Oh, sure. I know what you’re thinking. Just after Martin Albright posted a well-reasoned, rational argument against Open Carry, here comes another article with a contrarian view. Will the madness never end? Why can’t we all just get along? When will Kozak stop shooting off his mouth?

Ahem. (Short answer: never.) Well, strictly speaking I do not disagree with Brother Albright. (Even if I did, I wouldn’t. It’s the unwritten 13th Commandment for TTAG writers: Thou Shalt Not Flame a Fellow TTAG Scribe in Public.) But I happen to think he makes some valid points. However (and this is a big “however”), I think we’re asking the wrong question, or more to the point, we’re dealing with the wrong issue. Let me explain . . .

I am a marketing guy by trade. I deal in the worlds of spin, MarketingSpeak, and mendacity. In short, I create, design, conceive, and shovel a compelling line of B.S., designed to make you, the consumer, part with the Benjamins for whatever product I’m hawking. As such I know how the game is played, and brother, lemme tell you, we is ALL gettin’ played.

You see, rule number one for social engineering types is to tell everyone that there’s complete agreement on something that is actually up for spirited debate. When you do this, you make anybody who objects sound like nincompoop, straight off the banana boat from the Land of Ludd.

For example, when Al Bore Gore says “all the science on ‘climate change’ settled…all the scientists agree that it’s a fact,” look out, boys cuz you just been bamboozled. In point of fact, there are plenty of highly-regarded climate scientists who strongly disagree with the idea that global warming is a “fact” or that the discussion has been settled. But when Gore says this, it’s not to encourage an open discourse. It’s to shut down debate.

Rule number two for social engineers is to then offer up two choices to fix the problem at hand. You saw this recently with the healthcare debate. The Progressives said Everyone agrees that the system is broken and must be fixed. Therefore, we must fix it NOW…we must either fix it, or doom millions of Americans to suffer painful deaths from the total breakdown of the nation’s healthcare system.

Sounds pretty dire, doesn’t it? It’s called “framing the debate,” as in “set the terms of the discussion so that you define and control the point of view, so it’s favorable to your own position.” But if you don’t accept the argument about the system being broken (Broken for whom? Those that have health care are generally pretty satisfied, especially now that they are finding out how the system is changing under ObamaCare), then it’s impossible to accept that there are only two choices: the equivalent of swatting flies with a bazooka, or making like an ostrich and waiting for disaster to strike.

The gun control debate is a lot like that. In the Clinton Years, the Progressives coined a term – “assault rifle” – that was, frankly, a masterstroke in spin. These guys completely changed the debate from “why is one gun inherently more dangerous than another” to “we must ban ASSAULT weapons! NOW!” Before the “assault weapons” moniker was applied, an AR15 or AK47 was just another semi-auto weapon. Afterwards, in the hivemind of the public, they are to guns what a Hummer H1 is to fuel-efficient automobiles. And don’t even get me started on what in Hell is a “Saturday Night Special.”

So because our gun rights had been all but lost from the 1920s through the 1990s, the fans of the 2nd Amendment had to go on the offensive. Over the course of a decade, state after state passed laws that allowed qualified citizens to carry weapons.

Think about that. States passed laws that would permit you to exercise a right that the U.S. Constitution guarantees you as an inalienable right. Huh? Yet, because of the nature of how are laws are enacted and interpreted, that’s the situation in which we find ourselves. And now, we on the 2nd side o’ things find ourselves arguing over if we should have the right to open carry or be restricted to concealed carry.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Well, for one thing, I believe most, if not all current State laws and regulations are unconstitutional, simply because they attempt to regulate the purchase, possession and use of guns by citizens who have not broken any laws. Now understand, I’m all for laws that will keep guns out of the hands of mental patients, felons, gang members, and those that are too young (or frankly, too old) to responsibly handle a firearm. But that’s where my enthusiasm for firearms regulation ends.

You see, the minute you allow a government to impinge on a right, you start down a slippery slope. It’s a miracle that we’ve seen the pendulum swing back towards sanity in the last decade, and away from the knee-jerk “all guns are evil” mantra of the left. But without eternal vigilance, it CAN happen here.

Take Texas, for example. Now you’d think that, given our reputation in the rest of the 49 states (or 56 states if you’re in the Oval Office), Texas would be wide open for open carry. And you’d be wrong. In fact, open carry is completely banned for civilians in the Lone Star State. Concealed carry is banned in schools, hospitals, bars, restaurants that derive more than 51% of their income from alcohol (believe it or not, this is known by it’s real statute number as the “30-ought Six” law), and any place that posts a sign to ban them.

In Austin and other liberal enclaves they call these places “Gun Free Zones.” I prefer to call them what they are (which is coincidentally the way most psychopaths think of them), “Target-Rich Environments.” While i certainly understand the law’s aim to keep guns out of the hands of drunks, it also means that when I go play a gig in some bar, I have to go in unarmed. Do you really think a drunk is going to hesitate to bring a gun in to a bar, just because some sign says don’t do it? Not on this or any other planet.

So the Left has us all chasing our tails. What we should be doing is to talking about a complete retooling of State laws that would ban gun ownership for criminals, those diagnosed as having a “mental defect,” the very young, and that’s about it. Period. End of story. Anything else is legal.

Now before you say, “that’s insane and irresponsible,” hear me out. If this kind of law passed, what would you see? I think you’d see something very similar to the kinds of things that go on right now is distant lands with mysterious, exotic names like “Vermont” and “Alaska.” What Martin fails to mention is that there are already states that have open carry laws, and nobody seems to be treating it as the second coming of Matt Dillon or the little picnic they had back in the day at the OK Coral.

So let’s recap, shall we? The U.S. Constitution guarantees us the right to arm ourselves. State laws have created a patchwork quilt of regulations that range from “shall issue” to “don’t hold your breath.” And many of the regulations in even the least restrictive laws fail the McDonald and Heller litmus tests.

So I think it’s time to fix this. While we have the momentum. While people are turned sharply away from the ObamaNation’s Progressive policies. And while we still have the collective will to stand up for ourselves and protect our rights.

This is not an issue of open versus concealed. It is an issue that speaks to the heart of a philosophical chasm between pro- and anti-gun factions. Do our rights come from the people where we allow our government to make laws, or do our rights come from a government where they decide which ones we get to keep, and for how long, under which conditions.

Campers, the choice is clear. Open carry versus concealed is a little bit of misdirection from the political Left. The real issue is does the government work for us, or we from them.

Remember in November.

14 Responses to Open Carry vs. Concealed Carry? Wrong Question . . .

  1. Well, for one thing, I believe most, if not all current State laws and regulations are unconstitutional, simply because they attempt to regulate the purchase, possession and use of guns by citizens who have not broken any laws.

    Well, Brad, that's a popular opinion among the gun-owning cognoscenti, but from a legal standpoint it's just flat out wrong. MacDonald and Heller both affirmed the fact that "reasonable" (the law's favorite word, BTW) gun laws are OK. It's only the "unreasonable" ones that offend the Constitution.

    Now understand, I’m all for laws that will keep guns out of the hands of mental patients, felons, gang members, and those that are too young (or frankly, too old) to responsibly handle a firearm. But that’s where my enthusiasm for firearms regulation ends.

    Okay, now I'm confused. Can the right to bear arms be "infringed" or not? And what constitutes an "infringement", anyway? Why is a law requiring that you show an ID an "infringement" but a law that prohibits a "gang member" (whatever that means) not an infringement? Does the .gov get to define what a 'gang member' is? Is the 'gang member' prohibition for life, or just as long as the person is in a 'gang?' And what is a 'gang' anyway? Does the Nutjob Militia in Resume Speed, Montana qualify as a 'gang?' (And if you want to accuse me of splitting hairs, yes, I am, because that's what the law does. It splits hairs. It has to take into account all possible permutations of an otherwise reasonable sounding law.) If you take the position that the 2nd amendment means that the government cannot, in any way, restrict your right to own and carry whatever weapon you want, wherever you want, why draw the line at felons, the mentally ill, or minors? After all, felons don't lose their other Constitutional rights, with the exception of the right to vote, which they can petition to get back.

    What Martin fails to mention is that there are already states that have open carry laws, and nobody seems to be treating it as the second coming of Matt Dillon or the little picnic they had back in the day at the OK Coral.

    Brad, I know there are states that allow open carry. As I said in the article, I live in one.

    And that's my point. Open carry is legal in Colorado. And yet … nobody does it. Nobody. At least, not in urban areas, not in the cities or suburbs. Out in the boonies? Sure, why not? I've packed a pistol out there myself, particularly at night when I'm in my campsite. But even there it's exceedingly rare to see someone open carrying.

    Open carry advocates say they want to bring the carry of firearms into the mainstream. They want to get non gun people (who mostly don't think about open carry) to think about the carry of guns.

    Well, OC advocates, be careful what you wish for. If you think the shitstorm over the "gun show loophole" was big, wait until there's a prominent shooting involving an open carrier, and then get ready to hear activist's rallying cry of "Close the Open Carry Loophole!"

    And when that happens, don't say you weren't warned.

  2. Well, to Brad's defense… I live in Arizona – a free OC and CC state. Many times throughout the week, I see OC both in urban areas and in rural areas. I occasionally catch a CC too! I almost always CC, but do OC when appropriate (gun shows, outdoor events, competitions, etc).

    • If the purpose of the OC movement is to make guns more socially acceptable in polite society, then OC'ing at a place where everyone OC's doesn't really advance that, does it?

      • Just because that is the goal of some OCers, does not make it the goal of all.

        Some people simply want OC so they have the choice to do so when it is more convenient than CC.

        I have a challenge for you.

        Challenge: OC whenever you don't want to CC. Do this for a month. Keep notes of your experiences and how you feel. Then at the end of the month, come back and write an article about your experience as an OCer.

        I think this would make a GREAT article. Kinda like the people that have pretended to be the opposite sex to know what it's like. Only a thousand times more interesting.

        A few things to think about first, though. As I recall, there is a city or county in Colorado that disallows OC. I think it's Denver city, I could be wrong. You should ask the guys at OCDO. Another thing to remember is that you might not want to OC everywhere you go. There is definitely a time and place for OC and a time and place for CC. Again, you should ask the men and women at OCDO for advice about OCing should you take up my challenge.

        I would give you more advice, but really, living in Texas, I am not allowed to OC. So I can't really give you anymore advice than I already have.

        I hope you decide to take the challenge. Even if in the end you decide to stick with your guns on the issue of OC, I think the article detailing your experience would be very educational and again, an excellent read. Something to give potential OCers like myself some perspective from a fellow OC newbie.

  3. Let's consider a scenario in a land where OC and CC are both legal. You enter a Starbucks. You see a couple of people that are armed. Your natural assumption is that they must have a reason to be armed – perhaps they are on the job. No worries. Everything looks calm, cool, and collected. It occurs to you that there may be others in the joint that are packin' heat but choose not to let everyone know.

    Now let's change the scenario and assume that you are a bad guy, and walk in to the same situation. You have a decision to make. The OC guys are an obvious threat to your genius plan to jack up the joint. So you'll have to take them out first, or risk getting capped before you can say "This is a hold…" Then it occurs to you that there may be more guns in the place than are obvious to your less-than-well-trained eye. You abandon your original plan, turn and leave, cursing under your breath about the unfairness of it all.

    In a world where guns are completely legal, nobody's gonna bat an eye if you carry – they'll simply assume that you're a cop. The more interesting question is what happens if said thug weighs his odds and decides to eliminate the threat posed by the OC guys, rather than abandon all hope. In that regard, OC is rather like back when the MENSA-challenged morons at the TSA insisted that sky marshalls wear suits on planes. The sky marshalls called it their "shoot me first" uniform.

  4. By the way, I'm also a little miffed that nobody sang the praises of my illustration for the post. I think a toothbrush attachment for a pistol might make a dandy addition to special editions for Progressive politicians.

  5. It seems most of the Open Carry advocates that are really active live in areas where it is near impossible to get a Conceal Carry Permit like California and are trying to highlight the fact that their system does not work properly. I live in Oregon and can Conceal carry Legally in way more places than I can open carry. Like dropping my kid off at school. I mainly conceal carry so I don't stand out. I do open carry when I am hunting mainly in case of large predators that I need to react to quicker than my conceal rig allows. IWB with tucked shirt.

  6. "Open carry is legal in Colorado. And yet … nobody does it. Nobody. At least, not in urban areas, not in the cities or suburbs." You are quite wrong sir. Rare =/= "nobody".

    "If the purpose of the OC movement is to make guns more socially acceptable in polite society, then OC’ing at a place where everyone OC’s doesn’t really advance that, does it?"

    O.K., now you are contradicting yourself.

  7. Open carry, concealed carry. It's a tactical difference. Outlawing psyche patients, felons, etc? Read Three Felonies a Day, and anything by Thomas Szasz, and see if you can still hold that position. Bottom line: if we allow infringements, eventually, we'll all be diagnosed into disarmament, whether we're bonkers or otherwise. No, "…shall not be infringed" is clear language, and all-encompassing. Sorry, but Brad and Martin, you still don't quite get it.

  8. You mentioned Alaska and Vermont as States that have Constitutional Carry, but left out Arizona. We recently joined Alaska & Vermont as States that don’t require a special permission slip from the State Police to excercise your right to bear arms, either openly or concealed.

  9. I agree with Keith. Shall not be infringed is clear. There are damned good reasons for that wording as well.

    Mental defect? What does that even mean? So you are telling me you would support restricting the rights of those who simply can’t sit still for 5 minutes(ADHD/ADD)? Have you not noticed that everyone has “mental defects” now?

    Criminal? What does that mean? You realize that as the laws stand right now, you could lose your rights for simply yelling in an argument? So basically everyone has committed a crime that would cost them their rights. Do you support this? Because you said you do.

    I understand the desire to keep dangerous tools out of the hands of dangerous people. But if a person is so dangerous you feel you have to make laws restricting their rights, then why let them out of prison at all? You said it yourself, no law is going to keep a criminal from acquiring a gun and using it. So why restrict the rights of those who have recognized they have done wrong and wish to lead a life as a law abiding citizen?

    My point there is that it’s not going to hurt the criminals, only those that wish to obey the law. The very people you have nothing to worry about.

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