Seriously, letting people openly carry long-guns in urban areas is crazy. There is no self-defense scenario in which they would be useful. And if a terrorist starts shooting, having civilians carrying rifles will only put those civilians at risk.
Here in D.C., I am very glad that this fellow, who was just wandering around outside my office this evening, could be picked up by police.
I will be curious to find out just what he thought he was doing. But more broadly, why have people now seized upon their right to sling rifles over their shoulders as a symbol of freedom? A long gun slung that way won’t even protect you from a mugger with a knife. It certainly won’t protect you from a police officer. Consider this enlightening video about what happens when a black man decides to exercise his open carry rights in a state (unlike D.C.) where open carry is legal. It did not seem to help the gentlemen in the video; nor did it help this man in Dallas.
Would it be helpful to have more Turkish civilians firing AR-15s right now? Somehow, I do not think so. I would like to think that my skepticism comes directly from having carried a loaded M-16A2, but sadly having served in the U.S. military does not seem to innoculate people from this strange belief about the magic of long guns.
My experience leads me to extreme skepticism about their use in anything other than open infantry battles, organized patrols facing armed insurgents, or in equally-organized insurgent bands aimed against such patrols. But way many Americans with similar experience do not seem to draw that conclusion.
Let’s grant for a moment that the United States government might turn into something worth raising armed insurgent bands to fight. I think that is somewhat less probable than as asteroid hitting the Earth, in that it would give decades of warning, but right now assume it could happen in an instant. Well, what the fuck would open carry get you? The weapons are useless until the rebels launch organized resistance; wandering around with one across your back beforehand just makes it easy for the government to identify a potential rebel. And once you have launched a war against the state, well, the open-carry laws are moot.
In other words, even if you grant the wingnut rationale, open carry makes no sense.
JKR, do you have any thoughts on this? Andrew? Ivan? Other random readers with experience carrying loaded weapons in potential combat situations?
UPDATE: What the hell?