On Saturday, the Texas chapter of “Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America” (MDA) was holding a membership meeting at the Blue Mesa Grill in Arlington when a convoy of cars and trucks carrying members of “Open Carry Texas”—a group supporting open carry of weapons in the state—pulled into the restaurant’s parking lot.
The ambassadors of Open Carry had come to let their objection to MDA be known, electing to so by pulling weapons from their vehicle trunks and parading menacingly with their guns in an effort to intimidate those inside the Blue Mesa.
As you might imagine, the protest was effective—terrifying the occupants of the restaurant which included both those participating in MDA meeting and innocent diners with no particular political axe to grind on that day.
According to the MDA statement—
“Members of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America gathered for a membership meeting today at Blue Mesa Grill restaurant. We were confronted soon after by gun advocates who disagree with our goal of changing America’s gun laws and policies to protect our children and families. Gun advocates held an armed protest in the parking lot, and our mom members and restaurant customers were terrified by what appeared to be an armed ambush. Sadly, these bullies feel they must use guns to intimidate moms and children and try to inhibit our constitutional right to free speech. But Moms Demand Action will not be deterred. The desperate actions of this vocal minority only fuels our determination to fight for gun reform in Texas and across the country. Change will come.”
The tense situation (tense, at least, for those on the inside of the eatery) did not conclude until four rather brave members of MDA came out of the restaurant and faced the army of 40 armed men, women and…yes…children.
For those of you who would suggest that the members of Open Carry Texas were simply engaging in their Constitutional right to gather and protest what was occurring inside the restaurant, you would be wrong.
While the group is certainly entitled to protest (although there are questions raised about them doing so on private property without invitation as was the case here), they are not, according to Texas law, entitled to do so by openly showing their weapons.
While Texas permits licensed gun owners to carry concealed weapons, Texas does not permit the open carry of guns, except for long guns that are not being used in a menacing way (added). Indeed, it is the desire to change this law that the Open Carry Texas group is all about.
Accordingly, Open Carry’s chosen method to make its point and preferences known is not only to break the law but to severely frighten unarmed people in the process.
The owner of the Blue Mesa made the decision not to call the police when the armed protestors showed up in his parking lot, fearing that the situation might devolve into a dangerous riot—although there is reason to believe it might not have mattered if he had called the cops.
In an email received by MDA a few hours after the scare took place, Open Carry bragged—
“We had a great time today walking through San Antonio with our semi-automatic rifles and shotguns. The best part was that the reaction was very positive and supportive. People are “getting used” to seeing and being around guns and police have come to accept it and don’t even question us anymore. What we are doing is working and society is coming to view the sight of “military style rifles” in public as just another normal thing. Isn’t that a good thing?”
Does anyone really think that this is what the 2nd Amendment was designed to accomplish?
Does anyone think the Founders would approve of a group of 40 armed citizens making their point by terrifying their unarmed neighbors practicing their own right to pursue their point of view?
While I understand that people are passionate about their 2nd Amendment rights—and I certainly acknowledge and respect their right be so—how can any 2nd Amendment advocate stand by quietly and not protest the actions of a bunch of bullies with semi-automatic weapons who would intimidate their own unarmed neighbors?
To defend such an action in unworthy of any true defender of the 2nd Amendment.
But defend it many will. Indeed, one commenter to this article wrote, “They deserve to be terrified. Thats what happens when you form a group to take away the freedoms of another group of people.” Doesn’t that just speak volumes?
Indeed, any gun rights advocate unwilling to call out this behavior can no longer legitimately suggest that their primary interest is the defense of the Constitution as the Constitution does not create a right to threaten and terrify fellow citizens who pose no immediate threat to one’s safety or the safety of one’s family. Rather, our Constitution creates the right to defend one’s self and one’s family from attacks.
Unless you are prepared to argue that a member of Moms Demand Action was preparing to take out one of the Open Carry protestors by hurling a ham sandwich at his head, any support for these tactics is a direct repudiation of 2nd Amendment rights and nothing more than support for a bully with a gun.
It also seems appropriate to point out Webster’s definition of terrorism— ”the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal.” While I suppose some would argue that placing one in fear of being on the wrong end of a violent act is not violence until the act takes place, I wonder if anyone who has ever found themselves on the business end of a weapon would agree?
This leads to the question all gun rights advocates should now be asking—why am I writing this article when it should be the National Rifle Association speaking out loudly against Open Carry Texas?
While I understand that the NRA would support the political objectives of Open Carry, I don’t know how they can continue to claim that they are all about 2nd Amendment rights if they remain quiet in the face of those who would use the 2nd Amendment to support gun bullying.
So, your move NRA. Let’s hope you do the right thing.