It’s been almost a year since I started open carrying in Austin. The number of people complaining? Zero. O.K., sure. The fact that I’m carrying a gun may have something to do with it. (Note: I’m a polite and friendly guy when I’m off-line.) The number of suspicious, not to say dirty looks I’ve received? Dozens. In most liberal-oriented places (e.g. The Steeping Room), I throw my shirt over my Cabot and carry concealed. I do so to avoid the anticipated anti-gun antipathy. Call me Courage the Cowardly Gun Blogger, but I just don’t want to deal with it.
That’s the thing about legal open carry: it’s a choice. You can do it, but you don’t have to. There are are times when I want it known that I’m carrying, when my openly displayed gat is literal proof of my gun rights and/or a deterrent against criminal predation. And there are times when I reckon concealed carry discretion is the better part of valor and/or my preferred tactic for armed self-defense.
This year looks like the year Florida will finally legalizes open carry, increasing the number of potential open carriers by an astronomical amount. In the run-up to this Gunshine State gun rights restoration, I’d like to know more about our Armed Intelligentsia’s experience with open carry. Why do you do it? When do you do it? When don’t you do it? If you live in a state that bans open carry, would you if it didn’t? Why and when?