THE RESTAURANT – What’s on the menu today? Roast beef, shrimp, calves’ liver. You can’t beat calves’ liver except maybe with rhino toes or hummingbird lips. Odd. That woman over there is pushing her kids under their table while her husband throws himself in front of them. A waitress is screaming and the bartender is reaching under the bar for something. Haven’t they ever seen an AK-47 before? Or a M67 hand grenade? Maybe it’s my 81 mm high explosive mortar that’s spooking them. Don’t worry, folks. I’m a good shot — usually.
This walking armory is my way of ensuring my Second Amendment rights, and they’ll get my F-35 jet fighter when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers. I am not alone in this battle for freedom, liberty and the American Way of Fright, because there is a movement to revise Texas gun laws. Right now, with a permit, in Texas you can carry a pistol concealed under your coat, football shoulder pads or flak jacket, but you can’t just let it hang there in a hip holster like Wyatt Earp for all to see. On the other hand (I guess if you’re left-handed), you can carry a long-barrel rifle in plain sight – over your shoulder, in both hands, in your teeth. That’s right: it’s illegal to show your pistol but OK to openly display your shotgun. These laws were given to us by the same genius Texas legislators who ruled you have to wear a crash helmet if you ride a bicycle but you don’t have to wear one on a motorcycle when weaving through freeway traffic at 80 mph. Only in Texas.
To right this gun-toting wrong, a group called the Open Carry Texas wants the pistol law changed so wannabe gunslingers can openly carry their pistols. To make their point, some Texans have been carrying their long rifles to eateries such as Sonic, Chili’s, Starbucks, Chipotle and Jack in the Box. Owners, no doubt a bunch of food stamp collectors, are urging customers not to bring firearms to their restaurants after armed demonstrators frightened customers at two San Antonio locations. So no gunfight at the Golden Corral. No lock, stock and Cracker Barrel. Target is thinking of making the same request. I’d think any store named Target, whose logo is a big red and white target out front, would be first in line. The over the mall gang also demonstrated in front of the Alamo. Hey, gun totters, you’re 178 years too late. Where were you when Travis needed you?
But the story gets confusing. The NRA, of all groups, issued a statement saying these demonstrations by Open Carry Texas were “hijinx” and said the practice “defies common sense.” “Let’s not mince words, not only is it rare, it’s downright weird and certainly not a practical way to go normally about your business while being prepared to defend yourself,” the NRA statement read. “To those who are not acquainted with the dubious practice of using public displays of firearms as a means to draw attention to oneself or one’s cause, it can be downright scary.” C.J. Grisham of Temple, founder of Open Carry Texas, was outraged at the NRA’s outrage. He said his group has no plans to halt demonstrations and said he was determined “to prove to the Legislature that we’re not yahoos or weird or anything like that.” He also said his group had stopped those public demonstrations, so it must be another group. Huh? Then he cut up his NRA card. Wouldn’t you think he’d toss the card into the air and drill it with his AR-15? To add to the confusion, in the midst of this rebellion the NRA said the press release was not quite right, “a mistake” was the term. We might assume the clueless low-ranking “staffer” in the NRA who wrote it was given a last cigarette.
Those NRA wussies are too liberal for us all-weather night fighters. The organization is probably in cahoots with that known radical former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her retired astronaut husband — astronaut? get a real man’s job — Mark Kelly. They have released a poll of Texas voters showing strong support for tougher laws to bar potentially violent people from possessing firearms. Giffords may not be thinking clearly since she was shot in the head by a looney. We can’t trust their poll, or a poll sponsored by Americans for Responsible Solutions. of 1,000 likely Texas voters: 85 percent of those questioned supported background checks on gun sales and 79 percent favored denying convicted domestic abusers access to guns. Sixty-one percent favored requiring subjects of restraining orders to forfeit their firearms. Those are hardly majorities.
The Second Amendment guarantees me the right to bear arms because, as the Founding Fathers specified: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” When I was in the militia — a group of pacifists known as the U.S. Marine Corps – they even issued me a gun. Actually, it was a 105 howitzer. After I kept trying to put a bayonet on the muzzle, I was transferred to the infantry. This guarantee is why I like to take my weapons to church, the voting booth and the neighborhood pool. Of course, the two ammo belts are a bit heavy in the deep end. One neighbor objected to my carrying my semiautomatic A-45 Hippie Shredder. It is also why I went out to the Nevada desert with my blasting buddies to support a rancher who owed more than a million bucks in fees for grazing rights, but who doesn’t? OK, he so turned out to be a knuckle-dragging racist, I found his views on guns and government most interesting, and so did his main supporter, Sean Hannity. Need I say more? Strange. My fingers are feeling cold and dead.
Ashby is disarming at email@example.com.