UCLA Law Professor Adam Winkler is no friend of ours. Back in August 2011, I outed the so-called “centrist” in a blog about his article The Secret History of Gun Control. Adam’s back on our radar with his latimes.com editorial Want fewer guns on California streets? Open carry may be the answer. “San Diego will undoubtedly appeal the [Peruta] decision [striking down the just cause” provision of the city’s concealed carry provisions] in the hope of saving its restrictive policy for awarding concealed carry permits. Lawmakers who support gun control might want to consider another option: Rewrite state law to allow people to carry guns openly.” Other than the fact that San Diego did no such thing, Adam’s onto a winner here, even though he thinks it’s a loser . . .
Very few gun owners want to carry openly displayed guns. The police hassle you, stores refuse to serve you and some people won’t talk to you. Criminals might even target you, seeking to steal your expensive sidearm.
Under an open carry law, the state could still require a license, so long as it’s generally available to law-abiding adults. Counties with large cities, like Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego, could keep their more restrictive licensing requirements for concealed carry.
But if the state allowed open carry, concealed carry could be banned entirely. In the 2008 case, the Supreme Court noted approvingly that courts have consistently upheld such bans, so long as people could carry openly.
Sneaky eh? Allow open carry so you can ban concealed carry. Which is better because hardly any one will do it! Open carry’s WAY too anti-social and dangerous for even gun guys. Mr. Winkler’s not [too] stupid though. He sees the pitfalls of the open carry-to-prevent-concealed-carry strategy.
There are downsides, of course, to allowing any kind of open carry. It understandably scares many people. Gang members might use it as an excuse to brandish guns. It might further normalize the presence of guns in public.
There it is: open carry normalized the presence of guns in public. At which point more people might start carrying and less people would give a shit. In fact, the fence straddlers might abandon their pro-gun control stance entirely! And we can’t have that now can we> Or can we? As always, Winkler’s middle-of-the-road position on gun rights leaves him stranded in the middle of nowhere.
These dangers shouldn’t be minimized. But neither should they be exaggerated. Currently, 41 states allow open carry, and unloaded open carry was permitted in California until three years ago.
Open carry has an added benefit for people who don’t like guns. If a guy at Starbucks has a gun on his hip, you can see it and leave the premises. Not so if the gun is concealed.
What, you can’t leave Starbucks if someone’s carrying a concealed weapon? I see them come and go all the time! Anyway, I’m four-square behind Adam on this one: open carry all the way! “Letting people tote their guns around on their hips sounds dangerous,” he concludes. “But for those who want fewer guns on the streets, there are a million reasons to prefer open carry.” And for those Californians who want to exercise our natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, there are a million more. Not that it should be either or, but you know what I mean.