In the movie Jurassic Park, Jeff Goldblum delivered the most meme-worthy line of the film. While learning about how the experts had brought dinosaurs back to life, Goldblum playing Dr. Ian Malcom, said, “Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

It’s a line that’s been used on social media for almost anything people find weird or disgusting. I’ve personally used it for Dorito-flavored Mountain Dew, so I’m not judging here.

However, I think the idea of thinking about whether you should over just whether you can is an important point in the gun rights community.

I’ve taken a bit of heat from time to time for supposedly being anti-open carry. That’s not completely accurate, at least when it comes to laws. I oppose any law that seeks to restrict open carry and support any law that broadens it.

That said, I’m not a fan of those who seek to take advantage of open carry laws to draw attention to themselves.

You see, there are those who will open carry a firearm–often an AR-15 or similar firearm, either in rifle or pistol form–and try to get a reaction. I don’t think they’re trying to scare people, but they’re definitely trying to get people’s attention. If asked, they may say they’re trying to test law enforcement or the establishment they’re seeking to enter.

Yet I can’t help but think that all they’re doing is making things harder on other Second Amendment activists.

What some call “Second Amendment audits” or whatever you want to call them have serious problems. At best, they expose places no in compliance with the law, which is a legitimate time to try something like this. After all, a lot of places will try to restrict the lawful carry of firearms regardless of what the law actually says.

More often than not, though, it’s not about that. It’s about getting a rise out of people.

As a result, people start to see all Second Amendment supporters as the guys walking into stores with AR-15s. They can’t tell the difference between the guys “fishing” with AR-15s strapped to them and the guy who conceals his firearm so as to not create an unnecessary panic. They don’t understand that not everyone ascribes to that kind of nonsense.

And don’t try to tell me this is about normalizing open carry. It’s not. If it were, it would be more about openly carrying the kinds of firearms people routinely carry. We’d be talking about the guy with a 1911 on his hip, not an AR-15 and full tactical gear. Neither is the guy taking an AR pistol into a restaurant. These are people trying to get a reaction, and they do.

Good job. You’ve made the rest of us look like total tools. Thanks for that.

We’re fighting an uphill battle right now. We have a legion of lawmakers looking to take away our rights. We need to be squeeky-clean so as to make it difficult for them to undermine us as individuals, forcing them to address our arguments head-on.

Unfortunately, we get people who want to make a spectacle of themselves and call it activism.

I used to be somewhat open to the idea of open carry activism, but the jerks convinced me. They convinced me that it’s a bad idea because some people will take it too far. They’re the reason we can’t have nice things.

Moving forward, I hope they’ll spend a little less time focused on the fact that they can and a little more on whether or not they should.