Anarcho-Redneck Response to Recent Richmond Open Carry
by Mo Karnage
Richmond has been all in a tizzy over some recent exercising of the right to open carry guns. We’ve had some folks carrying guns in Target, and other carrying them in Carytown. Appearances of guns and those toting them at both locations seem to upset the delicate sensibilities of those who enjoy their capitalism from a more middle class seat. As my friend Dave says, the violence that happens at Target is all in the products on the shelves (sweatshop labor, animal cruelty, and environmental destruction for yall who ain’t picking up what I’m putting down). We’ve also seen local activist Chris Dorsey get hauled out of a City Council meeting over a dispute, which was blamed on his openly carried gun, and then the media gallery of the Council Chambers be closed out of a weird fear of gun wielding journalists- or something.
Maybe I don’t watch enough tv news to be shocked and upset by visible guns, or maybe its because I’m from Hanover county, but to me, guns aren’t an upsetting sight. This is the South. I haven’t been able to find a year on the start Virginia’s Open Carry policy, leading me to believe that we’ve had the same laws on the books around Open Carry for at least several decades now, and more likely since the origins of Virginia time. This is a gun state, but unfortunately not everyone here has sufficient knowledge or experience with guns and gun safety to be coming to the table ready for debate. So we have some culture clash going on.
Allow me to paint a picture. In a world where our government engages in endless war, supplies arms to oppressive regimes like Israel, engages in torture home and abroad routinely, and uses police and private security to patrol our domestic neighborhoods with an ever increasing amount of technology and weaponry, liberals are worried about the potential of violence coming from some deranged white guy who thinks he is in a shoot em up video game or whatever.
To me this is a sign of a society which had it’s autonomy erased, and has become dependent on larger bureaucracies, to its detriment. To me, this is a sign of a society which has had its understanding of the concept of violence thoroughly muddled, and has fallen prey to the idea that violence only occurs from the little guy- not the powers that be.
I also see this fear and confusion as a result of a culture that routinely chooses to treat only the symptoms of any problem, as opposed to addressing the root causes. I would argue that this method of addressing symptoms is promoted through capitalism for several reasons – mainly that it encourages greater consumerism, and prevents folks from questioning the very system of capitalism itself as a root cause of or contributing factor in many of our society’s problems.
Now why, some folks I know have been asking, would someone open carry a rifle? Well for one, because you sure as heck aren’t allowed to conceal carry it. Conceal Carry Permits in Virginia are only for handguns. You are not allowed to conceal long arm guns like rifles or shotguns (hence rules about barrel length etc.). For two, because not everyone wants to or can get a Conceal Carry Permit for any gun – they require being 21, money, a class, and usually takes about 6 weeks to get to you anyways. Not everyone wants to go through the trouble and paperwork to get a CCP and you know what, that is their right.
I’m sure there are more reasons to open carry a rifle, including it being your only gun, as well. There are plenty of practical times where one might open carry a gun, going to a friend’s house nearby, not wanting to leave it unattended in a vehicle, etc. The folks open carrying in Richmond lately are doing so in a fairly unnecessary way. No doubt. Some might call them jackasses. No doubt. But I think that as much as liberals are ignorant about open carry and brainwashed to be fearful, these folks are ignorant about liberals and their fear, and brainwashed by the gun lobby. Essentially we’ve got apple and oranges cultures coming to a head. The people open carrying are not doing so to make others scared, and indeed are surprised by the way people are scared. Their intentions might be poorly thought out, or lacking understanding of broader issues but they aren’t bad. Actually, both sides are often coming to the table full of fear- fear of guns and fear of gun rights being taken away. To discuss these issues coherently we need to get beyond the fear to analyze where everyone is truly coming from.
The anti-open carry camp seem to have an out of sight out of mind approach to guns. They aren’t actively upset until they can see them. And the assertively open carry camp seem to have an idea that if they don’t exercise their rights they might atrophy. Other gun owners have chimed in, worried that the attention being drawn to the issue might cause more harm than good, and they bring a valid point to the table. If liberals can’t see the violence- because it happens in wars in other countries over oil, or in sweatshops where their kids’ toys are made, or in forced prison labor where their office furniture is made or asparagus is grown (holler at yer local asparagus Ellwood Thompson’s), then it pretty much doesn’t exist. It is the flashy, in your face, reminders that seem to get folks all worked up.