Gun owners display their weapons in the upper gallery of the House chambers, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. The House was not in session when this photo was taken, and members of the group went to the gallery following a protest outside the Legislative building in opposition to the state’s Initiative 594, which requires – with only a few exceptions – background checks on all gun sales and transfers. (TED S. WARREN — AP Photo)

A small group of long gun open carriers lacking the discernment, basic common sense, and the political savvy of your average garden snail made complete fools out of themselves as they dangerously brandished firearms in the Washington House gallery last week during I-594 protests.

Now legislators in both parties have agreed to ban long guns completely from both state houses as a result of these immature  antics.

The state House on Monday joined the Senate in prohibiting people from openly carrying firearms in the public viewing area located over the floor where lawmakers sit.

The decision was made Monday morning after a meeting between leaders from both sides of the aisle in that chamber, and also applies to openly carried knives. The House gallery rules will now include a line prohibiting “open-carried weapons such as guns, firearms, and blades.”

House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan, D-Covington, said that the clarification of the current rule banning demonstrations in the public galleries takes effect immediately, and that security staff have been notified and will hand out the list of restrictions to people who show up with openly carried weapons.

“This is about how we operate within the House framework that allows us to get our work done,” Sullivan said. “This isn’t a question of Second Amendment rights. The fact that you can’t bring a sign into the gallery, although you have a First Amendment right of free speech … there are limitations. Within our rules, we believe we have the ability to restrict certain things that would distract from our ability to get work done.”

The sort of drooling simpleton pictured above does incalculable damage to the image of gun owners.

That’s a crying shame, for the simple fact that most Americans are either already pro-gun, or are at least receptive to an fact-based discussion of why preserving our existing gun rights and rolling back restrictive gun laws is in the best interests of the citizenry and the Republic.

Unfortunately, knuckle-draggers like those pictured above don’t understand the long-game, and can’t grasp that the average citizen thinks that a person carrying a long gun to a protest of any sort is most likely unhinged.

This sort of behavior isn’t brave, it isn’t smart, and it isn’t helping.

We need to do a better job of patrolling our own, folks, because if we don’t find a way to control these cretins, the forces of gun control will be certain to exploit them for every bit of political capital that they can.