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Open carry demonstrators in Richmond (courtesy

TTAG writer MC writes:

I’m originally from Richmond, and keep in touch with some friends there. This came up in one of their (FB) threads, with the entreaty to avoid Carytown: “You might get killed!” My first reaction was, “Oh good. It’s OC Texas all over again,” but several items about this report stood out. First, it looks like their guns are unloaded — at least the AK is sans magazine. That seems like a good way to do OC for awareness-raising, not that gun muggles know any better. Second, this is not your typical grouchy OFWG crowd. They seem friendly and approachable. Third, the report by VTVR is fair [click here to watch], with several handwringing (older) women balanced by a curious younger woman. (One of the older women said she was frightened because the gun owners were carrying a flag. Please.) Finally, another shout-out to Philip Van Cleave, who goes on record supporting long gun OC while mildly shaking his head at it. The NRA could have taken some pointers from him.

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    • We would, but libs have had their way for so long, it’s illegal to open carry handguns in most cities. That’s why we carry long guns.

  1. Two things:

    1. Why is one holding his rifle at essentially the low-ready position?
    2. Why do these OC rifle types always look like a bunch of mouth breathers?

    • #1 I don’t see any of the 3 holding there firearm.
      #2 If you have a problem with the way they look that says more about you than it does the folks in the photo. Get off your high horse. It doesn’t reflect well on you.

        • I guess khakis, polo shirts, and some casual shoes are not tacticool. But then again, neither are rifles hanging out in the open. Yep, not cool and not tactical…you heard that right.

        • Hey Beasely, you didn’t think they’d have pictures taken? Draw attention? Hell, I thought their mission was to educate people on legal firearm ownership. Now you wouldn’t think that would require some additional preparedness….nope….that’s too much thinking ahead.

      • They scream “gun-nut/preppers hoosiers” by the looks of them.

        I am just not a fan of sporting rifles in public to make a point. Especially when your looks check off all the boxes of the Anti-crowd. All it does is move the people on the fence, that did not care either way, over to the anti-crowd.

        Stupid is as stupid does.

    • 1. Why is one holding his rifle at essentially the low-ready position?

      At least he’s the one smiling. ; D

    • None of them have their rifles in any ready position, at all.

      They actually look like friendly, perhaps a bit nerdy, normal guys.

      The only think striking is that one of them forgot to zip his pants up.

  2. I bet they’re all nice guys. they fellow with the AR seems to be dressed less like a charicature of “gun Nuts” don’t some shooting groups not allow camp at their events? could the OCers do that with a memo to dress like you are going to church or jury duty; not like you are being taken to court.

    • ^^^ This. And cookies. Holding a plate of cookies, or some other token of friendships or “I mean you know harm, and actually want to talk with you” would be a good way of disarming the MDA crowds arguments.

      Cookies work for me 🙂 (lunch time)

  3. I am just glad that the WT version of Neil Patrick Harris is on our side! I think what bothers me about some of these OC rallies is that people look like they just come out of woodwork of the deepest darkest corners of America to OC and these are the people that the left love to make an example of. I agree with Cameron, if you are going to be an OC ambassador dress with some respect and clean yourself up!

    • Exactly, they don’t represent you, necessarily, but they do (in a manner) represent us. I would like to see emulate-able people represent me. Trust me, they are close just with the OC, but let’s ‘tighten it up a little’ buddy (kinda like overweight cops and TSA peeps, it’s easier to believe you care something for me, if you look like you can/do at least care for yourself).

    • So dumb. If you’re afraid of an American flag, then like, wtf are you even doing here?

  4. I’m glad more people are OCing long guns but I think it is wiser to only do it on public property, leaving handgun OC for indoor/private property.

  5. I think the unloaded approach is a great thing for those guys. They seem to be doing things right, for the most part. The only thing I would change, is have the rifle across their backs, versus across their chests. I think it would put some of the “I’m scared they’re going to shoot people” folks at a bit more ease.

    • Sure that young soccer mom with her two little kids is going to really say…..

      “Whoa!! Ok at least there is not a magazine in that AK47”.

      • Maybe not, but she will probably see a difference between front carry and back carry.

  6. “They look like mouth breathers” ……. Oh yes indeed, if you walk like a duck, people might think you are duck. Just my two cents ….. cover the handguns and ditch the long guns.

  7. Exactly. At least wear a nicely ironed polo, khakis and nice shoes. Look like the guy next door not the biker in the club.

    • Biker in a club? These guys look and smell of dork. They are not the type of ambassadors our gun rights need.

    • This is VA right? Those guys represent the best looking hillbilies VA has to offer.
      Seriously though, I tend to think of myself as nice looking and well dressed, but until I attend one single OC demonstration, which I have not, I am not going to ridicule those that put their faces out there (no matter how ugly) to fight for all of our freedom. All you Dapper Dans are welcome to get out there and join these guys and diversify the group. Speak with them in person on what would look better to the general public rather than uselessly bashing them online. Maybe it is the “bottom feeding mouth breeders” that are not afraid to be seen in public with guns because they don’t feel they have that much to lose. Maybe the beautiful people work in corporate jobs and are afraid that HR will find out they were out there “protesting with evil guns” and be handed a pink slip Monday morning for “behavior unbecoming”. Bottom line…put up or shut up.

  8. You know why Mormons can go preach their message worldwide and not get chased away everywhere? Because they understand marketing, and being polite, approachable, friendly and NEAT, CLEAN & WELL-DRESSED, makes a huge difference in how willing people are to put up with your crap.

    That should be the new OC activist credo: “WWMD?” What would Mormons do?

    • + 1
      I think camo anything could be construed as a para-miltary type statement (and one I don’t intend to deny you either) but you don’t want to throw lots of red-flags up with your OC. Kinda reminds me of that Gary Larson cartoon about “How Nature Says Do Not Touch”. ; D

      I also think slinging the weapon like it’s a ‘form’ of ‘utility’ (without denying you any ability at quick engagement and use) as opposed to slinging it like it’s a form of hands-free low-ready position also helps

    • Agreed. Folks might think them square or geeky, but absolutely non-threatening.

      These guys look friendly, and don’t seem to have a “nutty” vibe going on, but the two white guys need to raise the dress sense a couple of notches and AK guy should sling on the back.

    • Yup.

      And when they’d offer to help me on the farm, they’d have a change of clothes with them so they could get dirty doing their good deeds and then look nice and clean-cut again when they went down the road.

      Gotta give the LDS Church credit on this one. Every Mission Mormonary has a name tag and a “uniform” they wear while out on mission work.

    • Even better:

      Do you know why Shannon gets so much positive air time?
      HINT: She doesn’t dress like a hooker or a biker babe.

      Answer: She dresses like the image she wishes to project.

    • In Richmond and other cities, yes, but not if you have a CHP. I”m guessing these guys have CHPs.

  9. They are dressed like hobos… I don’t know why anyone would think they look approachable.

  10. One thing is for sure, they are not hired by Bloomberg. Anyone on his payroll would at least look presentable. These guys make the pro-gun crowd look like the bunch of uneducated hicks that they (the anti-gunners) think we are.

    Can we please put a stop to these people. Their intentions are good, but it is just more ammo for the Moms.

    • “Can we please put a stop to these people. “

      Sure we can. Let’s just go ahead and put a stop to EVERYTHING you don’t personally approve of while we’re at it, too.

      Let us know where to send the ‘dannntheman Approval Request Form” for everything we do.

      What to wear, when to speak, how to carry our guns. I’ll bet you’d have some input on caliber, brand and type of holster, too, right?

      • Clearly every one of them should carry an unloaded .22 revolver in a holster with a flap or strap, glued shut.


        • At a rally years ago, a man had his black powder pistol in a holster secured by a padlock. He was that concerned that others would find his carrying scary otherwise. He didn’t seem to like the way the rest of us carried.

          (Sir, if you’re reading this, I’m not passing judgment. I’m just stating the facts.)

  11. Look like friendly guys to me. I hope to see them out and about when I move to Richmond next month.

  12. This is not going to turn out well for our side.

    Folks, even the police don’t regularly run around town on foot with long guns. If the public is not used to the police carrying long guns, then they sure will not understand with anyone else.

    The public will not even notice whether or not the guns are loaded.

  13. Doesn’t VA allow oc of sidearms (pistols). If still true what right are they protesting for? They already have the right this type of thing will push the politicians to revoke OC.

    • Carytown is a centralized spot of liberalism. They aren’t protesting, its exposing Cary to the real world. Cary is where I see people petitioning for condom and pot vending machines in schools.

  14. From now on, there will be no open carrying unless the carriers are clean-shaven white guys in tuxedos, because we don’t want to frighten the sunshine patriots and summertime soldiers.

  15. Carytown is yuppie/lib central, I’m surprised more panties didn’t get in a bunch about it.

    As for why the gun is unloaded, if I remember right Richmond has a local ordinance against carrying rifles above a certain capacity, I think it was 10 rounds though I might be mistaken

    • “Carytown is yuppie/lib central, I’m surprised more panties didn’t get in a bunch about it.

      So, what you are saying is that they did not commit the grievous sin we hear so much about called “scaring the sheep”?


      As for why the gun is unloaded, if I remember right Richmond has a local ordinance against carrying rifles above a certain capacity, I think it was 10 rounds though I might be mistaken

      So, what you are saying is that they took concrete steps to remain law abiding,, and that from all appearances, they are breaking no laws?

      Again, interesting.

      I’m getting that the real crime here in the comment section is “unapproved dress.”

      I gotta wonder: are we Second Amendment advocates or are we high school girls overly worried about fitting in with the well-dressed, popular crowd?

  16. I was a gunshow 2 weekends ago and a few people were “open carrying” handguns and it made me stop and pause and take note (mostly out of how neat i thought it was). I didnt feel uncomfortable at all. Then i saw this one particular “mouth breather” carrying a backpack with an american flag a couple ARs and walking around with a shotgun shouldered. It was extremly akward and sort of freaked me out a little. I get expressing rights and what not, but i dont agree with LARPing with real guns, i feel like thats whats happening. Real life nerds are putting the cardboard swords down for real life guns.

    • Your “mouth breather” could have been a son, a father, a working man, a decent American who does no harm to anyone. The well-groomed open handgun carriers might have been bank robbers or professional assassins for all you know. But it seems like you judged a person to be a “mouth breather” because you didn’t like his looks.

      Years ago I was working on a major project to bring more industry — and incidentally more industrial workers — to Rhode Island. One of my more “liberal” friends was completely opposed. Why? Because, as he asked me, “do you really want those kind of people here?”

      Maybe he thought that they were “mouth breathers.”

      I got it.

      • OTOH, he could have been a genuine knuckle-dragging mouth breather. Don’t cast aspersions without a license.

    • I’m sorry. Can you help me out why the flag and a back pack scared you, or otherwise gave you concern?

      Was he DOING something threatening with firearm? Did he exhibit unsafe handling, such as pointing it at someone?

      I’m a bit confused about what, exactly, the problem is here.

      What I will say is that people that don’t “look like us” or “dress like us” or maybe even some that breathe through their mouths will, and should, carry.

      And we should be WELCOMING them. Until they commit a threatening act that provides ability, opportunity AND jeopardy to another, the gun they are carrying, no matter who they are, is no danger.

  17. I’m not a fan of open carrying rifles.
    In Target. These guys look pretty reasonable & clean cut. That’s really not important for the 2A. And did I notice a BLACK MAN in the photo? All GOOD to me.

    • Clearly that is an illusion since anyone who would own an AK-47 or AR-15 or SKS is a white homophobic racist.


  18. How fragile have are rights become if we are so afraid to exercise them. What good is a right if we fear loosing it by just exercising it?

    • Glad it’s not just me. I broached the same issue in another thread–seems like some of us want to treat guns the same way Nero (OK, a lot of the other roman emperors too) treated Christians: as long as they stayed out of sight in the sewers, they didn’t get fed to the lions. So you can’t really say they didn’t have the right to worship, right? They just had to do it secretly, like always carrying your gun concealed. But I know there’s something wrong with my thought process here, just waiting for someone to show me.

  19. “One of the older women said she was frightened because the gun owners were carrying a flag.” She better hide under the bed tomorrow when the parade passes by.

  20. Though the presentation is at least one order of magnitude better than the Chipotle duo, slung over the back would be better, and somewhat better dress would be better too (even if it’s just a shirt with buttons actually buttoned), since this IS a demonstration they are holding. But this isn’t so bad I fear getting an “own goal” out of this one.

    I am curious as to the motivation here; it’s not Texas where LG is the only OC option.

    • To clarify: I am offering constructive criticism here, not bashing them; they mostly did it right.

      Besides with a name like Carytown, it’s too doggone good to resist.

    • TroyBilt‘s comment above is a big reason for a lot of us in Ohio.

      When I’m at an organized rally, my clothes are often like the guy on the left (but a button up shirt with T-shirt underneath unless it’s sweltering hot). My carry is as that of the guy on the right because I’m short and my sling sucks. I gave up carrying on my back because I was either muzzle sweeping all of the taller people around me (muzzle up) or hitting them with it (muzzle down). Also, my 30 round magazine is always loaded and inserted. Most of us also OC a sidearm at the same time.

      • And you must be doing it right, not stupid… or we’d be hearing about the “yahoos” and “jackwagons” and “ninjas” in Ohio.

        There’s going to be an open carry rifle rally in Westcliffe CO; I’ve been debating whether to participate (It’s a two hour drive away, early in the morning, and carry simply isn’t an issue anywhere but in Denver–which Westcliffe is nowhere near. On the plus side SOMEONE should show up carrying a rifle in .308 at the thing.) Needless to say whatever I end up doing tomorrow my handgun will be with me and more than likely quite openly so.

    • Another reason that LG OC is used in Ohio at gatherings with a specific point is that so many people are in condition white. They don’t really know that some sort of protest is going on when most carry handguns. When we carried on a university campus to protest the disarming of students by policy, we carried LG and handgun openly. If we were to conceal any firearm on campus we would’ve been violating the law. OC is the right and CC is the privilege under the law here.

      • That’s mostly true in CO as well–though the OC right is denied in a number of places *cough*Denver*cough*; on the plus side car carry isn’t dumped into the “that’s really concealed” bucket here. There have been attempts to pass constitutional concealed carry–but it isn’t really; the way the bills are phrased it’s just the state saying “we still prohibit it but we will generously grant an exception to everyone not a prohibited posessor.” In other words they won’t just repeal the ban to which the permits are an exception.

      • ” OC is the right and CC is the privilege under the law here. ”

        This is one of the many reasons I OC here in Ohio. I have been OCing daily for over 2 years every wear I go. Now I feel very strange the .01% of the time I do CC.

        • I often CC, if only because when it gets cold out I put a jacket on (leaving it unzipped). It covers the gun. Otherwise all is the same. I don’t care who sees the print either. I call it “incidental CC” though I will do it deliberately in places like Denver.

          When I really DO want to be “undercover” and it’s hot out (or in) I do other things.

        • Same here. Even when I conceal it is half-assed concealed (Threepersons holster with a SA revolver). So many of us concealed before licensing laws and didn’t even think about it much. Now that it’s a privilege, concealing feels odd because I know there are extra government stipulations attached to it (aka a privilege). Frankly, if it weren’t for Ohio considering motor vehicle carry as concealed, I would be tempted to hand in my CHL. I know several people who still refuse to get one and I wholeheartedly support their decision. Usually I am the “bag man” when we go to gatherings in that I take possession of their sidearms while in motor vehicles if they want. Usually, I have a special black bag for this purpose.

    • Perhaps the rifles are unloaded? When we OC long guns in Ohio, it’s not uncommon for us to continue carrying our EDC sidearm at the same time even though our rifles are also loaded.

      • It sure would be nice if we could get one of them to drop by here and explain themselves. I for one wish I could do that legally where I live.

        And NO, I’m not going to move unless you buy my house and pay moving costs.

        I also wish I was clairvoyant and could read minds like John and the tiller.

      • Huh? KCK asked a question so I speculated (even used the word “perhaps”) and then offered up that we carry our sidearms even though our rifles are loaded. I fail to see where that was claiming to be clairvoyant. Seriously, I don’t know where your response came from. However, I agree that it might be helpful if the one or all of the men in the photo were on here to interact.

  21. i wonder if they posed for this picture so a bunch of fk’n asshole’s could talk shit about them. supporting a cause and wind up being the focal point for a bunch of people to talk shit about the way they are dressed .

  22. I am a retired veteran and i went through long periods of time where my rifle was closer to me than a lover. Saying this i would like to follow with the fact that this picture could almost be some of my battle buddies back in the day. A persons appearance should not take away from what they are trying to do. I say hooah to anyone that up holds the constitution of this incredible country.

    • Two questions…

      One, how do you know?

      Two, why do you care?

      Anyone who doesn’t wear slacks a sport coat is automatically a burger flipper? I know plenty of ugly-ass people with professional careers. And when they’re not at work, they sure as hell dress like it too. For many people, business dress is a 40-hour-per-week requirement, not a style choice.

      That being said, even if they ARE burger flippers, who cares? Does that somehow diminish their right to keep and bear arms, or make them worth less in the ongoing struggle to advance and defend gun rights?

      People get all bent out of shape when they see or hear about an open carrier who’s dressed like a “mall ninja” or an “uneducated redneck” or whatever. Well guess what? Many people DO fancy themselves “mall ninjas.” And people who ARE rednecks, which is, by the way, a GOOD thing, typically didn’t attend an institution of higher education. And get this: THESE PEOPLE OWN GUNS.

      Gun owners aren’t one group of people. There are working stiffs, farmers, city boys, men, women, religious, atheist, and all other sorts of people.

  23. Considering all the negative comments on attire, I can only say:
    Were is Lucas McCain when you need him!

    • Open carry political activist update:

      Lucas McCain – Open long gun carry advocate.
      AKA: The Rifleman.

      Appearance: Working class blue jeans, boots and shirt with rapid reload chest level tactical ammo carry system. Sleeves worn rolled in popular street thug style. Intimidating, Bundy militia style, cowboy hat often worn to attract media attention.

      Method of carry: In hand, magazine loaded. Has rapid deployment tactical weapon mount systems for carry when not afoot.

      Weapon: Highly modified for rapid fire from hip level assault position. Weapon fires instantly when action cycled without separate safety lever manipulation or trigger pull. Weapon has no provision for safe sling carry system.

      M.O. Carries rifle about town into schools, stores and restaurants. Young child, in his care, often has casual access to loaded weapon in the home and when left unattended in vehicle.

      • That jackwagon will ruin it for the rest of us! If I saw him out in public, swaggering about flashing his rifle, I’d draw on him. We can have no patience for these North Fork Ninjas.

        • Chuck Connors played the part of Lucas McCain in the 1960s TV series “The Rifleman.” This series was in essence a morality play set in the late 19th century West. The character “Lucas McCain” was always the upstanding defender of good against evil.

          The spoof of this small screen morality play was intended to clash with the views of those who distain Open Carry by anyone not “properly” dressed. Perhaps the spoof was too effective – that is considering the posting of a violent threat to “draw down” on this “jackwagon.”

        • I’m a huge fan of The Rifleman. I was parroting some of the comments I have read recently against open carry. The intention was twofold. First and foremost, it was intended to be humorous. Secondarily, it was intended to shed light on some of the ridiculous, over-the-top comments made by some towards those who open carry. In other words, I thought that I was playing along. 🙂

          Edit: I guess that I should also add that I open carry and advocate for everyone carrying in the open at least once in a while, if not all of the time.

          • When The Rifleman was in its first run, I got a cap rifle with the round lever like his, with a little tab on the trigger guard that would swing out and hit the trigger each cycle. But then I’d have to reset that little tab before I did that twirling trick.

  24. I think the pro-Constitution movement (aka, “pro-gun movement”) has clearly divided into 2 separate camps when it comes to the OC question:

    1) OC anything, anywhere, any time in order to make a stand
    2) OC in more decisive, planed, and targeted (no pun) manner in order to advance the message

    The OC-long guns crowed seems to fall into the first group and seem to be more concerned with being seen as tough and “taking a stand” then what message they actually are sending to potential supporters. When you give the media a picture of 3 poorly-dressed, poorly groomed, tacticool-ish individuals, you are giving them ammo to say “See! Look at these angry, crazy (looking) individuals! If we don’t curtail firearms rights… there will be more of these people threatening our kids!”

    If the end goal is to normalize firearms in the community… you need to appear to be “normal”; and normal isn’t what these or the Texas OC group think it is: polo shirts (tucked in), no sunglasses, no facial hair (not even your tactical beards), pressed pants (not shorts or jeans), and a good haircut.

    While you may complain it is your right to look however you want (and it is), you should take into account what everyone will think when they see you on TV… and it is much for difficult for the media to spin OC’ers as anything but normal and “safe” if they are well dressed and groomed, carrying non-scary-looking firearms.

    To put it another way: IT IS PARAMOUNT THAT THE AUDIENCE AT HOME SEEMS YOU AS YON OF THEM but you carry a firearm… and dressing as the above persons and carrying a “scary” rifle is not relatable to the viewer at home.’

    While the community wants more people to OC… do so with the end-goal in mind and not your personal goals.

  25. The long gun OC thing in VA is unnecessary and counterproductive. Period. I don’t see any pictures of the Founding Fathers with rifles as they went about their daily business. Yes, they had the rifles – they just had more sense about when and where they were appropriate and necessary. (Hint: If you *need* a rifle, your shopping can and should wait.)

  26. First of all, there is no “Carytown, Virginia.” Carytown is an area inside the city limits of Richmond.

    Long arms might look impressive and Texas residents currently can’t carry anything else, but for personal protection in public, they aren’t very good compared to a concealed pistol.

  27. “The OC-long guns crowed seems to fall into the first group and seem to be more concerned with being seen as tough and “taking a stand” then what message they actually are sending to potential supporters.”

    You know, I’m beginning to despair at this whole OC thing. It looks like open carry has attracted a substantial population of millennials. As a demographic, they tend toward intentional alienation and marginalized self-expression (i.e., jackass videos). They think open carrying is about showing off with their guns and then posting “bad boyz” selfies on Facebook. Hip-Hop meets the 2nd Amendment? We’re doomed.

    • “They think open carrying is about showing off with their guns and then posting “bad boyz” selfies on Facebook. Hip-Hop meets the 2nd Amendment? We’re doomed.”

      That’s the thing that frightens people away from Freedom – not everybody is cut out of the same cookie cutter. Freedom includes freedom to be a dumbfvck, as long as nobody gets hurt.

      I’d like to see an encounter between an OC enthusiast and a hoplophobe, where the OCer asks, “Do you think I’m going to shoot you? Because I’m not.”

      • This is more about politics than an individual expression of freedom. I’m a red-neck kid and I know all about snobbery. If this were about an individual getting harassed for open carry I’d defend him. The open carry movement, however, claims to speak for all gun owners and supporters of 2nd Amendment rights. Frankly, to me it looks like these guys in their expressions and poses, like other similar photos we’ve seen, are expressing contempt. Bad boyz posturing is not a good way to convince otherwise disinterested shoppers that open carry is a good idea. I like guns and support open carry but I don’t think I’d want to have a conversation about gun rights with those guys. In another photo a guy in their group is flashing gang signs. Good grief.

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