I think it's a matter of being polite and getting the law on your side FIRST
instead of waiting for something to happen.
I know people do not like to hear "you're just looking for trouble" but it seems to me that by going as a GROUP into any place that's not used to seeing large numbers of firearms, without at least giving warning before hand (which is not the same as asking permission), that's exactly what you're doing. Dickson City shouldn't have happened
, but because it did I'd be even more wary of an OC dinner because now people are watching for us.
I've got reservations about OC, so I am probably biased, but hear me out. If you go about your business alone, OC'ing, you are far less threatening than if you are in a group. That's a huge issue in the eyes of someone who is afraid or uncertain around an OC'er. In the eyes of someone like that, one person is something to avoid but a group is something to call the cops on
. All the average person hears about guns is that they are used by gangs. You might look like the cleanest, neatest dressed, most polite "gang" out there, but you are armed and in a group and a person who has never met with that situation before may panic and make really stupid accusations about your motives.
Second: In most areas, activism in groups is encouraged or required to have permission.
What we are doing with OC is definitely activism, and OC groups doubly so. If you expected to go hand out flyers in a restaurant in a large group, or stand outside the public library waving signs, participate in a group march, or most other activist activities
, wouldn't you call ahead to let people know you would be there?
It's not a matter of being a second-class citizen, it's simply being polite to the people who will have to deal with you (and with anyone who wants to start fights with you).
Finally, I'd feel really horrible taking advantage of the kindness of a restaurant
or other gathering place by assuming that just because they tolerated me (or even if they openly supported me), they would also tolerate a large group of people like me. There is no guarantee that restaraunt owners will be agreeable to OC groups in their establishment no matter how friendly they are to a single man or a family. They may have plenty of reasons for this, too, including liability issues and not knowing whether one of their servers will flip out and call the cops. I'd gladly give up a dinner at my favorite restaurant while in an OC group if it meant that we avoided another Dickson City.
If you don't feel like asking permission for a gathering, or feel like the expectation is wrong, then by all means continuewithout permission;
I don't think it's wrong, just impolite
and more likely to get you into confrontations
that my instinct would be to avoid. I would simply feel far more comfortable knowing that the servers and staff were on our side, at the very least because servers could then quiet down patrons before anyone whipped out their cell phones. As great as OC is for spreading word of our cause, I think it's also important to make it look like we have someone other than ourselves on our side, and places openly hosting OC gatherings instead of being targets for them would be a good start.
*prepares for argument*