Yes, gun owners can do this, and maybe it does some good by raising awareness that this is the law,” says Brian Anse Patrick, a University of Toledo communications professor and author of the upcoming book “PropaGUNda.” “But there’s still this funny area around etiquette and frightening people” that draws a line between “Second Amendment ambassadors and Second Amendment exhibitionists.”
Today, even as gun-free zones are shrinking, many gun owners maintain a strong sense that gains made on Second Amendment rights could be quickly lost. In that way, many open-carry advocates, especially, are attempting to make gun-carry policy politically palatable by changing what Americans think of as normal, ŕ la gay marriage laws and legal marijuana.
“This is what lefties have done for decades, and it works,” writes University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds on his “Instapundit” blog.
In interviews, gun owners who draw attention to themselves with their weaponry often acknowledge they’re making both a personal and political statement. One motivation is protecting family and others in case of an attack. The other motivation is to provide “a little bit of a political push” to make people more comfortable around guns, says a Kalamazoo, Mich., man who last year brought a gun to a grade-school reading hour at a library.
Even inside the gun rights movement, the issue of open-carry decorum is looming larger ....