Pro-Gun Video: 11m Americans Carry Firearms. Or Do They?

Sweet video, riffing on TTAG’s I Am A Gun Owner Facebook gallery. Nice to see some minority faces amongst the proud gun owners flashing their gats in the Old Dominion. But really, no one knows how many Americans actually carry a firearm. Sure, we have hard data on the number of concealed carry permits the states have issued. The figure cited by the Virginia Citizens Defense League in the video above hails from gun researcher John More Guns, Less Crime Lott . . .

The “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States” report from the Crime Prevention Research Center released Wednesday [July 10, 2014] analyzed parallels between a 22 percent drop in the overall violent crime rate in the same time period in which the percentage of the adult population with concealed carry permits soared by 130 percent.

The report finds that 11.1 million Americans now have permits to carry concealed weapons, which are up from 4.5 million in 2007. This 146 percent increase parallels a nearly one-quarter (22 percent) drop in both murder and violent crime rates during the same time period.

Setting aside the question of how many Americans bear arms in states where no carry permit or license is required, again, there’s a gap between Americans who have permits and Americans who carry a gun on a daily basis. I’d be surprised if as much as 20 percent of state carry license holders carry a gun.

There’s a PR campaign waiting to happen here: keep calm and carry a gun. A gun maker who makes concealed carry guns could make hay with that. And the more people who actually carry, the stronger our gun rights. It creates a cultural shift. You carry a gun? Really?

Which is why I continue to believe that open carry is the gun rights movement’s cutting edge. It’s not enough to have a carry license (which shouldn’t exist in the first place). It’s not enough to have a gun. It’s not enough to carry a gun (although it’s more than a little something). You need to be seen carrying a gun. Amirite?

comments

  1. avatar PeterC says:

    I carry, but not as a political statement. If and when I open carry, it’s a barbecue gun at a festive event with like-minded individuals.

  2. avatar DrVino says:

    How many carry without a permit in places where permits are hard to come by?
    I’m not talking about people involved in criminal enterprise but those who are otherwise upstanding citizens.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      That’s why NYC had stop and frisk — to disarm and punish good people who dared to carry without the consent of their masters.

    2. avatar Accur81 says:

      Orange County sheriff can get you a permit, bud! LA County is no good. And you know at least one cop who is friendly to the cause.

    3. avatar Cucamonga Jeff says:

      I know a guy who has ben keeping a .38 Special in his pocket for about 35years with no permit! “Permit Shmermit your life is YOUR LIFE, permit or not” <<That's his logic.

      1. SCOTUS just declared that you don’t need the governments permission to exercise a right. Even if that right isn’t in the Constitution. And every state must recognize that right. So carry on! No permit required!

  3. avatar Ralph says:

    Open carry, done right, is a game changer.

    How does someone do open carry right? Look at Dean Weingarten’s OC pictures. He just carries, drama free. If he’s asked questions, he gives good answers. By the time he’s done, nobody gives a second thought to the fact that he’s carrying.

    1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

      That’s how 99% of OCers carry, a holstered pistol just going about their everyday lives. No drama.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Exactly. Just don’t go full Embody and you’re GTG.

        As for aggressive OC showoffs, they usually do more good than harm. Yes, good. They create test cases and teach police the law, which is good, but they don’t normalize guns.

  4. avatar Jans says:

    Someone here wisely said, “A right hidden is a right forgotten.”

  5. avatar SurfGW says:

    My guess is that the number of actual concealed carriers varies by season – it is easier to hide a gun under a winter coat than under summer boardshorts.

  6. avatar Cliff H says:

    Gays came out of the closet. Last week the Supreme Court of the United States said it would be a federal offense to try to put them back.

    Open carry is Gun Rights coming out of the closet.

    1. avatar Silver says:

      The problem is that the gun rights movement’s version of the Westboro Baptist Church occupies the White House, a good chunk of Senate and the SCOTUS, and the vast majority of mass media.

    2. avatar JohnF says:

      Ooooh! We should have our own Gun Pride parades!

      1. avatar Roymond says:

        I like it!

        I’d march with the “Rainbow Rifles”, the patriotic counter to Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow whatchamacallit (Alliance? Coalition?).

        Though I’m not sure “Gun Pride” would be the best name — maybe “Armed Pride”, so we can include people with swords, crossbows, or whatever folks keep around for their protection (“Moms With Rolling Pins”?).

  7. avatar Ken says:

    Four States do not require permits and one of those does not issue permits. I know good people in those and other States that carry without a license.

  8. avatar Silver says:

    With mass media being what it is, it only takes one bad apple OCer to paint the other 99 percent in a certain light. Just look at the Confederate flag outrage and see how pathetically easy it is to whip people up into a frenzy about nothing. A media shift needs to happen before a culture shift happens.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      The Democrat left owns the media, lock, stock and barrel. But when we OC properly, we take a viral approach that outflanks the media jackalopes. Yes, it isn’t easy or fast, but it’s working.

      1. avatar Silver says:

        Good point. Such advertisement and media campaigns have been proven effective, no reason it can’t work with this also.

  9. avatar CAG404 says:

    I disagree with open carry as a political statement. If someone is open carrying and not making a show of it, yeah, that’s awesome. But making a show of it to prove a point is childish and counterproductive.

    Personally, I like CC better for a few reasons…

    1. It draws less attention and the squeamish can’t make an issue of it. Regardless of how much we OC in their face, you will always have to deal with the squeamish and that will always end in a confrontation with a LEO when they get called. Then your newfound LEO friend becomes a roll of the dice on whether he/she supports OC/armed citizens or not.

    2. CC is less likely to draw immediate fire from a criminal at the outset of an incident.

    IMO, the video in this post was excellent and needs to widest broadcast/dissemination. It’s one thing to preach to the choir here in a gun blog, but it (and media like it) really need to get out there.

    Just my two cents’ for what they are worth!

    1. avatar Dustin says:

      “But making a show of it to prove a point is childish and counterproductive.”

      I cannot wrap my head around this bizarre statement.

      How is doing the small thing of Open Carry to support the 2nd bad? Is it bad to do anything at all ever? Are you giving in to the Left’s demand for censorship? Only the Left are allowed a voice? How can it be bad to show, prove, everyday, that the Left’s propaganda is a lie?

      They have words. We have actions. Or, at least those of us willing to take action… Mocking those who do what you fail to do is not a thing of which to be proud…

      1. avatar CAG404 says:

        Dustin, you seem to have assumed something that is simply not in my statement…I mocked nobody. And all I stated was that I prefer CC versus OC and I explained why. If you prefer OC just to make a point (and not for the primary purpose of defending yourself and those you care about), then I believe you are OCing for the wrong reasons. Your statements don’t convey any thought to the advantages and disadvantages of OC and you only discuss it in the context of making a point, so it leads me to believe you OC just to make a point…you, then, you are part of the problem. The secondary benefit of OC is publicizing that there are good, honest citizens out there that safely carry day-to-day. I’ve got no problem with that at all…but it has to be for the secondary purpose of getting that message across. I know it’s tough to wrap your head around statements with which you don’t agree, but understand that we are all on the same side.

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      … you will always have to deal with the squeamish and that will always end in a confrontation with a LEO when they get called. Then your newfound [sic] LEO friend becomes a roll of the dice on whether he/she supports OC/armed citizens or not.

      While often true, this is a necessary evil. The alternative is engaging law enforcement on a large scale with force (e.g. civil war).

      At any rate, please note that being meek has earned us exactly nothing. We cannot afford to be on the defensive any longer. The best defense is a good offense.

    3. avatar Henry says:

      “Regardless of how much we OC in their face”

      Ha ha! At first, I read this as “pepper spray.”

    4. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

      As free people become more accustomed to exercising their rights, maybe they become more resentful of squeamish people trying to snatch those rights back. Maybe they become more resistant to bullying police using squamish people’s calls as cover to harass people who’re merely exercising their rights. Maybe people start to realize that it is the police who are disturbing the peace.

      Maybe the police are the ones who are rolling the dice.

  10. avatar Bill Kohnke says:

    Why purposely advertise that you are armed while mingling in mixed society? It’s fine when conditions for discreet carry are limited (hot days) or other factors make open carry more practical (local disaster, dangerous incidents, field carry). Adjust your attitude and carry options to fit the situation.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      “Why purposely advertise that you are armed while mingling in mixed society?”

      To show the masses that good people who are pleasant, polite, respectful, and responsible carry firearms as they go about their lives and business in public. This gets people thinking and destroys the Progressive narrative that only unstable, paranoid racist homophobes and criminals carry firearms.

      1. avatar Roymond says:

        How about freedom of expression?

        Some people wear clothes with a message. It’s just as legitimate to wear a gun because it’s a message.

        I was once visiting some hot springs out in the sticks and saw big cat prints before I was ten steps down the path. The custom at those hot springs was no clothing at all. Should I not have strapped on my sidearm just for the sake of custom?

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          Maybe (big) kitty just wants a belly rub?

          🙂

  11. avatar Dustin says:

    When did we become so worried about letting the 2nd Amendment be exactly what it’s supposed to be?

    Yes, the media and Lefties will portray anything we do as bad. You think restricting yourself will change that? No matter what we do, it’ll be called names. You’re going to let that stop you? No wonder the 2nd barely exists…

    The one and only reason the 2nd even exists, is a statement to politicians… If you argue that Carry should not be a political statement, then you argue to erase the whole damn bill of rights… Making a political statement is the only reason it exists.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Yes, the media and Lefties will portray anything we do as bad. You think restricting yourself will change that? No matter what we do, it’ll be called names.

      (slow clap –> more clapping –> thunderous applause)

      Truer words have never been spoken.

      As I mentioned in another comment today, being meek and mild-mannered has accomplished exactly nothing … other than making us look like timid little chihuahuas rather than the sheepdogs that we are supposed to be.

  12. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Yes … people need to see us carrying a firearm in public.

    I recently attended a gun turn-in event hoping to purchase something nice on the cheap. I met a nice minority lady in her late 50s or early 60s who came to turn-in a revolver. She was pleasantly surprised and perplexed that a few men were trying to purchase the firearms before people turned them in to police for a gift card. So she asked us what we were going to do with any firearms that we purchased. One of our responses was to carry them around. Again she was surprised.

    While this may not seem remarkable, it becomes very remarkable after learning that this nice lady has her concealed carry license. In spite of having her license, she doesn’t carry in her car or out in public because it seems strange and carries a small risk (in her mind) of running into trouble if she ever had to interact with police.

    So, YES, we need to carry openly in public. She saw me carrying openly. She was again surprised — in a good way. And she is much more likely now to get more training and carry in public. This would have never happened if we had not attended the gun turn-in nor carried openly.

    1. avatar Nate says:

      I think a lot of people hesitate to carry for social reasons. I know a lot of girls who have said “I want to get a carry permit but I’m nervous about the police and accidentally breaking the law by going into a gun free zone”. People like this just need encouragement, not tough love, but positive reinforcement. Maybe get them to carry and if you have been carrying for a while volunteer to spend the day with them. I know of a story of someone who was afraid of open carrying and a friend of theirs who was a LE officer said we’ll go to the park today and he open carried with that person and it helped infinitely even though nothing happened. Personally I wouldn’t feel comfortable OC’ing by myself, maybe in a group as part of an awareness campaign or protest but not by myself, at least not initially unless I was in a gun friendly area.

      1. avatar John in Ohio says:

        Yes. Volunteering to assist newbies is important. I often offer to walk with people until they get comfortable with open carrying on their own. It does seem to help them.

    2. avatar John in Ohio says:

      I’ve encountered a surprisingly large number of people who hesitate to carry openly or even concealed because of fear of police harassment or even murder at the hands of police.

      Afraid of ND and hurting themselves? Nope. Afraid of someone taking it away from them and shooting them? Nope. Afraid of the police? Yep.

  13. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    I’d love to open carry-and I live in Illinois. No problems a scant mile away. Maybe someday-but I sure ain’t fretting…

  14. avatar Rokurota says:

    The VCDL has OC’d on MLK Day every year for quite some time now — no, it’s not for King Day, it’s “Lobby Day” in Richmond. While it still provokes apoplexy in the newsrags, the lack of blood on the Capitol grounds has drained the public alarm from the event.

  15. avatar Brett says:

    I don’t open carry because I prefer to have the element of surprise should a situation occur where I need my gun. I also don’t want people looking at me to “do something” in a situation if I’ve decided that the most prudent course of action is to just be a good witness.

    1. avatar Dustin says:

      How about the element of not needing to?

      An ounce of prevention is worth 9 rounds of cure.

      The element of surprise is both an offensive concept, and only necessary if you fail to prevent…

      Open Carry prevents. Concealment doesn’t. Out of sight, out of mind…

      1. avatar Brett says:

        When I say element of surprise, I’m not talking about some random robber approaching me on the street or at a gas station. I’m talking about a mass shooting, or take over robbery type of situation. As far as open carry preventing the crime in the first place, I don’t think it’d be a factor in those types of situations, and may lead to the open carrier being target first. Now could open carry prevent me from being a victim of a random robbery at some place like a gas station? Possibly, but I’m 6′ 2″ tall and 220lbs and carry myself with confidence, so I don’t exactly scream “easy target”. I was also a Military Police officer in the Army for 7 years, so I maintain good situational awareness. Like you said, prevention beats cure. I just choose a different method of prevention, by not acting like a victim.

  16. avatar RickA says:

    I prefer concealed carry. Carrying openly runs the risk of someone from behind busting your head open with a rock (or similar object) to steal your weapon. Or a few thugs jumping you, pinning your arms and yanking your gun.

    Maybe I’m just a little paranoid, but why let criminals know you’re carrying? An average Joe, minus a handgun in view, maintains the element of surprise. Plus the fact that weapon retention holsters and techniques are less of an issue to worry about when your weapon is not in plain view.

    1. avatar Dustin says:

      Go ahead and test that theory.

      You’d sooner catch a rattlesnake’s tongue. In the dark. With chopsticks.

      Anti’s accept concealed carry because it means there’s nothing to oppose their propaganda. Open Carry proves them wrong without speaking a word. That’s why they don’t like it.

      There’s a reason it’s never happened. Not. Even. Once.

      If gun owners were really as unstable as anti-gunners say, there wouldn’t be any anti-gunners… Prove it. Every day. Open Carry. When that occasional anti douche picks a fight with you, point out that fact: “If I’m really so dangerous and unstable, why are you picking a fight with me? Oh, yeah, because you know I’m the level-headed one and that you’re perfectly safe no matter what crap you talk. You own actions prove your words to be lies.”

      Why let the criminals know? PREVENTION! Why are you hoping to bait an encounter where you’ll have to draw and fire, when you could simply let it be seen and never have to touch your gun at all?

      An ounce of prevention is worth 9 rounds of cure…

  17. avatar Hoplopfheil says:

    That’s already Taurus’ slogan. Keep Calm and “Carry” On.

    New Taurus purchases even include a Carry On sticker to put on the back of your MacBook.

  18. avatar Justsomeguy says:

    I like these types of productions. Another one was done in the upper Midwest somewhere too. They can’t help but put a face on those of us that shoot and carry. I liked the “I’m the NRA” series of ads too. Can’t be overdone

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      This one? http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2013/11/matt-in-fl/daily-digest-carry-edition/

      I still think is one of the best testimonial videos I’ve seen.

  19. avatar John in Ohio says:

    You need to be seen carrying a gun. Amirite?

    Yes. Very much so.

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