The Rhetoric of Open Carry – Texas Edition

Much to the chagrin to the majority of Texans, including law enforcement agencies and those for canceled carry, open carry begins in Texas in just a few hours. This law will allow the approximately 100,000 people with concealed permits to openly carry guns. The law also prohibits inquiring if said person is legally openly carrying, unless there is probable cause, as determined by a police officer. 

Public, non-governmental, establishments have the right to opt out of the law. A growing number of large businesses are doing so, including Costco, H.E.B., Target, Panera Bread (some reports say this is incorrect), and others. Kroger, sadly, has said it welcomes guns. 

One interesting list is being established and is located here. So far, though, many businesses have not made statements and are ignoring inquires and pleas asking them to ban guns. The corporate offices at Panera Bread, Chick-fil-A, El Chico, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, The Cheese Cake Factory, and Brazos Mall all ignored my email to them. 

But this blog article is about the rhetoric of open carry. 

This evening a friend posted the following sign that was put up this evening at Brazos Mall.

10653503_1048287118528027_3228615771738288956_n-1 At first I was relieved and overjoyed.

But, then…other feelings set in.

This sign and signs like it will become everyday. Every time we walk into a restaurant with the intention of having a peaceful meal alone or with friends… Every time we enter the mall in order to get some exercise in the air-controlled environment. Every time we leave our house or apartment, if we’re lucky enough to have such shelter…

…We’ll be wondering if someone will be displaying a gun (legally or illegally)…if our life will be in danger. 

That we live in a society with such a strong craving for guns and that we will be forced to directly encounter guns, even just the possibility, even just signs and stickers related to the legality of guns in said place…changes everything. 

Signs such as the above are not a cause for relief and excitement, but a constant reminder of the absolute power of the gun, devices designed to kill and intimidate alone. The rhetoric behind such signs is an absolute symbol and reminder that in the state (and the State) power, privilege, and intimidation are valued over peace, love, and equality and that life is not truly valued, especially for racialized minorities, who will–unless a revolutionary shift in the our society’s behaviors happens overnight–be wrongly killed for having a gun legally and openly displayed .  

This new stage in Texas Gun Culture is bad for those for and against guns. It’s expensive. Everyone will be more on guard, more worried, more unsure, and less safe, too.