Question of the Day: Is Open Carry Especially Good for Women?

I’ve known Nicki (a.k.a., “Liberty Doll”) for about a year. She’s an advocate for gun rights; you can feel her passion for firearms freedom on her Facebook page. After getting a dog, Nicki became aware that she was being watched. At first, she dismissed the feeling. Then she saw a man in a Ford cargo van following her. Stalking her. Nicki filed a police report. In the video above, Nicki says she wants to open carry. To send her stalker a message: I will not be a victim. Is that right? Is open carry a deterrent against criminal predation for women? Or is she and other women better off carrying concealed to maintain the element of surprise?

 

comments

  1. avatar Pantera Vazquez says:

    To each her own. As guys do, so shall gals. Each person as well as each potential scenario will create possibilities or requirements.

  2. avatar GenghisQuan says:

    Of course?

    The anti-gunners miss the point that you can’t just treat all instances of “someone killed by a gun” or even all instances of “crime committed by someone with a gun” as one big homogeneous mass. Someone who plans out a mass shooting or a premeditated murder isn’t the same as someone who pulls their weapon in a fit of road rage, and what might prevent one doesn’t prevent the other.

    Similarly, the anti-OCers miss this same point, that not all criminals are the same. Yes, you probably will be a target for someone who is looking to steal a gun off an OCer. But it is also true that you will deter criminals who are just looking for an easy snatch and grab and would rather not risk it turning into a fight if they are not successful in their initial attempt.

    1. avatar GuyFromV says:

      This is a great point.

    2. avatar Dustin says:

      “Yes, you probably will be a target for someone who is looking to steal a gun off an OCer.”

      This argument, logically, flies in the face of the very logic that Concealed Carriers use for having their guns their way…

      And it also have not bourne fruit in reality. Not. Even. Once.

      It doesn’t make sense that it would happen, and it never has happened. That’s an excuse, not an argument.

  3. avatar Ddub says:

    Yea, go for it. If it were me, and in the extremely unlikely event I had any kind of stalker, I would open carry one firearm, conceal another, and carry a concealed fixed blade. Having the mindset and ability to defend yourself is great, however you see fit, especially for women.

  4. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    She should carry of course. How doesn’t matter much. She should also hire a private detective to find this guy and pay him a visit. Stalking is about power. For a watcher, finding out that he’s being watched is unnerving.

  5. avatar Mack Bolan says:

    All predation is based on picking the easiest target both in society and nature.

    Open carry is a deterrent, full stop. However it may not be sufficient to deter every predator. Some predators view the risk/reward scale differently.

  6. avatar Fuque says:

    ” Ford cargo van”.. she just described 99% of construction contractors nationwide, myself included.

    1. avatar CarlosT says:

      I presume you don’t make a habit of following women around at night in it, however. I don’t think we’d see any story if the van had ladders on top and stayed parked in front of one house between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm Monday through Friday.

    2. avatar Ddub says:

      No kidding, everyone knows perverts and low life’s only drive “chevy vans.” Besides 85% of all construction workers are dirt bags anyway, so she’s probably safest to follow her instincts, they are there for a reason.

      1. avatar Ken says:

        Trollololol

  7. avatar Another Robert says:

    I think this is one of those situations where ‘both” might be the best answer. I would do open for the deterrent value. If the guy wants to ignore that, I would want to have a concealed BUG in case something happens to put the OC weapon out of play. In general terms I think for most non-LEOs deterrence is much preferable than trapping.

  8. avatar TravisP says:

    Someone actively watching her isn’t a normal person, a gun might not scare them off. I’d stay concealed, maybe add a backup gun to a location I can get to easily if knocked down.

  9. avatar Danny Griffin says:

    carrying concealed to maintain the element of surprise?

    If you have to surprise someone, you’re already in deep trouble. After you’ve been attacked, surprising your attacker is ridiculous.

    1. avatar Delta2actual says:

      Actually, Danny, I’m not sure that’s entirely true. If you can react to a gun threat (NOT a knife threat!!) with “surprise, overwhelming force, violence of action” you (or she) may be able to put the attacker at a disadvantage, which gives a few MORE seconds of reaction time. Enough to flee the scene or draw a weapon (in order of importance).

      1. avatar Matt Richardson says:

        I knew this would devolve into the “tactical advantage” argument that the anti-OC crowd always brings.

  10. avatar orm says:

    If this stalker is worth his salt he likely already knows she is a gun rights advocate and carries a gun. In which case open carrying would gain her nothing. Better that this stalker doesn’t know her edc load out. The PI idea might bare fruit… But could escalate the situation if he is confronted. Still be good to have a ID on the stalker.

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      Until I clicked on the youtube link I thought we were talking about Nicki Fellenzer.
      Stalking her would be seriously bad juju.

      1. avatar orm says:

        I confess I haven’t had a chance to watch the video

  11. Everyone should carry, especially women. However, man or women should not open carry unless they know how to handle it if someone goes for their firearm, and have a GREAT retention holster. Just my 2 cents worth. What’s yours?

  12. avatar James St. John says:

    The best gunfight to have is the one you avoid.

  13. avatar John in Ohio says:

    Open carrying one and concealing at least another would be a good idea. I know quite a few OCers who also conceal at least one. When we are at protests or other events, we often ditch the concealed handgun(s) and exclusively open carry. But, for the most part, I think alot of us do both at the same time. This would give her the potential deterrent of OC while she still has the backup of a concealed handgun.

  14. avatar Gunr says:

    Seems like this subject will never die. However, it makes for good reading.
    As many of the TTAG readers know, I am for concealed carry, simply because I do not want to draw attention to myself. The less a person knows about you, the better off you are.
    “Out of sight, Out of mind”

    P.S.
    Great video, Cup Cakes, I mean “Liberty Doll” gets my vote any day!
    She kinda scared me when she was talking about the old guy, with squared jaw, and white hair. I thought she was talking about me!

    1. avatar Another Robert says:

      In this case, she has already drawn his attention. So she loses nothing by OC in that regard, and may gain something by way of deterrence.

    2. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      “I am for concealed carry, simply because I do not want to draw attention to myself. The less a person knows about you, the better off you are.”

      Fair enough, but we are reminded of the numerous OC stories about how the OC handgun goes unnoticed as well.

      That’s been my experience when OC-ing also as a general rule.

      Not sure the ‘getting noticed’ this is THAT big of a deal, although admittedly region/location specific.

      1. avatar John in Ohio says:

        Alot of people out there are in condition white and don’t even notice the good sized Ruger New Vaquero or 1911 on my hip. Both are stainless so it’s not like they blend in. However, those intending me harm do notice the sidearm… of that I’m pretty sure.

        Sidenote: Over the years, I’ve had a few cops not notice the gun on my side right away when we were having a conversation. It was kind of funny to see their expressions when they realized.

      2. avatar Gunr says:

        JR
        You and I have kicked this around before. I do respect your opinion. I would be more for open carry if at least 40 to 50% of everybody open carried. That way, a bad guy would know that everybody had a backup.
        Somebody once said. back in the 70’s “The best way to prevent an airplane hijacking, is to pass out a gun to all the passengers as they board”

        1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

          If everyone is afraid to OC until everyone else does like you, we’ll never get there.

        2. avatar MarkPA says:

          Agreed! Somehow I think we ought to find a way to get from where we are (OC is legal but never practiced) to where we should try to be (where OC is practiced often enough to become a socially-accepted practice).

          Some folks in a small town near Philadelphia held a locally-publicized OC picnic. Something like this event strikes me as a really great idea and we ought to be developing other such ideas.

        3. avatar Danny Griffin says:

          Yep. OC picnics are common in many states. We have some well-attended ones in Michigan.

        4. avatar Gunr says:

          Does Shannon baby ever show up?

  15. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

    Do what is comfortable, just carry!

  16. avatar Warren says:

    Gender makes no difference. Open or concealed carry, do what’s right for you and your circumstances.

  17. avatar dwb says:

    Obviously, it’s a choice – but I think that predators in general pick easy targets, so anything you can do to make yourself less easy and signal a potential fight is a good thing. With or without a gun on the hip they could get the jump on you, so be prepared for that scenario too.

  18. avatar Bob108 says:

    Good question. The element of surprise and reduced chance of a slap-and-grab is great tactically, but deterrence is good too. There are pros-and-cons to both. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know if this stalker is an anti-2nd amendment guy trying to gather intelligence on her or force her into a controversial confrontation for a camera? Sorry, I have gotten to the point where I cannot trust the anti-2nd amendment folks to play by any rules of common decency.

  19. avatar TommyG says:

    Sure. I could see most stalkers finding a easier target. Why take the chance of getting shot? There are plenty of potential victims who don’t carry.

  20. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    A Glock, S&W, or NRA logo shirt could deter just the same.

    Only gun people wear gun shirts.

    But hey, to each his or her own, you have live your life the way you see fit.

  21. avatar Chrispy says:

    I say do whatever the Hell you want to do, (within the law).

    In reality, most of our fight for gun rights isn’t about guns, it’s about the freedom to make the choices we want, and not be told that we can’t.

  22. avatar Defens says:

    Heck, go for broke. OC an AK. If a message needs to be sent, why not make it a big one?

  23. avatar CarlosT says:

    Women’s fashion is often not friendly to concealed carry. One side benefit to open carry could be side stepping all those considerations and just worrying about getting a gun that you can be effective with. That’s one of the reasons I’d like to see open carry and carry generally gain acceptance. The ideal should be you’d put on a gun like you’d put on shoes or a jacket.

  24. avatar Rokurota says:

    I had a neighbor who was followed home from a jog by a man in a car. She bought a gun the next day and OC’d while she waited for her CHP to come through. On her next run, she wondered if someone was following her so she angled her body so he could see the gun. The guy turned around. He was either a creep or a hoplophobe — either way unwanted company.

    I seriously doubt any stalker thinks about taking an openly carried gun. It’s a deterrent to that kind of criminal.

  25. avatar MarkPA says:

    I think the man/woman distinction really IS important.

    Women – so I understand – have a much harder time concealed-carrying then men. Men have pretty much the same wardrobe every day – different pair of trousers but always trousers. Sometimes a jacket, sometimes a polo shirt. It’s easy for a guy to work-out his CC gear and stick with it. Not so for women. Probably no one carry gear will work regardless of the choice of cloths.

    The consequence is that women are pushed by circumstances to carry in their purses. That practice has its own disadvantages which we needn’t re-hash here.

    Social issues aside; I think OC is far more practical for women.

    We can’t ignore the social issues. Men are criticized for the practice of OC for reasons that carry a mix of justification and fantasy. Some men ignore the social pressure and OC anyway; others are inclined to avoid controversy. Now, let’s turn to women practicing OC.

    Women are much more apt to sub-come to social pressures against OC; but, let’s consider the gal who is not dissuaded. Does a woman OCing raise the same reaction as a man OCing? Would non-PotG criticize her for terrifying the horses/hoplophobes? Would non-PotG be afraid of her? What if she were escorting children? I suspect that the public would be much more tolerant of women OCing vs. men OCing. Promoting the practice of OC by women might actually be a good way of introducing carry to the masses.

    I don’t think the shoot-me-first argument applies to women; especially women escorting children. Any criminal who sees a woman OCing is probably going to assume that she will not likely engage unless he fires at her. If he sees a woman OCing with children he can just about be guaranteed she won’t engage unless he fires at her.

    Grabbing a gun from a holster is pretty readily dealt with by a retention holster.

    1. avatar Paul says:

      Well thought comments. I would think that a woman who openly carries also is sending a message that she will in fact use the weapon and probably has taken lessons. Stalkers/pervs beware.

  26. avatar Roscoe says:

    I believe it’s appropriate to conceal carry in public places unless local custom and laws encourages and permits open carry.

    If Nicki prefers to routinely open carry, or carry concealed, do so. If carrying concealed is her preference, I might make it a point of revealing to her stalker at some point that she is armed by, say, removing her jacket to reveal her sidearm at a time when her potential assailant has a clear view of her activities…and her gun.

    Then briefly look his way, without staring or acknowledging his presence. Just diminish his confident arrogance…and replace it with…uncertainty. He’ll likely move on.

    Or, let it be a surprise.

    1. avatar John in Ohio says:

      Usually local customs (and sometimes laws) don’t “encourage” (not sure what you meant by the term) open carry until a number of people regularly engage in the activity. Off topic, but, if people wait for OC to be encouraged in an area, OC will disappear. Somebody has to do it even when it’s not hip or cool to do so.

    2. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      “I might make it a point of revealing to her stalker at some point that she is armed by, say, removing her jacket to reveal her sidearm at a time when her potential assailant has a clear view of her activities…and her gun. “

      So why not just OC and hope it never gets to THAT point in the first place?

      The argument in her particular case can go either way…ultimately emphasizing it’s nothing more than personal choice.

      But, if the plan is to flash to gun to deter his presence, it just seems like CC-ing to that point lets it get far “too close to comfort” if that makes sense.

      1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

        Intentionally flashing a gun as one poster advocates is against the law in many states. Don’t do it.

  27. avatar actionphysicalman says:

    I’d hope there is something more proactive she can do. Waiting for him to pick a time and place to attack (if that is in fact what he is working up to) tilts the odds in his favor more than a little if he is intelligent. She is in a tough spot.

    1. avatar Roscoe says:

      I think her best strategy is to create uncertainty and doubt in his mind; uncertainty as to the level of resistance he may walk into, and doubt as to his success if he were to assault her.

      A person is as formidable as an enemy *thinks* they are. An armed target is pretty formidable.

      He’ll likely move on.

      1. avatar APM mobile says:

        If he is not so obsessed that he can move on. Right now he is not looking like a guy with normal self control.

      2. avatar Dustin says:

        Who says he’s planning anything? Maybe he’s just a lonely old man who thinks she’s pretty and has noting better to do?

        Creepy and weird, sure, but the jump to presuming he’s a rapist is a bit much…

  28. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Carry however you want-just be armed. AND have a knife,pepper, stun gun or rape whistle(just kidding!)…don’t be a victim…

  29. avatar jim says:

    Carry. Peace through superior fire power.

  30. avatar Stinkeye says:

    “After getting a dog, Nicki became aware that she was being watched.”

    What an egocentric attitude. Maybe the guy was stalking the dog. Did you ever think of that?

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      I can see the headlines now!
      “Dog repeatedly raped in park by deranged psycho!

    2. avatar Red In Texas says:

      You didn’t know that you instantly get a 7th sense when you get a new dog?

  31. avatar IMBSquared says:

    Personally, I would conceal. Her stalker wouldn’t broadcast his intentions until he plans to make a move, so why give him a warning? Open carry tells him that she’s armed, and now he can choose to back off, or prepare for a firefight – depending on how motivated he is. It’s a gamble. Concealed carry makes a would-be attacker guess, and that gives Ms. Nicki a fair chance at countering a possible attack. If comfort and draw are an issue, then I would carry OWB with a jacket or loose shirt, but still keep the piece concealed. Awareness is her best advantage, and I wouldn’t give an attacker the slightest hint to compromise it.

    1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

      @IMBSquared

      That would seem like a good tactic if she wants to lure her stalker into attacking her so she can shoot him. Otherwise, if she wants to try and avoid the attack in the first place, not so much.

      Is OC guaranteed to prevent an attack? No. Either way is a gamble, you just need to figure out what odds you are willing to live with.

  32. avatar GJ says:

    She best off doing as she feels is best for her not what others think is best for her..the entire premise of the article is BS

  33. avatar Ralph says:

    A stalker won’t be deterred from stalking by the sight of a gun. Attacking, maybe. But not stalking. And they seem to get a large charge from knowing that their target knows about the stalking and are powerless to stop it. Stalking is a power trip unto itself.

    This comment is based on the experience I had in dealing with the stalker of a friend and the research I did to try to protect my friend from worse.

    1. avatar Dustin says:

      Meh, I think stalkers are over-stated… They don’t even have the balls to do it right, they probably won’t do anything else. Especially if there is a chance of getting perforated. He’s a wussie. He’s known. He knows that he is known… You think she hasn’t given him the hairy eyeball at least once? Imagines himself invisible?

  34. avatar MWorrell says:

    I can’t see how open carrying doesn’t make you “first to die” if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Please post some examples.

    2. avatar Stinkeye says:

      If by “wrong place”, you mean in a Hollywood fantasy shootout, you might be right. In the real world, I can’t think of a single case I’ve ever heard about where a “civilian” OCer was shot first because of the pistol on his hip.

      Most criminals aren’t going to attack at all if they see someone armed. They’ll look for an easier score, not prioritize targets.

    3. avatar FedUp says:

      MWorrell, you’ve got the burden of proof backwards.

      I have not seen a scrap of evidence that your fantasy situation has ever happened, anywhere. The only news items I see, maybe 2-3 a year, about somebody attacking an civilian OCer and fighting for their gun are about cops, probably against people who would much rather have not gotten in a tussle with the cop, but finding themselves cornered, went for the only weapon in sight.

        1. avatar foggy says:

          Neither one of the OCers ended up dead or even seriously injured and the felon in WA got the worst of the situation by far. Is this the best you’ve got?

  35. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    For general threats — e.g. muggers — I believe open carry is an excellent choice.

    In this case with a stalker, I believe concealed carry is better. If her stalker ever decides to escalate and he KNOWS that she is armed, he may very well adapt his tactics to guarantee a successful assault in spite of the fact that she is armed. On the other hand, if he assumes that she is unarmed and uses “minimal” tactics based on that assumption, she may have a much better opportunity to stop her stalker’s assault with a firearm that he doesn’t even know exists.

  36. avatar TX Gungal says:

    Once legal, I will open carry in our neighborhood on walks with my Golden Retriever. What could say “not a threat” like a nice lady walking her very friendly blonde dog? Oh, and will still have my snub nose LCR .38 concealed in strong side pant pocket. I’m a plan B type of person.

    My advice to Nicki, would find a walking partner, gender does not matter, that they also conceal carry does. Predators prefer lone prey.

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      I hop

    2. avatar Stinkeye says:

      I hope you have a sharp-looking gun for that. It’s such a waste of OC to go toting a black plastic lump around in full view!

      (Sorry about the aborted “I hop” comment – the mobile version of this site blows goats…)

      1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

        She’s from Texas. She probably has a BBQ gun. (Or two). 🙂

      2. avatar Dustin says:

        I just thought you had a hankering for waffles, or were the easter bunny.

  37. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    I’m not terribly interested in the rehash of the open vs. concealed debate from a tactical standpoint. After all, everyone’s individual situation is different. The specific DGU they find themselves, too, will have unique and unpredictable major elements. So there isn’t one manner of carry to rule them all.

    What did catch my attention was the line in the article about choosing to open carry specifically to “send a message.” Having just gone through the OC debate in our state legislature and on our local comment boards, I’ve only just recently considered that “send a message” angle. The antis, you see, are accusing us of wanting to send a message of intimidation to all of the public, by our open carrying. Well.

    I’m not sure what all messages they’re receiving (or is it voices they’re hearing?), but I don’t really want to send a message to anyone, beyond that I refuse to be a victim. However, just as my self-defense sidearm is way at the bottom of my toolbox in terms of priority for dealing with danger, it’s also the last tool for sending any messages.

    I think relying on the mere observability of a firearm to send a message, may be as dangerous as relying on its mere availability to solve a problem.

    1. avatar John in Ohio says:

      The whole notion of deterrence is passively sending a message. The dispute is over what message is intended. The pearl clutchers and couch fainters assert that the message is an unwarranted threat of harm to innocent people. The rational among us understand that the message is that we are armed and capable of defending ourselves; nothing more, nothing less.

      When one gets into knowingly and actively sending a message then it starts to drift towards the argument of intimidation. I do not use any weapon for sending a message of intimidation. The gun is there and it is what it is. I cringe a little when I read or hear of someone flashing their sidearm or open carrying with the intent to threaten. If I am certain of that level of threat then my sidearm is in my hand. Where it is pointing depends on the situation.

    2. avatar MarkPA says:

      ” The antis, you see, are accusing us of wanting to send a message of intimidation to all of the public, by our open carrying. ”

      So, the Antis are telling all of the public what our (PotG) message is. Do we want to stand silent and let the Antis tell the public what our message is? Can we PotG speak for ourselves?

      OC may send a message. To criminals, the message is leave ME alone! To the general public? Does a mother with-child and with-Glock send a message of intimidation? Let’s take a poll. Let’s ask Gallop or Pew to poll the public and see what their reaction is to the “message” created by civilian women OCing while escorting children?

  38. avatar Mark Lee says:

    Posted to her FB page:

    Hi Doll. I was wondering whether you were aware of Governor Baker’s Executive Order # 562 (“To Reduce Unnecessary Regulatory Burden”), which commands that all laws and regulations in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts be reconsidered to comply with federal government laws and to remove every law that violates the Constitution. I immediately thought of the Pennsylvania Pre-Emption laws that have resulted in several towns rescinding their overly-restrictive 2A-related laws because in PA these towns must pay all legal fees from lawsuits challenging local restrictions.

    This could conceivably be the vehicle that we need to reestablish our 2A rights we were guaranteed by the Constitution and I’ve already called the Governor’s office to ask questions (they aren’t aware of any movement on 2A issues yet) and to offer my opinion and desires to abolish our stupid anti-2A laws. We could only benefit from more exposure for this opportunity and if more people would call the governor to express their opinions.

    The governor’s office may be contacted by calling:
    617.725.4005
    888.870.7770 (in state)

  39. avatar Kyle says:

    Were I that woman, I would conceal carry in the MOST rapidly accessible style possible. No tuckable crap, I mean outside the waistband, light retention holster, with a easily moveable cover garment. She needs to be ready to reenact a scene from the untouchables!

    This guy is going to be a problem.

  40. avatar Virginia Gunner says:

    OC might be worthwhile for her with this creep around. He is probably not looking for a gun in her case. As another poster said, criminals are not all the same. But neither are the ‘marks’ selected by the felon looking to score a gun. If a gun is what they are after, an average woman OC’ing will look like a very easy mark to anyone who has been to prison and come out the other end intact.

    I don’t like to OC and give up my tactical advantage and I am a lean 6’5″ and have been told that I look a bit like an extra from that Vikings show on TV ( I trimmed my beard after the last girl told me that). I don’t kid myself, though. I know they are plenty of bigger, badder, and or just faster bad guys out there on the street, and that they sometimes travel in packs. If and when they ever decide to come after me, I want them to be surprised when they find out I am a lead farmer.

  41. avatar J3W1 says:

    Something doesn’t add up. She says she CAN’T open carry. Then she says it’s “technically legal” but She’d be arrested for it. I don’t think she even knows the law.

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      People get arrested all the time while doing nothing illegal. That’s why charges like “disturbing the peace” exist. It’s a catch-all that they can use when they just want to harass you, but you haven’t technically broken the law.

      My favorite is “resisting arrest”, as a standalone charge. If there’s no other charge, why were you arresting the guy in the first place?

    2. avatar foggy says:

      Move to Massachusetts and open carry. Then you’d understand perfectly. It technically isn’t illegal, but …

  42. avatar Dustin says:

    The element of surprise is an offensive concept.

    An ounce of prevention (OC) is worth 15 rounds of cure (CC); if you can even get to it.

  43. avatar Dustin says:

    Why wait until you’re getting attacked and then try to fight it off when you can prevent it ever happening to begin with?

    OC!

  44. avatar Dustin says:

    This is exactly the problem with concealed carry; it doesn’t prevent.

  45. avatar OOCAwN5zG says:

    237681 42293[…]the time to read or visit the content or sites we have linked to below the[…] 2159

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