“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember it or overthrow it.”
by Abraham Lincoln




"walls of the city" logo conceptualized by Oleg Volk and executed by Linoge. Logo is © "walls of the city".

seriously, get off my side

I think, by now, I have established that I am a firm, if not ardent, supporter of open carry.  I absolutely believe that it should be legal everywhere, regardless of its “acceptability” to the the general public, and that not even a permit should be necessary to do it. 

All that said, get the hell off my side, Open Carry Texas

Seriously.  If your half-baked tactics have functionally failed three times in a row, it is well past time to rethink those tactics, not double-down on stupid.  And, yes, Open Carry Texas, you have failed, and it is specifically your fault. 

This is not to say that the useful idiots at Moms Demand Action and the rest of the “gun sense” crowd have won – they decidedly have not, despite their vociferous claims to the contrary – but OCT has unquestionably lost, and along with them, the pro-rights movement as a whole is losing ground thanks to their actions. 

No, Chipotle has not actually banned firearms on their premises, just like Starbucks and Jack in the Box have not actually banned firearms on their premises, and that is why Shannon Watts’ claims of “victory” ring hollow; until those companies legitimately post their premises, nothing has changed.  However, all three companies have come out with varying versions of, “Leave us the hell alone, and leave your firearms at home,” all thanks to OCT actively making this an issue and forcing the companies to respond. 

The simple truth is that these fast-food joints, like all companies, just want to make money.  Introducing a contentious and strife-ridden concept into their business plan – which Open Carry Texas has enthusiastically and clumsily done – is bound to annoy them, and when someone offers them an easy solution to the situation, they will jump on it.  Obviously they are not going to actually post their premises, because they know that will cut into their revenue stream, but they are going to do exactly what they have done – take a stand against being used as a soap box for someone else’s political hobbyhorse. 

So how about we stop doing that, huh? 

If you actually want to normalize open carry, you do that by acting normal while openly carrying.  This is not rocket science folks.  And, no, making a spectacle out of yourself, and posing for pictures, and all the rest of that nonsense is not “acting normal”.  Nobody likes the in-your-face evangelical who runs around restaurants shoving those freaky little mini-Bible-books into people’s hands, but no one bats an eye at someone wearing a religious-themed shirt (unless, of course, you try to wear it into a public school, but that is another topic for another time). 

Open Carry Texas, your tactics are not working, they have not worked, and there are absolutely no indications they are going to work.  How about you take the time to reconsider your tactics and perhaps figure out something that, I dunno, somehow manages to not alienate every restaurant and commercial establishment out there? 

Or you can keep doing the same stupid thing over and over again and expect different results; you know, the very definition of insanity

In related news, did you hear about the restaurant in Durham that posted their premises as “gun-free” and, wait for it, was recently robbed by armed gun men?  One hopes the “gun sense” movement takes note of this, but something tells me they are incapable of such introspection. 

30 comments to seriously, get off my side

  • Okay…what do you suggest instead?

    Texas prohibits Open Carry of handguns. How does an organization work to normalize the Open Carry of firearms given the state laws?

    And, no, making a spectacle out of yourself, and posing for pictures, and all the rest of that nonsense is not “acting normal”.

    This I will agree with; it seems most of the pictures Moms Demanding Attention have used are ones the group took itself.

    But that is a minor point….what would you do instead?

  • Archer

    @Bob S.

    For starters, leave the restaurants out of it. You want to carry inside, fine. You want to post about your OC event, OK. But leave the restaurant’s name(s) out. None of this, “Thank you, Chipotle, for supporting our gun rights,” when Chipotle has done no such thing. It’s exactly how we lost Starbucks; our side said that they were “pro-gun”, when Starbucks, as a business, had not taken a side. They were neither for us nor against us. They just want to sell coffee to whoever comes in the door.

    Likewise, Chipotle just wants to sell burritos. They are (were) neither pro- nor anti-gun, but Open Carry Texas advertised them as a pro-gun business.

    If I were planning an OC event, I’d plan to meet outside. Not at any business unless the business specifically invited us. I’d make it absolutely clear that if we’re getting food, that we’re getting food and getting out – not taking pictures, not making a spectacle, and definitely not going into any place posted against firearms. Afterward, I’d put up a sincere “thank you” to all the businesses (again, not naming names) who put up with us – and I would word it like that: “put up with us” – on whatever social media we’re using.

    In short, if we want to normalize OC, that means we need to start by being extra gracious to the people and businesses around us. We can’t just be polite; we must be exceedingly so. We can’t just be “nice”; we have to be nice to a fault.

  • @ Bob S.: I dare say you hit on exactly what the next step is – change the laws. At this point, somewhere around 40 states in the union allow open carry of some type or form, and there are no shortage of examples of nothing bad happening because of it. TN is a perfect example, on account of restaurant carry being legalized just recently and no blood running in the streets.

    On the other hand, situations like this one provide no shortage of ammunition to the other side, a helps them frame the debate as, “ZOMG, do you want these scary men to carry their scary guns around your KIDS?!1/!11??”

    Sure, it is wrong of them to exploit the situation like that, but they are going to do it, and we know they are going to do it. Playing into their strategy is not exactly a good idea.

    Hell, OC while you mow your lawn – unless TX law is particularly interesting, you can probably do so with a handgun. OC while you go on family walks. Etc. But basically throwing down the gauntlet to private corporations? We are going to lose that battle, as history already shows us.

    And just because I have to, I would note that one does not have to provide alternative courses of actions in order to note, accurately, I might add, that one’s current course of action Is Not Working ;).

    @ Archer: What he said.

  • Geodkyt

    The people who always loudly proclaim that one must have a viable alternate course of action before being entitled to point out a flaw are unserious asshats.

    Hell, in my line of work, we have engineers who are paid solely to identify problems – while it’s nice if they can immediately propose a solution, it isn’t their job. Right now, I’m waiting on analysis reports from an entire group of Navy engineers to answer one frigging question – “If I put X here, will it work?”

    If their answer is, “Nope — bad location; systems Y and Z will screw things up for you,”, that’s the end of their job — it’s my job to determine an alternate and send it back for re-analysis.@ Linoge:

  • Archer,

    I’ve observed some of the Open Carry Texas events and walks in person. I’ve read the news accounts closely. I live in Tarrant County Texas — home of many of them, next to to Dallas where the Chipotle happened.

    I tell you that because I find it interesting that so much of the “don’t be a jerk” reaction isn’t coming from the actual event but the people who are criticizing it. Jack in the Box confirmed that no employees hid in the freezer. The 911 call came from a patron at the near by Home depot. Chipotle didn’t complain until MDA got involved.

    Your points about the pictures is spot on– O.C.T. is providing the photographic evidence for MDA. Other than that, they are doing what you said.

    Part of what gets lost is the Open Carry of Long guns is the only visible method of normalizing it in public places (addressing Linoge’s comment below).


    Trust me, we’ve been trying to change the law for at least 4 legislative sessions; which in Texas means 8 years. Part of the efforts O.C.T. is doing trying to raise awareness of the situation and get people to pressure their representatives.

    Our legislative body is a little different from many states; they only meet every other year and for a very short time frame. Lots of bills crowding in for attention. And with Reps and Senators able to spend so much time back home away from organized lobbying efforts, it is harder to convince them to support the legislation.

    I understand you don’t have to point out a game plan in order to criticize the current one but I’m trying to get people to think of the barriers faced here and how to overcome them. It may seem like the tide is against Open Carry but that is the media perception. The reality is far less negative; most people are neutral or suppportive. Heck even Jack in the Box came out with a neutral statement.

    The negatives are to be expected — heck Heller lost how many times in court before the final victory?

  • I have written about OCT’s idiotic, Barney Fife tactics several times since moving to Texas. If you want to support a business for their gun-neutral stance, go for it. But don’t proclaim that they are “pro-gun” and then pose for pics with AR-15s while standing in line in their stores. You just make the rest of us look nuts and provide fuel for anti-gun propaganda. Not doing us any favors.

  • @ Geodkyt: I think I am quite comfortable in saying that Bob was not being, nor trying to be, an unserious asshat. As you said, I just wanted to clarify that particular topic, simply because it does get overlooked far too often.

    @ Bob S.: So, personally, I see the core problem as this: people do not like taking a stand, on average. After all, taking a stand tends to alienate someone, and no one likes doing that (again, on average).

    Corporations like it even less – they are in business to make money, and alienating people cuts into their profit stream. But when someone – in this case, OCT – forces them to take a stand, well, the odds are companies are going to take a stand against the people forcing them to do so. After all, people like being forced to do something even less than taking a stand itself, and one might as well kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.

    Moving on from there, unfortunately, this is all not taking place in an actual court of law. This is taking place in a court of public opinion, and, frankly, we are losing. Yes, Jack in the Box made a neutral statement – for that matter, so did Starbucks and Chipotle – but the truth of the matter is that they told people to leave their guns at home when coming to their establishments for us. This is an unquestionable loss for us, and can be framed as a win for the anti-rights useful idiots, though I maintain that until premises are posted, there is no actual win for them.

    As for what to do instead, I maintain my ‘think small’ plan – my open carrying around my neighborhood, while doing simple, every-day things, and not making an issue of it converted at least one person, and made a city councilman actually reconsider the city’s ban on firearms in parks. These “grand gestures” and forcing companies to correct OCT claiming they are “pro-gun” are obviously not working; how about we try baby steps instead?

    And, trust me, I wish more states had TX’s legislative structure ;).

    @ The Armed Lutheran: This. For the love of God, this.

    And at least Barney Fife only had the one bullet (or am I mixing my metaphors?)…

  • There’s also ways to do OC activism without being counterproductive.

    Florida Carry has done well.


  • Beaumont

    I endorse Bob’s & Linoge’s thoughts on the matter. It’s pretty obvious that the two guys in the Chipotle photo thrive on making other people feel uncomfortable, & that is not the face of open carry we want the non-gun public to see.

    If anyone out there is considering OC for the first time, here are some suggestions:
    1) Don’t dress like a slob. At the very least, tuck in the damn shirt.
    2) Bathe, and shave the parts of your face — or legs — that you normally do.
    3) Behave yourself.

    Really, it’s amazing how much image matters when you’re trying to change people’s minds.

  • I offered OCT some *ahem* helpful constructive criticism if they wanted functional examples of what works, as many others in the gunblogosphere have alluded to since this went viral starting 2-3 days ago (photo taken on the 17th). Where I live, Michigan, we’ve got two major gun rights groups, MRCGO and MOC. Both have an excellent working relation, and we’re making winning moves for the gun rights community. There are area OC dinners(at businesses willing to host them etc)… outreach events such as picnics, little pick ups, and the occassional rally at the statehouse. The only thing I’ve seen out of OCT is… Hey, lets show up and march and, shit ya’ll theres an applebees, lets tote our shit into there and pose for photos. I hate MDA with a passion but they are smart and as Linoge alludes to in his post hits the nail on the head. If you have tried the same shit, three times and it don’t work… Don’t do it again. Never once have OC’ers in michigan gotten in anyones case.. They really didn’t want to hear it, I was told, since I wasn’t from there I had no right to comment and was called a ‘butter’.. *smirk* If you can’t handle constructive criticism, you sure as hell don’t belong out in public and certainly not with a “Heeeeeeey lookit me, I’m excercising my rights, you can’t tell me how to dress or excercise them”… *mutters*

  • @ The Jack: Florida at least has the advantage of allow open pistol carry in certain circumstances; my understanding of TX’s law is that you cannot open carry a pistol anywhere off your property, under any circumstances. So, in that regard, the folks in Texas are already having to work with something of a public appearance problem on account of slinging rifles over their shoulders.

    But, hell, half the problem is that the rifles are not slung over their shoulders…

    @ Beaumont: So I will confess that I generally sported the sideburns when I was openly carrying – at varying degrees of “epicness” – but, in general, when OCing I would be in clean clothing, generally some sort of polo shirt, and perhaps not ironed, but at least neat pants. IOW, I did not look like a slob who decided to sling up on his daily migration to a fast food joint.

    Perception is reality in the realm of public opinion, and demonstrations like the ones that have been forced on Chipotle, Jack in the Box, Starbucks, and others are not helping the perception of open carry. At all.

    @ Singing Detective: Ooh, litter pick-ups while OCing… See, that is the kind of thing that basically no one can rationally complain about. Oh, sure, someone will invariably complain, but the OCers are not forcing anyone to make a decision, nor are they imposing on anyone’s bottom line. In fact, they are beautifying the surrounding community and providing a public service.

    If you are looking for ideas of what to do instead of crashing restaurants, that is a damned good place to start.

  • The_Jack

    Indeed. FL has more options. But Florida carry has also avoided burning any bridges and causing overt problems.

    Attitude really counts for a lot. And if one is doing something that “at best” can be seen as a boorish imposition on someone else’s property… then you’re doing it wrong.

    I’ve written a polite letter to OCT, with some suggestions, not the litter pickup one, that’s a good one. We’ll see how insular they are.

  • Bubblehead Les

    I find it interesting that the Texas OC crowd always says “But we can’t Open Carry a Pistol! It HAS to be Concealed!” So, if you’re 21 and over, get the Damn Permit! For Crom’s Sake, Texas was one of the first “Shall Issue” States! Geez Louise, don’t those Fools realize that there are tens of thousands of Law-Abiding Citizens stuck in VolksRepubliks in the U.S. who would love to have “Shall Issue” in their States? And if you’re 18-21, then wait until you’re Legal, then give yourself a Birthday Present. Lord knows, I’m old enough to remember when a CHP was a thing rarer than Hen’s Teeth, usually given to one of some Political Hack’s Cronies. I will say this. In some States with “Shall Issue,” if they tried these stunts, they’d be facing an Armed Citizen pointing their Glock in their Face while calling 911. Idiots!

  • Archer

    As an addendum/suggestion for O.C.T.:

    Did anyone consider an “empty holster” protest/demonstration, as Chris from AK commented over at Sebastian’s? Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC) has made some impressive gains using that tactic on university campuses (campii? 😉 ).

  • If every attention whore with an AR in Texas would take the money they were going to spend on fuel to get to their “OC Events”, buy one less magazine for their rifle, and put it behind electoral candidates that supported open carry, Texas would have an open carry law.

    Instead the rest of us are just destined to cringe from a couple of virgins walking into an eatery and finger fucking the trigger. Because much like open carry, masturbating in public is against the law and that is all they are really doing. Exposing themselves.

    For the record. I support open carry and think that a rifle is a handy thing to have in a bad situation. But leave the fucking rifle in the fucking truck.

  • @ The_Jack: Based on OCT’s reactions to constructive criticisms in the past, I would not hold my breath, but maybe you will be lucky.

    And I completely agree – the goal is to not burn bridges, at least if you want to make any kind of political headway. If your goal is to make as big a splash as possible, regardless of the fallout… well, you do what OCT is doing.

    @ Bubblehead Les: And that is another perfectly reasonable tactic to take – Texas has X concealed carry permit holders out of a population of Y. How many problems has the first population had, compared to the second population? If TX carriers are as law-abiding as TN carriers, there should be an astonishing difference.

    So, what, exactly, will change when those pistols get exposed rather than hidden? Not a blessed thing. Law-abiders generally stay law-abiding, and how you dress certainly does not determine how law-abiding you are. They need only look at other states where OC is legal to see this is the case.

    @ Archer: Hmm, good call. Again, I am not familiar with TX laws, so I am not sure if carrying an empty holster is strictly verboten, but, as you say, it has worked in the past.

    Which is a damned sight more than can be said for OCT’s current tactics.

    @ Matthew: So, for the sake of consistency and intellectual honesty, I have to note that you are remarkably close to Markley’s Law-ing yourself, and that does no one any good.

    That said, I completely concur – if these folks would invest more time in legitimate lobbying and petitioning of their respective representatives, this would probably be pretty much a done deal at this point.

  • Joethefatman™ (@joethefatman1)

    There are several ways to open carry a handgun in Texas. Please forgive the copy-n-paste.

    The General Firearms Laws of The State of Texas:

    In Texas, it is generally illegal to carry a handgun outside of a person’s own premises. However, a person may carry, either open or concealed, in a non-threatening or alarming manner, a shotgun or rifle.

    However even with a handgun, in Texas, there are several places where a person may possess a handgun legally without the benefit of a Texas Concealed Handgun License (CHL). These places include:

    A person’s residence or other real property under their control.
    A person’s private motor vehicle or watercraft if the handgun is concealed, and the person is legal to possess a firearm, is not a member of a street gang, and is not engaged in the commission of a crime greater than a Class C misdemeanor traffic or boating violation.
    A person engaged in lawful fishing, hunting, or other sporting activity on the immediate premises where the activity is conducted, or is en route between the premises and the persons’ residence or motor vehicle, if the firearm is a type commonly used in the activity.
    While storing a loaded firearm, it must be in a place which cannot be accessed by a child under the age of 17, or secured with a trigger lock if there is reason to know that a child under 17 may gain access to the firearm.

  • Joethefatman™ (@joethefatman1)

    Forgot to leave the website address. https://www.texaslawshield.com/portal/texas-gun-law/ And there is a provision not mentioned about handgun open carry, that is that antiques can be carried. Antiques of pre 1899. Kind of limited I know, but it can be done. Just remember that however you do it you’re subject to the law in regards to not acting in a manner that causes alarm.

  • […] Updated: Even Linoge, one of the biggest open carry supporters I know, agrees. You’re not helping. […]

  • Damnit! I did didn’t I.

  • @ Joethefatman™ (@joethefatman1): Wait wait… you mean to tell me that these OCT morons have the exact same avenues available to them that Florida’s open carry movement has been exploiting to good purpose for years now – to whit, open carrying while “fishing” or “hunting” – and instead of using prove successful tactics, they instead resort to the idiocy of crashing at fast food joints?

    Well. My days of not having any respect for OCT are certainly coming to a middle.

    @ Matthew: It happens to the best of us on account of us being subjected to the argument on an almost daily basis. We just have to be mindful of it ourselves :).

  • Although I rarely open carry, sometimes it’s just more convenient. No one bats an eyelid—even in Seattle. I suspect I’d get a different reaction if I waltzed into Starbucks with a rifle strapped to my chest in a combat sling. Hell, even I’d raise an eyebrow if a bunch of mall ninjas walked into a restaurant like they just got done with a Blackwater/Academi/whatever operation. Shock tactics and in-your-face activism never works, alienates potential supporters, and galvanizes the opposition. Always.

    Extremist doucherockets are why we can’t have nice things.

  • In fairness, some shock tactics work – like buck-assed naked men prancing about during gay pride parades. But it is important to note that those buck-ass naked men are only prancing about during the actual, designated gay pride parade – they are not prancing into Starbucks asking for a latte to go with their … yeah.

    Normalization is a gradual process, and waltzing into a restaurant with rifles strapped on your back is not a “gradual” step.

  • […] Edit: In case you think I am alone in this, think again. […]

  • I should read this thing more often. Just posted my thoughts, then read yours. So I edited mine with a link to yours.

    For the love of God, THIS.

  • Hell, I even make it easy to keep up with me by not posting all that much… 😉

    Thanks for the linkage, though.

  • dave w

    I will preface this with a ‘i dont care as i live neither in texas or the us’ disclaimer.
    I rofl’d during the california open carry crap on the youtubes, it was so obvious it wasn’t going to go well. This is the same, almost exactly the same.
    With regards to this incident and the two fellas involved in the photo.
    Jabba the Putz, other than suspecting he should move out of his moms basement, not much to say. I don’t think dragging long guns around is the way to do things and if i did i would certainly not have a magazine attached for a pleasant stroll to luncheon with a pal.
    The Tapco Turd, seriously, that better have just been a chi com sks or i will cut your balls off for doing that.
    There’s no reason to be holding your gun like a doofus, even Jabba knows that. There certainly is no reason to be all index finger out like Yeager in a ditch, wtf are you ready to shoot? Is someone lining up the napkin dispensers at the other end of the counter?
    Although some redemption for at least having the bolt open if i see correctly.
    Long gun open carry is weird, even the NRA says so. It makes me feel weird, and i love my long gun collection.
    And if one more moron says a right not exercised is a right lost!!!! Let just say this, California entered the union in 1850. People probably open carried long guns when they needed to with minimal problems right up till people decided to exercise those rights just because.
    160+ years of no problems + jackasses = no more open carry.

    To use Linoges analogy, gay rights didnt get furthered by two dudes going into starbucks and pounding each other in the butt on the counter while you sat there sipping your overpriced coffee. They were probably smart enough to realize that would only hinder their cause.

  • Well, the good news with the CA open carry demonstrations is that they had an end-game in mind, and they successfully got there.

    OCT does not appear to have any end-game, aside from, “Look at us!”

    But, yeah, long-gun carry is pretty much a straight-up losing proposition at this point, unless you know how people are going to react and are ready to game them and the laws, as transpired in CA. For now, TX would be far better served with empty-holster protests or other means.

  • Ted N

    @ Geodkyt:

    “The people who always loudly proclaim that one must have a viable alternate course of action before being entitled to point out a flaw are unserious asshats.”

    Oh my yes this. I hate every AAR that I’ve ever done and that is in the, “if you can’t think of a way to fix it, don’t bring up the problem” format.

    Pvt Snuffy can tell when something is retarded, I’m sorry his year and a half in the army hasn’t shown him a solution to your dumb plan, sir. We’ll sweep that under the rug so we don’t hurt your feelings.

    Sigh. 150 days or so left. .

  • That mentality, plus the whole “zero tolerance for mistakes/discrepancies/errors/etc.” is just one of the many reasons I bailed when I did…