Politics
Politics

Lawmakers: Stand Up to ‘Open Carry’ Gun Extremists

| by Gun Guys

It is deeply disturbing that gun proponents chose the solemn 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing to organize anti-government rallies and urge attendees to carry loaded handguns and assault rifles in public to demonstrate their anger at the Obama administration and the direction of our country.

Most troubling is the extreme rhetoric accompanying these “open carry” events which speak of the abuses of the federal government and are laden with coded threats against members of Congress and law enforcement officials.

They are terrorists, not patriots,” read one sign at the open carry gun march in Virginia. “Fear them in government that fear your gun. Tyranny only comes when wearing a federal badge,” read the sign from another protestor showcasing the loaded handgun on his hip.

But this violent rhetoric is not only coming from extremist groups such as militias and Patriot groups but also from the National Rifle Association according to a recent study by the Violence Policy Center, Lessons Unlearned. In a December 2009 direct-mail letter echoing the language of both the Tea Party movement and other extremist groups, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre warned of “massive armies of anti-gun, anti-freedom radicals marshaling against us for an attack that could make every other battle we’ve ever fought look like a walk in the park...an attack aimed at completely rewriting our nation’s values and the future of our country in ways that you and I won’t even recognize.”

Fifteen years ago this same rhetoric motivated Timothy McVeigh, a former NRA member, to bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The NRA and other radical members of the gun lobby are again embracing and validating these views.

The truth is that the rule of law guarantees our freedoms, not carrying AK-47s down main street. Gun extremists have exploited basic common sense and are risking people's lives with their irresponsible actions, not to mention fanning the flames of an already toxic political environment.

The gun lobby's argument boils down to, “well no one said we can't carry guns in public, therefore it's our right.” Nonsense. If we witnessed a group of angry men walking down the street in some South American country carrying loaded handguns, assault rifles and signs that encouraged violence, it is doubtful we would look at such an event as a shining example of democracy.

It is easy to dismiss such statements and acts as coming from some fringe group. But the truth is that even members of Congress, governors, and states attorneys general have advocated carrying loaded guns in public in terms of “protecting our freedom.” At some point, lawmakers and citizens must come to the realization that such reckless policies undermine our public safety and national security.

A nation of laws and public order must be capable of guaranteeing its citizens the right not to be intimidated by armed individuals at a local Starbucks or at a political rally. In other words, true freedom demands that we have some common sense regulations over carrying guns in public.

Gun extremists are attempting to assert that carrying an assault weapon in public is their form of speech. But on the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, these armed marches are purposefully sending a message of intimidation and creating a climate that fosters the potential for violence.

It is deeply disturbing that gun proponents chose the solemn 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing to organize anti-government rallies and urge attendees to carry loaded handguns and assault rifles in public to demonstrate their anger at the Obama administration and the direction of our country.

Most troubling is the extreme rhetoric accompanying these “open carry” events which speak of the abuses of the federal government and are laden with coded threats against members of Congress and law enforcement officials.

They are terrorists, not patriots,” read one sign at the open carry gun march in Virginia. “Fear them in government that fear your gun. Tyranny only comes when wearing a federal badge,” read the sign from another protestor showcasing the loaded handgun on his hip.

But this violent rhetoric is not only coming from extremist groups such as militias and Patriot groups but also from the National Rifle Association according to a recent study by the Violence Policy Center, Lessons Unlearned. In a December 2009 direct-mail letter echoing the language of both the Tea Party movement and other extremist groups, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre warned of “massive armies of anti-gun, anti-freedom radicals marshaling against us for an attack that could make every other battle we’ve ever fought look like a walk in the park...an attack aimed at completely rewriting our nation’s values and the future of our country in ways that you and I won’t even recognize.”

Fifteen years ago this same rhetoric motivated Timothy McVeigh, a former NRA member, to bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The NRA and other radical members of the gun lobby are again embracing and validating these views.

The truth is that the rule of law guarantees our freedoms, not carrying AK-47s down main street. Gun extremists have exploited basic common sense and are risking people's lives with their irresponsible actions, not to mention fanning the flames of an already toxic political environment.

The gun lobby's argument boils down to, “well no one said we can't carry guns in public, therefore it's our right.” Nonsense. If we witnessed a group of angry men walking down the street in some South American country carrying loaded handguns, assault rifles and signs that encouraged violence, it is doubtful we would look at such an event as a shining example of democracy.

It is easy to dismiss such statements and acts as coming from some fringe group. But the truth is that even members of Congress, governors, and states attorneys general have advocated carrying loaded guns in public in terms of “protecting our freedom.” At some point, lawmakers and citizens must come to the realization that such reckless policies undermine our public safety and national security.

A nation of laws and public order must be capable of guaranteeing its citizens the right not to be intimidated by armed individuals at a local Starbucks or at a political rally. In other words, true freedom demands that we have some common sense regulations over carrying guns in public.

Gun extremists are attempting to assert that carrying an assault weapon in public is their form of speech. But on the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, these armed marches are purposefully sending a message of intimidation and creating a climate that fosters the potential for violence.