Letter: 1974 Gay Freedom Day redux

The QSaltLake-sponsored 40-year Utah Gay Freedom Day event at City Creek Canyon was fun, inclusive and had no VIPs!

That night, I read an online commentary. It described the recently bizarre position that the National Rifle Association of America Inc. found itself in when one of its staffers criticized its own members for protesting Texas laws which provide for the possession of unconcealed rifles, but not handguns as most states do.

The laws require Texans, who say that they would choose to enjoy the visual deterent to violent crime that comes with their open carry of a handgun for their self defense, to carry it concealed or openly carry a rifle, which the laws allow. Handguns may only be possessed if they are concealed. Utah law allows for the open carry of either type of firearm as long as it is holstered or encased, but, aside from protests and rallies, very few Utahns openly carry rifles.

What I liked about the online commentary is its comparison with “civil rights activists [who] have repeatedly been compelled to engage in constitutionally protected behavior that made others uncomfortable.” It described my Gay Freedom Day with longtime and current Utah LGBT activists who found some humor with my repeated compulsion to engage in constitutionally protected behavior which might have made others uncomfortable. Maybe they understood the similarity between our past when hundreds who rioted outside a New York bar made others throughout the nation uncomfortable, and our ongoing attempts to protect against violent crimes.

In the end, I suspect that everyone at the event considered my openly carried firearm as intentionally symbolic, but otherwise harmless. That is the way it should be among people who say that they support (but don’t always include) the Constitution for the United States of America.

David Nelson
Millcreek, Utah


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