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Thread: Understanding the "Guy with the Gun"

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    http://abcnews.go.com/Business/gun-o...ory?id=9981534


    [flash=320,256]http://www.youtube.com/v/mY8XxVmSpCQ&hl=en_US&fs=1[/flash]




    Understanding the 'Guy With the Gun'
    As Starbucks Gun Controversy Boils, Open Carry Movement Shoots Into Spotlight
    By ALICE GOMSTYN
    ABC NEWS Business Unit
    March 2, 2010—


    Ed Levine said he remembers when people at his favorite restaurants used to know him as "the guy with the gun."

    It's a label that's faded, the Virginia man said, as more people like him have chosen to openly carry their handguns while running everyday errands. Levine said he carries his 45-caliber pistol nearly everywhere he goes, from his local Starbucks to his community pool, and he rarely draws attention.

    "It's like putting on your socks -- you do it every day," he said. "Someone doesn't run up to you and say, 'Oh, you're wearing socks.'"

    The practice of "open carry" at retail stores -- carrying a handgun in plain sight -- has come under fire from anti-gun activists in recent weeks after open carry proponents tested California's gun laws by bringing their guns with them to several Golden State stores, including Starbucks.

    In response, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence called on the coffee giant to ban firearms at its stores. The group is concerned about accidental firings, untrained gun owners and the welfare of those "who want to enjoy their coffee without putting themselves at risk of gunshot," Brady spokesman Doug Pennington said.

    The Brady petition demanding a Starbucks gun ban now bears 28,000 signatures, with some signers saying they'll choose other coffee retailers, including Peet's Coffee and Tea, which recently announced it would prohibit guns at its shops, the spokesman said.

    A Starbucks spokesman declined a request for an interview about the open carry issue, instead providing a statement: "For Starbucks, the safety of our customers and partners is a paramount concern. We have existing security protocols in place to handle situations related to safety in our stores. We will continue to adhere closely to local, state and federal laws and the counsel of law enforcement regarding this issue."

    Meanwhile, two chains in addition to Peet's, California Pizza Kitchen and California-based Buckhorn Grill, have said they're banning guns at their stores.

    While the Starbucks controversy may soon force more businesses to confront their gun-carry policies -- retail analyst Lori Wachs says that, until now, most chains have opted to avoid the hot button issue -- it's also raising the profile of the open carry movement and groups like OpenCarry.org.

    The online community claims at least 26,000 members. OpenCarry.org co-founder Mike Stollenwerk said he and fellow Virginian John Pierce started the Web site in 2004.

    The year before, Stollenwerk and several friends caused alarm at a Reston, Va., restaurant when they showed up for dinner with their guns in their holsters. At the time, even police officers called to the restaurant were confused about the state's open carry law, Stollenwerk said.



    Confronting 'Prejudice' Against Guns
    Stollenwerk and Pierce said they founded the Web site to educate people, including law enforcement officials, about open carry rights across the states. Though many states require permits for the concealed carrying of firearms, most don't regulate open carry.

    The group is also working to "normalize the open carry of firearms," Pierce said.

    "By open carrying, we're forcing people to confront the object of their prejudice," he said. "It's just like when gay and lesbian couple express affection in public -- it forces people to realize their friends, their neighbors, their relatives, their loves ones are in fact people who might live differently than they do but they're no less good people and they're no less good citizens."

    "We never knew what this was going to turn into," Stollenwerk said. "We were just two guys following Virginia law, open carrying, and the next thing we know it's a movement."

    The movement includes Levine. Along with his holstered pistol, the 48-year-old carries a small card with him detailing information on Virginians' open carry rights. He'll gladly pass it to anyone who questions his open carry decision -- not that he has to.

    Levine, who lives in Potomac Falls, Va., says people ask him about his gun about once a week, and the questions are almost never negative. Often, he says, they're just interested in firearms training -- though Levine works in telecommunications by day, he's also a firearms instructor with the National Rifle Association.

    Levine's 12-year-old daughter Brooke has been trained to use her own gun, a .22LR Caliber pistol. When the pair are together and someone asks her father why he's packing, Levine says Brooke has a ready answer: In a takeoff of a Mastercard commercial, Brooke points to the gun and says "$1,000" and then points to herself and says "priceless" -- a suggestion that the pretty penny Levine had to spend to buy the gun was worth it to protect his invaluable daughter.

    Protecting himself and his family is why he carries a gun, Levine said. He has a concealed handgun permit that would allow him to be more discrete with his gun if he wanted to, but Levine says he often prefers to open carry because it's more comfortable and he has easier access to his gun if he needs it.

    He hasn't needed it yet, he added.

    "I hope I never do," he said.




    Copyright © 2010 ABC News Internet Ventures



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    Carry On.

    Ed

    VirginiaOpenCarry.Org (Coins, Shirts and Patches)
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    For VA Open Carry Cards send a S.A.2S.E. to: Ed's OC cards, Box 16143, Wash DC 20041-6143 (they are free but some folks enclose a couple bucks too)

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    Regular Member jmb_nova's Avatar
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    Well written article, which you rarely see anymore.

    Good on Brooke too...

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    Wow, from ABC no less. Seems pretty neutral.

    Starbucks surprises me, too. Even though I'm not a fan of their coffee (or it's prices), I may need to give a little support back and choke it down every once in a while.

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    Good article! I'm amazed it's from ABC.

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    Activist Member Wolf_shadow's Avatar
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    First GS Now Ed as poster children WOW
    Yes I carry a Bible and a Gun, your point.
    Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos (meaning: "A defence of liberty against tyrants")
    Benjamin Franklin said, "A government that does not trust it's citizens with guns is a government that should not be trusted."



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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    I like that, Ed.

    Your daughter pointing to your gun and saying, "$1000", then to herself and saying, "priceless".

    Way to go!

    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    SouthernBoy wrote:
    I like that, Ed.

    You daughter pointing to your gun and saying, "$1000", then to herself and saying, "priceless".

    Way to go!

    Yeah, that's a great line, Ed, I meant to flag that one as well...

  8. #8
    Regular Member The Wolfhound's Avatar
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    Gee, Ed comes off as a normal guy who just happens to carry a gun. Mission accomplished! It ain't the end of the war but as they say in media: Perception is reality.:celebrate
    Appleseed, Virginia State Coordinator
    Are you a Rifleman yet?
    http://appleseedinfo.org

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    SouthernBoy wrote:
    I like that, Ed.

    Your daughter pointing to your gun and saying, "$1000", then to herself and saying, "priceless".

    Way to go!
    Was that in the video? I must have somehow missed it.

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    I thought the article and video were both well presented and not at all biased. In fact they presented the group in a very favorable light. Now we move down to the comments section and I found one very interesting comment that stood out among the others. I really didn't think that most of the other comments were over the top or radical

    Sound familiar?
    it doesn't bother me to see someone carrying a side arm, but one of the open carry groups in michigan has some members who also strap semi-automatic long guns/shotguns across their backs and go into restaurants to eat. they seem to be defiant and defensive and start yelling "the constitution! the constitution!" whenever they are confronted by business managers and law enforcement. those are the kinds of people who scare me

  11. #11
    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    hometheaterman wrote:
    SouthernBoy wrote:
    I like that, Ed.

    Your daughter pointing to your gun and saying, "$1000", then to herself and saying, "priceless".

    Way to go!
    Was that in the video? I must have somehow missed it.
    The video was a couple years ago.. her statement was in the written article.
    Carry On.

    Ed

    VirginiaOpenCarry.Org (Coins, Shirts and Patches)
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    For VA Open Carry Cards send a S.A.2S.E. to: Ed's OC cards, Box 16143, Wash DC 20041-6143 (they are free but some folks enclose a couple bucks too)

  12. #12
    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    I have received loads of nice feedback. Thank you everyone. There should be a new article coming out this weekend in the London Sunday Times. I hope that it is just as good.
    Carry On.

    Ed

    VirginiaOpenCarry.Org (Coins, Shirts and Patches)
    - - - -
    For VA Open Carry Cards send a S.A.2S.E. to: Ed's OC cards, Box 16143, Wash DC 20041-6143 (they are free but some folks enclose a couple bucks too)

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