The Brady Campaign has released another article laced with claims so brazenly false they would be comical if the group spouting them wasn’t intent on completely dismantling the Second Amendment. Far from endorsing legitimate, legal, safe gun practices, the Brady Campaign has once again affirmed their stance as an anti-gun group that feels private citizens should not be allowed access to firearms in any capacity. The article contains so many falsehoods, and half-truths that the only way to efficiently respond is through a line by line refutation. Even the title is oozing with hyperbole and misdirection.
The Brady Campaign headlines with “Stop the Madness: Radical Gun Owners Bringing Weapons into Starbucks,” hyperbolic hogwash that is quickly followed by, “Radical gun enthusiasts have begun parading into California restaurants and coffeehouses in recent weeks brazenly displaying handguns.” One would think these “radical gun owners” had marched into establishments that do not allow weapons while waving around their pistols and preaching the gospel of firepower. In reality, these claims just don’t live up to the hype. The “parading” consists of a handful of Open Carry advocates heading down to the coffee shop, buying coffee, and drinking it while discussing gun rights and conversing with passerby and anyone who bothers to ask questions. The idea is part of a nationwide movement to curb the irrational taboo of gun ownership promoted by anti-gun groups like the Brady Campaign. The group's activity is completely and indisputably legal. While the Brady Campaign correctly notes that two restaurants have exercised their legal authority to disallow weapons, they failed to note that the Open Carry advocates have been completely respectful of the establishments’ decisions and simply chose a new location. They also failed to note that the gun owners carry their weapons unloaded and with the magazines removed during these events.
The Brady Campaign then announces that it is urging the national chain to “to bar the carrying of firearms in its shops”–still believe they aren’t anti-gun? Paul Helmke goes even further asking Starbucks “to consider the rights of the vast majority of your customers to bring their families, including their children, into your stores without being confronted with the threatening presence of open-displayed guns.” First, let us establish again that this group’s activities are in 100% compliance with the law. There is nothing illegal about their activity. As such, the Brady Campaign is actually requesting that Starbucks ban a lawful activity in order to protect a fictitious right. While I certainly respect the right of Starbucks customers to remove themselves and their families from the presence of firearms, they have no right to demand any legal activity they disagree with be banned in their presence. This is analogous to Smart Car owners demanding that SUVs be forced to drive on separate roads because they feel unsafe driving next to them. Furthermore, who is the Brady Campaign to speak for “the vast majority of your [Starbucks] customers.” Where is their evidence for such a claim. Last I checked, unarmed coffee consumption doesn’t equate to disdain for gun rights, and judging by the video footage I’ve seen, the “vast majority” of customers aren’t alarmed by the Open Carry group even if they don’t specifically endorse their activities.
The Brady Campaign ends with the following statements:
The open display of firearms in public places is inherently threatening and intimidating, and poses risks to those nearby, to law enforcement and to the community. When open carrying of guns has occurred in retail stores, other customers understandably become alarmed and the police often are called to the scene, creating a volatile and potentially dangerous situation. One Sheriff’s Lieutenant in California said when police respond to a “man with a gun” call, they have no idea what the intentions of the gun carrier may be and “the result could be deadly.”
The “open display of firearms in public places” is simply not dangerous, especially when those weapons are unloaded with the magazines removed. Hundreds of Open Carry awareness events have been held without incident. They are only effective because, despite the Brady Campaign’s warnings, people aren’t getting shot at these events. While it is true that some citizens may call the police the first time they see a person carrying a weapon, this fear quickly fades. It is also true that when police get a report of a “man with a gun” they don’t know what to expect. However, that is not because guns are inherently dangerous, but because the police have not been given enough information. That’s why dispatchers frequently ask a followup question to the effect of “what is he doing?” The only way “the result could be deadly” is if the “man with a gun” is a criminal intent on killing people. In which case, he’s probably in a “gun-free zone” anyway.