Open Letter to Open Carriers

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Open Letter to Open Carriers by “mike_schwartz [at]”

I was extremely happy that AB1934 failed. After hearing Assembly Member Lori Saldana talk about the twisted, ridiculous “reasoning” she used to come up with this bill and hearing her anti-gun, anti-liberty attorney tell everyone to “go learn karate” rather than carry a gun, it was all I could do to contain myself when I read that their efforts failed.  I can list a number of people here in San Diego who can confirm that I have been supportive of open-carry folks and I have open-carried while hiking in the mountains of East County San Diego.  My support was really more about not discouraging, but stopped at encouraging.

However, I have some concerns…

There are groups and individuals who are pro-gun who are fighting as if we are in the majority and have the power. We do have the benefit of being “right”. Of that fact, I have no doubt. And as much as I like to believe that right will always win the fight, the reality is it is not enough. In California the voters consist of pro-guns, anti-gunners, and then the other 90%.

The tactics the open-carry folks used and are using to get the word out have proven to be counterproductive. AB1934 missed by the skin of our teeth and could have easily gone the other way. No amount of phone calls, e-mails, or letters can sway some of the zealots elected into office who hate the right to keep and bear arms. Every dollar and man-hour spent stopping AB1934 was less resources available for fighting the AWB and restrictive CCW policies. I am all for making a scene, but there is a way to behave effectively when you are in the majority and a way to behave effectively when you are drastically outnumbered like we are.

I am annoyed over and over again at the old grumpy men at gun ranges with their arms crossed yelling about how “we should sue” and/or “a law should be passed!” Both are easier said than done. Most Californians would vote for a new onerous gun law rather than against it if given the opportunity. Until we all fully understand that reality and learn to work within it, things will only get worse. The “in your face” tactics and rhetoric by a small minority of the pro-gun crowd turns away the fence-sitters we need on our side and reconfirms to the antis that we are all just a bunch of nuts. It doesn’t change minds or win battles.

I know I am not alone in asking the open-carry folks to tone down the rhetoric and stop the organized outings. Turn your efforts towards educating the public by hosting clinics and getting active in mainstream political campaigns. Become active in your local NRA Members’ Council. In short, stop sticking your fingers in the eyes of anti-gunners.

I am not telling you to stop open-carrying. If it is appropriate, do it. It is your right. Next time I go hiking I plan on doing it with a loaded Glock on my side and in plain view. I am suggesting that the demonstrations, organized open-carry lunches, and beach outings should stop.

My purpose is not to criticize or scold; rather to evaluate and redirect efforts. You guys are all assets to the cause and have the ability to do great things. The point is to be effective and not just right.

I write this because I am afraid that the wrong message will be taken from the failure of AB1934. It is not time to step-up efforts to expand the movement; it is time to learn from mistakes. If you think AB1934 was bad, wait until the next open-carry ban is proposed.

Things that work:
– Hosting a clinic or class for first time shooters
– Getting active with NRA, CRPA, or any local shooting range
– Walk precincts for, host fund raisers for, or donate to a pro-gun candidate

Things that don’t work:
– Hosting an open carry event at a beach with a well-meaning, but motley crew of people with kilts, pony tails, and shirts that say “come and take it”
– Trusting the media
– Taunting anti-gun politicians
– Bashing the NRA
– Sitting there in your apartment posting your daily opinions on calguns

Not criticizing, just pointing out fact. What works and what does not work. I dream of a day when California isn’t a joke when it comes to gun rights and open carry is as acceptable as it is in other states. And there is a way to get there.


“You can’t teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and pisses off the pig.” – My Uncle Bob

Tags: , , ,

Categories: Firearms, Guns


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