There's being passionate and than there's being crazy
And, oh boy, is this particular group being crazy. Whenever I see stuff like this, I actually feel sorry for the sane and responsible gun owners that have to deal with noisy gun nuts like these throwing themselves into the debate, getting the attention of the media, and becoming the face of the gun rights movement. This group is called Open Carry Texas, and its leader is named Kory Watkins. The Daily Beast has the details here.
I'll get to the tactics later, but first I have to comment on this passage right here. It includes a quote from Watkins that perfectly encapsulates what is wrong with gun right's absolutists:
A self-described “Liberty Republican,” Watkins is running for the state’s 6th Congressional District seat and thinks there should be no regulation of firearms whatsoever, calling gun permits “an infringement on my rights.” “I don’t want to ask government for permission and I don’t want to have to pay a tax to do something I’m already allowed to do,” he says.
This is an argument I've seen plenty of times. And it never makes any more sense no matter how many times I see it get made. How are gun permits an "infringement of your rights?" Permits and licenses are requirements in order to gain access to many other things, not just guns. You need a license in order to be able to drive. Are people without driver's licenses have their right's infringed when they get in trouble with the law for driving? Of course not. Those people did not take the time to learn how to drive and they are not allowed to drive legally because it's not safe for them or to anyone else on the road.
Like cars, guns are things that are potentially very dangerous and you should know how to use them before you're allowed to own one. I imagine it's not too difficult to learn how to use a gun so getting a permit really isn't going to be a long and difficult task.
Some of the tactics used by some members of the open carry community are so stupid and counter-productive it makes me wonder if they're actually deep cover gun control advocates. In Wisconsin, someone named Charles Brantrom decided that it would be a good idea to hook up with a friend and walk through the middle of Appleton with an assault rifle strapped to their backs. And, here's the funny part, Branstrom is utterly shocked that people might actually be uncomfortable with this! Some passerby were concerned and called the police. Branstrom and his friend weren't arrested or even fined, but they were questioned.
The officer asked Branstrom why he was carrying that assault rifle. The answer was, predictably, "for protection." Fair enough, I suppose. I don't really see why anyone would need an assault rifle "for protection" when a handgun would do the trick just fine. But if this guy thinks he does, I won't harp on him for that. However, I will harp on him for his answer to the next question. He was asked if he thinks that openly carrying an assault rifle to a market might cause problems. His response? "Yeah, I guess some people don't like guns."
Of course! It's obvious, isn't it. Some people don't like guns! And not liking guns is the only possible reason for people to think someone walking into a market with an assault rifle might cause trouble. They just don't like guns. Let's apply this mentality to another scenario. Say someone walks into a market fully naked. Obviously the people who called the police only had a problem because they don't like nudity, right? Someone walks into a bank with a live grenade and people call the cops? Those people obviously did not like explosives!
You see where I'm going with this? Mr. Branstrom and others like him don't seem to realize why people would have a problem with them strutting into a bustling public location with an assault rifle. They don't feel safe. Markets are not places people normally bring guns. So if someone walks in with an assault rifle, is it really surprising that they might be afraid?
This story gets better, though. Branstrom was stopped a few weeks earlier. This stop was video taped and posted on YouTube. Branstrom was carrying his assault rifle in a school zone. Wow. Seriously. If you don't understand why that's a problem--if you don't understand why people have an issue with that and might call the cops--than I don't know what so say to you. I mean, what the fuck was this guy thinking? "Gee, I think'll stroll by a school carrying a powerful military-grade weapon. What could possibly go wrong?" Anyone who likes their second amendment rights should be embarrassed by this dipshit.
The cop's response was great:
Do you realize what you’re doing could cost us, me, my second amendment rights? Because this is so egregious to the general public that it’s going to cause them to make decisions legally that are going to restrain us.
For all the complaints that gun right's absolutists have about the infringement of their rights to bear arms, you'd be hard pressed to find a group of people who are more helpful to gun control advocates.