While Open Carry activists are planning to “coffee up” at Seattle-area coffee shops tomorrow morning at 8 a.m., the anti-gun “Moms Demand Action” (MDA) is preparing what it calls a “mass initiative signing event for Initiative 594” at Mercer Island’s Mercerdale Park next Tuesday, the Mercer Island Reporter said yesterday.
Presumably, neither activity will be a headline-grabber – open carry activists are typically much more laid back than people who try to provoke them at bus stops – and besides, only the Mercer Island event is being portrayed as a photo-op. The open carry crowd will simply be minding its own business, as it was earlier this month at a Kitsap County park where OC partisans gathered for a mid-day picnic, gathering signatures for Initiative 591, described as the “common sense measure” dealing with background checks and gun confiscation.
I-594 is the 15-page gun control measure backed by the Seattle-based Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility. The Mercer Island photo-op is designed to “illustrate a high level of support” for the measure. It is opposed by firearms groups, the Hunters Heritage Council (HHC) and Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor Association (WSLEFIA), a group representing the firearms experts from many, if not most, of the state’s law enforcement agencies.
Open Carry activists do not represent the entire firearms community, but it might be fair to put them on the front edge of current efforts to defend right-to-carry. There is disagreement within the gun rights community about the effectiveness or even the wisdom of some open carry activities, but then, again, where would the civil rights movement be today without Rosa Parks? She’s the courageous lady who refused to give up her seat on an Alabama bus to a white person in 1955.
Last week, as this column noted, Spanaway resident Steve Coffman was waiting at a bus stop in Seattle, minding his own business, when he was verbally accosted by an as-yet unidentified man who objected to the fact that Coffman was visibly armed. He was carrying a Ruger Blackhawk single-action revolver, which he had on earlier while riding the ferry to and from Bremerton, walking around that city, and coming back to Seattle for a ride home.
He did get on the bus, but not until after his tormenter apparently called the police and gave him the finger, on camera.
Tomorrow’s coffee turnout was suggested by activist Nick Smith, who posts on the Open Carry/Washington forum as “gogodawgs.” Said Smith: “What I would like to see is others host at different coffee stands/Starbucks around the city.” He and Jim Beal will be at a coffee shop at 1st and Pike at 8 a.m., according to his note.
On Mercer Island, the MDA gathering runs from 6 to 9 p.m. and is being billed as a “Night Out for Safety, Democracy, and Human Rights.” It will be hosted by Mercer Island Councilwoman Tana Senn and “will include Mercer Island City Council members, fire, police, city workers and neighbors.” The photo op is scheduled at 7 p.m.
The OC crowd might easily suggest that if it’s safety people are looking for, one couldn’t be much safer than when surrounded by visibly armed, law-abiding citizens peaceably gulping coffee. If it’s human rights you’re interested in, the oldest human right is that of self-preservation, and no better way to protect that – they might explain – than via the right to keep and bear arms.