On my recent vacation to Meteor Crater and environs, I stopped at the rest areas along the way to check and see if the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) had done its job.  They needed to replace old signs that illegally banned guns in the rest areas. When other travellers were available, I had them take my picture for use in this and future articles. After the pretty young woman holding the child took my picture, I asked if I could take hers. She was happy to pose for me . . .

Here is the picture she took of me at Painted Cliffs. I asked her to be sure that the GLOCK was prominently displayed.

No one had any problem taking my picture with my openly carried pistol. I asked men, women, white and black, and no one blinked. They smiled and happily helped out. The idea that the public is terrified of openly carried weapons is a media-produced myth that has been promoted by Bloomberg and his various paid groups. If openly carried weapons don’t terrify the population, then most of their emotional arguments collapse.

One man took my picture at the South Meteor Crater Rest Area. It is one of the best that my volunteers took. I wonder if he is a pro. I checked the “rules” sign, as this is where one of the old signs was posted last year.
A new sign was in place.  There is no ban on the exercise of the Second Amendment on this side. Second Amendment supporters have made progress in restoring Constitutional rights that had been eroded.
I should have had the volunteer at Sentinel zoom in a little, but you can still see the GLOCK in the cross-draw position. Maybe someone at ADOT read the previous article, because most of the rest areas had new signs that don’t prohibit the exercise of constitutional rights.
On to New Mexico. I will have a report on a rest stop sign in New Mexico in a later article.
©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

67 Responses to Open Carry In AZ Rest Areas Socially Acceptable

  1. Arizona is the real Wild West. I see people, some with young kids in tow, open carrying in Walmart and fast food restaurants frequently.

    • Since I moved to Arizona, I heard some describe it as the Wild West too. It really isn’t wild in the truest meaning of the word. I find its open gun culture quite civilized. I lived in the Portland area of Oregon before that. I find that Arizonians are far more tolerant of different lifestyles than Oregon has been since the early 80’s. If you are gay or straight, no body cares. If you are black, Native-American (me), Mexican-American, or European-American, no body really cares. Christian, Catholic, Atheist, or whatever, no one cares. Gun owner or not, no one cares. (But, tell an Arizonian how to live, those are fighting words.) In Oregon, if you have different views than the Democrat Party which has infested Portland, you have to keep it to yourself or face some level of retribution. No, I do not consider Arizona wild, for it is quite civilized and tame.

      • Actually the Blue Steel Democrats in Oregon have been instrumental in getting some illegal behavior by police departments dealt with (not as helpful as some would like, but still helpful). We need more of them.

    • If you didn’t see giant mechanical spiders spitting explosive fireballs, it wasn’t the real wild west.

  2. No offense, but I suspect that you being an older gentlemen sporting a cop mustache and wearing a pith helmet and olive shirt with shoulder epaulets may have put people at ease. To the general public, you probably look like a park ranger, minus the badge.

    • Right?

      Reproduce this experiment (in Arizona, no less) utilizing a friendly tattooed black guy in a tank top and see how it goes.

      Or, heaven forbid, a Mexican.

      • I’m in Arizona, and have friends that are both tattooed black men and mexicans. They’ve never had an issue with open carry either. The whole “AZ hates mexicans” thing is getting a bit tiresome. The liberal media made that up after Sheriff Joe started enforcing immigration laws and deporting illegal workers. The culture of Arizona is basically mexican culture, with many of its customs and such. I have yet to meet a mexican here who is anti gun.

      • You are so wrong in so many ways. I see people of many different skin colors open carrying all the time – Native-American (which is me), white, Hispanic, or whatever. No body cares. I see tattooed people carrying all the time. Again, no body cares. Now, if you have prison tattoos and an attitude, you may have people around you go from Condition Yellow to Orange, though. BTW, the guy who taught one of my firearms classes did kind of look like he just got off the prison bus. Okay, after thinking about it, you do have the occasional tourist who will have a canary, and perhaps a few snow birders from blue states, which are kind of like tourists with an Arizona drivers license. For most people who really enjoy living here, not so much.

      • I do that experiment all the time, I’m a 31 year old Hispanic. While I prefer concealed carry I open carry from time to time and no one cares.

    • Nah. I OC’ed for Gun Violence Awareness Day and it couldn’t have been more boring. I wouldn’t say OC is super common, but it’s far from rare. I see far more young people open carrying than older. It’s not a big deal.

      • Why’d ya move? My dad lived there for a while, he talks about it all the damn time. We are probably moving from our current state (Republik of New Yorkistan) within 3 years, myself closer to 2 years. Due to job requirements on my dads part Arizona and Virginia are the two top picks, I want Virginia since its closer to family and friends and not too far from where I live in NY but my dad is pretty dead set on Arizona! Is there something magical about the place other than the best gun rights hands down? I know its beautiful but it seams like its hot as well all the time! Of course I don’t mind the heat so long as its not humidity type heat.

        • Mom needs someone to look after her. She was late seventies when I moved back to CA. Needless to say, she’s a bit older now.

        • I can’t believe this became a reality for me. I am beating you guys in the time frame department. Less than two months and I will be in AZ! ca to AZ!

        • All of the comments on the Arizona heat, and people still do not “get” the sun helmet. Clothes have more utility than making a fashion statement.

          I do get lots of “love the hat” comments, though, and a few ” I had/have one of those, they work great in Arizona” comments.

        • @Dean Weingarten: Methinks they just wanted to make pithy comments. 😉 I actually like the look you’ve got going on there (no homo). Then again, my children tell me that I dress like a “gay cowboy” so YMMV. 😀

          Seriously though, I always figured that it was ideal for the heat so that’s why you wore it. Common sense… Go figure.

        • “All of the comments on the Arizona heat, and people still do not “get” the sun helmet. Clothes have more utility than making a fashion statement.”

          Too funny! So Dean wears a “sun helmet” to beat the heat? What about the dark green polyester shirt? You’d think that someone going to the extreme of a pith helmet would have enough sense to know that an untucked loose fitting khaki or other light color cotton shirt over a t-shirt would be the smart utilitarian choice to someone truly committed to staying cool in the Arizona heat. But of course since a loose fitting untucked shirt would also easily and conveniently conceal that Glock, Dean would go completely unnoticed and no one would see his gun that he so desperately wants everyone to know he’s carrying, couldn’t have that. So Dean, why do you wear the same goofy stand out in a crowd attire at the grocery store? Here’s a suggestion Dean, the rigidity of the pith helmet might double as a sturdy platform to mount a “HEY EVERYONE LOOK AT ME I’M CARRYING A GUN” sign on top.

  3. Let’s see…one pic with the gun at about a 5 o’clock position, the rest at a cross draw position….how gay.

  4. Somehow, a pith helmet and a cross-draw holster just seem to go together.

    But a Glock? Oh homey please! Should have been a .455 Webley.

    • This is exactly what I was thinking lol. Or maybe one of those rare 1911’s in .455 we sent to the Brits around WWII to compromise lol

    • When I looked at the photos with the pith helmet and all, I instantly thought of Jumanji, big game hunter Van Pelt and his custom made ‘elephant gun’. If Mr. Mike had been sporting a magazine fed blunder bus like that along with the tinker toy on his hip and the safari outfit it would have been awesome. The people taking the photographs would have been in awe, yet undoubtedly still quite comfortable with the occasion.

    • Maybe he does not consider the gun part of a fashion statement, but more of a… you know, weapon.

      • No doubt the GLOCK is an exceptionally competent sidearm, and well borne by the author.

        Imaginations *do* roam.

  5. Imagine that. This article plus the previous article about TSA ineptitude at Raleigh-Durham airport show us that a handful of people CAN make a difference … at least when civil servants are willing to act responsibly and honorably.

  6. “The idea that the public is terrified of openly carried weapons is a media-produced myth that has been promoted by Bloomberg and his various paid groups.”

    That’s why it’s going to be very interesting when the Austin open carriers flood the streets at every possible Progressive favorite hangout…

    Hilarity will ensue.

    The videos of the antis flipping out will be priceless, gang. Keep those video recorders rolling…

  7. This brings to mind an issue I encountered in Oregon: you can open carry in state parks… as long as it isn’t loaded. Someone needs to go to bat to fix that.

  8. One of the most ironic stories I ever read was one that happened in a restaurant in AZ.

    Some guy actually berated some people for open carry, in AZ, because it was scary, etc., etc., blah blah blah.

    The irony was thick, as was the guy berating open carry people for scaring people.

    • I think I have lived in Arizona long enough to claim we Arizonians call folk like that “tourists”. We do get migrant hippies moving from L.A. from time to time who bring their ideology with them too.

  9. Dean, I second all the compliments and support offered elsewhere here. Nice job. You are a great ambassador for us.

    Would like to ask about retention. Doesn’t look like a Level II rig. Maybe I’m wrong. I think any discussion of handgun open carry needs to reinforce the absolute need for a mechanical retention feature, not just friction.

  10. I live in Lake Havasu City, Az & can look at the Foreign Nation of California across the Lake..
    It is GREAT to live in a FREE STATE, allowing Freedom of choice…

  11. Last time i was in AZ was a few yrs back, in the month of July.. I about burst into flames Drove most of the state, visited lake havasu and Apache Junction, superior,globe and Miami…I thought the state was on fire.

  12. Several years ago I was on a motorcycle day trip while open carrying. Two German couples rolled up on BMW motorcycles and as I chatted with one of them, the two women stood a good distance off and nervously whispered while glancing at my hip. I am sure this gave them a good story about Arizona “cowboys: carrying guns in public.

  13. Lived here since 1979. Have seen on numerous occasions of open carry including someone in the store I manage. It seems the ones who carry are aware of their surroundings and if something were to go awry around me, I’d be looking to those for protection. They are always welcome where I work.
    Yeah, it’s hot. Love it. Weeds out the ‘birds and wusses.

  14. I suspect the social acceptance reaction of most folks who encountered Dean that day in the rest area were; “Look at that goofy old man wearing a pith helmet and a gun, bless his heart”.

    Since criminal predators also use and sometimes target victims at rest areas, being armed and vigilant at such a location is always prudent, especially after dark, but an attention seeking senior citizen openly carrying a handgun in a cross draw holster with no retention device providing quick and easy access for any would be attacker to disarm an older, slower, and weaker victim is anything but prudent. Additionally, that low cut front holster (please tell me it’s not a Fobus) is not designed or intended for cross draw, so immediate access of the handgun by the person carrying it would be unnecessarily impeded should it actually be needed for something other than political expression or attracting attention. Seriously Dean, you might want to rethink the On Safari or Lion Tamer persona if you’re counting on that look for command presence as a deterrent.

    Good luck on your open carry obsessed journey through dotage, hope it continues without incident, a quality Level II retention holster might prove to be a good investment for longevity. Utilizing that smart phone peaking out of your shirt pocket as a body cam was a nice touch Dean, even though you may never capture that anti gun confrontation you’re seeking, it might come in handy for evidentiary purposes should one day (God forbid) you have a face to face confrontation with a younger, quicker, and stronger criminal predator who can’t resist the impulse to attack and grab that Glock you’ve conveniently offered up in a suicide draw holster (that’s assuming of course the attacker only takes the gun and leaves the smart phone).

  15. Favorite sign in AZ was a park in Scottsdale. It said (paraphrasing) “No weapons allowed, accept firearms and knives”.

    It was early morning too, I saw a couple of Coyotes wander on through, who would occasionally look at people from a distance with fleeting interest. The actual animals, not the smugglers.

  16. I hope I run into you in AZ sometime, you are doing great work as a gun rights ambassador.
    I’ve seen more open carry in the last few years here than I used to. Never seen it cause any commotion or trouble, I think it’s good to “normalize” guns in the view of non gun-owners.

    Between people like Dean and the hard work of groups like AZCDL, I think gun rights here are in a healthy state.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *