Open carry: Would-be Yosemite Sams are shot down
The slogan can be found under a banner headline on the opencarry.org website: "A Right Unexercised is a Right Lost." Except that if the right is one that never should have existed to begin with, the opposite can and will prove true, as it just did in California.
Last year, packs of armed yahoos who believe society would be safer if everybody were packing heat started showing up in groups at Starbucks coffee shops and California beaches. At that time, it was legal under state law (though not under some city and county laws) to openly carry an unloaded firearm. But the exercise of this misguided right to terrorize the public had a predictable result: Angry parents and others complained to lawmakers, who passed a bill outlawing open carry that was signed Monday morning by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Proponents of open carry now have to face the fact that, if they had left well enough alone and kept their guns at home, open carry would still be legal in California and few people would have noticed. Seldom has a protest movement (or was it a solidarity movement?) backfired so spectacularly.
For the record, it's currently legal to flip off a cop. But an organized campaign to do so couldn't possibly end well.
-- Dan Turner
Photo: Tammy Cude of San Pedro wears a banana in her holster at an open carry event last year on the Redondo Beach Pier, where openly carrying even unloaded guns was forbidden. Credit: Christina House / For The Times