Gun Activists Plan Open Carry Rally As President Obama Comes to Austin for SXSW

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President Obama will be in Austin tomorrow as a keynote speaker for the SXSW interactive festival. The announcement of President Obama’s appearance at SXSW has elicited two truly Texan responses:

    2.Open carry advocates are planning a “gun awareness education” rally the same day the President arrives in town.

According to the event’s Facebook page, the purpose is as follows (emphasis added):

“We will be handing out educational literature and constitutions, talking about the new law, and basically showing attendees that gun owners are no different than anyone else. We simply refuse to be victims. Members are free to show up at any time they are free. Will will have small groups there throughout the event. Please coordinate in the comments. The first group will meet at the south entrance to the capitol at noon.”

Yes, these brave defenders of liberty are the true victims of open carry, not the many Texans who have been injured or died from gun violence over the past few years.

Some attendees went so far in reclaiming themselves from victimhood that they even threatened violence against the President himself. The anti-Tea Party site Freak Out Nation captured screenshots of some of the most vile comments, which have since been deleted. That included comments like the following:

At least someone in the Open Carry group is self-aware enough to recognize that making threats like that is probably not the greatest idea.

Official SXSW events are considered private, and thus open carry of firearms is not allowed. However, marching around with guns at the Capitol on the day the President arrives in town still sends a message, and the organizers know it:

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Open carry supporters have marched at SXSW for several years now. But this is the first time they will be marching since open carry became legal early this year, and they will be at the Capitol with guns in tow.

Not only is a march of gun-toting weirdos on the first day of SXSW a bad look for Texas, it’s outright dangerous. A pro-gun advocate in Florida was shot by her 4 year-old just this week. Open carry folks respond to accidental shootings like these by blaming the gun owners for not following proper safety measures, but that’s only part of the problem. The more guns there are in public, around people, the greater the likelihood of such an accident occurring in the first place. And although they may spread false facts about how guns make people safer, the fact of the matter is that guns kill people. That’s why people feel threatened by open carry, and these protestors’ antagonistic attitude doesn’t make things any better. They may want to show the world that they’re just like everyone else, but until they acknowledge that, in a country where there have already been 41 mass shootings this year alone, it’s not irrational to be cautious of guns, they will not succeed.

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About Author

Katie Singh

Katie grew up in Austin and has been involved in Texas politics since 2004. She has been a part of several campaigns, from state house races to working at President Obama's campaign headquarters in 2012. She loves public policy, public health, and tacos. Katie tweets from @kasingh19.

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