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By Ben H.

I’m all for open carry.  I enjoy seeing people carrying their guns in public; hell, I’ve done it. It was a pleasant experience, I met some fine people and a few curious folks received some friendly information and education. People driving by honked and waved. Over all, it was a resounding success and I would do it again. After some recent OC flub-ups, though, I got to thinking about what OCers are doing right, and what we’re doing wrong . . .

Open carry rallies should be, first and foremost, about educating the open-minded middle-grounders. Neither preaching to the choir, nor harassing hoplophobic antis does us any good, and after participating in one, I realized that the focus of open carry walks should be to engage curious folks in a friendly, inviting, fun spirit.

The real purpose of open carry isn’t to create a society where everyone carries rifles everywhere, all the time, but to create a society where people are comfortable with guns and don’t react to them with knee-jerk fear. Some open-carriers are screwing that up for us, though, and we not only need to have grown-ups present to put these folks in check, but we need to understand that open carry is a powerful and positive tool if we use it correctly.

To properly open carry, we need answer a few simple questions.

What are we trying to accomplish and how do we do it?

The purpose of open carry is to bring education of our rights and the meaning of the 2nd Amendment. We do this through engaging people in friendly conversation, and answering any and all questions with a smile. Tell stories of positive gun ownership, including the brave Auto-Defensas in Mexico, and explain that the reason it doesn’t seem as though these types of guns are necessary in America is precisely because these guns are present in America.  A simple line I like to use to really get my point across that civilian ownership of these guns is effectively preventing the types of violence seen in other countries is that “South Texas doesn’t look like north Mexico because Americans have access to these firearms.”  If a person is being rude, however, just smile and give them kindness in return.  Flies and honey, folks.  Flies and honey.

What are we up against and how do we fight it?

We’re up against a biased if-it-bleeds-it-leads media in support of anti-gun radicals and politicians who use lies, slander, and dirty tactics to achieve their goals.   Any chance they get to show pro-gunners in a negative light, even out-of-context, they will do it and they don’t care if they get caught red-handed, because they have the media to cover for them.  Grow some thick skin and wear your happy face at all times.  Besides, that’s why you’re there – to have a good time and help others to do so.  Call up local news channels and invite them out to your event.  Post videos of your walk on Facebook to show your not-quite-gun-loving (yet) friends that gun owners are not the frothing-at-the-mouth gub-mint hatin’ hillbillies the media paints them to be.  Show families carrying together.  We’re normal, happy people, not the wack-a-dos the antis make us out to be, and unfortunately we sometimes have to prove it.

What are we doing right?

The walk I participated in was excellent.  We had beautiful weather, friendly people, and folks approaching us and asking questions were treated with respect and friendliness.  There was a very inviting aura surrounding the walk and I think folks really picked up on that.  Some of our kids were there with us and playing around.  Open carry walks that are conducted in a spirit of invitation and education should be emulated; this should be the standard operating procedure for all open carry demonstrations.  The local police were notified ahead of time, the route was planned.  No question was too “stupid” to answer, but be ready with knowledge of your firearm, some of its history, some American history, and the laws.  All-in-all, it was very relaxed, friendly, and fun.

 What are we doing wrong and how do we fix it?

*sigh* Guys, we’re not Alpha-Level-Spec-Op-Tactical-Operator-Ninja-Commandoes; let’s not dress like we are. Leave the tactical gear at home. Militarized police forces are doing their part to set people on edge and create an environment of fear and distrust, so let’s not follow suit.

I would actually say that we should dress a little on the nice side for the occasion. Guys, shave before an event, or if you wear a beard (and why wouldn’t you?), trim it up. We shouldn’t look like a rabble of armed weird-os, we should look like the gathering of warm, friendly people we are. Eddie Izzard said, “It’s 70% how you look, 20% how you say it, and 10% what you say.”  First impressions are lasting. Dress to be approached, not to repel.

Wear your long gun across your back, not at your side, and not in “condition one,” or whatever. I would even dare to go as far as saying the more wood, the better. I happen to think my Arsenal SLR-107FR is a sexy rifle, but then I’m a gun guy. Non-gun people have been blasted with “evil black assault murderdeath machines” by the media, and black guns may be a little intimidating to some. Bringing beautiful military surplus rifles with nice wooden stocks, or some warm-and-fuzzy muzzle-loaders might make approaching you a little less daunting to curious people, and then you can give them a cool history lesson about that particular gun.

We’re there to engage, not to intimidate. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have people who are “designated spokespeople,” individuals who are charming, knowledgeable and well-spoken who are there as go-to people for tougher questions, to talk to the media should they show up, and to deal with rude antis.

About those rude antis, though: best to ignore their jeers and just video them. As much as I’d like to get 100% of the people on our side, some people have decided to completely shut off their minds and just cannot be reached. Let them make themselves look like asses while you turn your attention to more enjoyable people. Never let yourself come to verbal blows with these people; even if you win, we lose because we “look scary.”  If you see a fellow OCer starting to drop to their level, check him. Be the adult and get him away from the situation. Calling the police on these people should only be a last resort, but it’s an option that’s there. If you need to bring the police into it to get vicious antis taken away, get that on video, too. And thank the police.

There’s been some negative press concerning open carry events, and I think it’s mainly because we’re doing it wrong. Open carry has the potential to be one of the most powerful cards in our hand if we will just play it right. Be presentable and approachable, smile, don’t play the antis’ games, educate and enlighten. Always be a good steward of a responsible, armed, and free society.

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  1. Until such time as the open carry folks understand that some people FEAR guns (like others fear snakes, heights, and deep water), they will continue to do harm to the cause of gun rights. It will be in many case unintended harm, but it will still be harm.

    • When a person fears snakes, you can’t have a friendly, informative talk about snakes with one draped around your neck.

      When a person fears heights, you can’t have a friendly, informative talk about the advantages of tall buildings while you force them to stand on the edge of the roof.

      When a person fears water/drowning, you can’t have a friendly, informative talk about water and how it is actually required to sustain life, while the boat you are both standing on slips beneath the waves in mid-ocean.

      And THESE are the people that will be (are being!) driven into the welcoming arms of the anti-gun/anti-gun-rights crowd by public displays of weaponry in big-box stores, coffee houses, and other semi-public places. Yeah, yeah, you have the right, blah blah. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for the cause.

      Knock it off; you’re hurting more than helping.

      • “When a person fears snakes, you can’t have a friendly, informative talk about snakes with one draped around your neck.”


      • DJ9, I have to disagree with every point you made. The only way to teach snake-fearers is with a snake. The only way to teach acrophobics is up on the roof.

        Your points about “forcing” people to the edge of the roof or making them stand on a sinking ship are complete non-sequitors, and you know it. Who is being forced to do something at an OC rally? Nobody. Nobody is being forced to do anything. Nobody is being placed in danger.

        You can agree or disagree with OC rallies, but making stuff up is beneath you.

        • Ralph, a rally is one thing, but the open carry marches and store visits are something else. If there is a rally, a person can avoid it; it is stationary. If it is a march or a store visit, it is coming AT the person, often unexpectedly, and just like forcing a snake into their face, pushing them to the edge of the roof, or play-shoving them off the dock, you have put them into a panic-worthy (in their eyes) situation.

          THIS CREATES ENEMIES, BORNE OUT OF PANIC. And when more rational people see these people suffering, people who might otherwise eventually join your cause, you potentially lose another possible convert there, too.

          Ralph, you’re partially right about the education, but the best way to educated these folks is one-on-one, in a controlled environment, where they can be eased into it, and more importantly, back OUT of the situation at any time. That means they feel they are still in control of the situation. Public in-your-face marches do not allow for situation control and proper discussion of what and why they fear the object.

          Folks, we are winning. Some people are just forcing the issue, when that is not required.

          Be patient. We ARE winning.


          I keep reading this kind of thing and I keep asking for evidence of it. I’ve not seen any.

          Not counting the propaganda uttered by the anti’s (because they make stuff up)…where is the actual evidence that we have lost fence-sitters to OC rallies, marches and ‘store-carry?’

          Do we have survey data or something similar among the ‘undecided’ or “may be swayed” demographic that shows they made up their mind to be anti-gun because of an OC event in public?

          If so…sources please.

        • DJ9, I’m with you on store visits. It’s just a bad idea and doesn’t work. I also am fearful of one-man marches, especially without signage or notice. The cops have no way of knowing whether that one man is peaceful or a threat, and the result of a misunderstanding can be fatal.

          And yes, the BEST way to teach someone is in a controlled, one-on-one environment. But that requires a teacher-student relationship.

          A well regulated march or rally (see what I did there?) gives gun-ignorant people the ability to ask questions and seek out a teacher, if that’s what they want to do. There also can be no misunderstanding if the rally is publicized, cops are given prior notice and there’s good signage.

        • JR, tell me what caused the open carry handgun (and later, long gun) bans in California? The laws had been the same, and in no danger of being changed until attention was focused on the laws by making people uncomfortable in public places (and of course, the anti-gun media is only too happy to run with these stories).

          If the situation had been left alone, individuals would still be able to do what they had been doing for years, and eventually, normalization of guns through non-confrontational means would have allowed progress on other laws. Now, the bad laws have to be un-done before progress can be made.

        • Ralph, signage and cop notification doesn’t help the grandma driving along who suddenly see what appears to be an armed mob. Same for folks who are out for a peaceful walk in the park or around the downtown square and see the group at a distance — they won’t be getting any closer, just to read the signs.

          Patience, folks. WE ARE WINNING. Let’s not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

          Or make the journey any longer than it has to be.

        • “Not counting the propaganda uttered by the anti’s (because they make stuff up)…where is the actual evidence that we have lost fence-sitters to OC rallies, marches and ‘store-carry?’

          Do we have survey data or something similar among the ‘undecided’ or “may be swayed” demographic that shows they made up their mind to be anti-gun because of an OC event in public?”


        • @DJ “JR, tell me what caused the open carry handgun (and later, long gun) bans in California?”

          The same thing that brought bullet buttons, “assault weapon bans”, handgun certificates, California legal handguns, private firearms sales through an FFL, state registry, 10 day waiting period, 10 round magazine limits, .50 BMG bans…. on and on and on….

          a majority anti-gun state with a majority anti-gun legislature passing anti-gun laws because they can. Also, let’s not forget, the ban of open carry in California set the table for the landmark win in Peruta v. San Diego. Stop blaming open carry for the actions of anti-gun legislators who are pushing an agenda regardless of the Constitution and without fear of reprisal from an entrenched and staunchly anti-gun constituency.

        • EagleScout87, I’ll stop “blaming” when you stop giving them easy targets and easy wins that makes future progress for our side more difficult.

          And I’d recommend waiting until Peruta is finished and dust settles before you count those chickens; a happy coincidence is not the same as a plan, and the whole thing still has the potential to take a sour turn for pro-gun folks.

    • DJ9,

      You are referring to people who are quite literally hysterical. No amount of coddling is going to lead to a breakthrough. Those people need months of counseling and controlled environments to have any chance of conquering their irrational fears and hysteria.

      Meanwhile, open carry events like Ben H. described do reach everyone else in a positive way. For people who feel serious apprehension at the thought/sight of responsible armed people, they will learn to be less apprehensive. For people who never put much thought into it and feel naturally cautious, they will start thinking more about their own personal security and realize that there are plenty of good responsible people who own firearms for personal security. For people who are positively inclined toward responsible people owning firearms, they will consider if it is finally time to purchase one for themselves.

      Please note that I am NOT advocating for one or two men to dress up in tactical clothing and march into a store with a scowl while constantly scanning the environment for “threats”. I am advocating the positive, relaxed, educational, and family friendly demonstration that Ben H. characterized above.

      • Most of these folks are not “hysterical” until they are forced into mingling with people who have the source of their fear obviously displayed at close range. Then the fear surfaces.

        The way to educated these folks is one-on-one, in a controlled environment, where they can be eased into it, and more importantly, back OUT of the situation at any time. That means they feel they are still in control of the situation. Public displays do not allow for control and proper discussion of what and why they fear the object.

      • It’s not hysteria. I know plenty upon plenty of people who are fine with guns, supportive of gun ownership and the right to bear arms, and who are open minded and ready to hear our argument who still would be frightened if someone walked into a store with a rifle slung over their shoulder. If it makes you feel good to hear about someone doing that, well, good for you. For else it’s very likely to elicit fear and it does nothing for the second amendment long term.

        In short, if your goal is to shove your rights down people’s throats until they oppose them, well, this is the movement for you.

        • I’m fine with guns.

          I’m not fine with a bunch of irresponsible morons with their fingers on the triggers, muzzles waving around, being IRRESPONSIBLE and UNSAFE with guns.

          As long as the camo-sasquatches, the drug-eyed dopes, and the rest of you open carry losers are wanting to “open carry” irresponsibly and unsafely you’re hurting your own cause and are going to ruin it all for responsible gun owners.

    • Furthermore, DJ9, I am under no obligation to give up my rights to assuage the fears of hysterical people.

      • You will find no stronger advocate for responsible gun ownership and gun rights than I, but your argument is the equal of the anti-gun argument — you are FORCING these folks to come into close contact with weapons and armed people, just like the anti-gunners want to force us to give up our guns and carry rights so they never have to come into contact with either.

      • This is not about obligation or hysteria. This is about making the right choices to win hearts and minds. I love black guns, I own and shoot them almost exclusively, and if I saw someone walk into a Walmart with an AR sling over their back, I’d be paying closer attention to him, and the exit, at they very least.

        The closest comparison I can come up with are the gay kiss-ins staged at Chick-Fil-A. I understand where they were coming from, and I’m on their side, but showing up and making out just for the sake of it doesn’t make a lot of sense, and it wound up drawing more anti-gay support to Chick-Fil-A. The protesters were well within their rights, but that didn’t make their decisions any more sound.

        Again, this isn’t a debate about whether something is or should be legal or not, it’s a debate about what’s most likely to advance our cause rather than what’s most likely to rally the opposition.

      • You’re not under an obligation to, but those are the same people that can remove our current rights. Not the wisest choice to go poking them with a stick.

  2. The problem is, too many OC jackwagons are not following any of your recommendations and open carrying rifles is just inflammatory, not educational.

    I still think Open Carry Texas is something Bloomberg created on the sly.

    I see where they went back to Target this past weekend. Good thinking, boys.


    • What bugs me is only the OCT guys in Tarrant, TX. Despite their efforts, we will get open handgun carry in Texas in the near future. And when we do, we will STILL not be carrying openly into a Starbucks or Chipotle – not just in Texas, but the entire U.S. Thanks a lot!

      • Why is that? Not a single store has BANNED open carry. They have politely asked to leave your guns at home, but follow all local laws. That’s not banning and you’ll be able to open carry in those stores in Texas. Please stop with the rhetoric.

        • “They have politely asked to leave your guns at home, but follow all local laws.”

          Where before they simply said said “Follow all local laws.” How is that a win for us?

        • @BP It’s basically one step forward, one step backwards. No major loss, no major gain.

        • I see zero steps forward in causing a formerly neutral entity to take sides against us. Groups that behave like douchebags tend to get treated like douchebags, and I’d hate to see us all being treated like a bunch of lycra wearing, two wide on a narrow road strava dipshits.

  3. Well spoken, Ben H.

    I think that covers about 95% of everything with respect to open carry. It is a fantastic tactical plan in my opinion.

    The keys are:
    — Demonstrate as a group.
    — Make sure there are women and children in the group.
    — Dress sharp.
    — Demonstrate at a great location.
    — And have a couple signs so inquisitors know it is a demonstration.
    — Be friendly and smile a lot!

    • Coordinate ahead of time with the cops so they don’t freak out. And have plenty of cameras rolling in case they do.

  4. They tried what you suggest in California, but the soccer moms still called the police each and every time, and when the politicos got wind of it they banned OC of handguns. A mere whisper of a desire to continue the protest by openly carrying rifles resulted in a ban of that a year later. Never underestimate the motivating power of fear–politicians have been leveraging fear throughout history and are experts at it. Being friendly and approachable, nonconfrontational, is critical to success.

    • It may be critical to it, but it still can’t guarantee success, long term.

      Those folks that are approached in a nice, friendly manner, and educated about how open carry is legal? Some of them go home, think about it, decide they don’t like it, and tell their lawmakers to make it illegal so they don’t have to see it or deal with it again.

      I’ll say it again — it’s not helping.

      • DJ9,

        What good is a right that we cannot exercise? If we cannot exercise the right right now and government is going to ultimately end up criminalizing the right anyway, what have we got to lose? Why not exercise the right right now … and educate people and dispel the stereotypes?

        • We are winning the fight for gun rights WITHOUT these marches. Apparently, it’s just not fast enough for some folks. If normalization through non-confrontational means takes place before the ban is put in place, then it doesn’t have to be un-done later.

          Forcing the issue gets negative reaction — lots of it, in some cases. Easing folks into it, one at a time, through friends and neighbors, in a non-in-your-face situation where they can back out of it if they get uncomfortable, is the way to (eventually) win these hearts and minds. Do you really think the OC prohibitions in California would have been passed if folks had NOT been pushing the issue in such a highly-publicized manner? The law had been the same for many years; it was changed to a ban as a result of these events (and the future threat to do the same with long guns). And once banned, it’s almost impossible to un-ban it.

          Go ahead, make a list for me of gun-related bans that were later repealed by action (not sunsetted automatically).

          I’ll wait.

        • “Go ahead, make a list for me of gun-related bans that were later repealed by action (not sunsetted automatically).”

          Are you serious?

          Do you really think the postive changes in gun laws in the last 20 years just happened in a vacuum…automatically and without “action?”

          Start your list with every concealed carry of a handgun ban that has been corrected in the past nearly 3 decades. Then, follow-up with McDonald.

          NC is considering Constitutional Carry in the state Senate, and that did not happen “automatically.” That’s just one specific example. Last year, NC repealed a bunch of bad law in the CCH statutes…no vacuum there, either.

          You may disagree with the OC protesters, but your position is emotionally driven more than factually driven.

        • Do you really think the postive changes in gun laws in the last 20 years just happened in a vacuum…automatically and without “action?”

          You’re right, they didn’t happen automatically. They happened because of the tireless, passionate and strategically focused efforts by driven groups and individuals. The CC revolution, Heller and McDonald all are a result careful, calculated legislative and litigious actions. That is to say, not a bunch of people standing or walking around with long guns slung over their shoulders. If recent history is any indicator that kind of behavior sends us backwards, not forward.

        • Sorry, JR, that doesn’t pass the smell test.

          Most states, with a very few exceptions, didn’t have complete BANS on carry; they had may-issue laws which were slowly changed into shall-issue laws. The few states that DID have complete bans on carry eventually got on board after folks in those states saw that the other states that had adopted shall-issue did not have any increased violence or problems. NORMALIZATION. No pro-gun-rights folks were pointing out that the person RIGHT BESIDE YOU IN THE STORE MAY BE ARMED, and that was no big deal, so you should get used to it. The in-your-face/emotional side was the anti-gun position, and IT DIDN’T WORK — IT BACKFIRED.

    • Here’s the dirty little secret, though, Mark. California is not the rest of the country.

      Just because something happened there, does not indicate similar results elsewhere.

      This is the basic problem with the “California / New York” way of thinking. This country is not a monodisperse population. How we do and think about things in the SE is very different than California.

      A style of demonstration that failed in CA may well work well elsewhere. In fact, I would argue California is about the worst model for ‘national pulse’ on hot button issues one could conceive.

      • +1, I don’t see any anti-gun hysteria here in Texas. Even the Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate is pro-open carry. Let the antis whine shrilly on Twitter and Facebook from their regressive States. They cannot retard the forward progress of civil rights in Texas because they can’t vote here.

    • Mark N., CA did indeed ban OC in reaction to people exercising their right to do so. Which led DIRECTLY to the 9th Circuit decision in Peruta v. County of San Diego.

      The Peruta court held that self defense outside the home is a fundamental right, and since OC was banned, CC had to be permitted.

      Unintended consequences — they are a b1tch sometimes, and sometimes they are our best friends.

      • An excellent point, Ralph.

        Personally, I’d rather count on planned action rather than unintended consequences.

        And this CA situation isn’t finished yet. I could see some areas of CA re-authorizing open carry with heavy restrictions rather than allow widespread concealed carry. And CC is FAR better for actual defensive use.

        • “And CC is FAR better for actual defensive use.”

          There it is…the real bias. You favor concealed carry (as do I, by the way), and so comes all the emotional vomit against open carriers.

          Point me to actual data that CC is far better for actual defensive use. I’m not asking for your tactical opinions; I mean data. I mean case histories of real life shootings where the OC of a handgun (or long gun, for that matter) was a deciding factor in the good guy losing. Court testimony, supplemental reports from investigations, bad guy confessions, etc. Evidence, not opinion.

          I’ll give you one freebie…the two cops recently killed in LV. However, it was arguably their uniforms, however, not the OC of the handguns that drew them as targets, so that one is not a pure given.

        • We both favor concealed carry, but I’m automatically biased because of this?

          And you’re not?

          Interesting. Can you say “projection”?

          If you want to try to redefine “common sense” and “tactical/strategic sense” as bias, go for it. I’m in really good (and really crowded) company here, and I’m very comfortable with my decision. These folks, however, found out the hard way that open carry wasn’t such a good idea, but they only fully understood that knowledge for a few moments before they died.

        • Thankfully though, there won’t be very many more of these sad stories (I hope), because the vast majority of folks know better to paint a target on their backs and show the bad guy(s) exactly how and where they are wearing their defensive armament.

          And I don’t want to hear any whining about their poor tactics or awareness.

          You wanted examples, and you got them.

          You should also know that I was forced to open carry a loaded revolver in an open-topped crap strap holster for 15 years by the military, both on- and off-base, so have quite a bit of experience with both modes of carry, which I suspect you are lacking (based on your attitude).

        • “We both favor concealed carry, but I’m automatically biased because of this?

          And you’re not?

          I think you misunderstood my point.

          I favor CC for ME. I’m not the one arguing against OC for various reasons. I support OC-ers both in terms of rights and practice.

          I don’t, however, support acting like a jerk or unsafely while OC-ing, just as I would not support that kind of behavior while CC-ing.

          Okay. On the links.

          The first story relates a guy killed with his own gun while responding to something..he was already “involved” and let the guy into his house. That could have been a gun in the hand or one on the table, etc….lots of “could have been” and does not definitively show anything about OC in and of itself.

          In other words, there were a number of tactical failures possibly causative here, but OC-ing in public was not even an issue.

          The second story is equally ambiguous.

          “Authorities say last week’s homicides both involved a robbery or attempted robberies, but it was unclear why or how each victim was selected.

          Inconclusive at best.

          Tyler, 48, had a concealed-carry permit, but his handgun was plainly visible that night in his holster, Johnson said.

          Not OC-ing, but visible?

          OC advocates recommend different retention requirements for OC vs CC…so, is it possible that he was CC-ing with CC level retention and was just “printing” or more overtly OC-ing?

          “The suspects walk in and one immediately reached for Mr. Tyler’s gun,” Johnson said. Tyler did not draw his weapon.

          According to court papers, Smith took Tyler’s gun during a struggle

          “During a struggle” does not suggest that OC itself (which he may not have been OC-ing…just because the gun was VISIBLE to the suspect does not mean OC) was solely causative.

          So, two ambiguous stories at best out of the at least tens of thousands of open carriers.

          The real test is not whether you can show two cases where OC MAY have been a major factor in the bg getting the better of the bad guy. What you have to show that OC is definitively better is that such cases occur to a statistically significant degree more often than similar cases with CC-ers.

          There is the problem with the assertion.

          The claim is often made CC is “better,” but I’ve never seen a study with proper analysis nor have I ever heard of one. If there were one, it’d largely be a settled issue and not something to debate on a gun rights web site.

          If there is such a study, it would be very important to have access to the link, the data source and the analysis.

        • …Aaaaaaand there’s the whining about poor tactics.

          So, it will always be about the individual’s poor individual tactics, and not about the poor strategy of carrying where your opponent can see and more easily neutralize your weapon (even if they can’t get it right away, a simple hug can keep you from using it while their buddy beats your brains in with a crowbar). I’m guessing that even if we had video of each event, excuses could be found, amirite?

          Carry for personal defense is really all about options. As a concealed carrier, I have all the options that an unarmed victim has, even running away and screaming like a child. I don’t HAVE to do anything at all; I can just be a good witness.

          If an open carrier is in the same position, he has, by the fact they he has broadcast the fact that he is armed, made himself a target, a problem, the first thing to overcome for the crooks before they can move on to the real purpose of their visit. In short, he has greatly reduced the number of options he has available by wearing his gun openly.

          I won’t make that mistake, and in my biased opinion, neither should any other clear-thinking defender. YMMV.

        • I’m not whining about tactics. I’m saying that in neither of the cases you linked to was the OC of the firearm shown to be causative in the loss of the encounter by the victim. You suggest that there is a relationship, but in the cases you provided, it is objectively far, far from clear that that is the case.

          I had a big reply typed to the rest of it…and I lost it.

          The short version is this:

          I’m not saying you are wrong about CC being “better;” I’m saying we don’t know.

          In the absence of data and proper analysis, it is hypothesis. Tactical commentary is fine theory, but it if it’s not show to be factual in the practical tests of the real world, the theory is empty.

          Some might say hypothetical is good enough.

          I argue that if we are going to deride an entire segment of the gun rights movement, we need far more than hypothetical. The claim is consistently made that CC is better tactically, but the claim has no facts (so far as I have ever seen) to back it up.

          To make that claim, one has to show that more OC-ers lose confrontations than CC-ers. Without that analysis, the claim is unsupported.

        • Personally, I haven’t heard anything that makes me think that in general, OC would be better in ANY way than CC. Yes, a person can always draw up a specific scenario where one would have a definite advantage over the other, but unless there is a darn good reason to pick OC over CC (such as: CC is not legally available at all in a given area), then CC is the default for defensive use. It works, it doesn’t scare the sheep, it doesn’t make you a target right off the bat, and it allows for the same options as an unarmed person, almost right up until you decide to draw. OC, as the “challenger”, has to prove its worth against the same wide range of options, not the other way around.

          Anyone who is willing to experiment with their life is welcome to try whatever they like. But most folks, unless there is a darn good reason, will pick the known over the unknown, especially if the challenger can’t define in clear terms why they think they are the better choice.

        • “Anyone who is willing to experiment with their life is welcome to try whatever they like. But most folks, unless there is a darn good reason, will pick the known over the unknown, especially if the challenger can’t define in clear terms why they think they are the better choice.”

          I understand.

          The thing is, while certain tactical advantages can be pointed at for CC over OC, we don’t know (and I’m not sure we ever CAN know for certain) if/how many attacks were deterred by the sight of a gun being visible.

          That is, there may be mitigating, balancing factors at work. CC has certain advantages once a victim has been selected for attack, whereas it remains possible that OC prevents victim selection.

          It’s speculation…I admit that. Well, maybe not. OC rallies are not hotbeds of anti-gun agitation, for example.

          But the point is, again, you assert that is it “gambling with your life” which is a Begging the Question fallacy. You are assuming it is proven fact that CC is ‘better’ and springboarding your assertion in the comparison from there. In the absence of data, we cannot make that claim and thus any argument that begins with that as a premise is illogical.

          Which, ultimately, gets back to something I repeat often:

          The First Rule: Have a Gun.

          The rest of it is way, way, way down the list from that.

        • Have you ever considered that the gun itself, when carried visibly, may be a target for a thief?

          – High intrinsic value; can be easily sold/traded on the black market.

          – High “proof I’m a baddass” value, especially to gang members.

          – Once stolen, may be used to steal from, threaten or harm others.

          – Once stolen, can (in most cases) immediately be used against the previous owner (as apparently happened in both the linked stories, above).

          Think of it as a Rolex, a gold chain, or a wad of 100 dollar bills that can kill. In my opinion, the value of the gun itself probably offsets any possible deterrent effect, and may even overshadow it.

        • “Have you ever considered that the gun itself, when carried visibly, may be a target for a thief? “

          Sure, I’ve considered it. But that does not mean those things actually happen.

          Just because we can fantasize a bunch of what-if scenarios that sound tacticool, does not mean they occur in the real world.

          Point me to some data that shows that those things happen … that ANY attack on an OC-er … happens at a higher rate than CC-ers or unarmed citizens.

          Until then, speculation, guesses, hypotheticals, etc are not “The Truth About Guns.”

        • I have to agree with that last line; hypothetical discussions (like whether or not OC is better in any way than CC), are not the truth about guns.

          To repeat what I said above, as the “new method”, proof of concept falls to the challenger, so I await your data, not the other way around.

          But I’m not holding my breath.

  5. I am not saying this to cause trouble ok, but I already see a problem with some in this bunch of OCers

    “OPEN CARRY” DOES NOT MEAN CARRY IN YOUR HANDS! Put the rifle or shotgun on your back and leave it there, have a pistol, or revolver? fine leave it in the holster, unless of course you want to be classified as an active shooter. Please use common sense when it comes to open carry, unless of course you don’t want the ability to do so, because there are people out there willing to take that away

  6. Be nice, dress nice, have a nice rifle, and KEEP YOUR DAMNED HAND OFF THE RIFLE! Sling it over your back, muzzle down. Don’t do some stupid single point sling, low ready combo. If I were to do an open carry rally I’d bring my Garand. Sure it’s heavy, but it’s not so scary, an it’s pretty badass. I’d be tempted to attach my bayonet, sheathed of course.

  7. I happen to support the second amendment. I also happen to support the first. Should I now walk around cursing everybody and calling them names to exercise my freedom of expression guaranteed by the first amendment? Like the idiots who walk with automatic rifles to prove a point…. You know just to make people aware… ?

    It might involve going to these open carry rallies and say something like this..” You are idiots” “You are p***sies” “You are scared so shitless when you go out of the house and so f***ing impotent that you cant walk anywhere without a gun”. But would I do that? Nah… I know my first amendment rights and my second amendment rights and I know when to use them judiciously and so do most Americans. To the retards, whatever.. all you will end up doing is losing the rights we cherish or turning my home into another Iraq. Good luck and f*** you.

    PS: I am just anxious to see how long the moderator will let this comment stand. If you do, this is just business and I applaud you for making money off this website from these nutcases. If not, well go chop your d*** off too.

    • Mods, leave this up. It’s always good to be reminded of the “I support the 2nd Amendment, but…” crowd.

    • Bob L,

      You just spewed a bunch of offensive language. Guess what? If I don’t like it or find it offensive, I don’t have to read it or listen to it. Or I can call you out on it. But what I cannot morally do is demand that our government imprison or kill you for your offensive language. In the same manner, it is morally wrong for government to imprison or kill someone for the “crime” of being “offensive” because they are armed.

      Let our right to free association take care of offensive behavior. If someone is so utterly rude and offensive in everything they do, no will one will conduct any social or business transactions with them. Perhaps that will be enough incentive for them to alter their behavior. Or maybe not. Either way, we honor their dignity as human beings. As long as they have not infringed on our rights, they are good to go. And NO, BEING OFFENSIVE DOES NOT INFRINGE OUR RIGHTS.

      • You actually make an excellent point, but I think it makes a better point against the Yexas open carry crowd than it does for them. No one I’ve seen here is in favor of Texas’ laws against open carry (to be fair, I only skimmed the comment you’re responding to, the way I do any time I see a bunch of asterisks) . The overwhelming argument seems to be that something can be legal while also unhelpful. I’m a tireless second amendment advocate, but the idea of a bunch of people standing or walking around in public (or worse, one or two people doing that) seems idiotic to me at the very best. That’s not an argument against the second amendment or for any gun law, it’s an argument against a type of behavior.

        • “I’m a tireless second amendment advocate, but “


          Yes, I did read the rest of the post, and the point you are making is quite valid. But the wording here seems all too familiar from another perspective …

        • Shit. I should have been more careful about that. It’s amazing that no one has noticed that “BlinkyPete” is in fact an anagram for Barrack Obama!!!! Bwahahahaha!


    • Your point fails as soon as you assert they are doing an OC rally (or OC-ing in public) because they are scared to leave their home without the rifle.

      Your post suggests you don’t understand the situation at all. Not even a little bit.

      The OC movement you are railing against is trying to use civil protest to get laws changed.

      You may agree or disagree with what they are doing, but at least get it right why they are doing it.

  8. That was a well written and well reason entry…

    With that said: How many pro gunners went crazy over the ridiculousness of trying to ban scary guns, just because the look scary? How many time did they say the looking scary made no difference on the harm it could cause?

    Now, look how many pro gunners go crazy because open carriers “look scary”. How many times do they chant that looking scary causes harm?

    Ironic, isn’t it? Very similar arguments…

    • In all fairness, there’s a difference between a scary looking object and a scary looking person. I’ve seen people who looked scary even without guns, and chose to not be anywhere near them.

    • I think you have hit the nail on the head. I too am frustrated because I just don’t see same “scary” OC people that some others do. I am starting to think it’s more of a cultural diversity problem. People are just generally uncomfortable with others who don’t look like them having guns. Hence the preoccupation with personal cosmetic issues.

      • In all fairness, the two posers in Chipotle looked scary to folks here (I think) not because of how they were dressed, per se, but for how they were acting / posing / handling their firearms.

        It was a very, very bad example of how to go about OC-ing for any positive purpose.

        Yeah, there are some saying “shave” and “don’t wear camo” and all that…but the real issue is that they were handling the rifles (not just carrying them) and pretty much had to have been waving the muzzles around to get the poses they got.

        There is a difference between OC (emphasis on “carry”) and posing in a public restaurant with your firearm in your hand and finger near the trigger.

        I support the OC movement in general but I am also very sympathetic to the claims that those two looked like they well could have been a threat.

        The article on this page is spot on, in my opinion. If you are going to do OC for political reasons, there is a right and wrong way to do it.

  9. Finally, someone sees some sense. I love the idea of dressing even better for that, I totally agree. We are waging a war of words, not an actual war. And it really infuriates me to see people, hands all over their guns, as though they are in desperate danger and cannot possibly survive the extra, what, two seconds of getting it from your back. And yes, surplus rifles are the way to go for OC, something that has not been painted a vicious, nasty, baby-murdering homicidal-maniac-inducing black rifle-especially not one with a shoulder thing that goes up. You can have a nice discussion with someone about that cool British Lee Enfield that was picked up from a soldier in the Somme or even the Springfield Armories M1 Garand. That would be a conversation starter. I do, however, disagree with the idea of taking your black powder rifle. Despite what has come to be popularly believed, the original purpose of OCing was self defence. The rule for self defence, I believe, is ‘three seconds, three yards and THREE ROUNDS.’ And unless you have decided to go dress-up as Jack Sparrow, then I figure you will not have a brace of New York (or New Nassau) reloads with you, or the swords to back them up. At least bring something that can be used more that three times in a row. I will probably be shot down like a U2 over Soviet Russia on Nuclear Test Day for this by other users, but hey, I could be swayed, who knows?

    • I assume that most people carrying a long gun openly will also have a modern pistol on their hip, loaded and ready to go, thus obviating the need for multiple shots from the long gun.

  10. Just adding fuel to the fire, a very eloquent analogy for the “need to concealed carry with the police” line of questioning. “Do you have a fire extinguisher in your house? Why? We have a fire department”.

  11. I carry openly, every day, everywhere I go. I do not carry for demonstration or political purposes, though I’m always glad to talk to people about self ownership and responsibility… the core issue here.

    Much of this “rally” and demonstration business seems wrong headed and inflammatory to me, especially if the people involved are loud, insulting or indulging in bad gun handling practices. Being stupid and threatening is not a plus for anyone.

    When people see their neighbors, friends, ordinary folks going about their normal, peaceful activities without threats or anger… then the gun on their hip, or slung on their back, won’t be an issue.

    Be the change you wish to see around you.

    • You’re doing it right, MamaLiberty, and for the right reasons. I do the same thing, as much as possible. (If you don’t mind my asking, what’s your EDC?)

      Unfortunately one can’t quite do this in Texas as we can in Colorado-outside-of-Denver and Wyoming, so they carry rifles. Not every day, but when they want to do a demonstration.

      The problem to me comes down to those who carry rifles in front, with their hand on the grip, and look like slobs or nuts while doing so. The demonstration in the pic is much less threatening, in large part because it obviously IS a demonstration, than (say) the infamous two people in Chipotles as they were captured on camera. Most of OCT is saying “stay out of businesses and don’t handle your guns and pose stupid and hand the enemy ammunition (so to speak)” but apparently the Tarrant County (i.e., Fort Worth) group has broken away from OCT and said they will continue to behave like a bunch of clowns.

      • The problem to me comes down to those who carry rifles in front, with their hand on the grip, and look like slobs or nuts while doing so.

        Right on. It also does not help to have easily findable nutty comments on social media, as I believe one of the Chipotle guys had.

        There’s big picture stuff with the OC demonstrations. Ben H. gets it; the Chipotle guys did not. Hopefully, they’ve learned something from the reaction they’ve gotten from the pro gun rights side.

  12. I don’t know why people have an irrational fear of Rifles, oh wait yes I do because of constant media spin, propaganda, and sensationalism! Rifles of any kind are responsible for very few deaths. All you have to to us go to the FBI website and look up the statistics. Handguns are used in more homicides than any other type of weapon, yet some of you say we should only carry them and not long guns. Please explain how that makes sense. Our rights aren’t subject to people’s irrational fears. The 2nd Amendment says shall not be infringed, not it may be infringed if it makes people feel uncomfortable! I think this is an excellent article. We need to remain united in the battle for our rights and we don’t do ourselves favors by attacking each other. United we can’t be defeated, divided we shall fall.

    • Haha…good luck with that, right?

      We pro-gun folks are just as married to our dogma as the anti’s. Time for another caliber war yet?

  13. Is scruffy bearded Alpha-Level-Spec-Op-Tactical-Operator-Ninja-Commandoes [sic] Open Carry scary man, Big Foot? Because the guy always seems to pop up in every Open Carry article but seems to never be captured in a photo. Instead the picture is, as usual, of normal Americans staging a political protest. Also, it’s fantastic that the Assault Weapon ban is sticking it’s nose back in the tent.

  14. If, in fact, Open Carry marchers were terrorizing innocent bystanders en masse, there would be evidence of it. Mainstream media interviews and youtube videos of traumatized victims would exist in the hundreds and thousands. Where is this evidence? It does not exist. Starbucks and Chipotles reacted to the attempts by the Bill Paying Billionaire’s Minions to gain a cheap victory. If these corporations had been contacted by large numbers of paying customers who objected to Open Carry, they would have banned Open Carry in their establishments. In this country, hitting the streets and making a fuss when your rights are being infringed has a very long track record, because it works.

    • Bob, thousands of so-called “victims” are not required for anti-gun laws to be passed; only a vocal minority that can gain sympathy through the anti-gun media. When the federal Assault Weapon Ban passed in the mid-90s, violent crime with ALL so-called assault weapons was well under 2% of total violent crimes.

      The corporations don’t HAVE to “be contacted” by their paying customers; they get the feedback through their cash registers when a large number of customers STOP being paying customers. Folks with guns trooping through the coffee shop or big-box stores reduces their business with the soccer moms/yuppies/DINKs, who are the BULK of their business.

      And yes, “hitting the streets and making a fuss when your rights are being infringed has a very long track record, because it works” in this country. “Hitting the streets and making a fuss with a gun” does not share that same track record, because it is, whether you understand/appreciate it or not, a completely different animal.

      • If Starbucks or Chipotles had experienced a decline in revenue they would have banned firearms in their establishments. They tried to walk a middle path because they do not want to experience a drop in revenue that would be the result of a boycott by gun owners.

        • I forget; did they ask the gun carriers to leave their guns at home, of did they ask the non-gun-carriers to stop whining about the gun carriers?

          THAT tells you who the majority customer is in their establishment, and who it is they don’t care if they ever see again. Yeah, they worded it nicely, but it was aimed at the gun carriers, not the whiners.

          They tried to walk a middle path because they do not want to experience a drop in revenue that would be the result of a boycott by EITHER side, not because they’re our bestest buddies.

        • But at the end of the day, isn’t their “request” is completely hollow?

          Can you legally (“obey all local laws”) CC in Starbucks and if so what happens? Have the posted their stores with legal signs all over the country? (Honest question…I don’t spend $$ at Starbucks anyway, so I wouldn’t know).

        • JR, it depends on the state, and (perhaps) the local store manager. I don’t know if the company can actually dictate to individual stores whether or not they can post, but I do know that the laws vary from state-to-state (in some states and circumstances, open carry isn’t legal at all). In certain states, it would be a civil citation if you were asked to leave and didn’t; in others, it could be criminal trespass or something more serious.

          I note that Bob didn’t address two of my three points, above.
          I guess I’ll go ahead and claim a win on those.

        • No, I understand all that.

          I’m asking if they HAVE posted signs in ANY stores, or JUST made the “hollow” request to leave guns at home.

        • JR – None of the Starbucks or Chipotles that I have been to recently (past two weeks) have the TX mandated 30.06 signs prohibiting concealed carry. Therefore it is legal. You can be asked to leave at any time and are legally bound to do so. But that requires them to discover you are carrying and well care. The couple of Starbucks I (frequent is too much..occasion more like) are downtown and ALOT of folks carry. I don’t think they’d say anything if they did discover you were carrying.

          I can’t speak for other states, but in central TX, in the liberal heart, I haven’t seen any prohibitions to date.

  15. Meanwhile what your groups have ACTUALLY done is shown up in camo/tacticool, shorts, ratty shirts, unkempt beards, generally looking like a bunch of inbreds.

    Then you threaten to shoot the “antis” as you call them.

    Then for good measure you start looking for ways to bring up the home addresses, phone numbers, etc. of the “antis” so your violent retard friends can stalk and harass them.

    Screw you, gun fetishists.

  16. Looks like everything goes into “moderation” so the cowardly inbred who runs this blog doesn’t have to face his opponents. Nice try coward.

        • Nice. And, hey, thanks for proving my point. 😉

          You are too easy, man. Show those colors for all to see.

        • It’s no more unsafe than anything else you do while trying to ruin MY right to carry with your irresponsible behavior, jackass. Make it quick and rid the world of a problem.

        • Your right to carry what? Your Strawberry Shortcake doll?

          There’s no way you are a “responsible gun owner” talking the way you talk to people…using the phrase “gun fetishists” and all the other.

          The conversation on this page far above your pay grade. Your childish insults and innuendo have been very revealing.

          Nice try though. You are funny.

    • The inbred, as you call Mr. Farago, is a Jew whose father was a Holocaust survivor. I guess that your decision to describe Mr. Farago in those terms makes you a Neo-Nazi

  17. Thanks for writing such a spot-on article, Ben. Perhaps if enough People Of The Gun continue to send these kind of messages to the open carry crowd they’ll begin to become self-critical enough to actually think more constructively about what they’re saying in their public demonstrations. Open Carry Texas appears to at least be becoming aware of the problem in-your-face gun posturing is creating for the gun-rights movement. Open Carry Tarrant County appears to be less than interested in controlling its loose cannons, unfortunately.

    Regardless of which group they belong to, seeing Facebook photos of OCers posing in front of businesses with their hands on their weapons is like watching a slow motion train-wreck. You keep thinking “surely somebody is going to stop this”. But, then, nobody does.

  18. Here are the four inviolate rules of firearms safety as codified by Jeff Cooper! Make them an integral part of your life, for you will be tested on them as long as you will be around firearms.

    1. All guns are always loaded!
    2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy!
    3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target!
    4. Always be sure of your target!

    You want to know why you Open Carry morons aren’t taken seriously? Because you CONSTANTLY violate these. You have your fingers in on the triggers, your muzzles swinging around every which way.


    Taken ALL away before you destroy gun rights for those who are actually responsible owners.

    • Gun safety is of grave importance. I see safety rules being violated at any place where guns are available to be handled. This includes gun shows, big gun stores like Cabela’s and Bass Pro, and sometimes even at the shooting range. Proper gun safety of great concern to all gun owners not just open carry activists. Many open carry organizations are on record stating that they self-police their members to clamp down on unsafe behavior. Blaming a political movement for the mistakes of a few and advocating gun confiscation is a gross overreaction and unfair.

      • It’s the same retards over and over again from Open Carry Texas. They’re not policing their own; they ARE, the entire group of them, the problem.

      • Read the dude’s posts above the page and be enlightened.

        Hint: Quote from above…“Screw you, gun fetishists.”

        Seems an MJ regular has found the four rules and thinks it’s a good way to insult gun owners.

        • Seems a dumbass irresponsible inbred piece of trash wants to continue ruining the rights of responsible gun owners.

        • Are you a bot and programmed to use the word “inbred” at least once per minute?

          How much is Everytown paying you per post? They are not getting their money’s worth…you are too obvious.

          Thanks for the laughs, though, man. I really want to see you use “inbred” again. Cuz, you know, that’s the way we gun owners really talk, dig?

        • Yes, I saw and stopped replying after the insults started appearing and it was obvious the conversation was over.

  19. +9001 on the dress nice.

    Remember the photos of the Civil Rights protests during the 60s, and how everyone was in their Sunday best?

    Also second the “leave the tacticooled stuff at home”. Bring the pretty wooden furniture guns instead.

  20. After reading all the posts up to this point there are somethings I totally agree with and some that I think could be improved.

    Dressing nice (business casual)…absolutely

    Leave the tacticool mall ninja stuff at home….yeah sort of (more on this later)

    take the old mosin, springfield, m1, or something comperable …better than tacticool, but I can just picture the anti’s saying “look look they have actual war weapons used in war they worship war”. yeah I know that’s stupid but I don’t often accuse the anti’s of brilliance.

    Well what guns does that leave as an option for long arm open carry. Yup you guessed it the pink and white duracoted kalashnikitty rifles which I found a picture of here (or you could google it yourself)×297349

    Just try and find someone scared of one of those.

    Now, I know you like your black rifles as much as I like mine and you don’t want to do that to them (I’m still on the fence about it), but what better excuse to buy a new gun. Of course, you might have a hard time keeping it once your wife, daughter, or sister gets a look at it.

  21. Good article. Unfortunately talking to BUTTers (I support 2A but) is getting to be as much of a waste of time as talking to antis.


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