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I arrived at the 2015 Gun Rights Policy Conference on Friday afternoon. I was openly carrying my old GLOCK 17, as I usually do. It was an unseasonably warm late September day, with the temperature at a balmy 103 here in Phoenix. There had been some Internet rumors about the Sheraton Crescent banning open carry, but I hadn’t seen anything in my contract with them or any sign on the door. When I was there a few years ago at the Arizona Citizen Defense League annual meeting, the room had been full of open carriers . . .

I had an evening meeting with Alan Korwin and assorted notables at the “inner circle” of the JPFO. Over the course of the evening, I noticed two or three other people openly carrying, and a couple of people complimented me on my willingness to do so.

It this is Arizona, open carry isn’t uncommon and there were no signs to tell anyone otherwise. The hotel staff was courteous and helpful. Numerous staff passed me and I can say that I don’t recall so much as a curious glance or inquiry from the staff about my open carry.

The next morning was the main event, and with people lining up at the registration table, there were open carriers everywhere. It was simply Arizonans living their daily life, a spontaneous act of normalcy.

An SAF staffer told me that some emails had been sent asking people not to open carry, so as not to offend the hotel; but I never read one, an neither, apparently did many other people.

Here was a fellow with a 1911 type.

This attendee favored a bit smaller pistol.

The extended beavertail safety on this rig makes it distinctive.

Blue Jeans and a 1911 were a popular combination.

This attractive couple carried a fancy 1911. She said it was her pistol, but he was carrying it. He wanted to carry something a bit fancier than his everyday carry. It was obvious from talking to them, that they both carried on a regular basis. A good time was had by all.

A source told me that the normalization reminded him of what he had seen with the gay pride movement in the 70’s and 80’s.  At some point, open carry ceases to be controversial, and exercise of the Second Amendment returns to its proper place in American society.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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  1. Yep. Coming out of the closet is a freeing experience. Especially when this is something that was considered the norm and Concealed Carry was the frowned upon method of carrying a side arm when the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution.

    What was once the norm is becoming so again.

  2. A spontaneous act of normalcy. I like it.

    I think my favorite form of open carry is an IWB holster with the shirt tucked behind it. Especially if it’s a single-clip or loop style that’s easily removed without removing one’s belt.

    Additionally, I think there’s a typo in the first sentence of the third paragraph.

  3. As I read though this article I just can’t help but think of all those times I’ve had some anti go on about how toxic ‘gun culture’ is.

    • Yep. That terrible “toxic” gun culture. Statistically, the demographic with a higher education level, higher average income than the general population and more law abiding than the police.

      Well, for a progressive that worships at the foot of the lowest common denominator and dependence on the state; the people of the gun culture would be anathema and completely “toxic” to their statist and victim based belief system.

  4. Loving the lack of retention in all these pics. Dean, with his old-timey (but still very effective) crossdraw, seems to be the only guy there who isn’t asking to be shot in the back.

    • Considering the venue I would say the possibility of someone attempting to yank your pistol was slim or none. Given the attendees the chance of someone who did try this leaving the room without additional orifices would seem equally slight.

      Further, if someone knows of reasonable, comfortable, affordable IWB holsters with retention capabilities, please provide the link here. As for me, I do open carry in Las Vegas area using a BladeTech IWB for my Ruger SR9c. The lack of retention concerns me from time to time, but it does wonders for improving my situational awareness.

      • Nate squared. Most comfortable IWB holster I’ve ever used, conceals well and has actual retention. A bit costly at 80 bucks apiece though.

        • Not a lot of disposable income for additional holsters. Also, my BladTech is custom formed Kydex to accomodate the Crimson Trace on my SR9c.

          Without other retention features an IWB keeps the pistol close to the body and more difficult for someone else to grab hold of.

    • Grab my gun and shoot me in the back with it? Really? This old steaming load again?

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

      By all means, test your theory and see what you learn from that experiment. There’s a reason that BS never happens.

      I OC in a Serpa retention holster, cross-draw. But only because I find it the most comfortable, cheap, effective and convenient way to carry. The retention is just a side effect, and frankly, I don’t like it. It’s often hard to disengage, and in a moment of need, would probably screw me.

      If I could find a holster that suits me like the Serpa does, I’d use it instead.

    • The ones that bother me are where the owner plainly can’t see what he’s carrying. If I have a gun on me, I want it in my peripheral vision at the least.

  5. Retention holsters please. Also if I’m open carrying at a 2a event I want a bbq gun. Python or at least a nice ruger revolver.

  6. And BTW, retention holsters are a fairly recent invention as far as I know. Seems like we were able to conquer the entire west of the American continent with a great deal of open carry going on and little concern for retention other than a leather strap around the hammer to keep the thing from bouncing out on the trail.

    The more people who open carry, the less any of them will have to be concerned about someone attempting to remove their pistol without permission. Few people are stupid enough to approach an armed man and try to disarm him by stealing his weapon. Fewer still will try it if he is surrounded by other armed men who would frown on such activities.

  7. Sounds like a venue at which I’d feel quite safe. I was at an open carry appreciation barbecue once and with thirty open carriers around me, I never felt safer in my life.

  8. If I OC’ed, Id use and train with a retention holster without question.

    I train retention carrying concealed. Carry offhand fixed blade as another tool option for just such an emergency.

  9. Every once in a while a post like this comes along and I can’t help but hear one of those British documentary voice over guys in the back of my head:

    Listen, as the people of the gun are about to enter into a debate about retention vs. non. Fascinating.

    1) 1911 vs. GLOCK
    2) .45 vs. 9mm
    3) Open vs. Concealed

    And apparently,

    4) to retain or not

    Really, people, carry a gun as often and as many places as you legally can. The rest is details.

    • “The rest is details.”

      Sorry, man, but it’s worse than “details.” That stuff is the purest form of the nitrogenous solid waste emanating from the south end of a northbound cow.

      All these little ‘debates’ are the underlying “control others” psychology that has infected our society. POTG like to go on and on about “leave me alone” but here we are treated to a number of them that commit the same sin(s) the anti’s do.

      I do wonder…why do people care so much what others are doing? It’s very odd and seems a bit…unnatural. Learned, one might say.

  10. What a lot of us in Arizona have gravitated towards is what could be described as “Casual Carry”. Think OWB with a shirt hanging over most of it, or an IWB with a t-shirt behind it for comfort. No big deal, except for the snowbirds from less enlightened states occasionally squawking about seeing a gun being carried.

  11. What’s with all the open carrying of keys? Did I miss a memo?
    I should say that in San Francisco, which side one openly carries one’s keys says a lot about a guy.

    • Its funny, I always open carry my guns, but I have never even considered open carrying my keys. It always seemed gay, not that I am against gay people, but I’m not gay myself so I don’t do gay things.

  12. “It [sic] this is Arizona, open carry isn’t uncommon” I’ve lived in Phoenix almost my entire life and I’d say open carry is pretty uncommon. I probably see someone open carrying once every two years, maybe as frequent as once a year.

    • I’ve seen quite a bit of OC in here in my part of NC lately.

      I find it very encouraging to see. I OC some and have never had anyone bat an eye.

      Note that in my AO, we have a heap ton of retirees from “points north.” We are not as gone as say Asheville or Chapel Hill…not even close. BUT…there are enough folks here NOT raised in “Southern Culture” that I wondered how some of “them” would take seeing “GASP! A GUN!” in public places.

      If they DO care, they sure are not vocal about it that I’ve seen.

      • OC is uncommon in Metro Phoenix. Outside of that area, I’d say it’s about 70% CC, 30% OC. In smaller towns OC is more common than in the cities, and almost unknown in Tucson. Hell, I was in Bisbee recently (full of old hippies) and nobody batted an eye when a group of us came to eat open carrying. One issue is the amount of reservations, which have different laws than AZ proper. In most of them, carry is illegal, and you have to cross their land to get in and out of most of the major cities in AZ. So concealed carry just avoids questions from rez cops.

  13. @JR,: Living in Chicago, I heartily agree. It was illegal to own a handgun for decades. Now that the law is changed, the feeling of freedom is so real I can almost taste it in my mouth. I have done a lot of reading to quickly scale the learning curve. Few people know much about guns here. Yep, I have learned the differences debated are marginable. Yep, the best thing is to find a gun you like and to carry it on person as much as possible.

  14. I didn’t have a chance to go to the event (was busy that weekend), but I will be open carrying at the AZCDl annual meeting in Tucson in a couple of weeks. They specifically asked everyone to do so.

  15. The Second Amendment Foundation has filed one lawsuit after another in which it told the courts that states can ban Open Carry and Gottlieb invariably picks locations for his GRPC where Open Carry is illegal and so I contacted the hotel to see if Open Carry was prohibited at the event or the hotel. My first inquiry was strictly about Open Carry and my second inquiry was about concealed carry. The response to my second inquiry clarified that both open and concealed carry is allowed at the hotel but neither is allowed in the hotel restaurant (Indigo Room).

    It does amuse me that people openly carried their handguns at an event put on by a notorious opponent of Open Carry (Alan Gottlieb) but I question why one would bother, Alan Gottlieb isn’t going to all of a sudden become an advocate for Open Carry.

    For those of you whom haven’t heard that Gottlieb and his SAF group oppose Open Carry, perhaps you should try reading his legal briefs in his many concealed carry lawsuits. Here is a link to his latest case which is currently pending before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ->

    Also, carrying a gun behind one’s back is not Open Carry. If your firearm cannot be seen by someone approaching you from the front then your firearm is concealed.

    Concealed carry is of no use to me, I don’t carry a purse. Besides, Open Carry is the right guaranteed by the Constitution, concealed carry can be banned.

    “[A] right to carry arms openly: “This is the right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and which is calculated to incite men to a manly and noble defence of themselves, if necessary, and of their country, without any tendency to secret advantages and unmanly assassinations.”” District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008) at 2809

    “[T]he right of the people to keep and bear arms (art. 2) is not infringed by laws prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons…” Robertson v. Baldwin, 165 US 275 – Supreme Court (1897) at 282.

    “In Nunn v. State, 1 Ga. 243, 251 (1846), the Georgia Supreme Court construed the Second Amendment as protecting the “natural right of self-defence” and therefore struck down a ban on carrying pistols openly. Its opinion perfectly captured the way in which the operative clause of the Second Amendment furthers the purpose announced in the prefatory clause, in continuity with the English right…Likewise, in State v. Chandler, 5 La. Ann. 489, 490 (1850), the Louisiana Supreme Court held that citizens had a right to carry arms openly: “This is the right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and which is calculated to incite men to a manly and noble defence of themselves, if necessary, and of their country, without any tendency to secret advantages and unmanly assassinations.”” District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008) at 2809

    “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. See, e.g., Sheldon, in 5 Blume 346; Rawle 123; Pomeroy 152-153; Abbott 333. For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues. See, e.g., State v. Chandler, 5 La. Ann., at 489-490; Nunn v. State, 1 Ga., at 251…” District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008) at 2816

    “The policy underlying the prohibition against concealed weapons is based on the protection of those persons who may come into contact with a weapon bearer. If a weapon is not concealed, one may take notice of the weapon and its owner and govern oneself accordingly, but no such opportunity for cautious behavior or self-preservation exists for one encountering the bearer of a concealed weapon. In light of this policy, the question whether a particular weapon was concealed should be considered from the point of view of one approaching the location of the weapon, and the intent of the defendant as to concealment should not be considered, since a defendant’s innocent intent does not make a concealed weapon any more visible.” People v. Mitchell, 209 Cal. App. 4th 1364 – Cal: Court of Appeal, 4th Appellate Dist., 1st Div. (2012) at 1371.


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