I know gun owners hate the term “gun nuts”, but this is exactly the sort of thing that makes the term a fair description of some gun owners. Minneapolis and St. Paul have events called “Open Streets”, where the streets are closed to motorized traffic, so the streets are safe for kids games and pedestrians and bicycles and so on in a nice family-friendly atmosphere. So some of the local gun nuts have expressed an intent to show up for the purpose of showing the world that they have guns, inflicting their strange psychological needs on everyone else.
No, this isn’t concealed carry. They intend to carry openly, so everyone else gets to enjoy the presence of utter strangers able to pull out their loaded weapons whenever they take a whim. Yes I know, the people planning to do this will plead that they’re responsible gun owners, except the responsible gun owners will have left their weapons locked up at home. Showing them off at a neighborhood event as if it was a gun show or NRA rally is pretty much the opposite of “responsible”.
The Facebook page promoting Open Streets-Open Carry says gun owners will add “their own twist” to the neighborhood events by “encouraging ‘open carry’ for pro-active, positive visibility of law abiding gun owners participating in normal social activity … Like normal people!”
Funky definition of “normal”, making sure everyone knows you can shoot them if you take a notion, but you just don’t feel like it right now even though you’re wandering around a family event with your guns hanging out.
So let me see if I can explain something to the gun nuts (yes, I know, we’ve all tried that and it never seems to work, but don’t give up). Yes, your guns are legal. Cars are legal too, and I bet most adults at Open Streets own cars, but cars aren’t allowed. No one gets to go zipping down the street in their legal cars just to show they can, OK? That would defeat the point of the event. Alcohol isn’t allowed either (rather a comfort if there will be armed people wandering around) even though it’s legal. You still can’t suck on your legal whiskey bottle just to show you can. So your guns are legal, but you still shouldn’t bring them. Clear? And please, spare us the nonsense about your guns making the event safer. Open Streets hasn’t exactly been a crime magnet. You’re just making up an excuse for doing what you really want to do, piss off a bunch of urban liberals, and every one of us knows that’s what you’re trying to do.
So to all the sane people, by which I mean people who won’t be bringing guns, the way to deal with this is to give the gun nuts a wide berth. Don’t provoke them, don’t engage them, don’t give them the attention they crave. Let them be this isolated little silly group. Who knows, maybe that will make the point sink in. Or maybe they’ll feel weird and just slink away to indulge their paranoid fantasies in private. That works too.