AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File
A self-proclaimed “Second Amendment Auditor” keeps making headlines in Oklahoma City with his attention grabbing stunts, which involve carrying around an AR-15 rifle on the city’s streets and in local businesses. Most recently, police were called after members of a church in northeast Oklahoma City became concerned after a stranger with a semi-automatic rifle showed up outside their door. When officers arrived, the so-called gun rights activist said he was engaged in a “Constitutional Open Carry” walk, and simply wanted to engage the church members in a conversation about the state’s carry laws.
Be sure to check out the video in the link above, which features footage from the officer’s body cam. This guy (I’m intentionally delaying saying his name because I really don’t want to give him the attention he’s seeking) is one of those guys who goes around carrying a black rifle while filming, hoping to provoke a reaction. As far as I’m concerned, he’s not a Second Amendment Auditor or activist, he’s an attention whore. He’s using the right to keep and bear arms as means to an end; less about personal freedom and more about narcissism and some deep-seated desire to be noticed. He’s the middle-aged version of the 20-year old in Missouri who decided to strap on body armor and sling his AR over his chest and film himself walking through Walmart days after the shootings in El Paso, Texas.
Mr. Look-At-Me also made headlines earlier this year when he “audited” officers at a public park in the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond, open carrying an AR-style pistol. In every interaction, by the way, the officers have acted professionally and politely. They’ve not tried to violate his rights. The interactions posted on YouTube are boring, to be honest. And maybe this guy would say that’s the point; that there’s nothing wrong in showing that officers are responding to the state’s new permitless carry law as they should be.
The problem with that argument is that while Mr. Look-At-Me is auditing officers, everybody else is auditing him, and by extension, other gun owners. The state-level gun rights group OK2A recently issued a public statement disavowing any relationship with the “activist”, though the group’s president Don Spencer was present at the Edmond public park “audit” earlier this year.
While we support a person’s right to keep and bear arms, we acknowledge the right may stop at the discretion of the private property business owner.
“Mr. Harper is NOT a member of OK2A and has never had any authority to use or represent OK2A at any time. His actions to draw attention to himself while escalating tensions for profit of a social media platform is uncalled for, unwise, and does not hold to the values of the Board of Directors of OK2A or the majority of Oklahomans. His claim to any such authority with OK2A is FALSE.
“For over six months, OK2A has requested multiple times that Tim Harper agree to stop conducting these so called “audits” of the First and Second Amendments while openly carrying firearms into private business property and some public property areas.
“The position of OK2A is that these audits are unwarranted unless there has been a previously established problem.
“While the state of Oklahoma continues to adjust to the new law of constitutional carry, we request gun owners and those who exercise this right to respect the concerns of business owners and the general public while adjusting to the return of this basic liberty.
“Mr. Harper’s continued antics and disregard for private property rights, as well as his needless escalation of concerns and tensions with citizens and law enforcement, continue to draw a negative response to the protection of our rights to keep and bear arms.
“Mr. Harper has been informed that he has been permanently banned from current and future OK2A membership and use of any of its electronic or social media platforms.
“We would also like to remind the residents of the state of Oklahoma there are more than 400,000 gun owners that do not carry firearms to draw such negative attention and elevate the concerns of citizens. Don’t let one person be considered the norm for Oklahoma gun owners.”
Tim Harper, if you’re reading this, no one is walking away from your chats thinking to themselves, “You know, when I first saw that guy, I was a little scared. But after talking to him, I now realize that I shouldn’t be afraid of every guy I see walking into my restaurant carrying an AR-15.”
No, they’re thinking “What a ****ing weirdo”, Tim. You’re not changing anyone’s mind, except perhaps in the wrong direction.
When I’m at a restaurant for a dinner, I’m not there to have someone try to make some political point at my expense, or engage me in some sociological experiment to see how I’ll respond to their trigger. I’m there to eat my food and enjoy the time out with my wife, my family, or friends. That’s it. Tim, I probably agree with 90% or more of your positions on the Second Amendment, but if I were in that restaurant when you walked in with your rifle my first thought would have been, “Oh, look at this ***hole.” I’m on your side, but you’re alienating people like me.
Maybe you don’t care. Maybe you think I’ve failed some sort of Second Amendment purity test by not supporting your right to be a middle-aged white guy walking up to a majority black church in a historically black part of Oklahoma City with an AR dangling across your chest and filming your every step with your smartphone. As long as you’re on the sidewalk, I do support your right to do that. The fact that it is your right, however, doesn’t make you any less of an attention seeking ***hole who’s using that right simply to draw attention to yourself, rather than engage in less visible but far more effective forms of activism.
Go find yourself a different hobby or some other reason for people to pay attention to you. You’re not doing actually doing anything to support the right to keep and bear arms in Oklahoma. In fact, you’re doing free work for gun control groups. Quite simply, the times are too important for stunts like this that hurt our cause instead of helping it. We need to be engaged in real outreach to non-gun owners, not silly stunts to get clicks and YouTube views. If you want to be internet famous, go for it, but not at the expense of our Second Amendment rights.