Open carry revolver holster
Dan Z for TTAG
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I had thought that the open carry debate had been beaten to death. But I saw a Fox News segment about homeless camping in Austin, Texas that triggered me. Maybe the events of 2020 and so far in 2021 warrant a reconsideration of the messaging conveyed by open carry.

The Fox segment explained that Austin had, some years ago, repealed its prohibition against camping in public places whereupon the homeless took advantage to bring California to Austin. Voters became so outraged that the ban has recently been reinstated.

Even Democrats voted strongly in favor of reinstating the ban. If even Democrats could recognize one threat to their vested interests, perhaps some of them will be ready for another shock to their delicate sensibilities.

The first thought that popped up was that open carry might message would-be immigrants from blue states to reconsider moving to Texas. If they really like the ban on carry in California, maybe they should stay in California. That notion was soon followed by other ideas.

We had been lulled into complacency by a generation-long steady declind in violent crime since the early 1990s. This came to a screeching halt a year ago with George Floyd’s death.

Looting and arson have died down, but shootings, homicides, and other violent crimes are soaring in major cities. The wokenistas would like to close their eyes to these changes, or attribute it to systemic racism and white supremacy. They would like the policy changes that have resulted in the spike in crime to continue (as long as their neighborhoods remain safe).

Would occasional displays of open carry disrupt their complacency?

Open Carry
Lucio Eastman [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Suppose Austin residents had begun open carrying shortly after the repeal of the camping in public places prohibition. Open carry would announce that this precinct has become more dangerous than it was in the past.

There was a shooting in George Floyd Square in Minneapolis; open carry following such an incident would send this message.

There are shootings every week in major cities. Residents in neighborhoods where such shootings are commonplace are fed up. Perhaps an open carry movement might spring up in these areas (where legal) to signal that the residents are taking control, particularly if their police precinct is abandoning them.

The George Floyd incident sparked cries to defund the police and, these have not died out. What message would open carry give to voters and politicians contemplating a defunding?

Suppose a spark of activity in a city were followed by occasional open carry. Would that trigger discussion about self sufficiency and personal defense in the face of police defunding? Would that discussion give pause to politicians contemplating such a move?

If cities adopt a defunding measure — no matter how modest — would ramping up an open carry campaign fuel such debate over self-help?

Open carry
Dan Z for TTAG

There’s no point in re-hashing the entire open carry debate. Nevertheless, one point warrants reconsideration here. Many will argue (I among them) that introducing open carry in a place where it’s not already practiced incites neutrals to be offended, sometimes even terrified. There’s a lot of merit to that argument.

Here in Pennsylvania we have long had unlicensed open carry…but it’s almost never practiced. I certainly don’t want to disrupt that situation where I live. I’m not sure the gun-owner base would protect the right of open carry against Democrat legislators. However, something has changed.

South Carolina has recently passed a law authorizing open carry in the Palmetto State. This was a well-publicized, news-making event.

A rational observer shouldn’t be shocked to begin seeing neighbors there begin to open carry. It may cause some surprise at first, but that initial reaction ought to be followed by the realization that it was to be expected.

We’ve just added five states to the constitutional carry list this year; Texas, Montana, Utah, Iowa and Tennessee have joined the club. While permitless carry isn’t directly connected to open carry (all four five states have varying forms of open carry on the books), they are both gun rights issues. Now would be a good time for more openly carried firearms.

And no, a backlash to seeing guns in public isn’t likely. Legislatures that have recently adopted constitutional carry aren’t going to entertain new gun control legislation just because some voters complain about seeing guns openly carried.

Finally, the mainstream media will have a hard time ignoring widespread open carry. They have only two choices: cover the story or, ignore it. How could ignoring the story serve their agenda? If it’s not in the news, then it didn’t happen. So it apparently isn’t an issue.  Individual Democrats can gripe to their friends about seeing people carrying openly, but if the media isn’t fanning the flames, these Karens’ complaints will go nowhere.  We just carry on open carrying.

Conversely, the media covers the story. They have to weave it into the narrative on urban crime. How do they do that? Speculation about open carriers doing the shooting will ring hollow.

More likely, they will air interviews with open carriers who will say they fear for their lives while walking in their own neighborhoods. That can only inspire viewers to wonder whether this might be a good idea. Better that my neighbor carries in public in case some hoodlum starts a gunfight.

I see this year as a moment of selective opportunity in particular states, cities and neighborhoods. The passage of prominent open carry, sanctuary and constitutional carry bills, bans on homeless camping, shootings, defunding of police and other politically-charged events should drive more locales to consider looser gun laws, including open carry.

For a worthwhile discussion of carrying openly, read Massad Ayoob’s piece is a good place to start.


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      • Relax. You can open carry your strap on dildo, well fitted for public attire, as well. The Libertarians Liberals and the Left made sure you could. They do it in Austin. And at all pride parades.

      • D, I hope that was sarcasm. Open carry says “I’m not going down without a fight and I want you to know it.” The old fear tactics of “bad guys will know you have a gun and try to steal it or rob you for it!” is movie BS. Most criminals are cowards and opportunistic. They rarely ever risk their lives and they DO fear guns! Ask any criminal in jail why he isn’t breaking out right this moment and he will tell you because guns.

        • Most of our debate over the years has been on the tactics-of-fighting in open-carry. Will someone grab the gun? Will they shoot-me-first?

          Some of the debate is focused on avoiding triggering an adverse reaction that might lead to banning O-C in the legislature.

          Both types of debate are perfectly valid. We OUGHT to debate such things.

          But, there is a BIGGER picture: Where does O-C fit in the fight for the 2A? THIS is a MUCH BIGGER question than whether someone grabs-a-gun or you have to argue with the sheriff. The men and boys standing their ground in Lexington decided to make a personal sacrifice; some of them died. Will we chance loosing an $800 gun? An afternoon arguing with the sheriff? If not, well . . .

          I make NO CLAIM whatsoever as to divining the RIGHT strategy/tactic in this big-picture debate. I merely want to CALL-it-OUT as a POLITICAL question we should regularly re-evaluate.

          To the extent that it’s political, we CAN AVOID the tactics-in-fighting issues. Carry a real gun concealed and an AirSoft replica in an open holster. Or carry a banana in an open holster. These advance a political agenda (for better/worse) without touching the tactics-in-fighting issues.

          No, we don’t ALL have to go out and buy an AirSoft or a banana. One or two guys/gals in each state can start the meme and the Karens and CoPs will see where this goes in the news.

  1. “Here in Pennsylvania we have long had unlicensed open carry…but it’s almost never practiced. I certainly don’t want to disrupt that situation where I live. I’m not sure the gun-owner base would protect the right of open carry against Democrat legislators. However, something has changed.”

    It is practiced a lot more than you probably realize. Open carry of a handgun in a holster usually isn’t disruptive. The right of open carry in PA has twice been addressed by the PA Supreme court. Democrat legislators cannot do much about it unless and until they have a majority in the legislature. Then there would be law suits and court cases. Ultimately it would wind up in the federal courts.

    Generally, when I was OCing all the time, I found that it never caused a problem. I was detained once and sued over it. Mark Fiorino was detained once and sued over it. Between the 2 of us we got Allentown and Philly police educated on it’s legality. The Dickson City dozen had a big law suit going after they were detained, long before Mark and I. In 2010 we had a big OC march in Philly. OC has been in the Act 180 MPOETC annual police training update and has been highlighted in all Act 120 aw enforcement training courses for years now. Prior to that we sent letters explaining the law to at least hundreds if not thousands of law enforcement agencies and sheriffs in PA. OC was in the news a lot between 2008 and 2010, especially after a Karen finally noticed Meleanie Hain doing it at her kids soccer games many months after she started.

    For me someone would typically engage me in conversation, either for or against. It was a good opportunity to explain the law. We used to carry trifold fliers explaining PA gun laws which would give to people. We were always telling the “I support your right to but……..” people that OC would help normalize guns and carry.

    After a few incidents of people OCing rifles came up in the news a little old lady stopped me in the grocery store one day and said “Thank goodness your a normal person and not a weirdo like those guys who carry rifles around.”

    All in all it was good. I stopped after my heart bypass(es). Maybe I should get back to it.

    • @Pirate: Thank you for elaborating on PA. I confess that I don’t travel much (hardly at all) except in my county; just one tiny part of the state.

      I would be interested to know if, county by county, readers could comment as to whether open carry is observed occasionally or regularly. It’s NOT that there are NO cases; the cases that occur and are adjudicated show that PA is still enforcing the law permitting open carry. Rather, it is whether the practice is observed often enough to become unremarkable in large swaths of a state.

      The point of my article was NOT to promote a wholesale reconsideration of open-carry in such states as PA and DE where it has long been legal but hardly ever practiced. INSTEAD, my point was to illuminate what might be an OPPORTUNITY in states and particularly municipalities, where recent events MIGHT be auspicious. NOW! In 2021. With SC and TX recent entrants to Open-Carry legality and many new states which just passed permit-less-carry.

      If NOW were NOT auspicious in these few places then it’s probably not timely to campaign for open carry in PA or DE.

      Conversely, if NOW seems to be a great opportunity in these few places than that would lead to a follow-up question: Should those of us living in long-standing open-carry states follow suite?

      I don’t wish to paint with too broad a brush. For example, Philadelphia might be an exception to the rest of the state. What is happening now in that particular city is scandalous. Crime is growing rapidly; the Soros DA is not prosecuting crimes with vigor. Open carriers in THAT particular PA city can justifiably cite the rising need to carry, and openly rather than clandestinely. To promote public debate on whether it continues to be prudent to rely exclusively on cops and DAs.

      • Mark,
        First: thanks to Crimson!! He has been a hero for open carry in PA. His EDC gear has sufficient weight to sink a small battle cruiser, but the guy knows how to ‘get stuff done’.

        Here in the Lehigh Valley, when I have OC’d, almost no one seemed to care. A very few wide – eyed, frightened, crap-in-the-undies stares, but that just made it all the more worthwhile. Most folk around here do not care. Even here in the blue, fetid, morass of commie liberal arts colleges and universities of Allentown’s year-end.

        Thanks to a zealot activists like Crimson, most folk seem to realize this is still gun country.

        And it is going to stay that way.

      • Here in Douglas County Colorado I see open carry a couple of times a month, I wish it were more often. I had a Karen freak out as I was leaving CVS one day. I was leaving as she was coming in and she gasped and darned near dislocated her childs arm to turn and run away! Being apprehensive is one thing but that was over the top. Right now Colorado is shall issue but I fear we are headed toward Commiefornistan territory. I pretty much conceal carry now.

  2. One thing I do want to note is that all of the documented instances of gun grabs involving an OCer that I am aware of have happened to and been done by people who knew each other, the grabber knew the the OCer was an OCer, and the OCer was targeted by the grabber specifically to get the gun.

    I am not aware of any documented instances of a stranger seeing an OCer and trying to grab his gun.

    Something to be aware of if you live in a shady area or have questionable neighbors.

    • The Crimson Pirate,

      Several years ago a man in Wisconsin would carry a handgun in an openly visible holster when he was in town. (This was a couple years before Wisconsin became shall-issue concealed carry thus open carry was his only “legal” option.) There was something about him that was somewhat predictable and a thief took advantage of that predictability: the thief ambushed the man for the explicit purpose of stealing the man’s openly carried handgun. Fortunately for the open carrier, the thief was content to sneak up and rob him at gun point without physically harming the open carrier.

      While that is not exactly the same as trying to snatch a handgun out of your openly visible holster, the end result is the same. And, it is the only documented example that I have ever come across.

      • For what it is worth, that is my only major fear of open carry: that a thief who wants your handgun sneaks up behind you and either robs you at gunpoint or simply smashes your head with a brick or pipe.

        Saying it another way, would you think it wise to walk around with an openly visible $1000 flashy gold chain around your neck or a $1000 flashy diamond ring on your hand? If you say “no” to that question, then it is equally unwise to walk around with a flashy handgun openly visible on your hip.

        • Well, I have been wearing a watch, which currently retails for $34,000, since 1987, so I guess you know where that puts me. No one is going to “sneak up behind me” and take my gun or my watch if there are still bullets in my gun.

      • Admittedly, many older news stories are archived, meaning behind paid firewalls, meaning it costs to search them. Also, depending on how the story is written, very hard to get all the search criteria correct to find those stories.

  3. Would it kill open carriers — at least those who seem to get photographed — to use decent holsters? Almost every article about OC is accompanied by pictures of guns in nylon flop jobs.

    • $$$.

      A nylon flop job is what I’ve got on hand. It works, and there’s a hard limit to what I’m willing to pay for a holster that I *might* wear a couple times a year at most. I suspect that’s the situation most of these rally-goers are in, as well.

        • Today, tomorrow, and Monday!
          I never served, (still kicking myself for that) so I want to say to all that did and still are and those that gave the ultimate sacrifice, God Bless You! And Thank You!

        • I only BBQ for myself and the fam, and myself doesn’t care which holster or gun I’m wearing, as long as it’s comfortable.

    • You buy the holster you like. They buy the one they like.

      What’s next, why aren’t they firing (fill in your favorite caliber or gun here)?

  4. I’ve thought about OC before and come down on the side of not doing it — the main reason being that if someone calls the police (which is bound to happen sometime in this university town full of “liberal” snowflakes), the best case scenario is that it wastes the police officer’s time *and* mine. The worst case being that I get detained or arrested and end up having to either sue or defend myself in court, neither of which I can really afford.

    Maybe educating the police force on not harassing citizens would be a worthwhile outcome…but the town I live in is a small blue dot in a large red county, and I’m pretty sure the 20-some-odd folks in the police force know the law on open carrying of firearms.

    Plus, I have a good CCW rig and I’m already in the habit of carrying every time and everywhere I possibly can. Open carry wouldn’t enhance my safety or preparedness; it would only serve to make some kind of public statement, and I’m not sure the potential negative ramifications of that particular virtue signal would be justifiable.

    That’s just my personal calculus, though. I love seeing the occasional open-carrier going about his normal business, even if I’m reluctant to join them.

  5. I’ve only open carried on a couple of occasions. Both at the state Capitol (AR-10 and sidearm) in support of 2A Deregulation. After the local “Rag” Des Moines Register opined that such behave would result in Murder and Mayhem in the streets. To which there was No bloodshed or Gunfire. The only threats being made were from the Snowflakes and Anti 2A Minions. So there are times when Open Carry can be used in a positive manner. As for Open Carry as a personal defense strategy I see few advantages to it’s use. I’d much rather remain the “Grey Man” and have the element of surprise on my side. YMMV…Keep Your Powder Dry.

  6. “..South Carolina has recently passed a law authorizing open carry in the Palmetto State. This was a well-publicized, news-making event.

    A rational observer shouldn’t be shocked to begin seeing neighbors there begin to open carry….”

    Doubtful many will in the UpState, a few maybe. The win for us living in SC is that the “Karen’s and Kens of the world” can not call dispatch complaining they saw a piece of a gun when somebody’s concealment/covering slipped. I believe the go date is Aug 15th so hopefully the local news media will do it’s job and alert the public to “Hey! It’s ok! don’t call 911 unless the person is actively shooting other people”
    I fear there may be potential issues at first though. Bad decisions made by citizens and law enforcement.

  7. Believe it or not, OC with a permit is legal here in crazy hoplophobic Massivetwoshits. But I still won’t do it. It attracts the kind of attention that I don’t want and the cops here will soon disabuse you of the silly notion that they are on our side. They will break your b@lls and jam you up just for kicks.

    I would feel differently in some gun friendly states. In MA, however, I can’t buy into open carrying simply to make a point.

    • I actually OC here here off and on, near Plymouth. I’ve had one conversation about the gun, one conversation about my job, and that was it. Nothing else has ever happened. No one’s ever called the cops or anything, although I have seen people glance at it.

      • @Ralph & Warlocc: Your joint remarks inspire an insight.

        Each state is NOT a homogeneous jurisdiction with respect to density of Karen population; including Karens in blue uniforms. Each is a pocket of sensibilities unto itself. And, in particular, the local chief of police, mayor and council. And the locals have pretty good insight into what the situation is; or, they can find out. Gun-guy G knows his buddy H knows the Chief I and the Sheriff J. Get H to check-out where I & J stand on citizens carrying. One or the other might not be eager to declare his sentiments in forthright terms; but give a wink and a nod. If favorable, then G & H can try to start an Open-Carry Club in that particular jurisdiction. See what happens; often, nothing. Couple of Karen calls that don’t go anywhere.

        That which develops in G’s & H’s municipality won’t go unnoticed in neighboring towns. Rinse and repeat. Gradually, Open-Carry Clubs might form in adjacent towns and envelope smaller cities. Then, penetrate the smaller cities. And larger cities, and so forth. Eventually, the largest cities in the state will be ripe for introduction.

        A complementary idea. Remember the old-style “cavalry” type of holster? The one where a flap covers the grip. Don’t know what the fastener is like, but I imagine it’s hard to open by either the owner or a robber. If not, a leatherworker could make it so.

        Such a holster could address a couple of issues. First, the robber grabbing your gun. If that’s hard – perhaps impossible – to do then one argument against O-C is mitigated.

        Second, the Karens will weep and gnash their teeth that we are “brandishing”. But the gun is completely enclosed in the holster. ‘You can’t see the gun, Karen!’ ‘But I can see you are wearing a holster!!’ ‘But you can’t see what’s inside; you only surmise – correctly – that it’s a gun.’ This will drive the Karens Krazy. Make it hard for them to get traction on “But it will scare the horses” theme.

        (Remember, the objective here is political more so than self-defense. If we want to accomplish something politically we consider the political implications and weigh-them-off against competing concerns such as accessibility. This is NOT a universal and perpetual strategy but rather a temporary tactic.)

        As much trepidation and ambivalence as I have over O-C, I suspect that we haven’t given this practice sufficient thought in terms of how-to-do-it-WELL. And, as I raised in my OP, whether NOW might be the opportune moment to initiate a well-designed effort.

  8. Imagine, if you will, a crime-ridden urban area in which the common citizens take to open carry to reclaim their neighborhood through sending a strong message. Yes, march to end violence and rally against wasted, ruined young lives, but let the wannabe thugs and Billy Badass types see the victim pool strapped. If you think the cops are useless, or worse yet, a threat, it’s time to tool up because you are in charge of your own safety. Take stewardship of your community. Stand ready by your homes and businesses and say “this I will defend” when the wolf pack starts to howl.

      • He’s been bonded out, so probably laying low until the trial…

        • I’d bet even money there will never *be* a trial. Charges were to calm the neighborhood, everyone knows he did nothing a jury would convict him for. Let it lie a couple years, then quietly drop the charges. After, of course, attempting to get him to plead guilty to something, to save face.

    • I like being able to choose for myself, without goons threatening my life or my freedom if I choose “wrong”.

  9. MarkPa,
    Not to throw cold water on your idea, but I take it you have not been to downtown Austin around City Hall.
    It is the homeless themselves that are openly carrying weapons. They have created their own “security teams” that openly “patrol” the area carrying axes, machetes, bats and pipes. Several are wearing body armor. They are quite brazen in their intimidation.
    Their tactics are openly welcomed by the City of Austin Socialist members of the city council, most of which cannot be bothered to make it to City Hall themselves.

    • I have no problem who open carries. It is new to the Left. They hated guns forever. Now it’s ok for then to carry. But they are still rude obnoxious people.
      There is plenty of video of the bad behavior of Liberal/Leftist gun owners out there.
      It’s been on TTAG.

  10. We’ve got 800,000 Derek Chauvins strutting around, and this guy says we should open carry.


    • Because an unarmed man was killed by a cop you believe everyone should appear unarmed?
      Don’t think you thought that one through.

      • I was referring to the malignant narcissism that runs rampant in Blue Line Gang culture.

        My thinking was accurate, and just fine.

        Thanks for attempting an intelligent reply, though.

        • Your thinking was neither accurate nor fine. There are not “800,000 Derek Chauvins strutting around” in police uniforms. It’s an impossibly broad generalization, and you know it.

          And you didn’t answer JWT’s point, either.

          So let’s say, rather than “all police are Derek Chauvin,” that malignant narcissism does run rampant among the police. How exactly does that justify your implication that nobody should ever carry openly? What should we do instead?

    • Don’t think we would be confused for a drugged out dude passing fake bills.

      800k? Where’s the corresponding number of George Floyds?

    • Your compliance is what’s unbelievable. Sure, conceal if you want. I do both from time to time. If more people saw how many people actually carry guns it would desensitize the agenda. Concealing is after all, above all else, a form of compliance.

      • Funny, isn’t it? 200 years ago anyone was welcome to go around armed, but if you hid your gun you were assumed to be a criminal.

        • “200 years ago . . . ” Actually, we are NOT particularly clear on this issue; and I don’t claim any authority personally.

          It’s my impression that at around the time of the founding there was NO particular stigma to carrying concealed. As a practical matter, if you carried a sword it would be carried openly; but, if you carried a knife it would be concealed. If you carried a gun it would – in MOST cases – be a long-arm and wouldn’t be concealable. Even a pistol – remember a flint lock – would be a bit big to carry concealed. Nevertheless, some gentlemen who could afford to buy multiple guns did carry pocket pistols.

          Think about this. The combination of the development of the gunsmith’s art and economics PROBABLY meant that a common man carried a musket openly and a knife concealed. A gentleman wore his sword openly and carried a pistol in his pocket. What if it were THIS that was the fashion of the day in 1791?

          Then, came the development of the percussion cap and corresponding locks. This made designing a concealable pistol much more practical. This is when the derringer was introduced; admittedly, well after the founding.

          I read a book about the history of handguns in England. The entire discussion for the 19th Century was full of mentions of pocket-pistols. Someone better read than I might comment on the American literature’s mention of pocket guns.

          Why would an industry cater to producing a pocket-gun if concealed carry were a despised practice?

          That laws banning or licensing concealed carry of weapons arose largely in the Southern states should make us skeptical. We shouldn’t be shocked to discover that the primary point was to regulate the carrying of weapons by “those who shouldn’t have them” as the primary motivation.

          To be sure, a “person of color” whether free or slave probably couldn’t afford a pocket pistol. He COULD afford a knife. Color-class and economics aside, the issue was: How to regulate arms bearing by “those who shouldn’t have them”?

          If a troublemaker – white or black – were popularly deemed one of “those who shouldn’t have one”, then he would be compelled to carry (knife or gun) concealed. A gentleman could carry openly. Problem solved from a public policy perspective. Permit (gentlemen to) O-C and ban everyone from C-C. (No one would dare ask a gentleman if that was a gun in his pocket or whether he was just happy to see him).

          Once you have a pretext for a public policy (that can be articulated in polite company) then THAT is the pretext that is recorded; NOT the REAL rationale.

          The foregoing is mere conjecture on my part. We would have to discuss with Clayton Cramer (who published a book on the development of C-C laws). But suppose I might be on to something. (I hope a few on TTAG might extend me the benefit of the doubt.) It might very well be that our 21st Century sentiments about the C-C / O-C debate have a provenance in SLAVERY! And, if this is the case, it is THE “original sin” argument that distorts our modern thinking.

          The orthodox belief that regulation of C-C is “longstanding” might – as a Constitutional matter – be WRONG THINK. It can’t be traced to 1791, nor to 1799. If KY in 1813 marks the first appearance of C-C regulation then it is (arguably) TOO LATE to define “the right to bear arms” as understood by the ratifying generation.

          And, in any case, IF it WERE TRUE that “the right to bear arms” is to do so openly (in a manly way), then THAT is the rule! And, no one should object to our carrying openly today. Just as no one should object to seeing a lady proudly casting her ballot at a public polling place.

        • “Someone better read than I might comment on the American literature’s mention of pocket guns.”

          Well, I don’t know about the American literature’s mention of pocket guns, but I have done a little bit of reading on the history of firearms in the 19th century, and there was an amazing number of pocket guns being marketed and sold throughout.

  11. Apparently, in the 70s, the police in Albuquerque, NM went on strike. After a day or so, residents started open carrying firearms in response. The crooks were scared s*less because they knew residents did not have any sort of training about when to shoot. As a result, crime plummeted.

    I am trying to find a link, and will post if I can.

  12. MarkPA poses an interesting question: given recent events in our nation, whether openly carried handguns would significantly advance support for our inalienable right to life and effective self-defense.

    I can see where that could be true.

    I am not sure.

    I may go “test the waters” and see what sort of public reaction I get.

    • In 1978 I OC’d a Browning HP on a 60 mile motorcycle ride and return. I was going to shoot on private property I was invested in, if anyone cares, and while TX law did not allow any manner of carry at that time, the TX Constitution allowed any manner of carry when traveling, or when going to and from a shooting range, so I figured I was good. Point is, driving on the highway and when I stopped for lunch on the return trip, absolutely nobody cared, not one comment and not one funny look, just nothing. Nobody was accustomed to people carrying concealed or open, they just don’t care. Bought a cheeseburger, sat down and ate it, NOBODY cared. The shit we all worry about, I am sure happens, but it is not universal, most people don’t even notice, and those who notice mostly don’t care.

      • LarryinTX,

        I agree in general.

        I happen to live in a “purple” state and my particular town is hyper-Progressive–so far to the Left as to be off scale. (My town advocates boys using the girl’s locker rooms in middle school and high school if the boy claims to be “transgender”.)

        My particular town has almost no homeless population and no violent crime–and there has never been any rioting or looting, ever. It will be interesting to see if the hyper-Liberal-Progressive people in my town respond constructively or destructively to open carry.

        • Well, that does sound like fun! Let us know, hell, try to get a video for our amusement. I still bet no one would care.

  13. Criminals only respond to fear, they are devoid of the values and morals of normal people. They fear police and their firearms because they can deny them of their freedom or their life, I can only do one of those. An openly carried firearm tells criminals both that you are armed and prepared to use it, something a concealed gun is incapable of doing.

    • Conversely, an armed criminal now knows who to take out first, not to mention the element of surprise on firing at the criminal is lost.

      • I think you are confusing an armed criminal with a mass killer or a “suicide by cop” type. A criminal would just go elsewhere rather than risk his life for a hit of coke.

  14. Open carry done correctly reduces crime. Crime goes down in cities with NRA conventions. When members open carry guns. People forget that.
    If you’re frightened of people who open carry guns then stay home. Use Uber and Lyft for all your deliveries. But it does tell me you’re a hypocrite. Because you’re very comfortable with the police and military being the only ones allowed to open carry weapons.

    And you’re not a supporter of the Second Amendment. But you will still complain about the state having a monopoly on the use of violence????

    The old one.
    “An armed society is a polite society”

    Now updated for the 21st century.
    “An OPENLY armed society is an even more polite society.”

    • I would argue instead crime is reduced when criminals are regularly shot by private citizens. It is not the carry so much as accurate shooting and a dead criminal. Word gets around in the criminal underworld.

      • I don’t know how to reason about this.

        At a given point in time (say a year) the number of violent criminals is an approximately fixed number. They can easily move withIN the country; but NOT so easily migrate OUT of their home country.

        So, if the criminals are getting shot at, sometimes wounded, sometimes killed, in one precinct they should MOVE their activities to a neighboring precinct. Or, move from one state to another.

        If so, we CAN MOVE the problem around, from one place to another, but not really change the number of violent criminals (except to the extent that we actually incapacitate them).

        The MAJOR effect is GANG MEMBERS shooting other gang members. This kills and wounds a lot of violent criminals; far more than OFWGs defending themselves. Nevertheless, criminals seem NOT to migrate OUT of their home neighborhoods to other neighborhoods where they might be safer. (E.g., WhiteLandia).

        Nor do I think that growth in carry in WhiteLandia has a major effect. Certainly it has a minor effect, but probably not enough to change the data for the nation, nor even for a state. At most, it could move criminals from one place to another where they feel they will be able to ply their trade in greater safety.

        Think about it. If everyone carried (never happen) the criminals would still have to criminal. What else would they do? Get a job?

        Either we lock them up for a long time or we stop rearing-up generation after generation of violent criminals. These seem to be the only two really viable options.

  15. I just came for the comments. Bout what I figured. A bunch of folks thinking they need to regulate others in one direction or another that probably don’t actually carry anyway. Fudds

  16. I’m OK with Open Carry- but only if you get a decent holster. If I see another RTARD carrying in an Uncle Mike’s- not even a genuine Uncle Mike’s, a knockoff Chinese velco $4.99 special… I am going to barf.

    I’m ok with requiring you to OC in a level 2 retention holster with a gun that has a passive firing pin block. (Sorry RUGER 57 fanboi’s, but you’re going to ND .) Also- can we ban 1911 condition 2 carry? I see that a lot, and it also makes me want to barf. If you’re not going cocked and locked, don’t have a round in the chamber.

    • “can we ban 1911 condition 2 carry”

      I wouldn’t do it, but it’s a heck of a lot better than someone carrying with an empty chamber!

      • If you get a good flashlight with a narrow beam you can look down the barrel and see the bullet. That’s how I make sure my gunm is loaded. On a revolving you can just look at the front of the cylinder no need for flashlight. That’s one reason I advise a revolving for new shooturz.

  17. We’ve been carrying in MO for years now. Selling auto parts, I’d get as many as 2-3 a day. If I were to make dangerous generalizations, it’s the older generation who tends to play show and tell in public with guns if you mention it. So, I stopped talking to them about it. BTW, I’m 68, Vet, Retired Reserve. “Civilians” tend to make too much fuss over carrying loaded weapons yet driving drunk kills more teenagers than Afghanistan did overall.

    Perspective is much needed.

    For the most part there aren’t significant numbers of gun grabbers lurking in the byways of Walmart’s parking lots being reported. While there were a few out there, I believe there will always be a few who assess their odds based on the physical appearance of their intended victim and a whole lot of optimism on their fantasy disarm. Ayoob covers that we should be more concerned about it – it’s not a huge problem using a secure holster, simply because of the rarity that your delinquent draw could get you killed in a split second! I always ask at that point, was someone totally blind to the situation, wrong place wrong time stupid? We can preach that some need to be careful about it, what we SHOULD be teaching is how to be AWARE of your surroundings and read what is going on. Unfortunately, all too many are running errands in a mindset that no possible problems will arise – largely because that’s what has always happened before. Nothing.

    If anything in the last two years, a whole lot more of us reading about gangs of politically motivated thugs attacking restaurant patrons, etc are a lot more aware of the potential.

    On the other side: Some choose to follow the mantra of Concealed Means Concealed. As if for some reason there should never be any exhibition of carrying a loaded firearm whatsoever. That started in the 90’s when some states were heavily enforcing the new laws allowing CCW, and doing whatever enforcement they could to discourage the sudden landslide of applications. Being seen with a firearm may actually provoke others to attempt a disarm – whole point of my Walmart comment, there are folks who are egregiously ignorant of current firearms carry laws And if they assess someone else as being an easy target to humiliate, they could very well try.

    This is where you, as the individual who is going to carry, needs to assess your public appearance and interaction with other testosterone influenced males and determine how much carry you are willing to put up with from the public.

    I never had any issues with open carry in uniform. I frequently have issues with overbearing individuals when I am in civilian clothes. It is what it is – some can carry open, others choose to make life simple and carry concealed.

    “Those of you who think you know it all are an annoyance to those of us who do.” I’ve discovered that some people take great exception to being outed as brain dead stupid – so why feed them a trigger that creates an unpleasant day? If you are over 6 feet, abs of steel, carry appendix because your appendix actually holds your firearm, I suspect that you may well get a pass on the harassment that others of us receive all too frequently.

    If you choose to carry open and enjoy it, fine. There are plenty who choose to carry concealed and will continue to do so even when their state makes it Constitutional Carry no permit. Some even continue to pay for the permit so that travel in other reciprocal states won’t be a questionable issue.

    You’d be surprised who carries concealed in those circumstances. But, they do. Maybe they don’t need the attention.

    Problem is there are people who make a point about you carrying a gun, and they will do what they can to ruin your day. Don’t automatically assume they are anti gun, however. They just might not like the idea of YOU being a Member of the Gun Club and would rather you not participate. “You make the rest of us look bad!”

    There’s more to it than some want to admit. We have seen the enemy, and he is us.

  18. “introducing open carry in a place where it’s not already practiced incites neutrals to be offended, sometimes even terrified”

    I’m glad the author included this part. The open carry argument isn’t *all* about tactics and the media. Although those are worth talking about, IMO not upsetting the people around you is the most important point.

    Although I quietly applaud the folks that open carry in downtown areas my personal rule is to only do it outside population centers – out in nature basically.

  19. Some people act like open carry is a political thing, or like going out wearing a strobe light. I have been open carrying for over twenty years in multiple states inclunding Virginia, Colorado, Vermont, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Almost every single interaction I have had in regards to oc was positive but mostly there is no reaction, partly because many people simply don’t notice. I open carry because I am protecting a lot more than me when out with family and carry a full size handgun with attached weapon light in a level three retention holster. With spare mags. It is not worth my time to try and conceal that. It works, I carry it, most people don’t care, and I don’t care if they did. I’m polite, usually dress well, and as combat veteran “light” infantryman would carry more gun if I could. But that’s why I have an at pistol in the car. Cheers.

    • “Some people act like open carry is a political thing, or like going out wearing a strobe light. ”

      It IS a political thing. It shouldn’t be a strobe light.

      I agree with most of what you wrote; most people won’t notice. Not even in the most hoplophobic states. In NJ I observed two open-carriers; a middle-aged woman and a younger woman. Both in street cloths. This just does NOT HAPPEN EVER in NJ. No one (but I) seemed to notice.

      Nevertheless, there are lots of Karens about.

      We ought to be thinking politically here. We ought to be thinking about being ambassadors for gun carry. How to do that? How to avoid doing it destructively?

      My OP was intended to draw attention to – what seems to me to be – an opportunity in certain places and at current times. Is it a good opportunity? Or a bad one? I’m not entirely sure; so I thought it worthy of debate.

      My inclination, personally, is to NOT open-carry in my own town; but, that maybe O-C should be practiced in Philadelphia now. And, you bring to mind a new point.

      Massad Ayoob discusses how to make your O-C rig as inconspicuous as possible. If I were to O-C in my own town this would be good advice. However, IF there IS merit in instigating an O-C movement in certain places (e.g., Austin TX) now, it seems to me to be important to make it conspicuous. E.g., pearl-handled .44 Mag revolver rather than a pocket-pistol.

  20. A couple of important benefits from open carry realized by folks with enough common sense to know openly displaying a firearm always cedes any possibility of a tactical advantage to unrecognized criminal predators, #1 – it’s always good to know when you’re in close proximity to an armed dumb@$$, open carry provides a means for the rest of us to easily recognize and monitor armed dumb@$$e$. #2 – If a law abiding citizen carrying concealed and an open carry dumb@$$ are both at the scene of the crime when a criminal predator launches an unanticipated sudden act of violence, the open carry dumb@$$ will more likely than not be targeted first, buying precious seconds for the concealed carrier to exploit the gained tactical advantage by either taking cover, escaping, engaging the threat, or a combination of one or all of those responses.

  21. South Carolina just enacted (Aug. 15, ’21) it’s version of an “open-carry” law. I’m in favor but don’t intend to do it for all the reasons mentioned in previous comments. This new law has eliminated the $50 permit and renewal charge but if you don’t already have a CWP then you need to take an eight hour class and demonstrate on a range (part of the class) that you know how to shoot a weapon safely.


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