Tahlequah Daily Press

September 20, 2013

Open carry a problem for some


Readers' Forum

TAHLEQUAH — Editor, Daily Press:

On Thursday, Sept. 12, seven friends and I were traveling through Missouri when we stopped for a bite to eat at the Walmart in Marshfield, Mo. My sister and I were open carrying our firearms that day, as we do regularly.

We have never received negative response to open carrying in Oklahoma, and did not think anything of it to open carry in Missouri, where those 21 and older can open carry without an infringement card. But that changed when we were approached by several police officers, one of whom had an AR-15, and were demanded to show ID. The officers “detained” us for about 30 minutes, because they had our IDs. They never asked for our side of the story, just said they had received a panicked call from someone in Walmart.

The whole incident was filmed, as my sister happened to have her camera on her at the time. We never expected this kind of response. But there are a few things people need to learn from this. The most important lesson is this: If you don’t use your rights, you’ll lose them. The reason this incident was handled the way it was by the officers is not because some girls were trying to cause a scene, but because society has an illogical fear of firearms. Some seem to think any citizen open carrying is a cause for concern or that their firearm is going to jump off their hip and start shooting people.

Criminals typically are not going to be openly carrying a firearm. They don’t want people to know what they’re up to. So when you see five girls together, only two of whom have a firearm, peacefully shopping and laughing in Walmart, there should be no cause for concern.

Some believe open carrying makes you a target for criminals. I could see the potential , but have never read stories of that happening. In fact, I’ve read stories where citizens open carrying have deterred crime. There’s the reason I open carry: out of love and care for my fellow man. I would never want to be in the situation of that woman in the Luby’s Texas shooting. She lost her parents and many more fellow citizens due to a mad man with a gun, whom she could’ve taken care of had she not left her firearm in her truck.

We’ve been criticized for open carrying, even by pro-Second Amendment folks. They say we should’ve expected this if we’re open carrying. Well, since it is so normal for my sister and me to open carry almost everywhere, and we receive compliments regularly, this was the last thing we were expecting. It’s time to start open carrying, everyone, so people get accustomed to this.

Yes, we showed our IDs and have been criticized for doing so. First off, I obey Romans 13. The officer was very upset, so we did hand him our IDs, and I have no regrets. I do wish I had asked some questions as I showed my “papers” in hopes it would make him stop and think how silly it was for them to be acting that way.   We’ve been accused of “causing havoc,” “staging the incident,” “not leaving when asked” and much more. We knew the laws in Missouri. We didn’t see any “no weapons” signs posted on Walmart’s doors. We used the restroom, got some food, bought a sandwich/salad at Subway and that was it. We were about to leave when we saw the cops. We were never asked to leave, or we would’ve left..

Qadoshyah Fish, Vice Chair,

Cherokee County Republican Party