Local rallies organized to carry unloaded weapons

by on August 27, 2009 · 26 comments

in Civil Rights, Organizing, San Diego, Veterans

Gerald Reaster holstered his 9 mm revolver. He said that he will give police the location of his gun rallies 5 minutes beforehand. (John Gastaldo / Union-Tribune) -

Local Vet Organizes “Open-Carry” Rallies

By Angela Lau / Union-Tribune /August 27, 2009

A retired Navy petty officer in Escondido is organizing weekly rallies for next month during which people are encouraged to bring unloaded guns to highlight the right to openly carry the firearms.

Gerald Reaster, 69, said he is asserting his Second Amendment rights and the freedom to carry unloaded firearms openly without a license, as allowed by state law. A permit is needed, however, to carry a concealed weapon.

“I am a disabled vet, a member of the American Legion, a good patriot. The older I am, the more I see the need for self-defense,” Rester said.

He plans to gather a group of like-minded people to show up at the rallies with their unloaded guns.

The “open-carry” movement started several years ago and caught the public’s attention recently when a dozen people carried unconcealed handguns outside a speaking event by President Barack Obama in Phoenix.

Reaster said he has not decided on the locations of the weekly rallies, the first of which is scheduled for Tuesday, but he said he will notify the Escondido police five minutes before the rallies.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

jon August 27, 2009 at 1:33 pm

I’ve started carrying a knife-handle for my own protection. No blade. Just the handle. You never know when you’re gonna get robbed by someone with an un-loaded gun. So better to be on the stupid, er…safe side!


annagrace August 27, 2009 at 2:40 pm

How do we break it to Mr. Reaster that it is good patriots like ourselves who vote and pay taxes to make sure that our disabled Vets have government sponsored vet coverage and benefits to their families through Tricare; that it is patriots like ourselves who vote and pay taxes to make sure that a 69 year old non-vet would have Medicare.

Mr. Reaster- what are you afraid of?


Gerald Reaster August 27, 2009 at 9:18 pm

I would like to answer jon and annagrace comments.

I carry an unloaded gun as a protest against the erosion of our Constitutional Rights under The Second Amendment, not for protection.
I use Pepper Spray for protection right now, jon, get a blade for your knife.

annagrace, I served my country for almost 20 years and defended your right to make snide remarks about things you obviously know nothing about, Patroitism.
Were you in the service and know what it means to serve your country?

Do you think you are the only person who pays taxes and votes. I probably have voted more times than the amount of years you have been alive and paid more taxes than a salary you will make in 10 years.

You call me a old non-vet but without old vets like me you would not have the luxury of saying things without thinking.

I am a Veteran!

What am I afraid of? People like you undereducated, opinionated and un-thankful for the Liberties you have because of the efforts of us old vets.

Who do you want to protect your constitutional Rights, jon or a Veteran?


Frank Gormlie August 27, 2009 at 11:06 pm

Gerald – you are insulting patriots, my friend, as both Anna and Jon are patriots – I know them both. You insult people you know nothing about. You don’t know how they serve their communities and their country. By insulting them, you do a disservice to the armed forces you were once part of.

You move to protect yourself from unknown ghosts. What erosion of the Second Amendment? (But just as an aside, why do good Americans need assault rifles? Not to hunt deer.) You’ve been scared into thinking President Obama is going to take away your guns. And now you’re so mad you’re organizing others to show up with guns. IF anything, there is more support for the right to bear arms now than before.

So, you are afraid of people like Anna? Is that why you’re packing? Because of people like Anna? If you really knew her, you’d smack yourself silly for fearing her.

Hey, Gerald, what about our other freedoms? Like, the First Amendment? Where were you when Pres. Bush was taking those away from us? And the Fourth Amendment? Where were you when the Repusican dominated Supreme Court was taking those rights away?

Gerald, are you getting ready to take action with your guns? That’s the question. Are you getting ready to use your weapons on the very Americans you so proudly protected over these years?


Brian August 27, 2009 at 11:16 pm

Gerald, what do you hope to accomplish with your protests? When I saw the fella in AZ carrying the AR-15, all I could think was that the end result of his actions would be quite the opposite of what he wanted. Probably a lot of AZ folks weren’t aware it was legal to openly carry loaded firearms around, and while I’m not advocating keeping laws a secret, making yourself a national news story for a week is bound to generate some reactionary calls to local lawmakers. Congratulations gun enthusiast, you’ve put yourself at risk for more restrictive laws.

Then I read this article… and I think, “What’s the worst case scenario?” Well, let’s say your protests are a resounding success. Scores of unloaded gun-toting flashmobs break out throughout the county. Californians, who for better or worse lean more towards gun-control than Arizonans, become concerned. Everyone loves some knee-jerk legislation. “We’ve gotta put a stop to these ‘gun nuts’!”

Could motivated Californians get behind a law that prevents the sort of open carry you plan to flaunt? What would such a law mean? If I lawfully buy a weapon from a reputable dealer, do I need a police escort to bring it home? Or do I need to register myself with the government… get a permit?

Is the scenario I’ve described realistic? I dunno. Maybe not. But, did you consider it?

The bottom line is, I don’t see how protest where large numbers of folks openly carry firearms in populated areas of California leads to *fewer* firearms restrictions. If that’s your goal, I think you may wan to reconsider your strategy.


Brian August 27, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Mr. Gormlie-

I would submit that the 2nd Amendment is not about hunting deer. Rather, it is about protecting the populace’s right to overthrow their government if necessary. The first thing a tyrannical government must do to maintain control is disarm the population. If the government is the only one that’s armed, it’s a lot easier to start chipping away at other freedoms.

Naturally, I’m sure that sort of statement sounds “dangerous” to some folks. Allow me to make clear, I am in *no way* advocating violence against the government (and certainly not innocent people) at this time. Flawed as our government may be in my eyes, I still believe there are many peaceful ways to bring about change through its current structure. I’m merely stating my opinion as to why the 2nd amendment exists and is important.


Brian August 27, 2009 at 11:25 pm

Er… I would never advocate violence towards innocent people. I fear my wording got a bit awkward.


annagrace August 27, 2009 at 11:40 pm

Hold on there. If you were quoted correctly, your statement was “the older I am the more I see the need for self-defense?” Exactly who or what do you need self-defense from? You refer to the Second Amendment to the Constitution. What do you have to say about the First Amendment? We also have First Amendment rights to participate in our democracy without concern for physical retribution. It is the primary amendment because America was first and foremost created not as a gun-owner’s haven, but as a place to shelter citizens from oppression.” If you remain vague on the issue of “self-defense” I emphasize again that I have the right be free of an oppressive, intimidating environment as a citizen.

And I am sorry that you missed the point that I show I my own patriotism (and sir, members of the military do not have the sole rights to that designation) by making sure that I vote for candidates and issues that will PROTECT benefits to veterans and their families; and I am willing to put my money where my mouth is by accepting the taxes we need to pay to make sure people have those benefits. Those are precisely the kinds of things I want my taxes to go to- among a whole host of other public services such as medicare, public education, public parks etc.

I don’t get it- you are holding citizen consciousness raising groups to remind them that they have the right to bear arms. I watch the news and read the news and it seems that there is a great deal of gun consciousness raising going on right now. Why do you suppose that is?

We try to have a public discourse on health care reform and it becomes all about the right to own and carry guns. I hope that you are a responsible gun owner, but you have to admit that situations have heated up in a way that doesn’t reflect particularly well on those defending guns. The death of a guard at the Holocaust museum, the death of Dr. Tiller, I can go on and on… Any thoughts on those deaths?

I appreciate it that you have served our country as a Vet. What you protected Mr. Reaster is my and other people’s right to work for a democratic society, a just society, a society that is principled. That is the way we make sure that the sacrifices of others were not in vain.


Frank Gormlie August 27, 2009 at 11:43 pm

Brian, sure I agree with you re: the 2nd Amendment. Of course it is. My point to Gerald is ‘what about our other freedoms that are just as important?’ It’s not like the 2nd is above the 1st or the 4th or ….

And why now? Why now is Gerald and folks like him organizing gun rallies. It’s part intimidation and part ignorance and part racism. I believe Gerald, the Birthers, those ranting at health care forums cannot accept the reality that the majority of Americans spoke last November and we elected Barack Obama. Get over it, I say to these people.

And again, for the umpteenth time, where were you during King George’s Reign of Lies, Deceit, Corruption and Death, for god sakes??!! People of conscience were forced to ponder the rise of a martial law state under Bush.

Obviously, if you liked GWB then you’re not going to agree here.

Lastly, Gerald, why aren’t you proudly guarding the President and the Constitution which you say you so mightily served during your stint in the military? By bringing guns to rallies, you inflame and incite our nation. You threaten the rest of us. By jesus, and we’re not deer.


Molly August 27, 2009 at 11:47 pm

“By jesus, and we’re not deer.” I like that. That’s right. We don’t eat tree leafs. And we’re not sheep, either. We don’t grow wool.

Okay, Frank, why the comparisons to other animals? I guess it’s the response you got when you asked why people would want assault rifles. Bambi don’t surf.

No, I get it. Deer don’t shoot back, is that it?


Brian August 27, 2009 at 11:51 pm


I don’t think the “you” in your third paragraph and beyond was directed at me… but, FWIW I was not/am not a Bush supporter. My ears did perk up a couple times when his office floated the idea of eliminating the income tax… but, as I recall, that was the limit of my interest in the man.


Frank Gormlie August 27, 2009 at 11:55 pm

Anna- you’re so more eloquent than I.
Brian – you’re right – I was directing my fire (no pun) at Gerald. Okay on your support or non-support for gwb – who I really believe will be looked at by history as one of our worst presidents.
Molly, thanks for trying to bring some levity to the discussion – it was I admit getting a little heavy and serious. Geez! Imagine that!


Rick August 28, 2009 at 7:27 am

Jon, you are a genius. When carrying an “unloaded” weapon, that simply means that the ammunition is not inserted or otherwise attached to the weapon to facilitate firing the weapon. You can open carry “unloaded” and carry the ammunition and be just as effective, and still be in compliance of the law. Your comment about a “knife handle” is ignorant to say the least. If you are an eleven year old, or thereabouts, I apologize for being short with you. If you are indeed an adult, then you need to grow up, and maybe try making a grown up comment…


Dave Gilbert August 28, 2009 at 8:45 am

Loaded or not, isn’t brandishing a weapon simply and purely about intimidating your fellow human beings?


jon August 28, 2009 at 9:03 am

I enjoy using humor to get a point across. Sometimes I guess I just ain’t funny. You apparently enjoy using more blatant insults. Whatever? I still think it’s a pretty foolish premise and I fail to see what point is going to be made by “open carrying.” Other than to intimidate the general public. How do I know you don’t intend to use that unloaded gun on me? Besides, if it’s for self-defense, my bet is the criminal with a LOADED weapon will get the jump on you every time. He’s probably not gonna wait for you to load your weapon you ding-dong. Nobody here wants to take your precious little guns away. You are rallying against a non-existent boogey man created by right-wing republican lies designed to instill fear in you. Fear is a very powerful tool. You are the ignorant one for buying into that fear and the idea that your 2nd amendment rights are somehow being taken from you. So…what’s YOUR point genius? Sorry for being “short” with you, but when you attack me with nothing else to say other than you think I’m a stupid-head 11 year old, I must defend myslef by saying you’re a ninny-poo-poo-face. How’s that for a grown up comment?

As for Mr. Reaster…not much I can say that hasn’t already been said here. I think Brian really nailed it when he talks about drawing to much negative attention to yourself by carrying your guns around public meetings and such. You may end up with a self-fulfilling prophecy.


jon August 28, 2009 at 9:18 am

Oh yes, and although I appreciate your service and have the utmost respect for all of our current and former service men and women, that does not give you sole ownership of the title “patriot.” There are countless civilians who day in and day out strive to make this country and this world a better place for all.

As I re-read my initial “snide” comment. The only thing I would change would be the use of the word “stupid.” I don’t mean to imply that you are stupid. But the thought of a bunch of old white guys carrying around unloaded guns on their holsters with ammo at the ready in my town is my idea of hell on earth. That frightens me way more than the prospect of getting healthcare for every American.


jettyboy August 28, 2009 at 10:57 am

I’d really like all these so called patriots who are so terrified if the erosion of our rights to BE SPECIFIC, exactly what rights have you seen being removed? Let me repeat for you slow learners.
SPECIFICALLY WHAT RIGHTS HAVE BEEN REMOVED FROM YOU? Lets hear it. My bet is you can’t tell us, and you will make an attempt to change the topic or just post some idiotic babble you read on line that has absolutely no basis in fact. I dare you to answer with facts, not delusions.


Dave Gilbert August 28, 2009 at 11:12 am

Lot’s of solid points in this thread, I’m glad that people are able to discuss this with a minimal of name calling….

I too thank Mr. Reaster for serving our county and fighting for our freedom. My Father is an ex-Marine and served in Korea so I understand a bit of where you’re coming from. I know that in boot camp you were broken down and then remade into a lean mean fighting machine and that your best friend in battle was your firearm. I get all of that.

What I don’t get is how any good can come from wearing an empty gun at your side. The gang-banger that you want to protect yourself from has a loaded AK-47, so I don’t see how an unloaded 9mm, .38 Detective Special or the like is of any use to you, but I do see how it come become your determent.

In this day and age people must be able to have a dialog in order to settle their differences. This isn’t the Wild West and you or I aren’t Billy the Kid. That said, I have no problem shooting my Pop’s .38 (except for how f’n loud it is) at targets or beer cans, (out of city limits of course) it’s fun and even considered a skill. I certainly would never raise a gun to another human or animal though. That’s probably the reason I don’t feel the need to carry one.

I also thought Jon’s initial response was funny, but realize that not everyone has the same sense of humor. Let’s keep the lines of communication open.


PSD August 28, 2009 at 11:03 pm

“…I must defend myslef by saying you’re a ninny-poo-poo-face.”

Jon, while I found your first post amusing as with most of your witty repartee (above-quoted ‘insult’ included), I must advise that if there’s a troll leaving piles of crap on the discussion threads solely to incite argument, it’s best not to feed it any laxatives.


annagrace August 28, 2009 at 11:19 pm

Jon- your humor, in the time honored political tradition of parody, hyperbole and satire (remember Swift’s Modest Proposal for the Prevention of Cruelty to Irish Children?) is important and refreshing and you make me laugh.

So why do I have to choose between Jon and a Vet when it comes to protecting my constitutional rights? Why not both?


jaymzz August 29, 2009 at 8:08 pm

Being a vet is [un]fortunately not enough excuse for being an idiot. besides, a mere fact that one served their country in military doesn’t make one a patriot. there’re plenty of ways to serve, many of them on voluntary UNPAID bases, that are as patriotic, if not more. vets got their education, training and services PAID FOR by us, the tax payers, which doesn’t give them any right to look down upon the public. they chose to serve and turned service into a career, including a shootload of those who wouldn’t have had a career if it weren’t for military, and got taken care of in ways average citizen often only dreams of. u certainly sound like one of those, gerald. i can’t care less about how much you paid in taxes and how many times you voted. i can’t care less who U think U are. if it wasn’t for me and my taxes, you’d likely be what you were before you joined the military, a nobody! so let me just say, you’re not welcome! and let me point out one more thing: your military experience certainly doesn’t make you an expert on what is and is not constitutional. and don’t even make me start on health care. savvy..?!


jettyboy August 30, 2009 at 9:36 am

I see none of the “oh my god wer’e losing all our rights” racists can answer. What a suprise, I’m soooo shocked!!!


jon September 1, 2009 at 10:32 pm

Gerald and his gun-toting whacko buddies went on a little anxiety inducing field trip to the mall today. They walked around with their guns, got some $4.00 lattes and silently intimidated everybody in the mall. Congratulations on being San Diego county’s #1 assholes of the day Gerry and pals!

“I’m not one of these paranoid pistol wavers,” Reaster said. “But the stark reality is that some people have no regard for the law.”

Um…no sir, you most definitely are a paranoid pistol waver. You cannot be serious with that quote. What planet did you grow up on?



jon September 1, 2009 at 10:37 pm

Oh, and by the way…I don’t want to take peoples guns away. I support your right to have them. But enough is enough! You do not get to carry them out in a mall around my children! Well…ok, I don’t have children. But if I did, I sure wouldn’t let you around them! (with your guns)


Lane Tobias September 2, 2009 at 8:47 am

that article in the UT was slanted in favor of portraying these gun toters in a positive light, yet almost all the quotes they pulled from people who were there portrayed people who felt intimidated and that the action was completely inappropriate. Read the article and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Really – what is the point? Carrying an unloaded weapon to starbucks, getting all these caffeinated people riled up, for an UNEVENTFUL event that even managed to piss off people who support the right to bear arms.

Blatant disregard for the common good always ends badly. Guns only have one purpose – to maim and/or kill. If you want to maim/kill someone who breaks in your house, thats one thing. To show everyone at a strip mall that you CAN do that to them if you just took a second and loaded a clip, thats not just intimidation – thats a threat. And it shouldn’t be legal. Really, I mean, who is that paranoid that they need to feel safer by having an unloaded weapon on them?


jon September 2, 2009 at 8:59 am

And mace Lane! Don’t forget the mace! This guy either pissed off someone in the mafia, or thinks he lives in east LA!


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