Open Carry Week at Sonic Fizzles

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Open carry at a Free State Project meeting in Lancaster, New Hampshire in 2009. Photo by Lucio Saverio Eastman.
A man carries a 9mm handgun in a Burger King restaurant in 2011.
A man carries a 9mm handgun in a Burger King restaurant in 2011.

If you don’t live in that gun-loving Neverland called Texas, you may have missed bands of armed men wandering the streets. These “men” wear camo as though they actually had the balls to fight in a war. With giant, kick-ass assault rifles strapped to their backs, these combatants try to find a place where they can eat a taco in safety. You know how weekend warriors are always on the lookout for bad guys ordering a latte at Starbucks.

Open Carry Week was from May 25 to 31. During that week, several open carry groups thought it was a good PR move, especially after the Santa Barbara shootings, to bring vicious looking assault rifles to family-friendly restaurants and Home Depot.

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While this may seem funny and even fodder for many late-night jokes, put yourself in the position of a family sitting down to dinner at Sonic. You’ve just watched Jimmy’s little league game and in walks a group of armed men carrying guns, ammo and the wild-eyed look of a cracker on meth. Breaking Bad is real!

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Families eating at Sonic that day were none too pleased with these morons and their metal dicks. Thankfully, the manager asked them to leave. As these newly minted Mensa members ambled to their cars, the best quote from a video of the event (seen above) is “Man, that’s the second time in a row!” That guy cannot believe there are two restaurants that don’t want a bunch of trigger-happy wingnuts coming in and scaring the shit out of their customers. Socialists! Freedom Haters!

After seeing pictures and articles about these geniuses and their auxiliary penises, I assumed Texas had an open carry law. Since these self-proclaimed lawmen were milling around the parking lot after being asked to leave the restaurant, I figured it was clearly legal to bring your gun everywhere you would normally conduct business.

Well, there is no law in Texas that specifically addresses open carry. There is only the vague language about openly carrying long guns: “Long gun and black powder weapon open carry is not forbidden by law, unless it is done in a manner “calculated to cause alarm.” Open carry of long guns is generally allowed in rural areas. Yes, I do believe carrying your AK-47 into a family restaurant will cause alarm. But then, I’m a woman, so what do I know?

There is nothing technically illegal about what these self-aggrandizing nitwits did. So not one cop stopped them to ask what the hell they were doing. I suppose the cops felt outgunned.

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There are more and more of these organizations popping up. One such group thought it would be a dynamite idea to bring their assault weapons to Fort Worth on Memorial Day to make a statement about their right to act as dickish and childlike as possible. And since people weren’t getting the message about what patriots they were — even though these gun nuts spent no time in the real military — a few of them began to harass, bully and stalk a veteran. Because that is exactly the message gun lovers want to give: We are right and you can just STFU!

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Here is a description of what happened.

What the veteran saw struck him as especially provocative. Not only had the open carry activists come to a family-friendly part of town, they were displaying intimidating firearms just three days after a major gun massacre in Southern California. What the veteran didn’t anticipate was that they would pursue him for several city blocks with cameras of their own, hound him and later post the footage online, where they could also level homophobic slurs and violent threats against him.

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But some states have had enough. Gun nuts in Nebraska were outraged when they were asked to leave Texas Roadhouse at Shadow Lake Towne Center last week. Apparently the manager, Steve Jackson, has his priorities straight: “I want to feed people — not have a circus in here,” Jackson explained.

Well, this idea of normalizing guns isn’t working out as well as the silly boy-men imagined. These open carry groups, which are anti-government, anti-science, anti-education (at least non-Biblical education) and anti-women have created such an incredible public relations nightmare, that the NRA — let me repeat — the NRA has asked them to stop.

National chain restaurants, such as Chipotle, Starbucks, Wendy’s and Jack in the Box have also asked open carry supporters to leave their weapons at home. It’s simply bad for business. It turns out that more guns at my burger place does not make me feel safer, just closer to death. Here is what the NRA had to say, with a classic opening sentence:

Now we love AR-15s and AKs as much as anybody, and we know that these sorts of semiautomatic carbines are among the most popular, fastest selling firearms in America today. Texas, independent-minded and liberty-loving place that it is, doesn’t ban the carrying of loaded long guns in public, nor does it require a permit for this activity. Yet some so-called firearm advocates seem determined to change this.
Recently, demonstrators have been showing up in various public places, including coffee shops and fast food restaurants, openly toting a variety of tactical long guns. Unlicensed open carry of handguns is legal in about half the U.S. states, and it is relatively common and uncontroversial in some places.
Yet while unlicensed open carry of long guns is also typically legal in most places, it is a rare sight to see someone sidle up next to you in line for lunch with a 7.62 rifle slung across his chest, much less a whole gaggle of folks descending on the same public venue with similar arms.
Let’s not mince words, not only is it rare, it’s downright weird and certainly not a practical way to go normally about your business while being prepared to defend yourself. To those who are not acquainted with the dubious practice of using public displays of firearms as a means to draw attention to oneself or one’s cause, it can be downright scary. It makes folks who might normally be perfectly open-minded about firearms feel uncomfortable and question the motives of pro-gun advocates.

Man with gunSo here’s a message for all those “Open Carry Don’t Tread On Me Cold Dead Finger” gun maniacs. Keep on doing what you are doing. Your message is only proving our point: more guns = more violence. Your stupidity and self-importance shown via You Tube is worth more than all of Bloomberg’s millions spent on gun control advertising. Keep harassing actual veterans; keep scaring families who just want to eat without fear of accidentally getting shot; keep on getting thrown out of businesses and keep on videotaping your embarrassment and failure for all to see. You are not showing the country how tough and cool you are. In fact, you are only proving what we all knew: You and your ilk are selfish, boorish, low intelligence losers who aren’t welcome anywhere.