Like it or not, every man or woman who carries a gun has the responsibility to behave in common-sense ways that protect all our rights. Unfortunately, there will always be those who, for reasons known only to them, insist on provoking controversy — often in counterproductive ways.
Queued Up for a Twitter Storm
An incident that occurred last week at a Jersey Mike’s, a popular sub-sandwich chain, is a perfect illustration of how our own behavior can create problems.
According to The Blaze and The Western Journal, the controversy began when a photo appeared on social media. It showed a customer inside the restaurant with two guns, one of which was holstered rather poorly. So sloppily, in fact, that some have suggested that the entire incident was a set-up.
Liberal anti-gun activist Travis Akers from the gun control group Left of Bang posted the photo on Twitter. Akers tweeted on Oct. 26, “This man is brandishing two firearms, one of which is not retained properly. I could easily take that gun from him and shoot him, and take the other gun, all within 3 seconds.”
OK, the guy is not technically brandishing, which is defined in most state laws as “to present or display [a firearm] in a reckless or threatening manner.” Regardless, I doubt that any of our regular readers would carry in such a haphazard way, even where open carry is legal. A little common sense goes a long way in maintaining good relations with the public.
The “Boycott Brigade” Chimes In
Unfortunately, Jersey Mike’s fired back with an online joke. “If the laws were up to us, we’d make it so everyone had to eat Jersey Mike’s Subs on Sundays,” the company said in a tweet since deleted.
While other companies have caved to gun control activists, the predictable calls by the usual anti-gun suspects for a Jersey Mike’s boycott seem to have fallen on deaf ears. No policies have changed at the stores regarding firearms.
Jersey Mike’s did, however, offer an apology to Fred Guttenberg for the Twitter post. His daughter was killed in the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Guttenberg, a well-known anti-gun activist, had complained about the insensitivity of the tweet and vowed to “never eat in one of your restaurants again.”
Such boycotts often fail to generate support or fade away quickly, as happened here. Sometimes they even create a backlash. Think back to the famous case of Chick-fil-A where hundreds of customers nationwide lined up to support the restaurant chain.
Be the Solution, Not the Problem
Remember, there is a time and place for everything. I myself have participated in orderly, organized pro-gun-rights rallies and demonstrations, including public parks and government offices. Some of those demonstrations included our people openly carrying firearms (where legal of course).
Now, it might be perfectly appropriate to carry an AR-15 or similar firearm at a properly planned and supervised pro-Second Amendment event. But walking into a shopping mall or big box store with a rifle slung over your shoulder just because it’s legal is pointless. It’s also foolish. It could, in today’s world, put you at serious risk.
So, before you do anything that has the potential for creating controversy, think! Remember that you carry a gun to protect yourself, not to make a statement. Use common sense.
About John Caile
NRA Certified Instructor John Caile has more than 35 years of experience in the firearms industry, including training others in concealed carry and practical handgun shooting skills. As the communications director of the Minnesota Gun Owners Political Action Committee, he was instrumental in passing Minnesota’s landmark concealed carry permit law. John has appeared on national talk radio and network and public television. He is a contributing writer for Concealed Carry Magazine. He continues his lifelong activism for gun owners and their rights