know how afraid you are of whatever the gun marketing campaign is pushing these days while you talk about “taking this country back.” I’ll keep mine in my pants, thank you very much.


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