Across the country, gun proponents are continuing to ramp up their efforts to normalize abnormal behavior by encouraging citizens to openly carry guns.
Earlier this week, a man carrying an assault rifle was among a dozen, armed protesters demonstrating outside a speech by President Obama in Phoenix. Last week in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a protester strapped a gun to his thigh while protesting outside Obama’s town hall meeting.
In June, Pastor Ken Pagano of the New Bethal Church in Kentucky made headlines with his decision to promote the 2nd Amendment by sponsoring an “Open Carry Church Service” on June 27th.
And, in Kalamazoo, Michigan on June 7th the Open Carry crowd was at it again. About 30 people showed up at a picnic in a public park with guns hoisted on their hips to demonstrate they were within the law to openly carry a firearm.
Unwisely, it is legal in Arizona, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire and many other states to openly carry a firearm. Hence, the gun lobby is working overtime to encourage the gun crowd to come out of the closet, so to speak, in the hopes of intimidating the public into accepting their dangerous worldview.
The gun lobby likes to pretend that only criminals get guns; that more guns equal less crime; and carrying guns in public makes us all safer. What they fail to mention are the 30,000 people killed by guns each year. People like Elizabeth Gannon, Heidi Overmier, and Jody Billingsley who were shot to death by a legal gun owner at the LA Fitness Center in Pennsylvania on August 11th.
Despite these tragic events, and numerous others like it, the gun lobby will persist in their campaign to sell more guns, and arm more people, no matter the cost to society and our nation’s sense of safety.
It’s ironic that today’s parents are hyper-vigilant about what their children eat, whom they hang out with and whether they have sunscreen on. Yet, in sharp contrast, there is remarkably little awareness or concern about the 280 million guns in civilian hands in our country—many of which are carried into supposed safe havens like parks and playgrounds.
The real world implications of the open carry crusade is chilling. Consider:
- Sipping hot chocolate with your toddler at Starbucks while a fellow patron openly displays a loaded gun at the table next to you;
- Attending a church service with your entire family knowing that the fellow parishioner sitting next to you has a handgun tucked in his belt; or
- Boarding a crowded bus with your newborn child with upwards of 5 other passengers openly carrying weapons.
Unless this is the kind of world you want for you and your children, Americans’ need to pick up the phone to call state and federal lawmakers to voice outrage over the gun lobby’s extremist agenda and urge them to repeal reckless open carry laws in public spaces.
Allowing a small group of armed gun owners—versus trained law enforcement officers—to make potentially life and death decisions about public safety at public gatherings and in restaurants, churches, theaters and parks is a frightening prospect.