Open-Carry Gun Activists Try a New Tack: Going Topless

In Austin, it's legal to walk around with a rifle, and it's also totally cool to stroll with your breasts exposed.

(Photo: 'Topless MDA Supporters Expose All'/YouTube)

Staff Writer Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

Over the past few months open-carry gun activists in Texas sure have exercised their right to walk around with rifles on full display. They’ve ordered burritos at fast-food chains such as Chipotle and carried assault weapons in the baby aisle at Target. Now two incredible women in Austin are showing the firearm advocates that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

In Austin, it’s totally legal for women to go around topless. So last Saturday, two longtime residents, Phyllis Masters and her friend Lola, showed up with their breasts exposed at the monthly march of the open-carry group Come and Take It Texas. To make carrying a gun in public seem like a normal activity, group members parade around the Texas statehouse holding their weapons.

“Now, unlike the wave of people who advocate for their second amendment rights by waving around their guns, I don't normally go shopping without my shirt on—it's a matter of basic respect for others,” explained Masters in an op-ed for the Guardian. “But since these ammo-sexuals feel it necessary to exercise their right to take a gun out for a date, Lola and I decided to exercise our own.”

The topless duo showed up at the open-carry rally carrying signs that said, “You realize that everyone thinks you’re overcompensating for your teeny tiny ‘gun’ right?” and “Boobs for peace.” Masters writes that the weapons advocates immediately began to try to intimidate them and started making insulting comments about their breasts.

“The cracks about my tits were too funny: yes, boys, they hang! I fed three kids with them, and I am almost 47 years old,” wrote Masters. “They are not perfect, nor do I wish them to be: my breasts are mine and we get along very well, thank you very much.”

The gun activists also accused the two women of being paid to protest and of working for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, the grassroots organization that was started after the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre in 2012. The organization was instrumental in getting Target, Chipotle, and other companies to create policies that advise open-carry advocates not to bring guns on premises. "Paying us to protest topless? I have friends that would pay me to keep my tits covered," she wrote.

Masters quickly realized that trying to argue with the gun fans wasn't productive, and she came to the conclusion that the rally is about scaring people. 

 “For all their claims about the constitution and their right to carry guns whenever and where ever they want—and our need to just get used to it—the people who participated in the open-carry protest do not stand for freedom,” wrote Masters. “They are just there to intimidate anyone who disagrees with them.”

Masters and her friend Lola plan to show up at the statehouse in Austin next month for the open-carry rally, and they’d love some supportive company. “Toplessness won't be required, but it sure does make some ammo-sexuals angry,” she wrote. 

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