Open Carry (OC) is a hot topic on TTAG. No surprise; a lot of gun rights proponents heart OC. At first blush, it seems a promising way to extend and defend Second Amendment rights. In many states (including my home state of Colorado) there’s no law against openly carrying a firearm—as long as one is not brandishing said firearm in a threatening manner. Quite a few Western, Midwestern, or Southern states also lack prohibitions against the practice. Include me out. I think OC will ultimately harm gun rights. It’s ill-advised practically, tactically, and politically.

OC advocates claim they’re simply capitalizing on the fact that there’s no law against strapping on a gun and walking around in public in most parts of the United State (even in urban areas). Yes, but— there’s no law against carrying a gun openly for the same reason as there’s no law against break dancing in the middle of Death Valley in July while wearing a fur parka. It’s something that very few people would even consider doing.

Whether they realize it or not, OC advocates are trying to make the open carry of firearms into a “social norm.” In theory, firearms ownership will pass the point of no return, where gun rights are enshrined and assumed rather than constantly defended. Possession being nine-tenths of the law.

Well, that ain’t gonna happen.

For all their little inconsistencies and irrationalities, people are generally pretty practical in terms of what they wear and carry. Women don’t wear hoop skirts or corsets (at least outside of the kinky parts of town) and men generally don’t wear bowler hats or carry canes because these things are pretty impractical, particularly since we don’t live in Victorian England and most of us get around by car (now where did I put that damn cane?).

People don’t customarily carry sidearms or swords for the same reason they don’t carry bullwhips: They aren’t needed. And they are: Cumbersome, heavy, and uncomfortable.

As I noted in my first TTAG article, there are places in the world where it really is necessary for people to arm themselves to go about their daily business. When Uncle Sam was my employer I got to visit several of these lovely garden spots. I can honestly say I wouldn’t wish that kind of life on anyone I liked. Furthermore, in places where arms are a necessity, rather than a fashion statement, people generally eschew the handgun and go straight to a two-handed weapon, preferably with a long (and full) magazine.

[Before someone brings up Switzerland, yes, it’s true there are lots of guns in the Helvetican Confederation. And the Swiss keep those guns securely locked up when they aren’t using them for target practice. Not only are the guns locked up but they keep a strict accounting of their ammo.]

So, practically speaking, the number of people who would actually be willing to carry guns on a daily basis is miniscule – certainly not enough to change the social dynamics of weapons carry in modern-day Western society.

Consider, for example, how many people with a concealed weapons permit rarely or never carry. I’ve had my permit for over three years and have probably carried 20 times.  My wife has had her permit for over two years and has never carried a weapon. Are we typical CCW holders? Well, I think we’re closer to “typical” than the people who pack everywhere they go.

And that brings me to my second point: real gunfighters (that is, people who make their living shooting other people) don’t use pistols, except as a last resort. The rifle and the machine gun are the tools of the trade for soldiers, terrorists, guerillas and SWAT cops.

The pistol’s prime advantage is its small, concealable size. OC gives up the pistol’s single greatest advantage over a rifle: stealth. It alerts every criminal that you are armed, so he can take you out first. He can then relieve you of that pistol which, besides being a threat to him, is also an item of considerable value that he can sell to his criminal buddies.

Tactically, concealed carry beats open carry every time.

The final factor is political. Post-Heller and McDonald, gun owners are feeling their oats, flexing our political muscles, feeling ten feet tall and covered with hair. But don’t forget that we’re still a minority in this country. A significant, well-organized, well-funded, politically active minority,  but a minority nonetheless. it’s also worth noting that a huge number of gun owners would be more than happy to support laws that restricted other people from owning guns.

In that kind of political environment, Open Carry has two very negative effects. First, it rubs our opponents faces in the fact that we have guns.

Gun rights may be front and center in your world, but it’s mostly beneath the radar for most people. OC creates anti-gunners and generates support from uncommitted voters. “Do you want someone carrying a gun to school? THINK OF THE CHILDREN!) RF raised the warning flag over the Supreme Court’s McDonald decision, wondering if it could turn out to be a Pyrrhic victory. With a little help from OC, it could very well be.

Second, Open Carry is an invitation to a PR disaster.

Lets be honest: not all gun owners are rational people. There are crazies out there. With guns. Advocating Open Carry. If one or two of those people push the limits of civilized behavior all firearms owners will get tagged as “crazy gun owners.” That’s infuriating to those of us who consider ourselves to be mature and responsible citizens. But that’s the world we live in. Enough such incidents and the hammer will drop on some serious (read: Draconian) gun laws that will make the now-expired “assault weapons” ban look like a pleasant memory.

I get where OC advocates are coming from. I read Heinlein books when I was younger, and enjoyed the short-lived Sci Fi series “Firefly,” too. I like westerns and the image of Han Solo swaggering around Mos Eisly with a blaster strapped to his thigh. But real life isn’t like books, movies or TV.

OC is not a social norm and it’s not going to become one. And open advocacy of OC runs a real risk of dragging all gun owners down into the pit of some serious, no BS gun control. Call me crazy, but for the dubious pleasure (and questionable tactical advantages) of walking down the streets with a pistol on your hip, it just ain’t worth it.

51 Responses to Open Carry is a Bad Idea

  1. 43 states allow open carry – open carry is constitutionally protected, while concealed crry is not (see Heller). And yes open carry is working politically like drano to make even moderately pro-gun states more pro-gun.

    • Heller (District of Columbia vs Heller) does not apply, wish people would stop using that as a case study when it’s being bastardized in order to do so. Judge Henderson stated that Second Amendment rights did not extend to residents of Washington D.C., writing: “To sum up, there is no dispute that the Constitution, case law and applicable statutes all establish that the District is not a State within the meaning of the Second Amendment. Under United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. at 178, the Second Amendment’s declaration and guarantee that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” relates to the Militia of the States only. That the Second Amendment does not apply to the District, then, is, to me, an unavoidable conclusion.”

    • Where is your evidence that open carry hurts the cause?

      It might well be that offensive speech hurts the cause of free speech, but that is no reason to demand people curtail their free speech.

  2. Good points all. As the Pope once said to Nuns who wanted to build a convent at the site of the barracks at Auschwitz: "Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD." And that applies to all sorts of life's dilemmas. (mosque comes to mind…)

  3. While I agree with the author that concealed carry is to be preferred over OC, not all gun owners are afforded the choice between the two. I do not have a problem with OC at all. Law Enforcement has been doing it for years! Officers are citizens as well. They are no better than you or I. They are human and can make mistakes. They may be having family problems at home or they may be having an off day. Just because they have chosen a profession that requires them to carry a weapon does not necessarily make them immune to the same issues that your average firearm owner may succumb to.

    Further, I heartily disagree with the author that the typical CCW holder never carries a weapon. I believe that you have not only a right, but an obligation to protect yourself and your loved ones against harm to the best of your ability. If you have the "luxury" of being able to legally carry a firearm, something that thousands of gun owners would gladly give a leg for, I believe you are shirking your responisiblities by not doing so whenever and whereever possible. It is this type of lackadaisical attitude that does more to hurt the cause of gun owners than those who chose to carry open where it is legal to do so. If you do not exercise your rights, you will lose them! Quit complaining about those who choose to exercise theirs.

    • Well, Dave, I was content to let you rant and rave until you got to the last part.

      Do you know the statistics on how many CCW permit holders carry regularly? Because if you do, I'd love to see them. (Seriously, I would!)

      I know quite a few fellow CCW'ers who, like me, almost never carry (we have the permit because we want the option, should we deem it neccessary.)

      Truth be told, carrying a firearm is a collossal PITA. It digs into your side, you have to be careful of how you move so as not to "flash" it, and do we really need to even talk about going to the restroom? (More than one cop/security guard/soldier has had to face a disciplinary hearing because a weapon was left by the toilet and found by someone else.)

      Not to mention, some people (like me) have jobs in locations that expressly prohibit the carry of weapons.

      Finally, I'm not going to strap on my Glock to mow the lawn or change the oil in my motorcycle. If I lived in a neighborhood where I thought that was neccessary I'd move.

      But good comments, all. This site is all about stimulating discussion, so let's keep it coming!

      • Martin,

        Yes I do know how difficult it can be at times to carry concealed. Living in the Arizona desert, it can be a downright pain. However, OC provides a means to carry that is much more comfortable in those instances where a 9mm in an IWB holster is just too hot and sweaty. I, for one, welcome the choice of OC.

        And no, I do not advocate wearing a pistol 24/7. I usually take mine off to shower ;-). But for someone who apprently does not feel the need to protect themselves and their family when in public, I feel you have no place to complain when I do, by whatever legal means I choose. Having met Suzzanna Hupp and having heard her story about watching her family die in that Lubby's in Texas because she had to leave her gun in her car, I realized that you will never know when you might need to be armed. Watching your family be murdered because it was too hot and uncomfortable to be armed that day will not be much comfort later on. If you do not want to accept the responsibility of being an armed citizen, along with the risks and ramifications that entails, then perhaps you should not have a CCW. Sorry if that seems like a "rant", but as a transplant from Illinois where our right of self-protection has been smothered by liberal politics, I am particularly sensitive to those who take these rights for granted.

      • You might consider leaving your gun locked and hidden in your vehicle while at work locations that prohibit carry. As far as comfort factor, if it is uncomfortable to carry your gun you simply have not found a comfortable rig to carry your gun in. I have three incredibly comfortable holsters for carrying my guns, but I also have a box of uncomfortable holsters that I had tried out before I found my comfortable holsters.

        The real reason I wanted to chime in though was the comment that you have a CCW permit to give you the option to carry a gun sometime if you ever feel it necessary. If you were to be able to know when it would be necessarybecause you could see into the future, wouldn't it be better to just not go to location x at time y to avoid the need to defend yourself altogether? Most of us however are not omniscient, so we simply have to be prepared at all times, or at least whenever possible. I for example put my gun in my holster right after I put on my pants in the morning, and I put it back in my fast access safe at night while I'm sleeping due to the fact that I have children at home. I also park my car off campus and leave my gun hidden in my vehicle when I have to go into a gun free school zone.

        Just the other day a bank was robbed for the first time in a "good" area of town about 5 miles from my house, a bank I've walked in myself to make deposits. A week back, a home was broken into in a "good" neighborhood a few miles away from my own home. Bad things happen to good people in good places, it's a fact of life. We don't know when, and we don't know where. That's why Baden Powell came up with the Scout Motto to teach young men in his Scouting program: "Be Prepared. " It isn't just for Scouts, it's for everyone.

        • I forgot to address your bathroom and careful how you move concerns. I've used many a public restroom while armed, and have never had any issues. You just leave your gun in your holster – if you have a good belt you won't have any issues. My favorite is the Wilderness Tactical belt. Infinitely adjustable to exactly the right length.

          As far as having to be careful how you move, I have not experienced that problem either. I carry IWB with an untucked shirt. If I reach with my right arm to grab something off a high shelf, I might have a momentary issue where part of my gun could become partially visible, but nobody has ever noticed that I'm aware of.

          In fact, just this week my Doctor asked me to take off my shirt for my physical, and it was literally several minutes later before he even noticed my holstered gun on my belt. I was surprised that it took him so long to notice it, but people often don't notice those types of things. Even when I open carry I am surprised how few people appear to notice. I think people mentally see it in their peripheral vision and automatically check it off as a cell phone or pager without noticing it is actually a gun.

        • Many places that do not allow weapons as a condition of employment may also ban having them on their premises, ie. parking lots. If the state one lives in doesn’t expressly allow CPL holders to carry in parking lots, companies may fire employees who bring them to work with the intention of locking them up in their vehicles.

      • The rants are being delivered by the opponents of OC.

        I am a constitutional conservative who believes my rights come from God. When I speak about the origin and source of our rights, liberals find my speech offensive. Some liberals would like to label my speech as hate speech and pass laws to restrict my speech. There are other liberals who are content, at least for now, to rant and shame me into shutting up. Apparently, some 2nd amendment advocates have similar reactions to OC. I consider both of these groups threats to liberty. You might not like what I say and you might not like that I OC. Too bad. Get over yourselves. I will continue to exercise my God given rights.

      • In our last carry class, we had a guy who said, “I want my permit, so I can carry when I think I’m gonna need it” In today’s world, explain to me just WHEN that is? I guess the bad guys are going to schedule an appointment when they mug you? I carry all the time, everywhere I go, that is legal. Do I live in a bad area? Nope. Do I go to bad places? Nope. Do I associate with bad people? Nope. I’m not expecting a fire in my house tonight, either. But I do have a fire extinguisher handy. Am I expecting to get into a car wreck today? Not at all, but I still use my seat belt, and carry car insurance. I also have home owners insurance, and life insurance. My point being, that a bad situation can present itself at any time, and without warning. Get your permit, train with your firearm of choice….and CARRY!

      • Your comfort objections to CC don’t apply to me. I carry my .40 S&W M&P Shield in a pocket using the Nemesis holster. My only problem is the weight pulling on my pants, so I have to tighten my belt a bit. But it’s deep enough that no movement I might make could reveal the pistol to an observer. I’ve asked quite a few police officers, including an Indiana State Police SWAT commander, to try to find my pistol just by sight, and none have been able to yet. It’s not a quick draw setup for sure, but the scenarios that I envision (an attack on my church, or a restaurant where I’m eating, etc) would give me a little time to get it out while finding cover. I don’t go places where I might be mugged, or where CC is illegal.

        And I’m only one data point, but I don’t leave my property unarmed.

  4. Let me just hit two of the inaccuracies in that piece.

    1. OC is not legal simply because no one has thought to make it illegal. Do you think the anti-gunners haven't tried? In Alabama it is legal because the Supreme Court had to weigh in and say that the right is protected and the State cannot outlaw it. In other States, the right was restored by acts of the legislatures. OC is being made legal in more States consciously, not accidentally, as implied by the author's unresearched and inaccurate "facts."

    2. People are practical in what they wear and carry. The implication is that OC is impractical. That implication is false. If one is going to carry, the most practical way to carry depends on what else one is wearing. If one wears an overcoat, CC is most practical. In the summer, it is more practical not to conceal.

    Frankly, this is about the quality I expect from a message board post, not an article that was planned and crafted. The inaccuracies and lack of factual support (most opinions are supported with opinions) make this "article" read more like off-the-cuff remarks.

    How about the author come on over to opencarry.org and try his "post" there? We might be able to help him refine his thinking.

    • eye95 is correct about the lack of quality in this article. It is arrogant and makes so many false assumptions that I won’t waste the time it would take to rebut them. There are good pro and con arguments for OC, but this is definitely neither.

  5. I've had a license to carry a concealed handgun since I turned 21. I made a conscious decision before that to carry it whenever I went out in public wherever it was legal, which in my state is pretty much everywhere besides courthouses and secure areas of airports.

    I have an uncle who has his carry license and he almost never does. In fact, I don't know if he ever actually has carried. That makes no sense to me because that means if he ever needs his weapon he is almost guaranteed not to have it with him. Why bother to get the license?

    Carrying is not a PITA for me. I've been doing it for so long that it doesn't feel right if I don't have it. My personal philosophy is that it's better to have and not need than to need and not have.

    As for OC, well, I work at an armored car company and I get enough stupid comments from ignorant people about my gun while I'm wearing my uniform that I don't care to deal with that kind of attitude when I'm not working, so I always carry concealed. I have no problem with people who OC, but I choose not to deal with the hassle.

  6. CC will NEVER prevent the crime, only possibly, give one an option to react. Of the states that have CC, somewhere between 2-5% of the total population, on average, have the permit. The Bad Guys know this. You don't look armed, 95% chance you ain't, here comes the BG gun in your face. You DID NOT PREVENT THE CRIME, you might be able to respond.

    OC labels you as a clear hardened target.

    Read mailsail's post on OC found here: The Open Carry Argument

    Open carry is ALWAYS a better deterrent. (From someone who OC's every day).

    • I actually read the thread that you linked to. Thanks.

      Just curious, did you read the comments to it? Just wondering because if you had you would have run across these:

      http://www.usacarry.com/forums/general-firearm-di

      Post by an open carrier who was shot in the back and robbed of his gun.

      also this:

      http://www.usacarry.com/forums/open-carry-discuss

      Post by another open carrier which lists his reasons for carrying openly. Among them are "Political statement" and "pisses off anti gunners."

      Sure, I'm cherry picking to support my argument, but that's what we do on the internet isn't it? And they are legitimate concerns, whether OC advocates choose to think they are or not.

      • Yup, read the "story" about that guy shot in the back. By the way, he's NOT an OCer, at least, as far as I know he never claimed to be. In fact, I'm pretty sure he was against the idea of open carry. At the time he was "shot" he was on his way home from work, as an armed, uniformed security officer. If you'd read the entire post, you might have noticed that.

        Another thing, so far, we've not been able to verify his claim. There were no news stories about it. (and believe me, I searched.) He never offered any links to any news stories, and more than a few found it odd, that, so far as I know, has said little else about the incident.

        Basically, until someone can show the rest of us the story in the news, it's his word only. And for many, that's just not enough.

      • The first link you provide is to an unverified claim on a forum by an anonymous poster. Before believing his claim, I would need to see some sort of irrefutable evidence to support it.

        That said, for the sake of the argument, let's just say that it is true.

        The only thing that does is give a personal reason not to carry. Something for the individual to decide, it is not an adequate argument to prohibit another's right to OC. Only for you yourself to decide that OC may not be right for you.

        As for the second link. I don't really see how that applies to everyone. Are you saying that all OCers think that way? Because I could find a negative quote from a CCer then try to say that it applies to everyone that CCs. Maybe something along the lines of "I CC so that criminals will think I am an easy target and attack me so that I can kill them." I could just as easily apply that to all CCers as you have that man's comments to all OCers.

  7. All of the arguments against open carry are precisely the same arguments that control activists use against concealed carry or even against owning a firearm in the home.

    They share exactly the same fallacies of logic and exactly the same lack of evidence.

    No one has been able to show that concealed carry causes any problems, but if you will look at the actual evidence no one has been able to show that open carry does either.

    Foolish assumptions — assumptions because they are without evidence and based on that same false 'common sense' that gun banners try to invoke — such as tactical superiority of one method over the other are without basis.

    How many times have you read or hear the false claim made against gun ownership in general that criminals will just take your gun? It's just as false when made against open carry.

    Check the facts before making such assumptions.

    There is only one VALID argument against open carry (or owning or concealing a hand gun):

    It is your choice to decide it makes sense or not, but only for YOURSELF.

    Make any choice that is right for you.

    Let others make their own choice — and if you want to argue against that choice then first review the actual facts.

  8. I have no idea what proportion of people with carry licenses, regularly carry. I doubt if there are any accurate studies to support about how many do.

    But I would suspect that only a fraction actually do.

    As one of those who typically DOES carry, open vs concealed makes a huge difference in the size of pistol one can carry comfortably, and the quality of the concealment.

    Many "concealed-ONLY!" people fixate on the perceived advantage of surprise of carrying concealed, yet fail to appreciate that that "advantage" is only of use after an attacker has already committed himself to an assault. Personally I am starting to agree with the rationale of being visibly armed to dissuade an attack in the first place.

    We can argue all day, and forever about which mode is more tactically sound.

    20 years ago I would not have believed that so many states would enact lawful concealed carry, the momentum is on the side of liberty, not further restrictions.

    • I have no idea what proportion of people with carry licenses, regularly carry. I doubt if there are any accurate studies to support about how many do.

      I have never seen such a "study" and would be dubious of anything that purported to be one. People are (understandably) reluctant to discuss their self defense practices so I wouldn't expect much accuracy from any kind of polling, which would be the only way you could gauge that statistic anyway.

      20 years ago I would not have believed that so many states would enact lawful concealed carry, the momentum is on the side of liberty, not further restrictions.

      Well, a pendulum has "momentum" right up to the point just before it stops and swings back the other way. And that is exactly my concern: Right now the pendulum of American politics is swinging "our way." But we'd be fools to think that's always going to be the case. Sooner or later the pendulum will swing back and when it does, I'm worried that OC will be the weak portion of our armor that our opponents will exploit to acheive their ends.

  9. Actually it helps the cause. It helps because it brings the issue in front of the people and it shows that we are not alone in our beliefs and desires and it gives us hope.

  10. PHEWWW… almost worried for a second!! Til I realized this article isnt about FACT – just the author's OPINION!!

    Feel much better now.

    >> Hoola-hoop skirts & canes arent a Guaranteed GOD-GIVEN RIGHT, chump. The 2nd Amendment is! Dont make the mistake and ever TREAD on MINE. ANY of them. My advice to U: GET OVER IT.

    NOTHING TO SEE HERE, FOLKS. MOVE ALONG NOW…

  11. Second, Concealed Carry is an invitation to a PR disaster.

    Lets be honest: not all gun owners are rational people. There are crazies out there. With guns. Advocating Concealed Carry. If one or two of those people push the limits of civilized behavior all firearms owners will get tagged as “crazy gun owners.”

    It's just not worth it. Freedom is icky. All you immature gun owners are going to make it so that mature, intellectual, superior gun owners like me will lose our rights. Stop exercising your rights and putting mine in jeopardy. I support the second amendment by advocating IQ and psychological testing for all gun purchases.

    Bah.

  12. Characterizing open carry advocates as capitalizing on the lack of a law or laws against open carry is uninformed. Open carry only exists because it has been litigated, it has been defended, or it has been restored. Banning open carry along with all carry has been a goal of gun control advocates for decades. Far from claiming that they are capitalizing on the fact that there is no law against open carry most open carry advocates state they are exercising their constitutional right to keep and bear arms. And the use of the phrase, “strapping on a gun,” is rather pejorative – and used in a way one would expect to find in an opinion piece by the Brady campaign or an editorial in the New York Times or Washington Post.

    As far as open carry becoming part of the social norm – well social norms do change – not that long ago it was acceptable to smoke almost anywhere – at work – at schools – in hospitals – in supermarkets and stores – and in other peoples homes, such that non-smokers had ashtrays available for guests who smoked. And it was not that long ago that tattoos where socially unacceptable in polite society and that concealed carry was considered taboo or illegal. Just four or five decades ago (less in some parts of the country) it was normal to see kids walking around or riding their bikes with rifles or shotguns as they went hunting or plinking. The normative nature of those activities had little to do with the absolute numbers of people engaging in them – as in a majority of people – but with the public perception of the activities. The public perception was that smoking was just a choice with little effect on people who did not smoke and that smoking was cool. Tattoos were only for military or ex-military or more often for criminals, carnies, or prostitutes – and tattoos were to be hidden not worn with pride. Kids with rifles or shotguns were considered normal and a kid having a gun was a right of passage. After decades of political and social activism – smoking is evil and disgusting – tattoos are cool and to be shown off – kids must be kept away from guns as to not do so is irresponsible.

    In line with this I would offer a recent Harris poll (Harris is not noted as a politically conservative polling organization) – “This Harris Poll was conducted between May 10 and 17, 2010 among 2,503 adults (aged 18 and over). Large majorities of U.S. adults think that Americans should be allowed to have rifles or shotguns (80%) and hand-guns (74%). Fewer, but still substantial numbers, think that unconcealed (or “open carry”) weapons (50%) and concealed weapons (45%) should be allowed.” Fascinating that as of today more American adults find open carry acceptable than concealed carry.

    While bowler hats may not be popular – people still wear hats – while canes may not be a fashion accessory anymore – people with disabilities still use canes. More to the point a firearm is a means of self defense and the single most effective means of self defense and the only means of self defense that results in less injury than non-resistance. Therefore to equate a firearm to a hat or a cane as a fashion accessory is rather inane or irrational.

    While it is true that individuals may not carry firearms because they are an added burden physically that does not mean that responsible and thoughtful individuals will not carry them and/or carry them regularly. Just as responsible and thoughtful individuals carry jumper cables in their vehicles or carry a pocket knife or a multi-tool on their person.

    Frankly your implication that open carry advocates are engaging in fashion statements, betrays your bias and bigotry. That somehow a person carrying concealed is carrying for self-defense while a person open carrying is carrying for fashion or to look cool and not for self-defense. The statement that, “Furthermore, in places where arms are a necessity, rather than a fashion statement,” is incredibly condescending and out of touch with reality – perhaps you could talk to the millions of individuals in this country that have used a firearm to defend themselves and/or their loved ones and explain to them how their firearm isn’t really necessary and is just essentially a fashion accessory – because if they were really serious they’d have and carry a rifle. Many major cities in this country are statistically more dangerous to live in than Afghanistan or Iraq.

    The pistol or revolvers “primary” advantage is it’s small size, as it can be easily carried openly or concealed. That they are concealable may or may not be an advantage – in so much it is an advantage it is more of an advantage for a criminal concealing a gun than it is for a law-abiding citizen carrying a gun. The shibboleth that criminals will target open carriers is not only unproven by any factual data, but also fails to consider the deterrence benefits of open carry.

    As for a PR disaster – the more non-mainstream firearms are and the more they are not accepted as a normal and everyday part of our world – then the easier it is to demonize them and to eventually restrict them. A concealed carry permit holder could just a easily be part of some horrific PR incident as an open carrier.

    Finally, mature and responsible citizens – exercise their rights – because rights imply a concomitant responsibility. We have the right to free speech with means that we have the responsibility to speak the truth and to speak out against injustice. We have the right to keep and bear arms which means we have the responsibility to defend of ourselves, our families, our communities, and our liberty. I am sorry that you do not evidently share that view – “I’ve had my permit for over three years and have probably carried 20 times.”

    I’m sorry you see open carry as a threat to what you evidently view as your government granted privilege to own a firearm or to carry a concealed handgun. But then I imagine a lot of his peers told Patrick Henry to sit down and shut up when he declared – “Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

    Doing the right thing sometimes demands that a price be paid for doing it – but it is still the right thing. I’m afraid I must stand with those who inconveniently choose to exercise their rights.

  13. I think it is funny that you attack the practicality of open carry, then lament the impracticalities of CCing.

    Just about everyone of your CC complaints could be easily addressed simply by OCing. Living in Texas, I understand your complaints about CCing, and they're one of the two main reasons I want OC legal in Texas. The other is that I believe that OC is a strong deterrence.

    However, as annoying as CCing my be, I wont let that stop me. I, like so many others, recognize that you never know when trouble is going to hit you and that it is smartest to always be prepared. I can think of several instances off the top of my head where trouble found it's way to my home and/or the area around my home. Places where most people would feel safe, places where you probably wouldn't "bother" to carry your sidearm. Now, fortunately I was unharmed, but I may not be so lucky next time.

  14. Blacks sitting at lunch counters only hurt their cause… or something.

    Since when did the open, unashamed exercise of a Civil Right become harmful to the cause of Civil Rights?

    Quick, someone tell gays not to hold hands or kiss in public… it'll hurt their cause!

  15. Some really well thought out comments on here. Martin I'm interested in your response to some of these. I respectfully disagree with just about every point you make, but especially the main one: OC hurts gun owners' cause.

    I don't think anyone has ever looked at me while OC'ing and either changed their supportive attitude, or fell off the fence onto the anti side of things.

    Every single OC'er I've met has seemed courteous and respectful of others, and especially the law. As a rule we go out of our way to stay within the legal limits, even if we don't agree with them.

    And the previous comments are dead on about another thing, just about every point you make about OC has been made by anti's regarding CC or gun ownership in general and none of them are good enough to dissuade me.

  16. I open carry ALOT, as much as i can. I dress nice but casual, often blue jeans and nice shirt. I get WAY more handshakes and positive interested people asking me questions about rights and info than you CC types ever will. The OC people are ambasadors of the second amendment, visible and aproachable by the common citizen. Walking talking advertisements of true American freedom. The facts are out there, and easy to find, OC has done more to promote a positive immage of firearms owners than any other movement out there.
    – Regarding criminals and "being shot first" – Show me where this has happened … But alas, at some point it might … but again the fact is that criminals kill innocent people no matter what. At least with OC you might deter them, and at best, we can access and use our arms much faster than CC under clothing.
    – The Facts are out: Open Carry is here to stay. http://wwwoencarry.org – check it out.
    – Bat

  17. Well, I take exception that the reason we dont carry guns is the same as we dont carry bull whips, which as you said, “we dont need them” Crime happens anywhere, and at anytime. Unless you wish to become a hermit, you run the risk of running into crime. I myself have been held up at knife point. I bet many rape victims wished they had a snub nose revolver. I also would wager that if a rapist saw a girl with an OC gun, they would look for another victim, one they could do what they wished without fear of death. Open carry is a right, it should be exercised by those who wish to exercise it. The problem is too many people have an irrational fear of guns. My wife who is blind also has a guide dog. Many people fear her guide dog, which is a sweetie and well behaved, because it is a German Shepard. They have watched too many movies perhaps. Should we ban guide dogs????? Should we force our blind to run into walls because a dog makes us uncomfortable? Heavens no. But, I will be content to keep my gun hidden, and on me whenever I go out, because crime does happen anywhere, and at anytime. Just ask those police men in Chicago when a nut job came in with a shotgun and started shooting at them point blank. I bet they thought that would never happen, just as you think you will never be a victim of a crime. You have a right to your opinion, but I have a right to exercise my Constitutional Right. Dont I? Or, does this planet revolve just for you leftists?

  18. Meh.. for some open carry is a bad idea, but for most of them any carry is a bad idea. I know there are many kids down at GA Tech who wish they could carry on campus right now.Are you one of those who finds it to be more moral for the young coed to be found raped and strangled by her own pantyhose in the alley or for her to be explaining to the LEO how that bad guy got shot attempting to rape her?There are pro and con arguements with open carry. Funny thing is most people against it discount the pros and augment the cons and believe themselves to be correct. I personally carry both ways depending on particular circumstance, my wife and I also carry almost everywhere we go. She knows there are policies against it where she works but she also knows that her co workers feel much safer when she is working. If something should happen and she lose her job, well thats a bridge we will have to cross then.. I know I would feel much better with her losing her job over her losing her life.

  19. I’m shocked there aren’t more responses on this old article; either people aren’t reading it, or people just don’t care to respond to this obviously biased author. That or the author is moderating the inundation of what I know to be an enormous opposition to his views.

    In any case, I for one don’t wish to be silent on so important an issue.

    With such a myriad of logical fallacies and such a dense fog of rhetoric, it’s hard to know where to start, but let’s start with the title. The author proports to be writing against “Open Carry.” Ok, fair enough, let’s hear both sides of the story and then hear your opinion. The body of the article, however, takes aim at the following (directly and indirectly):

    – Social re-normalization of firearm possession
    – Gun rights protected rather than granted by government
    – The need for personal protection capabilities in a modern world

    The bulk of the article addresses social aspects of gun rights in general, so a more appropriate title from this author might have been “Guns aren’t socially acceptable; why can’t we be more like Europe?” Re-read the article with that title in mind, and you’ll very quickly see what I’m talking about. Heck, the author himself drags wistful European thinking into it (and for fun, go looking for stats on violent crime in Europe…)

    Now that we know what this author’s real agenda is, let’s address the idea of “social dynamics” that he brought up. First and foremost, let’s make one thing perfectly clear: “Social dynamics” should not steer governance. Right and wrong should steer governance. How people “feel,” their emotional bias, is not a solid footing for logical and sound law.

    Now, the author makes the following claims relating to the social dynamics of guns:

    – Gun rights proponents love OC
    – Very few people would even consider OC
    – OC owners are equated with gunfighters
    – OC owners are equated with Han Solo
    – OC owners only do it to feel big
    – Gun proponents are a super-minority
    – Gun owners want to restrict others rights
    – OC disturbs the general public
    – OC is not normal, and never could be
    – OC owners carry for pleasure

    Those are a lot of claims. When you cut out the fluff and read them in a list, how many do you agree with? The author’s generous use of hyperbole and absolutism stands out the most to me. The sprinkling of indirect insults is also quite interesting and revealing. It’s one thing to not agree with people, but it’s a sign of mental weakness to resort to insults.

    To refute these statements on the social aspects of gun possession, I proffer the following related statement:

    Our nation was built on the idea that every citizen may be armed for personal protection. This is the one concept that still sets us apart in a world that increasingly emulates our system of free government. In recent years alone, guns have been singled out for regulation because of one thing: fear. This fear exists on two fronts; 1) the fear that governments have of armed citizens (a healthy fear), and 2) the fear that the ignorant have of accident and injury (an irrational, unhealthy fear). Armed citizens are able to act when government oversteps its bounds, and so a government wishing to overstep its bounds must first disarm its citizens. Fear is a perfect tool to activate the ignorant, and if you look at politics today, you’ll see that fear is the #1 tool in almost any issue.

    An armed populous is not an issue of sociality, fashion, or emotion. It is also not an issue of safety or accident prevention. It is purely an issue of freedom. If some choose to abhor the very thing that sets our country apart even from many free nations, simply out of ignorance or fear, then our only hope is to awaken them to the reality of their situation. Things may be fine in smalltown USA, but things are not fine in the world; and make no mistake- those global problems will find their way into smalltown USA if we relinquish our unique historical position on an armed populous.

  20. Amusing read, nothing new to see here.

    Take the hatred and assumptions out next time, and try to rewrite your article.

    good luck.

  21. I would like to know where does this person get his information about a concealed firearm being better than an openly carried firearm ? I have been a Victim of several holdups and I can tell you that when they mug you or hold you up it is when they feel they have the upper hand ! And they are on you in the blink of an eye and have already gone thru your pockets and if they find a weapon on you they take it and pray to god they don’t use it on you . If they see you have a gun on your hip they will look for someone that looks like easy prey and leave you alone , THAT is from experience take it for what it is worth . Anyone can sit behind a desk and write anything they want BUT it is actual experience that matters not opinions that count .

  22. Awesome, another “pro-gun” blog that undermines its own cause. Open carry is just another method of carry, not a political statement. You obviously did zero research before writing this article; many gains have been made in individual states by the very people you think are “hurting the cause”. Stop claiming to support the right to bear arms.

    • Prove it. Show some data that demonstrates OC-ers lose violent encounters at a higher rate than CC-ers.

      Put up the evidence or stop making the claim.

      Signed,

      A CC-er who is tired of empty claims on OUR side of the gun control discussion.

  23. I am frustrated at the CC’rs viewpoint of us OC’rs. My wife and I were ready to get our CCP’s in Virginia which is shall issue until the John Fillipidis incident in Maryland. Now I refuse to voluntarily register myself as a gun owner. So OC it is. And in the past 5 years of OCing, NEVER have I ever had a bad experience. Curiosity leads to discussion and education of others. So I take great exception to this opinion.

  24. Open carry is not ruining anything. It’s these articles, that anti gunners love, that will destroy our rights. The antis know there is support in gun control, even if it’s just against open carry. Too bad the writer or anyone else sees this. So continue blaming others while authoring gun control bills to make open carry illegal.

    Smdh butters.

  25. Martin Albright, your rant is nearly devoid of facts. You present a lot of spurious opinions and wild assumptions as if they were facts, but they are not facts. Then you attempt to present your opinion as reasonable and you attempt to shame anyone with a different opinion as unreasonable.

    Hmm…. are you a liberal mole? You use the same flawed tactics that the anti-gun nuts use to argue against private ownership of firearms. If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it is probably a duck.

  26. I could not agree with this article more! Great points. We just got open carry in Texas and my prediction is that over time those “irresponsible” open carry nuts will give the liberals and media ammunition to highlight how a law that allows open carry breeds even more issues than one that doesnt. And i cant say they would be wrong. Its those people who shout and holler about the 2nd amendment and take it to another level that do more damage than actual good. It creates bad attention and bad press. I consider myself one of those people who is gun owner and gun enthusiast, but i do so quietly and keep it to myself. Personally i dont want the whole world knowing i own a substantial collection of firearms or that i have one on my person. I dont trust people. Period. And by bringing other peoples attention to those facts i actually leave myself open as a target or even worse someone finding out where i live, waiting till i leave, then breaking in my home and taking my guns or attempting to take them. All because i made sure everyone knew i was armed and owned guns. Ill keep living my the manta of speaking softly and carrying a big stick, instead of at every turn letting everyone, even those i dont know, that i own and carry firearms.

    • John Hope I love how your ignorance to fact alters true way of thinking when it comes to the carry of firearms. You show no support for anything you say. You show know proof that any of it is true. You can however look all over the internet and see where open carriers have worked hard and fought for your rights to keep those guns you have. you can see facts where they have worked to make and keep it legal for you to carry. So if this is the case why down the people who have worked hard to get these laws past. I’m not saying CC’ers dont work to keep the right as well. my point is why sit here and down open carry when its not a requirement for you to. you have the option. stop with the bullcrap accept that people like to open carry, people like to concealed carry, and some people like myself do both depending on weather and the situation. fact of the matter is it is the person choice. You dont have the right to choose for me so accept that. I have no problem with concealed carriers. most open carriers dont but it seems (notice i didnt say its a fact I said seems) like most of the CC’ers I speak with choose to down OC’ers when every gun owner tthat carries legally no matter what way they carry is fighting the same fight. That fight is to retain the right to keep and bear arms

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