The Dallas Mayor addressed the people of Texas today and gave them all an important reality check that should be quite obvious to anyone who isn’t a firearm fetishist: legal open carry makes police work much harder. Texas firearm owners are obnoxiously proud of their open carry laws, which allow them to make everyone around them extremely uncomfortable when they decide to take their AR-15 to Starbucks to buy a coffee, because apparently that is what a well-regulated militia does.
In a nation with near-weekly mass shootings, open carry also makes it extremely difficult to determine who in fact is using their weapons to murder their fellow citizens and who is simply exercising their apparent right to carry weapons of mass murder in public. As Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said, no doubt with suppressed frustration: “It’s logical to say that in a shooting situation, open carry can be detrimental to the safety of individuals.”
Rawlings went on to say that the police chief had “told him that people running through the shooting scene with rifles and body armor required officers to track them down and bring them to the police department. Whether that was time that could have been spent trying to find and stop the shooter is something police will have to comment on.”
Maj. Max Geron of the Dallas Police was infuriated with the open carry crowd, complaining that “there was also the challenge of sorting out witnesses from potential suspects. Texas is an open carry state, and there were a number of armed demonstrators taking part. There was confusion on the radio about the description of the suspects and whether or not one or more was in custody.”
During the shootings of police officers at a protest last week, Dallas police wasted a great deal of time arresting a black man who was openly carrying, prompting his picture to be widely circulated on social media before it was found that he was simply exercising his “right”.
The president of the Texas Open Carry foundation, C.J. Grisham, responded with “if you can’t identify a threat, you shouldn’t be wearing a uniform,” which is such a preposterous thing to say that it does not merit any response.
All of this should be painfully obvious to anyone. The Second Amendment fanatics are making the job of police officers more difficult and putting the rest of us at risk. No matter how lurid the hypermasculine fantasies of open carry advocates might be, they will not be saving the day with their
metaphorical metal penis extension semiautomatic rifle. Civilian use of firearms in a shooting situation is extremely dangerous and has been proven to be much more likely to injure themselves or others, as our combat veterans have asserted countless times. Anyone with some sense should be able to understand this.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.