By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters
If there are but a few themes that this humble column has stuck with over time, one is surely “use good judgement.”
Don’t be an idiot.
Also, don’t be a jerk.
If you do your level best to not be those things, you can go far. You will live in happiness too, like the Oom, never mind.
In today’s climate, it is incumbent upon us in the concealed carry and gun-owning communities to be better. Our rights are under increasing scrutiny, and every time that somebody does something stupid with a gun, it reflects poorly on the rest of us because we have them too. Sad, frustrating, sometimes even enraging, but true.
So if we’re going to try and convince non-gun owners that yes, most of us are responsible and law-abiding folks, then we need to make sure that we don’t do anything irresponsible or otherwise bad when we can help it.
For instance, most of us likely saw the recent incident that happened in Springfield, MO. In case you missed it, a young man was spotted in a Walmart there, open carrying an AR-15, wearing a tactical vest with multiple loaded magazines, and openly carrying a pistol. Someone suspected something was up, pulled the fire alarm, and the young man was detained by an off-duty fireman who had his concealed carry license until police arrived.
This occurred only a few days after the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, which occurred at a Walmart.
The young man in question, Dmitriy Andreychenko, asserts that he wanted to see if Walmart honored the Second Amendment, according to NPR. He was arrested, and is now facing charges of making terrorist threats, a felony that could net him four years in prison.
The bar for terrorist threats is more or less doing things to cause panic and cause people to feel fear. Please be aware that I am not a lawyer in any state, let alone Missouri, so trying to argue with me about what “terrorist threats” means in the comments is a fool’s errand, but damned if that’s probably not going to stop someone from trying anyhow.
In the days that followed, a number of people have jumped to Andreychenko’s side as he didn’t do anything to cause real injury; he was engaging in an act of activism. Others have sided with the off-duty fireman, who assumed someone with a tactical vest, a rifle and a pistol and carrying a lot of ammunition to boot was up to no good.
You can argue that Andreychenko wasn’t hurting anyone. You could also argue that he was carrying firearms in a legal fashion and thus didn’t do anything wrong, legally; it was other people that overreacted.
None of this is to say, of course, that open carry of pistols, shotguns or rifles is bad and you should stop doing it. It’s a mostly free country; do what you think is right so long as it’s within the bounds of the law. In fact, it is perfectly legal to open carry in Walmart in a number of states.
This is, however, to say that he showed astoundingly bad judgement in his little stunt, no matter how well-intentioned. Not only that, it makes the rest of us look bad when we protest further curbing or restriction of our Second Amendment rights.
So the point here is that we need to start encouraging other people in the gun community to use good judgement.
Not walking around with an AR-15 after a mass shooting is a pretty good idea for the most part. Remember, not everyone thinks the same things you do and – if you make them nervous because you’re open carrying an AR-15 after a mass shooting – chances are pretty good they aren’t going to be interested in a rational discussion about the matter.
Yes, again it’s perfectly legal and there’s nothing inherently wrong with it, but when done in the right context you can wind up causing a panic, which is the last thing you want to do and will not be doing the rest of us any favors.
Avoiding certain other clichés are also a good idea. Don’t pocket carry without a pocket holster.
Don’t escalate or otherwise get into stupid arguments.
Look, it’s easier to sympathize with someone whom you don’t find repulsive. While there’s no way to get all rotten apples out of the bunch, if more of us start encouraging each other to not be That Guy. We’ll all be better off.
So don’t be That Guy.
Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.