Open carry is materially different from concealed carry. It’s often designed to be menacing, to intimidate the public and public officials. And after the debates around Rittenhouse, it’s time to rethink open carry, as a matter of ethics and law. https://t.co/2daiagOyJI
— David French (@DavidAFrench) November 16, 2021
Author, attorney, and Iraq veteran David French believes it’s time to “rethink open carry, as a matter of ethics and law.”
In a post on The Dispatch, French makes the case that too often those exercising their right to keep and bear arms openly do so in a manner that is intentionally intimidating to others.
“Yet it’s a mistake to believe that open carry is always tied to out-of-control unrest,” writes French, referencing the Kenosha shooting involving Kyle Rittenhouse. “It’s become part and parcel of all too many protests, including anti-lockdown protests and election protests, even at public officials’ homes.”
“There is no credible argument that this form of open carry is ‘self-defense.’ It’s intentional intimidation.”
French believes that the government can and should “tightly restrict open carry.”
I don’t want to call into question French’s 2A bona fides, as he owns an AR, is a licensed concealed carrier, and staunchly supports one’s natural right to self-defense but does he recognize that his argument for essentially banning open carry mirrors that of Everytown for Gun Safety?
In a “fact sheet” called, “More Than Brawlers: The Proud Boys and Armed Extremism” published in July, the Bloomberg-funded organization stated that a “straightforward way to curb armed intimidation by extremist groups” is to “restrict the open display of firearms, especially during protests or at other public places.”
“Open carry is a threat to public safety and armed extremism demonstrates the folly of open carry laws,” they continued.
Notice the repeated use of the word “intimidation” both from French and from Everytown. The conceit is that anytime a gun is displayed in public it has the potential to frighten people, which cannot stand because apparently one’s “right” to not feel intimidated trumps one’s right to exercise a fundamental right.
French even strongly asserts this, “…I completely reject the notion that I have a right to intimidate my fellow citizens. I don’t have a right to use my weapons to make them afraid.”
The problem with this way of reasoning is that it subordinates the right itself to the emotional response it creates in a select few. The Left is attacking free speech along the same lines in that they argue one’s right to not be offended trumps one’s right to speak freely (see video below).
This is a very dangerous precedent to set for obvious reasons. Because there’s no getting around the fact that in a free society someone will always feel intimidated and someone will always be offended.
French and Everytown would have us believe that the solution is to make society less free, to broadly curtail fundamental rights to make people feel safer. But in doing this it actually has the opposite effect in that it makes people increasingly soft over time, which makes people more easily triggered, which, in turn, necessitates more restrictions on fundamental rights from the Nanny State.
The truth is if you feel threatened by someone else carrying a firearm in a lawful manner, that’s a you problem, not a problem with the law. You need to ask yourself why you’re scared. What you may find is that you’re scared because you’re not prepared to deal with physical violence, and that you’ve shirked your responsibility to be capably armed, to muster, what Jordan Peterson calls, “self-protective territorial responses.”
“The forces of tyranny expand inexorably to fill the space made available for their existence. People who refuse to muster appropriately self-protective territorial responses are laid open to exploitation as much as those who genuinely can’t stand up for their own rights because of a more essential inability or a true imbalance in power,” wrote Peterson in his book “12 Rules for Life.”
The way to become less fearful is to become more capable in the face of danger. Learn the basics of self-defense, learn how to use a firearm, learn to carry one responsibly. Personal agency, via exercising one’s right to keep and bear arms, is the best way to alleviate one’s fear of them. Anything else is a poor substitute — or worse, and in the case of calls for more gun control, an attack on individual sovereignty and liberty.
is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.