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Open Carry NRA 2016

Before the NRA meeting, it was well known that open carry would not be discouraged. I entered Freedom Hall at the Louisville Kentucky Expo center this morning, as people were registering. Within a minute, I had spotted three open carriers, and managed to get pictures . . .

Drew and Susan Hebson were happy to have me take pictures of their open carried pistols. Drew said that when he and Susan had gone out for dinner the night before, they had seen quite a few people openly carrying holstered pistols. When others commented on it, he simply answered: NRA meeting.

While were were doing the photo shoot by an NRA table, a uniformed police officer was strolling by. I waved him over, to get another point of view. The officer said he could not give an official statement, but did not have a problem with an unattributed quote. He said that he did not have any problem with open carriers, and was seeing more today than at previous events. He volunteered:

“We (officers) think that if you are going to allow open carry without a permit, you should be able to conceal carry without a permit as well.”

Drew was carrying an FNH tactical .45,, Susan a Sig 9mm. Susan normally carried the Sig concealed, but uncovered it for the event.

Open Carry NRA 2016 Brian

Another open carrier, Brian Mensing, said that he’d checked about open carrying before coming to the NRA meeting. Everyone that he’d talked to, starting with the State police and continueing from there, said that it was not a problem. He was open carrying a GLOCK 21. He said that he expects to upgrade his holster shortly.

In the past the NRA has been criticized as being hypocritical for having their annual meeting at venues that prohibited the carry of firearms, openly or concealed. Last year, in Nashville, Tennessee, there were rumors that firearms were prohibited. Those were quickly squashed with plenty of photographs of open carriers at the event.

This year, there seem to be more open carriers. Second Amendment supporters are winning the culture war. Open carry is becoming normalized as the legal exercise of the Second Amendment is being restored.

Texas became an open carry state as of 1 January, 2016. A legislative attempt to restore open carry rights in Florida was defeated in spite of strong legislative support. Florida is now one of only five states that prohibit the open carry of holstered pistols in most public spaces. The other four states are South Carolina, New York, California, and Illinois.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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  1. I hope Louisville hospitals are stocked up on plasma, because all them open carriers mean blood in the streets. It’s amazing the Hebsons didn’t shoot their waiter over a plate of cold jalapeno poppers.

    • Indianapolis had a perceived decrease in crime the weekend the NRA convention was there. I doubt Louisville will be any different.

  2. It’s a good thing.

    Just remember if any clown does have an ND it will be on the front page of CNN and every news outlet in a second. That is why they deactivate every gun on the show floor.

    If you had a car show with 2.5 million people passing through it, and somebody got in an accident, it wouldn’t really be news. But one ND in the middle of the NRA convention and it is news. I’m just saying realize the shitty media double standard and be smart.

    • Thanks Nancy. I was there most of the day and heard no bangs. Not an issue.

      If you’re going to attend on Sat make a map recon of alternate gates. Do NOT go in the main gate. I was on I65 and hit NE corner of the Fairplex at 8:57 this morning parked at 11:40. HUGE FAIL on parking. A mess.

      • Agreed- parking was a horrific nightmare. Waited 90 minutes to be directed in a complete semicircle of the fairgrounds before ending up right back where I started, “security” staff was zero help, un-knowledgeable, and in several cases openly hostile. Expo was across town from the events at the convention center, through considerable construction backups as well.

        I will NOT attend another annual meeting in Louisville ever again On a positive note, open carried my 1911, and got a pic with Bill Wilson open carrying his!

  3. NC is open carry without a permit.
    (However, we also have laws prohibiting “going armed to the terror of the public”, whatever that means…)

  4. July 1, 2016 – Idaho will join the roster of Constitutional Carry states. Ah, the sweet smell of Liberty …

  5. When the NRA convention was in Nashville last year a couple of officiers told me crime down town went nearly to zero that weekend.

    • Hmmm, any way we could get ahold of the pertinent police data for those days compared to the rest of the month? If there truly was a localized drop in crime itd be another great data point for us.

  6. PD had platoons of uniformed at front gate including a Horse Cav Troop. Talked to 3 cops later afternoon at Wall of Guns. They were disappointed that the rain kept away the maggot protesters that were expected. Better luck on Sat.

  7. Open Carry… No retention??

    I know, amongst friends and all, but still…

    The Ms. is kinda off the hook ‘cuz she normally CC.
    The Boys should no better.

  8. I went Friday and the logistics for getting in the expo center were ridiculously unacceptable. Virtually no traffic control. NRA should have ensured that this type of event had support of expo staff, police, volunteers or whatever to minimize the mess of getting to this event. Can’t control road construction but traffic control at strategic locations could have improved the serious problem. Took a good two hours just to get off I-65 South, into event ant parked in grassy area that turned to soupy mud by end of day due to rainy conditions. Could not enter certain gates and large paved lot supposedly due to Trump’s visit. Don’t know if that is actually true. Had to to drive 180 degrees around as stated in above post. Fighting bus loads of kids going to Kentucky kingdom amusement park. Looked like the grassy lot was the last resort and if had not parked looked like we would be routed back to where we started and would have left and headed back home after 2.5 hour trip to Louisville. Shame on NRA for such a failure in Louisville. On the flip side the exhibition was good once you finally got there.

    • My understanding was that the Secret Service made that call once on site and the NRA had to deal with it..Made for an incredibly awful experience. Not sure there was anything the NRA could have done..maybe I’m wrong

  9. Dean, you be livin’ in the past by 5 years. Did you take a day off, but still have a publishing deadline to meet? Pullin’ out an old sermon….preacher tactics. 🙂 🙂 🙂 How about reporting on the status of open/concealed carry at the UPCOMING NRA Convention in Houston???? DUH….

  10. My thoughts exactly. The comments are also 2016 except the 2 above mine.

    I’ll be in Houston this Sept, not Louisville…


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