What I Did On My (Open Carry) Summer Vacation – Part 1

By Jay Williams

Before all you anti-open-carry bigots go off the deep end, let me clarify: I did not take a vacation from open carry. My wife and I spent twenty-three days taking a road trip through nine western states and I open carried as much as possible. My actual goal on this trip was to carry a gun as much as I could, whether open or concealed, but open whenever possible. A commenter on TTAG said something a while back that has changed my thinking about open carry a bit . . .

Laws, in and of themselves, are not moral, and there are far too many of them to keep track of. So, I should really just worry about being a peaceful person and not sweat knowing the gazillion laws which I could never know anyway. Therefore, I focused on exercising my right to life and self-defense or the possibility thereof and on being friendly and courteous, while giving our government the chance to see an armed citizen.

I brought a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield in a soft Blade-Tech holster to carry in the small of my back when I wanted to be discreet or when I knew I would end up in a cell if found out. I also brought a Walther PPQ and an IMI Defense retention holster (carried in the appendix position) for carry open. I really like the idea of the protection that position offers when in a crowd and it’s nice and close to my hand when I need to draw. The retention is just a bonus. I know some of you will have a coronary when you see how I’m carrying, but that’s my well-considered choice.

The Shield holds 7+1 rounds and the Walther 15+1 of Hornady Critical Defense. When carrying the Walther, I also carried two extra fifteen-round magazines. I wore a 5.11 Tactical Series gun belt, and had in my wallet a CPL (Concealed Pistol License) issued by the state of Washington.

The trip began by pulling out of our driveway in Tacoma, Washington, and heading south on I-5 to the Tillamook Cheese factory in Tillamook, Oregon. We drove straight to the factory. The PPQ was in my backpack in the trunk and the Shield was in the center console. When we arrived at the cheese factory, I slipped on the Shield, and my wife and I enjoyed seeing how our favorite cheese is made. The tourists get to see a small version of the full-blown Tillamook factory. It seems like a pretty jumbo factory in and of itself, but from outside, you can see that the actual factory dwarfs the visitor version.

From there we continued south along highway 101, intending to drive all the way to Los Angeles along the coast. Shortly, tough, we stumbled upon the Tillamook Air Museum which we couldn’t pass up, both being aviation fans. Again, the Shield went in the small of my back. We spent that first night in Gold Beach, Oregon, our last stop before entering the bifurcated State of California, much of which is rural and populated with conservatives, while the rest is comprised of densely populated urban centers filled with elitist, leftist pinheads, bent on wielding their power and controlling the people’s lives. But you probably knew that.

I did (not) take my evil guns into California.

The first thing of interest that we saw in California was the amazing redwoods in the far north. More than Zion, Bryce, or the Grand Canyon, my wife said these are the most otherworldly things she saw on the trip (this was her first time in most of these locations). The Shield did (not) accompany me while walking around and photographing these monsters. Truly amazing sights!

Our first night in California was spent in Hayfork, where my cousin and her husband have retired. This area is very rural and is probably one of those places where local law enforcement sees fit to give out concealed carry permits. I did (not) carry my Shield while hanging out with my relatives and while eating breakfast with them in a typical, rural, local restaurant the morning we left. It was a short but very pleasant visit with some of my few remaining close relatives.

From Hayfork, we made our way down to Santa Rosa, about an hour north of San Francisco, almost certainly one of the more dense havens of liberalism in the country. During several stops along the way, we pulled over to see gorgeous cliffs, beaches, and vistas, including Monestary Beach, where we glimpsed several humpback whales, presumably feasting on scads of little fishies. My Shield did (not) accompany me during any of these brief excursions.

In Santa Rosa, we stayed with another cousin, her husband and grandson. While visiting with them, including a short walk to an excellent Mexican restaurant a few blocks from their house, my Shield did (not) accompany me.

We spent all of the next day on the hop-on/hop-off bus in San Francisco, seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, Chinatown, crossing the Bay Bridge, and viewing various and sundry other parts of the area. During all of this gallivanting around the Bay Area, I did (not) tote my Shield with me.

We spent that night in Redwood City, then made our way to Hollywood, visiting the astounding Hearst Castle along the way, while (not) carrying my Shield through its many passageways and amongst the gorgeous grounds of the former newspaper magnate’s estate.

We spent day one in Los Angeles touring the city on the hop-on/hop-off bus, including walking around Hollywood, the Farmer’s Market and Santa Monica (which has a much nicer beach than the ones we have here in Washington). During our second day in Los Angeles, we visited a place I hadn’t seen since childhood, Universal Studios. It was as interesting and as much fun as I remember. During our entire time in the greater Los Angeles area, I did not (not) go anywhere without my S&W Shield.

We proceeded with great excitement from Los Angeles to states of greater freedom, starting with Nevada. We spent a brief evening walking around the Las Vegas strip and enjoying an incredible show, Cirque du Soleil. I have to admit that anticipating walking several miles and sitting for 90 minutes through a show to which I was very much looking forward, I opted for comfort and chose to leave the guns in the hotel. This despite having my first chance to open carry. Likewise in Hoover Dam. I was actually concerned about having the car searched, although maybe you’re still not on the Federal installation in the parking garage or leading up to it (there is an armed guard who looks into the eyes of every driver approaching the dam). The guns stayed in the car.

Heading to Arizona and the Grand Canyon, on the other hand, I went into full-blown open carry mode and I don’t think a day went by over the following two weeks when I didn’t don my Walther PPQ in full view for all to see and enjoy. During our several hours of hiking, milling around, and photographing the Grand Canyon, I didn’t see a single ranger, and no tourists were harmed nor noticeably alarmed by the sight of my pistola.

I had a nice conversation with an older former Marine who was toting a radio and a Surefire light on his vest, obviously the prepared type. He had served for years and was there with his son, also a Marine, who had been injured during recent activity overseas. We chatted about wars, our government, and the current state of affairs, then I thanked them for their service, shook their hands, and we went our separate ways.

The attendant in the hotel in Tuba City that evening noticed my gun and appeared a bit concerned, but using my typical open carry technique, I was friendly, smiled, and carried on a normal conversation with him, doing my best to convey that I’m a normal guy and to put him at ease.

We spent our first night in Utah in the city of Kanab, a hub for tourists visiting all the major national parks in the area. We ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant and, when we were almost finished, our server, a woman possibly of Mexican descent who also may have been the owner, approached us at our table and said, “We were all wondering why you are carrying a gun.” I love it when people feel comfortable enough to ask and don’t fear that I’ll shoot them if they so much as glance at my piece. I explained to her about self-defense and rights and letting the government know that the people are armed and helping to educate others and so on. She seemed quite satisfied, and I was happy to have been able to discuss it with her.

Throughout the drive up into Utah and through Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park, there was also nothing terribly exciting to report, precisely what I was hoping.

I spoke with a park ranger in Zion for several minutes who had a horn and antler on display, explaining the differences to the tourists and allowing them to handle the artifacts. She was obviously a bit nervous at first, but seemed to become more comfortable during our conversation. My modus operandi seemed to soothe her. I simply showed interest in the antler and horn she was showing folks and asked her some questions about them. She wasn’t armed.

Another tourist saw my big gun -er- camera, a Nikon D3, and let me know that there were several rams up ahead, for which I thanked him. I saw the Desert Bighorn rams a while later, and stalked them with my Nikon D2Xs with a 70-200 f/2.8 mounted, PPQ in tow.

After I was finished shooting, I spoke with a couple of other tourists (from San Bernardino, California) about the rams and our respective road trips. She wore a Cabela’s cap and neither of them showed the slightest concern with my gun. That’s how I like it and it’s something I enjoy about open carry, the normalcy of it (even though it’s actually very uncommon).

In Bryce Canyon, I set up my D3 on a tripod and did a time lapse sequence for several hours. Myriad tourists passed me by (most from Europe, it seemed). I took pictures for some of them with the beautiful canyon in the background, helped others with their cameras, and had lengthier conversations with still others.

Some avoided eye contact and probably thought I was a crazy American (guilty!). One pair of ladies approached me and asked what I was doing, stating that I looked as though I knew what I was doing, what with the thousands of dollars in camera gear and multiple tripods. I spent a while giving them some basics of time lapse photography.

Part way into the conversation, one of them glanced nervously down at my PPQ. I don’t think she had seen it before approaching me, given my appendix carry position (the gun is more hidden from someone behind me than it would be in the standard three or four o’clock position). She never said anything about it, however, and we wrapped up our conversation. In hindsight, I wish I had brought it up and told her it was okay to stare at it, and not to worry. One of them was from Chicago and the other from New Jersey. This was a typical experience that one has when open carrying. Some people are nervous, others don’t mind, but most never even see the gun.

For some reason, I hopped on the Internet that night to verify my knowledge of gun laws in Utah. I learned something that I didn’t recall having read before. Without a Utah concealed carry permit, your gun must be two steps away from firing. That meant I needed to empty my chamber. I did so and spent the rest of my time in Utah with an empty pipe. Politicians are such monumental idiots, it boggles the mind.

Next was Salt Lake City. I saw several cops, but I don’t think they even noticed me. The true test of freedom is when cops actually see you. What is their response? Do they respect your individual liberty? I approached one guy on the street to get directions to a restaurant. He ended up recommending another one, a local joint that a tourist probably wouldn’t seek out. It was a sports bar. I didn’t know the specifics of carrying a gun into a bar in Utah, so I stuck my head through the door and asked a couple guys that were sitting there eating a late lunch.

The place was huge, but they were the only two customers, the time being halfway between lunch and dinner. They didn’t think it was a problem for me to have my gun there, but I headed over to ask the waitress, just to be sure. I’m not sure she really knew either. She said I couldn’t have it in the evening (because someone might grab it), but it shouldn’t be a problem now (I understand that probably isn’t how the law reads). In any event, she said she didn’t care if I had it there. That was good enough for me. No one there cared or was worried, I’m a peaceful citizen, and we just wanted to grab a quick meal. Done and done.

Following our refueling, we spent a while touring Temple Square, walking the grounds, taking pictures and entering a few of the buildings, including enjoying pipe organ practice. Beautiful! I don’t know if anyone official saw the gun, but no one said a word. The Mormons seem quite pro-Constitution and are probably pro-gun, in general. Just a feeling.

Just north of Salt Lake City is Hill Aerospace Museum. We spent almost an entire day there. It’s located on the corner of Hill Air Force Base. You don’t have to go through the base gate to visit the museum, but there are some no firearms signs as you drive up toward the museum. I left both guns in the car. The museum is free, huge, and fantastic! Highly recommended. There were no metal detectors. Concealed carry probably would have been just fine.

Stay tuned for Part II in which we drive up through Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, then back home to The Evergreen State.

comments

  1. avatar Hannibal says:

    “Before all you anti-open-carry bigots go off the deep end…”

    Great start to a discussion. Just disagreeing with your (goofy) opinions doesn’t make someone a bigot, however.

    1. avatar Powerwiz says:

      This is true but the people against it are like Nazis, they get insanely upset, do insane things. Then you got a guy like me that believes in it absolutely. My opinion if you don’t want to carry then don’t. I really don’t care. Yet the people who do not carry that are against it are total maniacs.

  2. avatar Taylor TX says:

    lmao Hannibal beat me to it, starting an article off with an insult to potential readers is probably one of those honey/vinegar things. I thought your MO Was to be polite 🙂

    Loved the pictures, except the small of the back carry. I dont want your spine to be damaged because you were being prepared, especially with such a great pistol!

    Good on you for getting out there and interacting with people and sharing the message.

  3. avatar Bob Wall says:

    What – Colorado not good enough for you? At least you could have passed through the Western Slope where you might be more politically comfortable, Instead of the Front Range.

  4. avatar Ron Burgundy says:

    Going on the I5 to Tillamook takes you through Portland, OR. As there’s no state preemption in OR, Portland (with its less than stellar in friendliness PD to enforce it) has decided that open carry is only OK if you have a valid CHL. And they only recognize the OR one, which as an out of state resident you can only get if you live in a neighbouring county. And are a US citizen. I venture into Portland as little as possible, preferring to stay north of the Columbia river.

    1. avatar KB Dave says:

      “And they only recognize the OR one, which as an out of state resident you can only get if you live in a neighbouring county”

      You can get an Oregon non-resident permit if you reside in a neighboring state, not just county. You have to get your application signed off by a County Sheriff in Oregon, doesn’t matter which one.

    2. avatar Dan A says:

      Oregon does have preemption laws.

  5. avatar pod says:

    I didn’t do an open-carry vacation per se, but I just flew from Miami to Dallas (DFW) and back again with my firearm, an H&K VP9.

    I wanted to bring my black rifle, but being the idea was to “test the waters”, I figured a pistol would be more appropriate.

    American Airlines treated me no different than anyone else checking in luggage that day. In Dallas the clerks didn’t even visually inspect the gun in it’s case. “Oh, a gun? OK, here, fill this out and bring it over to TSA”

    Texas and Florida have reciprocity obviously, so that helped. I went 4-wheeling so it was actually nice to be armed in the backcountry as well just in case we encountered problems. I know a 9mm is unsuitable for protection from large, aggressive game, but it’s better than nothing.

    No OC in either state so I didn’t get a chance to do that. Next trip out will be with my AR though.

    1. avatar Yellow Devil says:

      I’ve frequently traveled by airlines with my checked-in pistol and AR-15 one time. For the most part, the airlines treated the AR-15 the same as my pistols, but since I had my AR-15 in a specific hardcase, (I usually pack my pistol in a hardcase within my luggage), it takes a little longer for them to process it accordingly. The rifle case with the AR was in control of an airline employee almost all of the time, so it doesn’t come through the usual baggage carousel, you have to pick it up from the baggage customer service representative with ID and baggage tag (which of course I was glad about). I went from AZ to PA and back, neither airports gave me any trouble with my AR-15, even though a large case like that is pretty obvious with what it has. Even the airport employees in Philly didn’t give me any hard time, and it seems like they have seen enough rifles come through to know what to do.

  6. avatar lefty jason says:

    Funny that you mention Salt Lake but show the Manti Temple picture. Manti is over 100 miles away from Salt Lake. Great article.

    1. avatar Ing says:

      I was thinking about pointing that out, too. Speaking of which, where’s the angel? I thought all the temples had one. He should be standing right there on top of the steeple’s spire.

      1. avatar Ender says:

        The Manti Temple is one of the few temples that doesn’t have the Angel Moroni statue. It was one of the earliest temples built in Utah (dedicated in 1888) and was built before the Salt Lake Temple which was the first temple to have the Angel Moroni statue (not counting Nauvoo).

        There’s your Mormon history fact for the day. 🙂

        1. avatar AndrewPVD says:

          Was this before or after the talking hat?

        2. avatar Zach says:

          @AndrewPVD: After the “talking hat”. Don’t be a dick. For anyone who’s curious about what AndrewPVD is talking about, check here:

          https://www.lds.org/topics/book-of-mormon-translation

          The paragraph “The Mechanics of Translation” talks about the stone in the hat. Part of the reason Mormons are pro-gun is because we remember guys like AndrewPVD getting so worked up about our weird religion that they burned us out of four states, stole our farms, and killed our prophet (Joseph Smith was carrying a little pepperbox when they killed him, but that wasn’t much use against a big mob). Then, when we finally got set up in Utah, they sent the damn army.

          We like our freedom out here in Utah because we have long memories.

        3. avatar LarryinTX says:

          It never fails to astonish me that anyone even PRETENDS to believe such obvious blather.

          OTOH, our constitution guarantees each of us that right, and private and public actions against the Mormons were abusive and clearly illegal, even at the time.

    2. avatar Jay Williams says:

      Went through there on the way to Salt Lake City and just happened to like that photo–limited space for photos, so didn’t include one from Salt Lake City.

      For more photos from the trip, go here: http://www.jpwphoto.com/f1004983806.

      Thanks for reading and glad you enjoyed it. Part II is coming.

      1. avatar Ender says:

        That’s a very beautiful picture of the Manti Temple, thanks for including it. I enjoyed reading the article and look forward to Part II.

  7. avatar Ing says:

    “The Mormons seem quite pro-Constitution and are probably pro-gun, in general. Just a feeling.”

    That feeling is an accurate one. There are pockets of progressive lunacy in Utah (as there tend to be in any state), but on the whole — thanks in large part to Mormonism’s conservative mindset and emphasis on industry and self-sufficiency — it’s one of the most Constitutionally aware and gun-friendly places you could ever find yourself.

    How do I know this, you ask? I’m a long-time Northwesterner now, but Utah born and bred, raised in a big Mormon family in a tiny town that you can *almost* see in the far background of that Bryce Canyon photo. I go back there every chance I get to visit friends and family, and it’s my dream to retire out there in Bryce country on a piece of the family property.

    What I didn’t know, however, was that you can’t do loaded open-carry without a Utah license (are you sure?). I thought a license from any state with Utah reciprocity was sufficient. But I don’t tend to open-carry anyway (being neither properly equipped nor so inclined), so it’s mostly a moot point.

    This was an enjoyable, informative read. Looking forward to the second installment.

    1. avatar KB Dave says:

      I’m kinda the opposite, I was born and raised in Oregon, but then moved around a bit, and have been in Utah for the last 4.5 years. I miss Oregon, but I like it out here too.

      I’m not sure if loaded open carry is kosher with an out of state permit that Utah recognizes. I personally would recommend not taking the chance, if one were to visit here.

    2. avatar Explorer says:

      I agree, as a Utah resident I also thought any concealed permit removed the “utah unloaded” requirement. (but as always, do your own research/ reading, I am not a lawyer.)
      Also no need to worry about carry in a bar, just don’t go over the legal BAC limit. That waitress was only expressing opinion, not law.
      Utah is a pretty friendly state for open and concealed carry, (excepting the unloaded without a permit law) and I open carry regularly, I have never been stopped, or had any negative encounters.

  8. avatar louringe says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more condescending remark than an anti-open carry bigot. Well personally I’m a range Nazi and an open carry bigot and have for many years. Having trained peace officers in the use of firearms qualifications and remediation for those who couldn’t qualify. During the same time I qualified individuals for the CCWs that were issued by my department. I can tell you an earnest fact that 80% of the people who qualified for their CCW didn’t know one end of the gun from the other. I wonder how safe you would feel having somebody walk up to you on a range and ask you where the safety was on the Sig 226. I would also be interested in knowing your background and your training.

    For myself I have done more train the trainer classes and training the range master class than I can count. Have you ever been on a range and see a deputy attempt to pull his model 60 out of his ankle holster and blow hole in his foot or female peace officer drop her Sig have it hit the ground on the hammer discharge hitting her in the head and killing her instantly? I have thrown deputies detectives undersheriff’s deputy chiefs off my range for violating range safety policy, that only begins to articulate my definition of a range nazi.

    Having qualified civilians in the second largest county in California that has 3000 sworn officers the thought of a civilian carrying a gun openly scares me immensely because you have no idea what kind of training they’ve had. I’ve quizzed civilian CCW holders on occasion when they came to requalify when asked when the last time they shot was well the last time I came out to qualify of course have you had any formal training while any formal training I got a concealed weapons permit.

    In addition to be a bigot I would be interested to know how much research you did before you planned your 23 day outing.

    It is obvious you did little or no research before your trip if you had done research you would be where the fact that the state of California not only does does not have reciprocity with any other state, it is illegal to bring a firearm into the state of California with a magazine capacity of more than 10 rounds. That would be strike one and strike to for your lack of research.

    In the future I would suggest that you choose your words more carefully because obviously you have no grasp of the situation with respect to open carry within the states.

    Louis Ringe

    Riverside County Sheriff’s Department

    Firearms instructor, range master, armor and CCW Instructor.

    1. avatar Hinshelworld says:

      Buddy, as a fellow law enforcement officer I have a few concerns with your comments.

      First, I guess they didn’t teach reading comprehension in all the train the trainer courses you’ve had.

      “State of California, much of which is rural and populated with conservatives, while the rest is comprised of densely populated urban centers filled with elitist, leftist pinheads, bent on wielding their power and controlling the people’s lives. But you probably knew that.

      I did (not) take my evil guns into California.”

      No need to call the author out for lack of awareness about California’s fascist gun control regime.

      Just like you don’t need to be 100% proficient with the English language to exercise your 1st amendment rights, nobody needs to be 100% proficient with a firearm to exercise their 2nd amendment rights.

      In addition, I find it rather ironic that you claim to be skeptical of “civilians” carrying firearms because of a potential lack of weapon handling skills, directly following some pretty strong examples of the acute lack of firearms proficiency that many law enforcement officers have.

      I could drag my response out over a number of other issues in you post, but I think I am going to leave it at this.

    2. avatar KB Dave says:

      You sound like you support the 2nd Amendment BUT…

    3. avatar stateisevil says:

      @louringe

      Got back from Kommiefornia recently, where I carried my “assault weapons” concealed without a permit, I was aware of the “law”, but decided it was BS, like an adult. Also open carry is a right, and actually more “rightful” than concealed carry historically. As the above commenter said, you don’t have to be 100% proficient in gun handling to exercise your rights. In a free society, we don’t punish people until they’ve actually caused real harm.

    4. avatar Chip Bennett says:

      …the thought of a civilian carrying a gun openly scares me immensely…

      Screw you and the high horse you rode in on. If you cannot uphold your oath to defend the constitution – including the second amendment, that protects from any government infringement upon the natural right of every individual to keep and bear arms – then you’re in the wrong line of work.

      It’s none of your business how much training anyone else has had prior to their engagement in the lawful exercise of a constitutionally protected, natural right. Carry permit holders, by an order of magnitude, commit fewer gun-related crimes than their badge-wearing, fellow citizens in law enforcement. Perhaps your immense fear should be reserved for all of the LEO you encounter who are openly carrying. (You know – the same ones you describe so vividly as behaving badly at the range.)

      By the way: you’re a civilian, too. Wearing a badge doesn’t change that status. So if you carry, then either you’re a hypocrite, or you hold yourself to a different standard due to the presence of your badge. Either way, you’re a bigger problem than the typical, non-badge-wearing carrier (a group that now numbers 11-12 million, and counting).

      1. avatar LongBeach says:

        Preach it, Brother Chip!

      2. avatar Nicks87 says:

        Actually police officers are not civilians.

        ci·vil·ian
        /səˈvilyən/
        noun: civilian; plural noun: civilians

        1. a person not in the armed services or the police force.

        This has been stated multiple times on these very forums by myself and others. Please stop with the pathetic attempt to degrade us LEOs.

        1. avatar J. Zoss says:

          No pathetic attempt is needed. Posts like this one alone do plenty enough to hurt the image of LE before even getting into documented criminal acts. There are LE that that have and deserve my respect. When it comes to image this guy has already dug himself into a hole. One that may be comfortable enough to want to stay in.

        2. avatar KB Dave says:

          It has nothing to do with degrading LEOs. It has everything to do with the bullshit double standard that exists, and the “us vs them” mindset fostered by numerous LEOs around the country.

        3. avatar Chip Bennett says:

          Actually, no. Police are non-military, and therefore are civilians. The insistence of some LEO to differentiate themselves from their fellow civilians whom they serve, and to equate themselves with the military, is one of the fundamental problems with those certain LEO. You are a civil servant with a badge – emphasis on *civil*, i.e. civilian.

        4. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Your definition of “civilian” is wrong, and that is probably the reason the source is not quoted. A police officer is a civilian. And a member of the military is not a civil servant, by any stretch of the imagination.

    5. avatar ThomasR says:

      So Mr. The Only One. Or Mr. Bigot, or maybe Mr. Elitist.

      Please give some examples of a citizen, whether CC or OC, that blazed away at a bad guy with a gun hitting nine or ten innocent bystanders, like the two cops in New York? Among many other examples of cops missing the bad guy spraying the surrounding area. How about those cops shooting up the truck of those paper delivery ladies while chasing Dorner?

      How about the fact that citizens with lawful carry end up shooting the wrong person 3% of the time where cops end up shooting the wrong person 11% of time.

      How about the fact that cops are arrested for committing a felony 1.5% percent of the time where law abiding citizens with a CCL are arrested 0.5% of the time.

      In other words, Louie, law abiding citizens are better shots, better at shooting the right bad guy and are more law abiding than the cops.

      So pull in your horns; because we, the law abiding Gun carrying American can be better trusted to use the Right To Keep and Bear Arms than the “proffessionals”.

      1. avatar Nicks87 says:

        Lol, nice statistics but LEOs are involved in way more incidents involving firearms than armed civilians so I believe your stats are misleading. Correlation does not imply causation.

        1. avatar KB Dave says:

          How many more incidents? Cite some statistics, so we can compare sample sizes.

        2. avatar ThomasR says:

          Nice try nicks87. But there are thousands of DGU by “civilians” every year. Show me the carelessness, the lack of trigger control, the arrogance, the criminality of the cops in comparison to law abiding gun owners.

          Cops routinely violate the most basic of laws in the misuse of a gun, and the killing of innocent americans and their dogs and all they get as a punishment is paid leave.

          Cops, by any estimation, have no where near the level responsibility that the average gun owner shows in the use of a gun for defense of self or others.

        3. avatar Nicks87 says:

          So the average armed civilian can do my job better than I can? That’s pure delusion. I cant believe the level of ignorance on this website.

        4. avatar Chip Bennett says:

          Your “job” is to shoot people? Either you just erected the mother of all straw men, or else you actually do believe your “job” to be to shoot people – in which case you’re getting dangerously close to sounding like that badge-wearing thug in CT who outed himself on Facebook by admitting that he wanted to kick down doors and confiscate people’s guns.

    6. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      “Have you ever been on a range and see a deputy attempt to pull his model 60 out of his ankle holster and blow hole in his foot or female peace officer drop her Sig have it hit the ground on the hammer discharge hitting her in the head and killing her instantly?”

      Sigs don’t have a firing pin block and the use of a “non drop safe” pistol occurred in CA?

      Regardless of the answer to that, from a former LEO, I’m calling BS on your condescending, pompous attitude. Chip summarized my thoughts quite nicely.

    7. avatar Fuque says:

      Well Mr. Range Nazi,
      Before you start spouting off about your qualifications, coupled with your self important ego that obviously is lacking in strokes… there is an old saying.. “Those who can do.. those who can’t teach”…you sir, fall in the Can’t group… My suggestion is stay on the range, and Leave the firearms work to those of us who can.

      1. avatar Nicks87 says:

        “firearms work” ? I dont believe open carrying at Chipotle is considered work.

        1. avatar Ebony says:

          I told my granmdother how you helped. She said, “bake them a cake!”

    8. avatar John in IN says:

      snore.

      this is the kind of person that doesn’t understand “shall not be infringed”.

      you can’t get shit right in English very well; nobody here is pompously restricting (or suggesting the restriction of) your freedom to voice your [wrong] opinion.

      i’m deathly afraid of you. of your rhetoric. you’re what’s crippling the state; keeping guns only in the hands of the elite club. Juan the Mexican dude has the same right to defend his life against unwarranted trespass as you do. your badge makes you no more alive or important than I, or Juan, or anyone.

    9. avatar SteveO says:

      Uh, Mr. Firearms Instructor Range Master Armor[er] CCW Instructor Deputy Dawg, I have a couple simple questions for you since you have extensively researched these topics:

      1. Which of these two groups has a higher hit percentage in gunfights: (A) law enforcement officers; or (B) persons holding concealed carry permits?

      2. Which of these two groups has both a higher incidence of crime and higher incidence of crime committed with firearms: (A) law enforcement officers; or (B) persons holding concealed carry permits?

      3. Which of these two would most persons actually proficient at arms prefer to have openly carrying in their presence: (A) a deputy in Riverside County, CA, who had never touched a gun before going through the academy, only shoots when required by his department, and has had the misfortune to be trained by a punctuationally-challenged instructor whose greatest accomplishment seems to be throwing deputies detectives undershirts off of his ranges; or (B) virtually anyone else who likes guns and chooses to carry lawfully?

    10. avatar Christopher Hall says:

      Ah hahaha and you think your opinion is relevant! Cute.

    11. avatar RocketScientist says:

      “During the same time I qualified individuals for the CCWs that were issued by my department. I can tell you an earnest fact that 80% of the people who qualified for their CCW didn’t know one end of the gun from the other.”

      So in your own words, you were the person responsible for ‘qualifying’ people before issuing them a CCW, and in literally the same breath decry the fact that the overwhelming majority of them were totally incompetent? Gee… I wonder who’s fault that is?

      “Have you ever been on a range and see a deputy attempt to pull his model 60 out of his ankle holster and blow hole in his foot or female peace officer drop her Sig have it hit the ground on the hammer discharge hitting her in the head and killing her instantly?”

      Also, you were a Range Safety Officer and a self-described ‘range Nazi’, yet by the sound of it the range you ran sounds like the most horrifically unsafe range I have ever heard of. I probably spend as much (if not more) time on the range as you, and I’ve never seen anything close to this level of incompetence. I’m glad I never shot at a range where you were in charge. I would feel extremely unsafe.

    12. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Your post reads as though you never managed to graduate from high school, but managed to gain power and control over the lives of people far better than you, and enjoy that immensely. But others have called you to task on those facts, I’d like to try this; you claim a Sig was dropped and discharged? I cry bullshit, I think you are a liar. I don’t own every model Sig makes, but I do own a couple, and that is impossible with either, and I think it is impossible with any handgun made in the past 30-40 years. And thinking no one would call you on that here makes you really, really stupid. And probably means you are lying about most everything else, as well.

  9. avatar Scrubula says:

    Didn’t know you live in Washington, that’s cool. Utah tends to be pretty pro gun from my experience. Many Mormons come from that frontiersman sort of background.

  10. avatar Robert W. says:

    As a Santa Rosan I resent being called a dense haven of liberalism. Now Sebastopol right next door… well, that probably would have made you eat your own bullet.

  11. avatar Spectre_USA says:

    That sounds a lot like what the wife and I did this last Summer, but many fewer States.

    Took off from the east side, Spokane, meandered through Oregon, different areas every time we do so, and
    ended the expedition for a few days in No. Cal, the Sierra’s area actually. I did (not) carry a few pistols from my collection to my Bro-in-laws property, nor discharge any cartridges into water-filled containers he had setup.

    😉

    As to the Hill AFB museum, ain’t it a little known gem?

    I spent my last years on IRR out there, nice collection there.

    1. avatar Jay Williams says:

      Good to hear about your travels and about your (not) carrying and (not) shooting while on them. Heh, heh. 🙂

      Also, yes. I fell completely and utterly in love with the Hill Aerospace Museum! It’s wonderful!

      Thanks for reading.

      1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

        There’s also an A-10 squadron stationed at Hill. The flying gun!

        Good story. I look forward to part two.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Gawd, but I wanted that airplane! Since before it was built. Refueled a couple over Saudi during Desert Storm, an unscheduled refueling they requested because, while they had dropped their bombs (ie, completed their assigned mission), they had the guns left and there were TANKS!!! REAL tanks! Pretty please! They were near panic, I was hesitating because to refuel them I would have to descend through a pretty thick cloud deck down to a few thousand feet above the deck in mountainous terrain. My navigator said she could keep us safe, we went down, and they left with full tanks and full guns, sounding like little boys with a new toy. We should put the A-10 back into production, when it’s needed nothing else will do, and they’re getting old.

        2. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Also, the A-10 would be great right now doing the Forward Air Controller job in Syria and Iraq. I claim expertise due to having performed that mission in Vietnam, flying an O-2. The odd tank they would just shoot, and they are all (I think) trained to FAC, that is to control fighters and direct their bombs. Dunno why they are not there.

  12. avatar former water walker says:

    Too long to read. Must be nice to take a vacation. Or open carry.

  13. avatar Roymond says:

    I noticed a huge error — the claim that Nevada was your first chance to open carry. I live in Oregon, and open carry regularly, including in TIllamook where that world-class cheese factory is.

    Oregon does have state preemption, except that it grants localities a few things they can regulate, and also grandfathered in certain existing municipal laws. That makes it a bit crazy, but outside the I5 corridor I’ve never encountered a limitation on open carry. The real mess in Oregon is that any county sheriff can add whatever questions he likes to the standard background check form and use those to judge whether a person can have a concealed handgun license, which means that the state is not actually, as is claimed, a “shall-issue” state.

    1. avatar Jay Williams says:

      Looks like you’re right, except that I could’ve gotten busted in Portland, as there is preemption in certain cities. Maybe next time.

  14. avatar Neil D says:

    Check this link to a reciprocity map: http://www.usacarry.com/concealed_carry_permit_reciprocity_maps.html
    Looks to me like your WA state CPL is honored in Utah. Fun map to play around with. Of course you might want to go to the Utah State sight and look at their laws just to be sure if you plan to go back with your pistol.

  15. avatar Neil D says:

    I hold a WA State CPL as well as a concealed carry permit for NV and FL. Forget the initials for CC in those states. What is strange to me is that none of my permits are recognized in ORegon. What is up with that? I know the CA laws are nuts but OR ? Come on! Someone stated that open carry is OK in OR. IF that is true does that mean I can open carry in OR without any kind of permit but CC is against the law even though I have a CPL for WA and several other states? These reciprocity laws between the states really need to be modernized. At least in our western states. ORegon is not that much different from WA. In fact I think they are probably more conservative, on average, than Western WA. At least more so than the Seattle area for sure. But their handgun laws seem very bizarre.

  16. avatar Michael says:

    Awesome trip and great pics! Looking forward to part 2.

  17. avatar Jay Williams says:

    Let me just clarify the opening sentence of my article. Although the editors at TTAG modified it slightly, “anti-open-carry bigots” is all me.

    In my experience, folks who open carry generally don’t care what mode of carry people use, whether open or concealed. We’re like the carry conservatives or carry libertarians. There are others, however, who are vehemently opposed to open carry. If you open carry, you’re of the devil, or a fool, or ostentatious. You might call these people carry liberals, just like the liberals in government who want to control what you do. Even the strong word “bigots” applies to some of these folks. The word is apropos and I won’t apologize for it. Unless you think I’m a Satan-worshiper because I open carry, you shouldn’t be offended by my introductory sentence. It’s not about you.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      Calling them “carry liberals” is sort of ignoring what the word “liberal” means. If anything, someone who has a particular mode of carry they believe is correct (to the exclusion of others) would be a conservative.

      1. avatar KB Dave says:

        Well, calling Dems and “Progressives” liberals is bass ackward too, but that seems to have stuck.

        If you were to bring James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin to the present time and tell them that President Obama, Hilary Clinton, Sen. Feinstein, etc, are “liberals”, they would all have heart attacks.

      2. avatar Jay Williams says:

        I was using the word “liberal” the way it is commonly used in modern times. We may not like it, but that’s common usage. To use it the way you are, I would’ve had to explain how I was using it, thus making a mess of what I was writing.

  18. avatar Chadwick P. says:

    Your conclusion is correct. The Utah open carry law is idiotic. I have my concealed carry permit so it doesn’t bother me but why no pill in the chamber? Beyond me.

    Mormons are mostly alright with you exercising your rights. A few of them have been brainwashed into liberalism but not a whole bunch. When I open carry around Salt Lake I generally don’t get much negative attention. Idaho has been very good to my open carrying also. I wouldn’t expect to get much static from Wyoming or Montana either.

  19. avatar LongBeach says:

    That Bryce Canyon pic is the best pic I have ever seen. Absolutely perfect. Added that to the ‘list of places to see before I die’.

    1. avatar Zach says:

      I’m taking my kids down there this weekend. It’s one of the great things about Utah; so many weird places that aren’t like anywhere else on earth.

  20. avatar Chip in FL says:

    Love the article….I did a similar trip on my Harley from FL to CA and almost back to FL. I flipped the Harley in UT and was life flighted to a trauma center in Provo. Anyway, I so wanted to open carry my pistol on that trip but did not. Now next year I am headed on my NEW bike to South Dakota and over to UT to finish the trip I never completed. You can bet after reading this article that I am going to open carry…that will be fun. And I love how you never carried your gun in the Peoples Republic of California! LOL GREAT article…keep living the life brother and keep your powder dry cause we need patriots in arms for what we all know is coming our way.

    1. avatar Jay Williams says:

      Chip, I’m very glad to hear that you survived your wreck and that you’re going to get back in the saddle and keep travelling. That’s great! Also, good for you for deciding to open carry on your trip. Good luck!

    2. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Chip, I used to open carry in TX (legal when going shooting) while riding my bike, noticed that all drivers gave me a bit more room than I was accustomed to! LOL! While in SD, do not miss Spearfish Canyon, still one of the finest rides I have ever made, just outside Spearfish, around 21 miles long. SD has huge amounts of fabulous drives, just went back to redo most of them in my BMW convertible (too old for bikes of my preference, which was way too powerful, way too fast, and driven at the limits). That trip was TX-NM-AZ-UT-WY-MT-SD-WY-CO-NM-TX, 4600 miles in 3+ weeks, carrying every minute. Never once went over 130 mph, either.

  21. avatar DonS says:

    I … had in my wallet a CPL (Concealed Pistol License) issued by the state of Washington

    Without a Utah concealed carry permit, your gun must be two steps away from firing. That meant I needed to empty my chamber. I did so and spent the rest of my time in Utah with an empty pipe.

    Your WA CPL exempts you from that requirement.

    Utah’s “two-step rule” comes from the definition of a loaded firearm:

    76-10-502. When weapon deemed loaded.
    (1) For the purpose of this chapter, any pistol, revolver, shotgun, rifle, or other weapon described in this part shall be deemed to be loaded when there is an unexpended cartridge, shell, or projectile in the firing position.
    (2) Pistols and revolvers shall also be deemed to be loaded when an unexpended cartridge, shell, or projectile is in a position whereby the manual operation of any mechanism once would cause the unexpended cartridge, shell, or projectile to be fired.

    Utah generally prohibits the carrying of loaded firearms in public:

    76-10-505. Carrying loaded firearm in vehicle or on street.
    (1) Unless otherwise authorized by law, a person may not carry a loaded firearm:
    (a) in or on a vehicle, unless:
    (i) the vehicle is in the person’s lawful possession; or
    (ii) the person is carrying the loaded firearm in a vehicle with the consent of the person lawfully in possession of the vehicle;
    (b) on a public street; or
    (c) in a posted prohibited area.

    However, 76-10-505 does not apply to you:

    76-10-523. Persons exempt from weapons laws.
    2) The provisions of Subsections 76-10-504(1) and (2), and Section 76-10-505 do not apply to any person to whom a permit to carry a concealed firearm has been issued:
    (a) pursuant to Section 53-5-704; or
    (b) by another state or county.

    1. avatar Jay Williams says:

      That’s great information, Don. Thank you!

    2. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Damn, I was misinformed. I thought I was getting away with something, CCing in Park City for a week. All legal, except for the speeds I was driving. Must be getting old.

  22. avatar Jim says:

    Good on you for carrying on Temple Square in Salt Lake City.

    By law in the state of Utah, religious institutions who opt in may forbid the carrying of any firearm on their property. Oddly enough, as I understand it, the LDS Church is the only institution to opt in. In addition, according to my understanding you won’t be charged with a crime but cited and fined. So concealed carry is the way to go to make it as discreet as possible.

    If you were open carrying on Temple Square, I’m surprised no one brought it to your attention, but regardless good on ya for showing people that guns are normal.

    1. avatar Jay Williams says:

      Hi, Jim.

      I did, in fact, carry all over Temple Square, including inside one of the chapels, for probably an hour. Lots of folks around, including one or two who looked like they might have been some sort of officials, and folks who were greeting/working inside the chapel. No one batted an eye (but, as usual, maybe they didn’t see my gun).

      Interestingly, there are a few “plaques” of granite in the middle of the square (inside Temple Square). These outline some of the basic or important tenets of Mormanism. One of them says that the Constitution is important. I thought that was cool.

      Thanks for reading.

  23. avatar Steffi says:

    Walking in the precense of giants here. Cool thinking all around!

  24. avatar http://www./ says:

    …Was that before or after he raped that young intern and made her service friends in the White house or after running away from killing Mary Jo Kopechne at Chappaquiddick? Democrats…..what can you do.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~LOL! And while we're at it, what about that Republican that…oh never mind, everybody knows….Republicans…..what can you do.

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