Mark Follman over at Mother Jones reports that the open carry movement in Texas is, amazingly enough, running into some problems.
It would be an understatement to say that the tactics of gun rights activists have been backfiring of late. The showdown has taken place foremost in Texas, where in recent months groups such as Open Carry Texas have conducted provocative demonstrations in which armed men exercise their right under state law to carry semi-automatic rifles in public. No fewer than five national food and beverage chains have now told them to get rid of their guns or get lost, including Starbucks, Wendy’s, Applebees, Jack in the Box, and Chipotle.
And now Chili's and Sonic have effectively joined the list: Two videos posted on YouTube on May 19 by the San Antonio chapter of Open Carry Texas—since removed from public view but obtained by Mother Jones—show its armed members being refused service at both restaurants. The two companies have not made official statements on open carry but have since indicated that they are reviewing their policies. From the nervous and angry reactions of some patrons to comments from some of the gun activists themselves, it's not difficult to see why these spectacles haven't been winning many people over.
It seems that these folks aren't interested in being responsible gun owners after all, but gleefully showing off their big metal shooty phallic things in order to be perceived as alpha males. It's obnoxious behavior and insulting enough that even Texas is calling them on it.
Plus, let's face it, it's bad for business. Having clearly irresponsible gun owners waving their pieces around while you're trying to eat with your family isn't exactly conducive to people wanting to stick around.
Let's discuss the open hostility towards women by these guys, especially in light of Elliot Rodger's deadly rampage. One of the men mentions Moms Demand Action, the social media activist group trying to shut these guys down. Open Carry Texas has been very, very awful to them.
A top target for gun extremists has been the women of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, the grassroots group that began after Sandy Hook and has since merged with Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns under the Everytown banner. The battle has grown particularly ugly in Texas, where gun groups such as Open Carry Texas have conducted demonstrations showcasing their right under state law to openly carry rifles in public. The sight of groups of (mostly) men carrying semi-automatic rifles along a busy road or inside the local Jack in the Box has prompted bystanders to call police. In response, Open Carry Texas has begun making open-records requests, identifying callers and threatening to publicize their personal information.
On April 10, Brett Sanders, a member of Open Carry Texas in Plano, a midsize city in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, posted a video on YouTube highlighting the name and cellphone number of a woman who'd called the police after seeing heavily armed men on her way to a shopping mall. The post drew condemnation not only for outing the woman but also because it was misleading: It claimed that the woman had called 911, though she'd called the nonemergency line of the Plano PD. And the footage it used came from friendly-looking demonstrations elsewhere—not from the one that the woman encountered. ("Feel free to contact me when you work for a real news organization," Sanders replied to my request for comment.)
The woman—a high school teacher who asked not to be identified—quickly got pummeled with text messages and voicemails, copies of which she provided to Mother Jones. Callers told her she was a "stupid bitch" and "motherfucking whore."
"They fought for their right to carry guns," said another. "You're a piece of shit." One caller threatened to come after her with a gun.
Over the next four days she received nearly two dozen such calls and text messages. Someone put her information into a phony profile on a large e-commerce site, and she got a barrage of calls about agricultural products and security systems.
"I really felt strongly about not changing my cellphone number—I'm not going to be intimidated," she told me. "But it just got to the point where it's not worth it."
This has nothing to do with being a responsible gun owner. It has everything to do with power and intimidation of those around them that they feel superior to.
Finally, all these guys packing in the video are white, which is why we're talking about "a bunch of super macho open carry jerks being asked politely to leave" rather than "half a dozen dead black guys killed by San Antonio police for obviously trying to rob the place." Open carry is something people who look like me would never be allowed to do in any state, at any time, laws be damned.
Worth thinking about.