What do you all think about the recent spate of folks openly carrying guns outside the Town Hall meetings?
I'm of two minds on it. First of all, disregard this man:
He is obviously well beyond the bounds of charity or good taste, and is advocating the shedding of blood. He is not the kind of person I mean. I am talking about the man in Arizona carrying a rifle (which, when there was a federal definition of "assault rifle," would not have fit that term--that's just scare-mongering on the part of the media), and the others like him. They are well within their rights to open-carry, and carrying a weapon with you doesn't mean that you intend to fire it or that you're trying to scare people.
However, most of us are not accustomed to seeing people openly carrying guns, and whether or not the gun-owner intends to look intimidating, some people will be intimidated by the sight of a gun. The gun-carrier needs to be aware of this, and to be aware that he or she will likely cause a stir (except, perhaps, a very few places). The gun-carrier ought to evaluate whether openly carrying his weapon in any individual circumstance is likely aid or harm his cause. Personally, I think that if the cause, as stated by the gentleman with the AR-15, is to accustom people to seeing guns openly carried and to encourage others to exercise their constitutional right, perhaps he ought to have considered that some guns look scarier than others, and it might be better to start small. Perhaps leave the AR at home, and bring, for example, a Marlin lever-action (totally classic Americana)?
That's Annie Oakley with her Marlin, by the way. See? Just as good for self-defense in the right hands, but not so scary-looking to us 21st-century types.