Open carry is an embarrassment

Robin Meyers

In almost every column I wrote, there was a singular refrain: Beware the triumph of the Christian right in the halls of power. Beware the lawmaker whose intolerance masquerades as faith, and whose fundamental distrust of women creates laws designed to shame them rather than to protect them. Don’t say that you weren’t warned.

In the state legislative session that just ended, Oklahoma did more to embarrass itself than to move our state forward. Lawmakers made headlines by protecting us from multiple nonexistent threats: all government programs that don’t help you, Shariah, the assault on marriage by gay people, not enough armed students on campus, Marxist professors, lovers of science, powerful unions, overpaid teachers, communists disguised as community organizers — the list is too long for this space.

Now we have the right to carry firearms openly in public. Thank you, Jesus! How is it, in a state where it is easier to get your hands on a gun than on a bottle of wine on Sunday — and where we’ve become numbed to shootings like the one that closed Thunder Alley — that the irrefutable logic of those like leading gun-control advocate Sarah Brady has been lost: If more guns would make us safer, wouldn’t we already be the safest nation on earth?

Consider the psychological profile of someone who needs to openly display a firearm. There was a time when even most Oklahomans would have thought this was a stupid idea, a ridiculous regression to the days of the Wild West, and a recipe for disaster.

Combined with “Make My Day” laws, an openly armed citizenry can finally realize the dream of retributive justice that dominates the born-again crowd. Shoot first, claim you were threatened later.

If you have had enough, and you would like to join a new movement to protest the law, here is a modest proposal: When you see someone carrying a firearm in a public place, just leave. Leave the park, leave the restaurant, leave whatever establishment allows it. Just get up and leave. But first tell the proprietor that you will not do business in a place that allows the open display of firearms. Take your business away, and explain why you will not be back.

Just imagine if everyone did this, leaving some poor soul to sit in silence, his gun on his hip, in a place where no one else will congregate. Just imagine the people of Oklahoma taking back their own state by the use of direct, nonviolent, “commercial” disobedience. Just imagine every business being forced to post their prohibition of armed customers until there is no place for Rambo to go. Call it JGUL (Just Get Up and Leave), or CUIN (Citizens United in Noncompliance).

After all, no guns are allowed at the state Capitol. Does this mean their lives are more important than ours?

Haven’t you had enough of this nonsense?

Meyers is senior minister of Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ and professor of rhetoric at Oklahoma City University.

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