This is primarily a travel blog in which I write about traveling in our motorhome. Our travels have

Nacogdoches, TX, United States
I began this blog as a vehicle for reporting on a 47-day trip made by my wife and me in our motorhome down to the Yucatan Peninsula and back. I continued writing about our post-Yucatan travels and gradually began including non-travel related topics. I often rant about things that piss me off, such as gun violence, fracking, healthcare, education, and anything else that pushes my button. I have a photography gallery on my Smugmug site (http://rbmartiniv.smugmug.com).

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Is it Just Me, Or....

Two armed Texas organizations are protesting, demonstrating, marching, or whatever you want to call it because they believe it is their God-given (or Constitution-given) right to carry whatever weapon they wish to wherever and whenever they want to. They are Open Carry Texas and Come and Take It.

Many people think that open carry is actually legal in Texas but that is not true. The General Firearms Laws of the State of Texas say that it is generally illegal to carry a handgun outside of a person's own premises. However, a person may legally carry a shotgun or rifle, either open or concealed, in a non-threatening or alarming manner. A Concealed Handgun License is required for a person to carry a handgun and it must be concealed at all times (so it doesn't frighten people I suppose). Private property owners are allowed to prohibit the carrying of concealed handguns on their property if they provide proper legal notice, which may be given verbally or in writing. A person who carries a concealed handgun onto private property after being given proper notice is guilty of tresspass.

The law also includes a number of places where concealed handguns may not be carried, even when legally licensed. They include amusement parks, places of worship, hospitals, nursing homes, correctional facilities, any court of court offices, any polling place on Election Day, any meeting of a government body, at any high school, collegiate, or professional sporting event, any interscholastic event, at any racetrack, inside any public or private school building or school transportation vehicle, in bars or restaurants which derive 51% or more of its income from the sale of alcoholic beverages, and inside the secured area of any airport.

Open Carry Texas (OCT) is described on its website as “an organization dedicated to the safe and legal carry of firearms openly in the State of Texas...” The first part of their four-part mission statement is “To educate all Texans about their right to openly carry rifles and shotguns in a safe manner.” The second part is “To condition Texans to feel safe around law-abiding citizens that choose to carry them.” The remaining half of the statement expresses the organization's desire for less restrictive open carry laws and their interest in a cooperative relationship with local law enforcement in an effort to prevent “negative encounters” (aka accidental shootings).

On their Facebook page, Come and Take It (CATI) says they "want the right to defend ourselves and loved ones as we see fit." They believe that the Constitution not only gives them the right to bear arms but also to choose how they carry their firearms. They also believe that the presence of guns does not cause violence, and that citizens who choose to carry guns are not a threat to the public (tell that to the more than 12,000 people killed by gun violence in America during the year 2013!). They, like OCT, only mention shotguns and rifles in their mission statement even though many of them openly carry handguns and assault rifles. They recommend that their members use a sling to promote a nonaggressive manner of carry, that members not wear body armor or military gear, and that proper muzzle etiquette be observed at all times. You can look at the attached photos and judge for yourself whether or not they abide by their own guidelines.

What these people are actually doing is flaunting their Second Amendment right by snubbing their noses and sticking their tongues out at the more sensible Texans. They do this by walking around in public, armed to the teeth, appearing ready to engage any bad guy with a gun in a firefight. This begs the question, "How do you tell the bad guys with guns from the good guys with guns?" They all look the same to me.

I can see how such an insecure group of people would wish to work with law enforcement to prevent any “negative encounters." The best thing they could do to prevent a “negative encounter” and to help Texans feel safe, however, would be by not walking around with AR-15 and AK-47 assault rifles slung over their shoulders and holstered pistols on their hips. Although not specifically mentioned, apparently the reference to “rifles and shotguns” in their mission statement is meant to include assault rifles and handguns, which are much cooler and more manly than hunting rifles and shotguns.

These gun nuts have been strutting around armed to the teeth and frightening families at Texas restaurants for the past several weeks. They have been refused service and asked to leave almost every  restaurant they have visited. The one or two which welcomed them wouldn't make it on my list of favorite places to eat anyway.

On Friday, May 30, 2014, due to a wave of public outcry, the corporate offices of Sonic and Chili’s followed the lead of Starbucks, Chipotle, and Jack in The Box by updating their firearms policies to prohibit guns inside their restaurants or on their patios and I applaud their action. The stated reasons for banning the open carry of firearms in these restaurants included the creation of an uncomfortable atmosphere and an uninviting environment for customers and employees and because it is illegal under many local liquor laws.

The day after the Sonic and Chili's announcement was made approximately 150 supporters of open carry showed up for a rally in the parking lot of a Dallas-area Home Depot. When interviewed by a local TV reporter, one of the armed men said, “I understand people get nervous when they see people walking around with guns, but they should understand they don’t have a Constitutional right to feel warm and fuzzy, but we do have a Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.” Well, that lack of consideration for their fellow man pisses me off. What about OUR Constitutional right to the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness?

Take a look at the pictures of these "responsible" gun owners as they don't carry their "rifles and shotguns" in a "threatening or alarming manner."

Waiting to ambush someone?
Questionable mental stability.

"Attention Walmart shoppers.  Maniac in aisle 12!"

A special forces "wannabe?"

Check out her legs.  She uses the gun to fight the men off.

Finger on the trigger.  Very responsible.

What if you walked around the corner and into this group?  Would you not be "alarmed?"

Is this the same girl we saw shopping in a previous picture? Could there be two with legs like that?

I believe this guy is carrying some type of antitank weapon!  Is that legal?

This intelligent looking young man appears to be giving some kind of secret hand wave or salute.

Great. Start your kids out at a young age.

I think these young ladies get whatever they want.

Are they practicing close order drill?  I believe she has a little run in her hose.

I don't know which he will lose first.  His pants or his assault rifle.

Macho, Macho, Man!

If I were the pharmacist I might shoot first and ask questions later.  Robbery is no joke in a pharmacy.

Speaking of jokes....

Another bevy of gun beauties. "Nothing like a big long rifle.  Huh, girls?"

"J'all see last nite's Duck Dynasty?"

The kid looks frightened.  I wonder why.

"Is that a terrorist out there?" he said as the prepared to fire.

Lunatics love guns too.

Looks like the guy on the right has already been shot in the neck.  Is the other guy pledging allegiance to the Stars and Bars?

You can have it!

Why are they wearing sleeveless outfits?  Because they have the right to "bear arms."  Ha.  Ha.

Check out the deer head mounted on the wall. 

I don't know if this was taken before or after he had his prescription filled.

Is she holding a kid with and extra long left leg and arm?

Hmmmm........  Interesting.

John Wayne! (Is that an extra long bullet in the pistol belt or is that where he keeps his cigarillo?)

The latest in Texas business attire.

Let me shoot my kids foot off! (His weapon seems to be a bit rusty)

Where's Curly?

"Yall see that deer run in the mall?"

Whoa. Same girl? Couldn't be, could it?

3 comments :

Bill said...

A well written and cogent discussion of the issue Robert. The majority of people could give two wits about these gun freaks and certainly don't want them en masse in restaurants and stores.

Croft Randle said...

Great post Robert. A voice of reason in a sea of ignorance! Thanks for speaking for the silent but frightened majority!

WhiMsy aNd LaCE said...

"Gun freaks" Exactly what they are! Thanks for your post. Bookmarking your blog....Love it!