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For the last three NRA Annual Meetings, open and concealed carry have been legal and practiced on the premises. In 2015 it was in Nashville. 2016 was Louisville, Kentucky. In the press room here in Atlanta, there were a few open carriers. From the printing that I noticed here and there, there were a significantly greater number of concealed carriers.

I was one of those. The press room was rather chilly for a Yuma, Arizona resident so I kept my jacket on.  Out on the floor, there were few open carriers. Then it hit me. President Trump was scheduled to speak. The Secret Service frowns on anything they consider a weapon in the same room with the President. I noticed one gentleman with an empty holster, heading toward the venue for the President’s speech.

When I talked to people who had attempted to enter the forum for the speech, it’s questionable if even the empty holster was allowed. One man had to go to the Knife Rights knife check facility and check a penlight flashlight. So the explanation for the relatively small numbers of open carry on the first day was obvious.

I expect the numbers to increase Saturday and Sunday.

Open and concealed carry at NRA Meetings is a thing. I doubt the NRA will schedule a meeting in a state that doesn’t respect the Second Amendment enough to have a shall-issue concealed carry laws and reasonable reciprocity.

A national reciprocity law could, of course, change that, opening up the 10 to 13 states that severely infringe on Second Amendment rights.

People who live on the borders of Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, California, Connecticut, and Delaware would certainly appreciate the change. Even Illinois, Oregon, and Washington state would become much friendlier to visitors.

I expect to see a lot more more open carry here this weekend.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

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  1. Can’t tell from the second uncaptioned photo (another peeve for another time) but please, open carriers, ALWAYS (end of shout, sorry) practice retention. Start with a retention holster and then get some training. For example, if someone grabs your gun while it’s still holstered, what’s the first thing you do?

    • I have a nice retention snap on my desk rider holster. It rides at about 2 O’clock. Never had anyone try to even touch it, but if someone did they’d get a whack with my hand first, then a serious stroke to the knees (and possibly other even more tender body parts) with the cane I carry. I’m too old and tired to let anyone mess with me. And yes, I’ve got a great deal of training with both the gun and the cane.

      But I’d be interested in seeing any serious documentation that guns are snatched out of holsters that much. Not to include police, who have a bunch of other problems…

      Guns get snatched away when they are being held out, too close to the other person. And it happens occasionally to both aggressor and potential victim. Leave it in your holster and it’s most apt to stay there unless you do cartwheels.

      • “But I’d be interested in seeing any serious documentation that guns are snatched out of holsters that much. ”

        Well, there are documented cases (that have been posted on this blog). How much is too much? The more open carriers there are, the more opportunities for it to happen I would think.

        Is the chance of someone making a grab that much less than someone needing to use their gun in self-defense? If you’re going to insure yourself against the latter, why not the former?

        • It all depends on where you are and who is around you. I conceal if I have to go to the city or be in a crowd – though I’m increasingly unwilling to be in either situation at all. I live in a rural area, and seldom even go to town. And, of course, in the winter my OC gun is under a coat when I’m out, call it what you will.

          I carry concealed at work, for a number of reasons too. But I am far less worried about anyone here trying to grab my gun than I am with the potential of needing to draw quickly – most likely because of a mountain lion or coyote/wolf. I carry in a holster type fanny pack when I CC. I have zero desire to have to strip half naked to get to my gun under clothing. 🙂

          Other than that, I proudly carry openly. Nobody here worries about it. And everyone else carries how they please as well. To each his/her own. 🙂

  2. How many firearms are leaping from the holsters and causing havoc? That’s what they don’t they? Or, how many fights and arguments leading to gun play? Just think that all this horror and terror should be documented /sarc

  3. I believe that open carry puts you at a tactical disadvantage. That said, if you are going to do it, it should always be in a retention holster. The best retention holster has the unlocking device hidden such as the Safariland ALS.

    • Let me preface my comment by saying that I read Dr. Lott’s book (and paper of the same title) More Guns, Less Crime back in college, and it has heavily influenced my thinking on the subject.

      I think, in most cases, open carrying is a deterrent to criminals attacking you personally. It is only the rare situation in which the carrier has come between the criminal and his target that the carrier becomes a target.

      While criminals are generally dumb, they are still rational beings. They will go for soft targets. Even the crazy ones who shoot up a bunch of random people are rational. They overwhelmingly choose gun free zones, where I strongly suggest that no private citizen open carry. (That may be because the ones who don’t go for gun free zones are only attempted mass shooters).

      On the other hand, conceal carry pushes criminals away from violent crime into property crime.

      I don’t think there is enough solid information out there on DGUs in general. This lack of information means that decisions about which way to carry is left to a priori reasoning and anecdotal evidence.

      I opt for a hybrid approach. I generally conceal carry but don’t care how obvious it is that that is what I’m doing. I often open carry between my truck and my home or office. It’s hot, so I don’t want to put my suit jacket on, I can see all around me, it’s a short distance, at most there are only a few people around, and it’s legal.

      The primary reason I conceal carry is I don’t want to deal with a bunch of snowflakes (in this case cops and old ladies, not millennials) who will flip out at the sight of a handgun. Most people don’t notice unless they know to look and what to look for. And then, they often see pocket pistols behind every cell phone.

  4. I will never understand open carrying with an IWB holster. Even the most comfortable IWB holsters are not as comfortable as a your typical OWB so why?

    • IMO a well broken in IWB is much more comfortable than an OWB that snags all over the place because you’re not used to it.

      Also, I’m guessing, but in the case of the guy in the first picture it may be that he usually conceals a smaller Glock in the same holster and that’s his OC barbecue gun*.

      * Am I using that term right? This site is the only place I’ve heard it.

      • Yes, I believe you are.

        barbecue gun


        1. a gun you would wear openly to a barbecue to impress your buddies, but you think is too pretty to shoot, because you’re a big fussy girl

        • I am neither big nor fussy nor a girl and my BBQ pistol is a nice shooter. It goes to the range every time I do. Though I have learned the hard way that the fancy scales I bought for it do not stand up well to a bunch of shooting.

      • “Barbecue Gun” is a term that originated in the Lone Star State amongst law enforcement officers poking fun at the escalation of ornately engraved and pimped out 1911’s carried by Texas Rangers.

  5. Legally speaking, Washington is actually fairly friendly towards carrying. No permit is required to open carry and the CPL is shall issue with no training requirement. There are relatively few places where you are legally prohibited from carrying (bars being the example you run into most in day to day life), private no guns signs have no force of law, and there’s a strong state preemption law that keeps cities from imposing their own gun control.

    The problem in Washington is cultural, not legal. Especially here in Seattle, people are not great about “live and let live”. Open carry in Seattle seems like a good way to have annoying confrontations with moronic busybodies on a routine basis.

    • And that’s why I don’t open-carry. Not because of Seattle (I’m on the other side of the state), but because of the chance that some progressive jerk gets in my face about it or calls the cops. Me’n the police both have better ways to spend our time.

      • Oh.. let the cops have their fun explaining to the snow flake what can happen when people waste officers time with frivolous calls.

    • Too add to what Carlos said; WA is shall issue for residents AND non-residents. And basically all the guns laws (including unlicensed open carry) have state-level preemption. Carrying for visitors (and residents) is not a legal problem; it is a cultural one. Even in Spokane, Vancouver, Tri-Cities and Yakima it is not at all unlikely that you will encounter someone who is hoplophobic. In any of those you are also quite likely to encounter plenty who are pretty gun friendly as well. I know someone who open carries regularly in the Tri-Cities. He’s been questioned by the police, but had no problems beyond that.
      National reciprocity will not change the situation in WA significantly; just add a few more states where visitors don’t have to jump through any extra hoops (ie get a WA state CPL) to concealed carry here. The real problem is that guns have been fairly successfully demonized here.

  6. We Wisconsinites are heavily indebted to the open-carry people for getting concealed-carry passed. They were the first ones out there protesting and many were arrested on fake disorderly-conduct charges even though open carry was legal under Wisconsin law. I still open carry now and then, for political reasons, because a right not exercised is a right forfeited.

  7. While it’s a reality that poor Dean and the open carry obsessed crowd live in constant denial of, the reason there are few OCer’s at the NRA convention is the same reason that open display of a handgun is a rarity in any jurisdiction where OC is lawful. COMMON SENSE. Most folks who carry a handgun for defensive use prefer not to cede the tactical advantage of concealed carry.


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