How Open Carry Texas Forced Chipotle to Ban Guns
How Open Carry Texas Forced Chipotle to Ban Guns
By Kit Lange and Cassy Fiano
Open Carry Texas has done it again. Under the guise of advancing gun rights, the group decided to stroll into a Chipotle eatery with long guns slung over their shoulders. Two members also posted pictures of themselves posing with their guns onto social media, which caught the attention of rabid anti-gun group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Moms Demand Action went to the media with the photo, and started an intensive “Burritos Not Bullets” campaign, which quickly encouraged Chipotle to issue a statement asking customers to no longer bring guns into their restaurants. It’s Starbucks 2.0. And enough is enough: it’s time for organizations like Open Carry Texas to either straighten up or go away. They’ve consistently given gun owners a bad name, and hurt the gun rights cause far more than they help it.
Open Carry Texas founder CJ Grisham has a history of being in the center of scandals and drama. Most notable is his longstand feud with washed up war journalist Michael Yon. While Michael Yon spent years stalking and harrassing Grisham and his family, Grisham was far from a blameless victim, rising to the occasion to continually attack Yon. If it seemed like the issue was fading into the background, it would mysteriously get brought back to the forefront again. This is because CJ Grisham thrives on drama, enjoys the attention it brings, and happily plays the martyr time and time again.
It’s worth pointing out that Grisham has been arrested multiple times. Each time, he claims he was completely innocent and was just being bullied by the big, bad, corrupt system. He was demoted from first sergeant to master sergeant after complaints from his children’s school board, where during a discussion about school uniforms, he stood up on his seat, yelled, and slammed his fist. The school principal, along with the school board superintendent, reported receiving complaints from other parents. In typical Grisham fashion, he responded by going to the school board again, but this time with the media in tow.
Most well-known is his arrest for “rudely displaying a rifle”, which spawned Open Carry Texas.
What happened prior to the arrest, though, is significant. Grisham had gone before the Temple City Council with a gun rights resolution that would state that second amendment rights would not be infringed upon. The mayor encouraged him to take up the issue with state and federal lawmakers, leading Grisham to write the following on his blog:
This response only tells me one thing: the mayor and/or council thinks I’m the only one that cares about this. Well, I’m going to change that. I have only been emboldened to work harder and prove to the council that this is an issue that the citizens of Temple care deeply about and we want to hear from our elected officials what their specific stand is. I will pack the council meetings with like-minded citizens that also care about the downward spiral of this country and its continuing encroachments upon our rights. If the council won’t listen to me, maybe they’ll listen to all of us!
Three days later, he was arrested and Open Carry Texas was born. He was charged with the misdemeanor of ‘interfering with a peace officer while performing his duty’ — and eventually found guilty. Meanwhile, he catapaulted himself into the national spotlight, raked in tens of thousands of dollars in donations, and, as usual, boo-hooed about how he was just the poor, innocent victim in the situation. The police officer — no, not just the police officer, but the entire Temple Police Department, and all of the Temple city officials! — was just out to get him.
Surpise of all surprises, Grisham was arrested again not long after that scandal died down. This time, it was at an official Open Carry Texas event at the Texas Capitol on Veterans Day. The group was protesting on the north side of the building, while at the same time, a ceremony on the south side was taking place honoring Texas veterans. You are not allowed to openly carry handguns in Texas, only long guns — so naturally, OCT just had to address this horrific injustice at the capitol. Several members of OCT had old black powder handguns with them, which Grisham claims are legal to carry if the gun was made before 1899. Grisham was also carrying a gun, but it was a toy gun, chosen because Grisham expected to be arrested. True to form, Grisham once again played the victim, whining about how he was assaulted, always acting a martyr. He completely ignores the fact that he intentionally brought the toy gun for the sole purpose of tricking police officers so that he would be arrested and could, once again, have his name splashed across the headlines.
This is the man who founded Open Carry Texas. Considering his penchant for finding trouble everywhere he goes, it’s to be expected that an organization he founded would be rife with drama and scandal. There was this lovely photo op of two kids posing with rifles, one with his finger on the trigger. OCT is all about gun safety, you know.
And who could forget the nationwide scandal when Starbucks politely asked guests to stop bringing guns into their stores? Starbucks originally tried to stay neutral in the gun debate, with their position being that they complied with state laws. If a state allowed citizens to open carry, then Starbucks allowed them to bring guns into their stores. Not content to merely exercise their rights quietly and like mature adults, some gun rights advocates decided that they needed to force Starbucks’ hand. They would descend en masse to their cafes, long guns slung over their shoulders, treating their guns like toys and props in a play. Of course, CJ Grisham was one of these people:
Now they’re doing it all over again at Chipotle. OCT held an event, and afterwards, they decided they wanted to eat. So naturally, they had to bring their guns in with them, because everyone knows that people are physically incapable of eating without a rifle slung over their shoulder. Why did they choose to take their guns into Chipotle? Well, because they could! And not only that, but they had to pose for pictures and post them on social media:
To me this bullying and “in-your-face” tactics is no different than what we’ve seen over the past few years from gays and transsexuals who want to cram their flamboyant lifestyle choices down our throats, so to speak. Those tactics worked against their movement and it will work against law abiding gun owners who conceal our weapons and keep our mouths shut about it. In fact when I see someone open carrying, I wonder why they couldn’t get a concealed weapon permit.
What CJ Grisham and his OCT acolytes seem incapable of understanding is that making people feel intimidated, or scared, or uncomfortable, isn’t going to convince them to back gun rights. And as much as they may claim that only anti-gun nuts feel that way, they know it isn’t true deep down. Grisham wouldn’t feel the need to warn managers of establishments before open carrying in them if they didn’t know that their actions rub people the wrong way. What their actions do is make groups like Moms Demand Action look sane. People who didn’t have a dog in the gun rights fight will look at these two assclowns, and then they’ll look at Moms Demand Action, and who comes off as looking more reasonable? It takes a lot of work to make Moms Demand Action look reasonable, too, but Grisham and OCT are up to the challenge. Brandishing an AK47 or an SKS in a restaurant filled with families just looking to eat burritos does nothing except assuage the egos of idiots who are overcompensating for something. It’s immature posturing for attention by a bunch of drama queens who aren’t content to quietly exercise their right to bear arms. But then, they were taught how to milk drama and publicity for everything it’s worth from the best. Their in-your-face tactics do nothing but give anti-gun nuts like Moms Demand Action plenty of ammo to use against us, and encourages anti-gun legislation. Large groups of people invading Starbucks or Chipotle aggressively sporting long guns — you know, since they have to make sure that everyone notices they have guns and all — doesn’t help the gun rights cause. They paint gun owners as stereotypical fools, when most of us don’t want to associated with assclowns who feel the need to force our guns down everyone else’s throats.
Forbes, as well as other sites, have repeatedly mentioned that the two men depicted in the latest photo are “reportedly unrelated to Open Carry Texas.” This seems to be not quite true. Emily Grisham, wife of OCT founder CJ Grisham, had this to say on Facebook in their defense:
“I’m pretty close to people who are here, too. Closer, in fact. As in knowing them. As in just having dinner with the people that were there.”
We asked Kory Watkins, head of Open Carry Tarrant County, about the two men in the photo.
“As far as I know, they are Open Carry Texas members, they’re from the Dallas chapter…I believe it was their first [open carry] walk, they were kind of new to everything, and they took a picture. I mean, we’ve been taking thousands of pictures just like this all across the state for over a year so it’s really no different than any other picture I’ve seen.”
When asked if OCT vets their members, Watkins said no.
“No, I mean, if it’s a bad guy, it’s gonna be a bad guy, and we’ve never had that in more than a year of our walks.”
One of the men in the photo owns a Facebook page under the name Flakoo Delcampo, and until it was sanitized last night, offered some very interesting insights. This article has screen prints of the posts. (It should be mentioned that the article itself is absolutely ridiculous, with easily proven lies and half-truths. We in no way believe the article to be even remotely factual. That being said, the post images speak for themselves.):
“I wanna Smoke Sum Kushh so Badd…But fuckk that…My Babys need me And Not sitting behind barzz….Maintaining…”
“Youngg enough too still Sell Dopee…But Old Enoughh..i Knows betterr..”
“I really apreciate My Friends For being Bitch ass Niggas Made me apreciate da Nigga Within Myself”
I specifically asked Watkins about these posts and the type of message it sends about OCT. His first reaction was that “Who knows? It could’ve been one of their people acting like our people. The Left is really smart.”
VG: “Is it your position that the Facebook account that originally posted the photo does not belong to the guy?”
Watkins: “Absolutely not. That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that there’s…it could be. What it could be is that somebody…I don’t even know what the original statement was.”
VG: “…When you look at this type of history, does it make you think twice about having this guy as a member?”
Watkins: “The only thing that we can do is educate our members to not give the Left ammo to make us look like people that we’re not. We’ve been doing this for over a year now and no one’s ever broken a law, no one’s ever been hurt, nothing. So, as far as our side goes, you know, we’re just going to keep what we’re doing, and if something like that happens…you know, people have their own Facebook page and they’re entitled to their own posts. We’re not going to sit here and babysit everybody. People do and think and feel different, and they’re entitled to do and say as they please on their Facebook.”
VG: Even if it reflects poorly on your organization?
Watkins: “You know, if somebody’s talking about smoking whatever, they’re entitled to whatever they wanna post. I mean, they’re not saying that they’re going around representing Open Carry Texas and smoking it, what they do on their free time is their free time. It’s just like somebody saying they’re going and having a glass or wine or beer. I mean, alcohol is way more dangerous than smoking kush. I’m not getting into people’s personal lives.”
Watkins is right that they cannot babysit people. That being said, even if the organization chooses not to vet their members — certainly their prerogative — there should be a line of what kind of conduct is allowed, not so that they control people, but so the organization is not given a black mark for the conduct of their members. Unfortunately, the fact that this particular member thinks of himself as a gangsta wanna-be does nothing to promote the safe and responsible image that OCT wishes to project. The fact that this member is still in good standing and even recently dined with the founder shows that while they may not be openly endorsing such things, they’re certainly not condemning it either.
Not every member of OCT is an attention-seeking drama queen. Not every member thinks they have a “Nigga Within” themselves. Some of them are decent people who honestly believe that carrying long guns in public will help change society’s belief about guns. They’re entitled to that opinion, and entitled to exercise it. Unfortunately for them, whatever positive effect they could have had is far eclipsed by the negative attention that their pet morons have brought and will continue to bring upon them.
It should be noted that we are pro-gun ourselves. We own guns, love them, and wholeheartedly believe in their necessity. We are also, however, firm believers in responsibility. The people of Texas would be far better served by OCT focusing all of its attention on the fight to carry handguns. They could be sponsoring classes on gun safety or the Second Amendment. They could even hold events where people can choose to come and view the guns, learn about the 2A, and become familiar with the idea in a safe and non-threatening environment. Instead, they’re allowing some kush smoker who thinks he’s Rambo to be their national face. They’re forcing the general public to be a part of the exercise whether they want to or not. As for me, I’ll continue carrying… concealed. Restaurants don’t need to know I’m carrying, and neither does anyone else.