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By Paul Brown

I can still remember the first time I saw a non-law-enforcement, non-military open carrier. It was at a Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and the guy was carrying a, full-size .357 magnum in a brown, leather holster on his right hip. I have always been a supporter of the right to keep and bear arms and though I had just recently moved to Virginia, I was also familiar with the laws surrounding firearms so I wasn’t that surprised (or shocked). Still there was an impact, a positive one, and this is why . . .

I would not have personally been weirded out by a guy carrying a gun. Not only had I been exposed to firearms by my parents since before I could walk, but I also served for five years in the United States Marine Corps, where I grew incredibly used to the presence of firearms virtually all the time.

But despite my own level of comfort I had always wondered about how others would feel about carrying a gun in public…gasp! After all, I didn’t want to scare anyone, or get the police called on me.

Everyone appeared to be fine though. It was a fairly crowded restaurant and people didn’t even seem to notice. If they had noticed they certainly didn’t seem to care. It opened my eyes. It would be several months from that point before I would ever open carry, but the seed was planted. This is something I can do safely, without scaring the masses, and without going to prison. And it’s something you can do too (some restrictions apply, please check on your local laws).

But more than that, it’s something you should do. And this is why.

With the recent changes in the law in Georgia along with an all-time high in national attention to all things gun-related, the antis are throwing everything they’ve got at us, most recently targeting open carry. Maybe it’s just something that is so absolutely scary and absurd to them that they feel like they must go after it, or maybe they realize what a powerful tool it is in our favor. If it’s the latter they may be right. Let me explain.

Sweeping, radical changes in society are pushed by effective, powerful information campaigns and propaganda. When ideas are offensive to large swaths of society, sometimes the best way to change people’s perceptions is to normalize the subject through constant exposure to it. The civil rights movement did not move forward because proponents for equal rights stayed in the shadows. It moved forward because people refused not to be seen. They refused to be ignored. They sat at the front of busses, they sat in restaurants, they attended universities, and they were seen. Look at the gay rights movement over the last several decades. Being gay has gone from being something that could likely get you fired from your job to something that will likely get you fired from your job for expressing your own opposition.

Fun fact: These movements were not driven by legislation. They drove legislation. These movements were driven by familiarization and normalization through exposure.

And that is what we need in the gun-rights movement, more exposure. Certainly people see guns in the news every day, but that’s not the exposure I am talking about. I’m talking about in person, close enough to see that guns are just inanimate objects, that when carried by every-day people like you and me don’t just go off and hurt people, or make everyone feel scared. We do not carry to intimidate, or to show off, or to feel important. We carry to protect our families, friends, ourselves, even strangers.

But maybe it still doesn’t feel right. Maybe you agree with the idea that open carrying normalizes and familiarizes through exposure, but you still just don’t feel comfortable doing it. Let me encourage you some. These three things might take the edge off and make you feel a bit less self-conscious about open carrying.

  • When I have open carried I have realized that most people don’t seem to notice. It’s hard to tell since people don’t walk around with thought bubbles over their heads, but when looking around I do not see looks of shock, surprise, fear, aw, or even curiosity. You know what I mostly see? People burying their faces in their iPhones. They certainly don’t seem to be eyeing my hip. (Maybe as a rule people just don’t spend a lot of time looking at men’s hips?)
  • When I do open carry I make a little bit of extra effort to appear presentable. My normal “uniform” for open carry tends to be khaki slacks, some kind of sensible shoes such as my Salomons, and a black polo shirt. I typically carry my black Glock 19 in a black, kydex holster. Basically I look like a cop. I’m not trying to look like a cop, but I can totally see how one might think that. It’s very natural when you see someone carrying a gun to think, “I wonder if they’re a cop.” Sadly, most people do not know firearms laws very well. When they see someone carrying a gun their first thought is often that the carrier is law enforcement, because why else would they have a gun? They quickly go back to whatever game they were playing on their cell phones, because cop with a gun = situation normal.
  • And finally, those people that do notice and don’t think you’re a cop (few as they may be) are most likely other freedom-minded individuals who own and carry guns too. Why else would they know the law well enough to not immediately assume that someone carrying a gun isn’t a cop?

Do I have proof that this is how people think? Not really, but I do have an anecdote which is almost the same thing.

A few days ago I was walking to our local burger place with my wife. I was open carrying my Glock 19, wearing my standard get-up. On our way we got stopped by a neighbor who just wanted to chat for a bit. We had a nice talk, though my stomach was grumbling the entire time. After about twenty minutes my wife mentioned something about furniture and our neighbor mentioned she was looking to sell her dining room table. We went inside to take a look and on our way out of the house she said with surprise in her voice, “You have a gun?”

After 20 minutes of talking and going into her house she had not noticed I was carrying a firearm on my hip. This is not to blame her or denigrate her level of awareness in any way, but it seems to confirm what I said earlier – people just don’t seem to notice. And you’ll never guess what her next question was.

“Are you in law enforcement?”

And then we had a pleasant conversation about firearms, and she got to see firsthand how a regular, every-day civilian can safely, legally carry a gun and the sky did not fall. No one got hurt. SWAT teams did not rope down from helicopters. It was just another normal day.

I do not want to pressure anyone into open carrying anymore than I want to pressure anyone into owning, using, or carrying a gun in any way. If you do not feel comfortable with a firearm in one way or another then I would urge you to study and train until you do. Ignorance and carelessness are the leading causes of firearms incidents – don’t jump into the world of firearms without learning about them first.

But for those of us who are knowledgeable and safe with firearms, I say let’s do this. We cannot rely on the Supreme Court, Congress, or the President to secure our rights for us. Appropriate legislation will follow when it is the popular position, not when it is the right one. If you are looking to affect the political process in a positive way look no further than your OWB holster and favorite, reliable handgun. It might be the most powerful political tool you have.

Paul Brown is a Marine Corps OIF veteran who runs Liberty Rifle Company, LLC, conducts firearms training, and has written several articles for The Washington Times.


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  1. MI is open carry, but too many backward laws to go with, I open carry when hunting (I know kinda defeats the purpose).

    • To what “backward laws” are you referring? MI is one of the more open carry-friendly states.

      • Like riding a bicycle is considered concealed and the laws preventing police harassment are not strong enough.

        • Riding a bike is not considered concealed, unless you are concealing, of course. Even a motorcycle is a grey area for CPL, and the Michigan State Police do not consider a CPL required for OC on a motorcycle. Although other agencies might not agree, then you would have to state your case in court. We are trying to get unlicensed vehicle carry like other states have.

          As far as the police, I don’t know what we can do except to keep suing them and winning in court like we have been.

  2. ******Look at the gay rights movement over the last several decades. Being gay has gone from being something that could likely get you fired from your job to something that will likely get you fired from your job for expressing your own opposition.*****

    ST is not amused.

    Opinion vs opinion seldom ends well, but it has to be said- in your face demonstration is a very poor way to solve what is basically an information deficit among the American population.

    Why is it that millions of folks freak out at the sight of a gun? It’s because they have no proper idea of how lethal it is, besides slanted media perception.If the first time you saw a car was after living in a cave for decades, entertained only by a TV broadcasting traffic accident footage , you’d soil yourself at the sight of a Buick.

    As such, a guy or gal flaunting her Grand National in your face is hardly going to convince you that cars are fun and safe. The undeniable fact that a Buick Grand National is a fun and badass car is lost on you- because all you’ve ever known is the negative.

    Walking about with an openly carried gun doesn’t affect the initiated, and offends the unknowing-whose votes count equally in impact with our own. I’m of the opinion we should conceal the gun and expose the knowledge.

    Let’s dispense with open carry and gun rallies,and start using proper marketing techniques to educate and bring about change from the inside. The GLBT movement didn’t get anywhere by walking through downtown Bible Belt America holding hands.

    • “The GLBT movement didn’t get anywhere by walking through downtown Bible Belt America holding hands.”

      That is almost exactly what they did. The only difference being that it happened on television and movie screens. Yes, it may be argued that the excesses of the Gay Pride Parade were hurtful to their cause, but this only shows that there is a wrong and right way to do it. Just like there is a wrong and right way to open carry, just as there was a wrong and right way for black Americans to practice civil disobedience.

      • Exactly my point.

        One rally happens in one city. If it gets media attention, it won’t be headline news.

        One movie literally endures , for better or worse. It goes into theaters, then on to DVD. Its a part of the CULTURE- in a way random people walking down a street with firearms does not.
        You can’t change a culture by walking down a public street openly flaunting your cause. You have to give the culture a reason to take your cause seriously.That means putting on a suit, gettting in front of some cameras, and giving your opposition a reason to listen.

        If open carry was such an effective method of civil outreach, why is it that OC was banned in California after those events started happening? It was banned because the very people we were trying to reach ran to the phone and called their legislators , hoping to turn their ignorance into law-which is exactly what happened.

        Hearts and minds folks, not law books and hardware.

        • Most of the people that I encounter don’t identify with a suit in front of a camera. 😉

          And, what’s your fetish with the word “flaunt” anyway?

        • It was clear to me that the OP was NOT talking about open carry rallies or other “events,” but about open carry in the course of one’s normal routine.

          One must also remember that we cannot count on media to carry our message for us, as the left does. There aren’t going to be any openly carrying characters in sitcoms, so that route is currently closed to us.

        • +1, Sock Monkey.

          I took the article to be referring to everyday open carry and not protests or rallies. And, we can never count on MSM to consistently carry our water for us. By the time MSM starts doing that, it will be because they perceive majority opinion is pro-gun and by then it won’t be as needed. They’ll do it the most when we need it the least.

        • It was not open carry rallies that got open carry banned in California (at the time it was open carry of unloaded firearms only because of governor Reagan), it was people just going about their business, like visiting a local Starbucks or walking on the Santa Monica Boardwalk. Inevitably there was an overboard response by multiple police cars to the “MWG!” calls, “e checks” of firearms, some at gun point, to assure they were unloaded, and long lectures by the responding police officers about how unwise it was to frighten the sheep. The Legislative response was near instantaneous and overwhelming. The following year, based merely on the threat that people would start openly carrying long guns, that was banned too. Now it is legal to openly carry only in unincorporated areas where the sheep will not be disturbed. And as “today’s lockdown” demonstrates, this is happening all across the country

    • Walking about with an openly carried gun doesn’t affect the initiated, and offends the unknowing-whose votes count equally in impact with our own. I’m of the opinion we should conceal the gun and expose the knowledge.

      That has not been my experience anywhere that I’ve open carried. The opposite has been the norm here. Many people who have asked questions or even been against it in the past now open carry here.

      Besides, I refuse to go to the back of the bus. I don’t believe that you can “expose the knowledge” while remaining in the closet. It doesn’t work in the long run with regards to rights. In the end, your course of action will only lead to privileges at best.

      By the way, except at protests, my open carry firearms are not “flaunted”. They are worn; day to day, while going about my life. Being armed is a major part of who I am and what I believe. To hide that would be disingenuous.

      • Define “anywhere”.

        Because open carry in an area well accustomed to the Constitution already isn’t an act of civil awareness.

        • Ohio, Virginia ,Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and a few states out west. My primary AO is Ohio — major cities and rural. Sorry I can’t give you states where it’s illegal yet because I’m still considered “law abiding”.

          Now, you define “flaunt.”

      • I agree. I am not gay, but seeing an openly gay person or couple certainly does NOT “offend” me. That is just silly, to think that someone who does not know or care whether I am armed or not will suddenly freak if I do not hide my gun.

    • Now, Now ST; just because your projecting your own fears on the general populatiion at the idea of openly practicing your G-d given right to KABA doesn’t mean that the citizens in your community agree with you.

      I have OC’d for over five years here in Albuquerque, NM; my experience has been the same as the writer above. Most people don’t notice; the few that do take a second look; see that I’m just a regular guy with an OC gun and go on about their business; reading, talking to friends, eating etc. The few that ask; usually ask if I’m a cop; when I say I’m just an American citizen practicing a right; we end up having a good talk about the second amendment.

      No terrified calls to the police, no sudden stopping of group conversations as people look at me in fear and then a sudden exodus for the door leaving me in an emptied restaurant; no swat team convergence on the store I’m in as a person reports a man with a gun. NADA!

      My experience has been an overwhelming positive interactions with the police, with the citizens and the increasing incidences of seeing other citizens OC’ing as well.

      My greatest difficulty was getting over my own irrational fear at the idea that I would create terror in the general population; it hasn’t happened!

      So if your local laws allow for OC; go out and do so; I’m betting that your experience will be similar to mine and the writer.

    • The gay movement got where they are today by making people feel sorry for them for contracting a fatal sexually transmitted disease. Without the AIDS epidemic they would be nowhere near as culturally dominant as they are today. Then they got a boost from the Mathew Shepard case which has now been revealed as a gross misrepresentation of the facts. Investigative report Steve Jimenez, who is gay by the way, dug in the case and found out Shepard’s murder was not a random anti-gay hate crime. One of murder’s was one of Shepard’s meth customers and some time sex partner.

    • “The GLBT movement didn’t get anywhere by walking through downtown Bible Belt America holding hands.”

      Well, they kinda did, and more importantly,

      The Civil Rights movement did Exactly that. They protested and marched at the heart of the issue, with the idea that if they could win in Birmingham, they could win anywhere. Same here. I live in GA. Extremely pro gun, never ever had an issue with anyone ever carrying concealed or open. Protesting for gun rights here is like protesting for gun rights at the gun range. But in the boarder states and modern day slave states, the fight needs to be taken to them, to the hardest hit places.

      • Actually- you rather understate how they achieved what they did.

        They did it by invading and disrupting conferences of the American Psychiatric Association- an organization whose members were already a great example of the phrase “physician, heal thyself”- and who thus didn’t really need that much persuading.

        They did it by throwing blood in churches. They did it by spreading lies about a disease which had been confined to Africa and the Caribbean until they spread it.

        Let’s try to aim a little above that, for our own sakes, please? At least at the mark set by the anti-South movement, where a “tired secretary just trying to sit down after a hard days work” was actually “secretary of the local NAACP”.

    • Two things strike me reading your thoughts ST.

      First off I think there is a issue with the definition of terms here. The author seems to be discussing Open Carry as a normal, next door neighbor who happens to have a pistol holstered on their hip while going about daily business. You are referencing rallies and flaunting. Imo, these are different strategies and should be debated seperately.

      Also… you sound an awful lot like someone who has never OCed. “…an openly carried gun doesn’t affect the initiated, and offends the unknowing…” The OP’s experience and my own would say otherwise. I regularly OC, and have never had a single negative comment. I concur that most people appear to not notice, and comments generally come in the form of either outright compliments or questions about what process needs to be followed to allow carrying (great time for education).

      • Only time I recall OCing was around 30 years ago in TX, the only way to do it legally, which is in accordance with the TX Constitution. I was going out to some private property in which I was a part owner, to shoot my Hi Power a bit, riding my motorcycle for the trip to and from, bit over an hour each way, with my gun holstered on my hip, completely uncovered. I passed by a couple of police cars and hundreds of passenger cars on the way, and don’t think anyone noticed at all. And that was before we had the myriad of other gadgets worn on belts these days. On the way home, I stopped at a roadside diner and a nice lady sold me a cheeseburger, if she noticed she didn’t mention it, didn’t run screaming nor Biden me with a 12-guage ner nuttin’.

        I believe the entire concept of forcing concealment is just like so many other things, intended to complicate the ownership and possession of firearms so much that us poor iggorunt suckers cannot get around all the restrictions. Sorta like, what were they called, the tests to prove you were smart enough to vote? Which seemed a tiny bit tougher for dark skinned college professors than they were for red skinned field hands. Just keep piling on demands until those poor fools stop trying, we’re gonna save them despite themselves.

        I think OC vs CC should be a choice you make when you dress in the morning, which look goes best with this outfit.

  3. I think this must be the best explanation of open carry as social/political pedagogy that I have yet found. I had thought about writing my own entry for the contest, but I really think this one deserves to win.

    Kudos, sir, and this Army vet thanks you for your service.

  4. [quote]Let’s dispense with open carry and gun rallies,and start using proper marketing techniques to educate and bring about change from the inside. The GLBT movement didn’t get anywhere by walking through downtown Bible Belt America holding hands.[/quote]

    Let’s not. Let’s use what has proven to work time and again when a “right” has been infringed upon a select group of the populace. Open carry and gun rights rallies are exactly what needs to be done. As Paul said… let people see other openly carrying and behaving no different than anyone else. Through exposure let them disassociate guns with violence. Break the hold MSM has on the minds of the people. Let them see the disconnect with their own eyes.

    And as a matter of fact GLBT and the black communities did just that… they walked down main street of Everytown, USA and showed the people they were no different than anyone else. (yes, that was a deliberate co-opt of he who’s name should be stricken from history and his organizations.)

  5. That was very well written and spot on. Thank you!

    For some of us, open carry is as normal as wearing clothes everyday. What other people in my area see is a guy going about his daily activities. I might be visiting friends in town, picking up tractor parts, or paying bills. There’s strong evidence that most don’t even notice the Ruger New Vaquero or (sometimes) 1911 in condition one on my side. The few that do notice and are curious enough to ask almost always make positive comments or ask questions about how they can start open carrying. Open carry is very effective at normalizing the keeping and bearing of arms by individuals.

    I didn’t open carry all that often until Ohio began licensing concealed carry. Before the law, many of us simply carried concealed. Now that we have licensing, the right was split into the privilege of concealed carry and the right of open carry. Although I maintain a concealed carry license for greater convenience while travelling in or on a motor vehicle, I prefer to exercise the actual right. That means that I must carry in the open in Ohio to exercise my individual right to keep and bear arms. I sometimes tell the curious not to worry about the firearm they can see, it’s the one they don’t that is potentially more of a threat from a criminal. I then point to my concealed BUG and it’s like a light bulb goes on in their heads. They realize that criminals aren’t likely to carry in the open and if open carry were stopped, it wouldn’t stop criminals from carrying.

    • I tend to strongly disfavor Open Carry because of the extreme expense! Right now, TX doesn’t allow OC, but I am sure that will change before long. Then I will have to go, at the very least, to a gun shop to purchase one or two prettier guns than what I have now, and matching leather. If I’m lucky, I’ll discover the artisans I used to marvel at 50 years ago don’t exist any more, otherwise it’s off to get some engraving done, with some gold and silver inlay, and doo-dads to decorate the holsters. Why can’t they just leave me alone!?

      • I’m too po’ for a BBQ piece but if I could afford one, it would be the same model Talo birdshead New Vaquero I now carry but all engraved nicely and a newly minted custom Threepersons holster the same as I now carry it in. IOW, daily carry whilst working has scuffed up my sidearm and holster but if I could afford it, I’d have the same kit put away in duplicate, with special flourish engraving, for social occasions. 🙂

    • Hey, just struck me (every state seems to have different laws), if you are in OH carrying openly, IOW clearly armed, do you still need a license for a concealed BUG? Doesn’t seem like you would, you’re not fooling anyone about being armed.

      • Currently, the CHL is required to carry concealed. Carrying in or on a vehicle without a CHL is somewhat of a PITA in Ohio because a loaded handgun is considered concealed in a motor vehicle (or on a motorcycle). When I’m carrying openly for a political purpose, I ditch the concealed BUG(s) and any form of identification. For the rest of the time, I have at least one concealed BUG and my identification on my person. We’ve only been required a license to conceal since about 2004~2005 in Ohio. Interestingly enough, nothing in the law here states that one must conceal with the license. So, someone could carry on their concealed license in the open. However, once a handgun is even partially concealed by something other than the holster, a license is required. Even flap holsters have made a little controversy.

        When we open carried (long guns included in the walk) on the University of Cincinnati campus, we all open carried (no concealed BUGs) because it is unlawful to conceal carry on the campuses. We’re working on getting the ban on campus concealed carry removed. Also interesting is that concealed carry licensing laws were pushed along using open carry walks.

        • Clarification: People who wanted concealed carry licensing laws did so because some were starting to get charged for concealed carry as a primary charge. We could’ve gotten the offending line in law removed or had lines of licensing laws written. I was in favor of the former and a majority, apparently, were for the latter. The message of the OC walks was, “People are going to carry so fix the concealed carry problem in our laws.”

          In order to conceal carry in Ohio before licensing required using a “prudent man” defense. I never had problems with law enforcement for carrying concealed before licensing laws were enacted. The only time I encountered people being charged for concealed carry was as a secondary charge to a primary criminal charge. However, something started to change around 2000-ish in Ohio.

        • Sounds like you guys are years ahead of us in TX, when you get through there, come on down!

        • John,
          I’m the guy that took on Toledo’s illegal ban on CCW in 2005 by having a “Pistol Packin’ Picnic” in Ottawa Park on April 9, 2005. I also took on Clyde and Arcanum, Ohio about the same issue. Although I was CONVICTED OF A CRIME IN TOLEDO FOR DOING EXACTLY WHAT I WAS LICENSED BY THE STATE TO DO, I consider it a victory, as my case, and others, led to the passage of Ohio Revised Code section 9.68, enacting statewide preemption, and did away with pretty much ALL LOCAL REGULATION OF FIREARMS THAT WAS MORE STRICT THAN STATE LAW. No more “assault weapon”, “Saturday Night Special”, “high capacity magazine” bans, local licensing, registration, Handgun Owner Identification laws; ALL of them, GONE.

          I have, and will continue to, carried openly in Ohio when I visit there (I now reside in Texas) and the only place I have ever had a problem was with a tire buster in the WalMart in Greenville, Ohio. Granted, I have a LOT of “local officials” (like the former police chief of Toledo) and other “public servants and politicians that HATE MY GUTS, but tough sh!t. Someone had to remind them that THEY WORK FOR WE, THE PEOPLE.

          Keep up the Good Work.

          Bruce A. Beatty
          Technical Sergeant, USAF (Retired)
          Formerly of Luckey, Ohio

        • You did outstanding work and are a hero to many of us in Ohio. 9.68 preemption has been a cornerstone upon which many of us have built. We couldn’t do it without your efforts and great sacrifices. Thank you, sir!

          I was a little ahead of the times in 1990 when trying to raise open carry groups here in the O-hi-o. I was away and out of the loop when you bravely took up the challenges. I am eternally grateful for the hard work you and others accomplished in that time.

          Take care and carry on! 🙂

        • @LarryinTX: Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona are on my list of possibilities in 4~5 years from now. I need a warm climate in a border state with as little government interference as can be found. I anticipate that you Texans will have unlicensed open carry of handguns before I get there. But, if y’all don’t then I’ll roll up my sleeves and get to work right along side our brothers and sisters in Liberty.

      • Why thank you for the compliment, Stinkeye! 🙂

        I started carrying it because my great uncle, a true backwoodsman, first instructed me with single action revolvers as a wee lad. When I couldn’t be carrying and handling a real one due to age, single action cap guns were my ever present companion. Single action revolvers and 1911s are the sidearms with which I am most proficient due to long term familiarity. Plus, no sidearm is more pleasing to my eyes.

        Here’s what I carry:
        It’s stainless steel and .45 ACP. I choose stainless because I’m constantly out in the weather.

        • Very, very cool! Now, please tell me that your 1911 lives in a nice leather holster? Breaks my heart when I see such the classic lines of a 1911 wrapped in a plastic holster. Yeah, I know, kydex is great and all, and it’s fine for a Glock or a SIG. But revolvers and 1911s need leather!

        • Rest assured, friend, that our 1911s ride in leather and not Kydex. 🙂

          Currently I use an inexpensive Don Hume OWB molded pancake type holster. I’m still on the long waiting list for my buddy in Tennessee to do a carved Threepersons for my EDC 1911. I was his very first paying customer with the Vaquero holster. I expected something for farm and field but he produced something worthy of State dinners at the Whitehouse! His work is outstanding. He does it as a fun hobby only but demand has since soared out of control on him.

        • No, jack-wagon. Try some reading comprehension. That’s the type of handgun that I was started on as a small boy by my great uncle and continued with for many years. It is that with which I am most familiar. Naturally, it is my EDC for both concealed and open carry. It is by my side practically at all times. Do you have a problem with that?

  6. We got screwed on OC in South Carolina by 10 Democrats and 4 RINOs in the State Legislature this year. Those 14 in the Judiciary Committee killed the Bill. 10 Dems and 10 Repubs in the committee and 4 defected. AND the committee chairperson is one of the RINOs. Never got to the Floor for a vote. Although I guess a tie vote in committee would have killed it anyway. Maybe next year or the next. We can vote out the traitors in 2016.

  7. If you a 4th amendment supporter, you should be an OC supporter. Legal OC gives the police one less reason to stop you.

  8. Good post.

    If you don’t win you should be a candidate for a contributing editor. I have not been keen on open carry because of public reaction and I always like the element of surprise but you have given me a new perspective.

  9. I opened carried a number of times in Michigan. WIth a .357 on my hip. wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. in the liberal/hippy bastion of ann arbor. People didn’t bat an eye. world didn’t end.

  10. For me OC is, perhaps from military service as well, a tool of authority. A bit of kit that goes along with a uniform and job responsibility. Personally I’m strong on CC because as an individual I’m not tasked with protecting the public, only myself. It’s not up to me to educate the public on individual rights, feelings, or the law. Saying that, if anyone asks, I’ll inform, teach, and train anyone who wants to employ the same rights I rely on.

    What is at stake, is removing our ability to choose. The choice of lawful self protection of myself and others I care about. One group determined to remove my choice believing society is better without a tool for saving oneself. Every law or thought against this principle serves only lawmakers, law enforcement, and citizens who abdicate their survival to another.

    • Well, now, if YOU don’t stand up and educate your fellow man as to why these RIGHTS are worth exercising and PROTECTING, why would you shirk your civic duty only to lay it upon someone else?


      • +1

        Aye! Although I get along with others and rarely have trouble breaking the ice with strangers; I prefer to be left alone and like to ‘stand in the back of the room’. However, I daily expend the energy and time to get involved for the protection of our rights and education of others about those rights. Although I’d rather just move along and do my own thing, I know that making the personal effort is necessary for the securing of Liberty.

        mk10108, TSgt B took the time and made great progress here in Ohio. Without his efforts, the right to keep and bear arms wouldn’t be anywhere near as strong here. He laid the cornerstone upon which we’ve re-built the daily exercise of our individual RKBA. If he would’ve taken the course of action that you describe, I cannot imagine how our struggle would be going today.

    • For me OC is a tool of authority.

      A pistol carried for self-defense is just that, personal self-defense. Whether you happen to wear it IWB strong side, appendix, open carry, or shoulder holster is immaterial. If people are carrying guns to “project authority,” there is something wrong. It seems to me that you recognize that, and realize that is only in the mind of the person making the argument.

  11. No, we shouldnt open carry all the time. One word: “retention” most people are not able to properly retain a firearm carried openly in a crowded area. There are some damn good pick-pockets out there that can snatch your weapon before you even realize it’s missing.

    • Its easy to agree with that. But we also should not conceal all the time, either. There are plenty of trips that do not involve crowded areas, and each should be responsible to educate as often as possible.

    • If you are carrying in a quality Level II or III retention holster such as a Safariland, no pick-pocket is going to simply snatch your gun. Besides, most people don’t find themselves in Mardi Gras-type crowds in their everyday life, with the possible exception of NYC and you can’t OC there anyway.

  12. All I have to contribute is that living in Washington, I’ve never seen anybody OCing – ever. It’s 100% legal, but just apparently not that common, especially since getting a WA CPL is completely painless – all you need is a clean record, $60 and the patience to wait 30 days.

    The only time I’ve ever OCed is while hunting and camping around mountain towns, and when attending pro-gun protests.

      • Now, that is fascinating. What could be the difference? Perhaps fear of corrosion in WA or something like that? The difference doesn’t seem to make any sense.

        • Well, I’m of the opinion that open carry is contagious. At least, I’ve seen that play out here. One or more open carries in an area and before long there are many. Some don’t realize that it is legal. Some fear public outrage. Some are of the mistaken notion that carrying under a government license is exercising a right. After they realize that it is legal, doesn’t often raise a big stink, and that only carrying without government permission is the exercise of a right; more tend to do it.

          Before CHL law, we mostly tended to carry concealed. Now, more and more are realizing that concealed carry is a privilege in Ohio and, by doing so exclusively, they are not actually exercising their right.

        • In Washington, there is a higher percentage of PotG in the dry part of the state.

    • No required classes? No get-your-own-fingerprints and passport photo to submit? In “gun friendly” Texas a CHL class will cost upwards of $100 and a day or day and a half of your time. Then DPS hits you with their own fees for processing the license–another $100+ hit. Can I come live with you long enough to get a CCL?

      • Well, after that it is online renewal every 5 years for $45 and no other hassle, it may just be permanent soon with no renewal, TX is moving fast without much pushing.

    • My wife (not a citizen, only a green card) got her CPL recently. $52.50 and 3 weeks later it showed up in the mail.

      I’ve opened carried for several years in the Tacoma area. No problems with police or non-uniformed folks.

    • Hi Jeff,

      As a fellow Washingtonian, I suggest you keep your eyes peeled a little wider…

      I have a family member who OCs a 45-70 BFR in a “Buscadero” strapped to his leg. With an overall length of right at 16 inches, one would think it hard to miss (pun intended). But you know what? Last year he went Christmas Caroling with a group of about 100 or so people from a couple of local churches. Everybody noticed when he was a wee bit off-key; only two (2) people noticed the gun on his hip.

      If you are on the West Side of the state, there is a Tacoma Open Carry group that regularly participates in Washington’s “Adopt a Highway” program. You can often see them on sunny days out picking up litter along various stretches of State Highway — everybody visibly armed. (I am not saying they only go on sunny days — just that they are more visible without the rain and fog 😉 )

      OBTW: if you want to “make a statement” with Open Carry, theirs is an excellent method. They are doing community service, in locations where thousands of people can see them, and they are not “crowding” anyone’s place of business.

  13. OC is really about convenience. IWB is not comfortable or convenient for some depending on what side gat they carry, so OC makes sense for that individual.

    Size of gun seems to be the main argument for OC that I hear that makes the most sense.

    • What if you own a really, REALLY pretty gun? What is that term I’m trying to get used to, a “BBQ gun”?

    • IWB is not comfortable

      As a YFWG (young fat white guy) I beg to differ. My King Tuk actually keeps the pointy bits from digging into the love handles better than any OWB holster I’ve tried.

  14. OC is a viable means of persuasion through familiarization and should be encouraged. People who would rather not OC for tactical reasons needn’t do so.

    Those among us who would rather hide in the closet should instead heed the lessons of every single civil rights movement in American history.

    Women didn’t get the right to vote because they begged men for it. Black people didn’t get integration because they begged white people for it. Gay rights did not come about through supplication.

    Those movements were successful because they took to the courts, the legislatures and the streets. We should and are doing the same.

    • That’s right Ralph, Gays didn’t get recognized by being quiet. They got special treatment when they demand that we devote tens of billions of dollars to find a cure for their sexually transmitted disease.

      • While your complaint has some validity, that “STD” caused the deaths of most of the hemophiliacs in the world, as well as many others who had nothing to do with the gay community, the disease needed to be addressed in spite of your personal, irrational hatred of gays.

        • I just love how you have absorbed the politically correct talking points and take them as gospel. And how did Hemophiliacs and other surgical patients get AIDS. Did they have anal sex, got out of thin air or just receive blood transfusions from homosexual AIDS infected donors? That how both Ryan White and Arthur Ash got HIV. The transmission of AIDS to the intravenous drug using community also originated in the gay community. So stop the PC bull. It does not intimidate me.

          As Jean Luc Picard said “There are Four Lights!”

          And Ralph is about as clever as a thirteen year old. I expect more from a famous lawyer. Tell me Ralph which crew did you work for Bolger or Partriarca?

    • +1, The vast majority of gun owners are law abiding citizens and OC will not change that. We need to rise above judging people on how they look, and focus on how they act. The peaceful demonstration of the OC groups is the right path for societal change.

    • Agree with it or not, Ralph has a point. It is only the more persuasive because less than 1% of the population managed, in the face of basic biology and millennia of contrary cultural and religious tradition, to get the vast majority to bend to their will– to the extent that state governments will now cheerfully force individuals to bake cakes for them, and people who publicly voice any opposition to their life choices will be fired from their jobs, fined, sent to “re-education camp”, aka “diversity training”, etc.

  15. I wonder what part of Virginia Paul is talking about. I live in Northern Virginia and there are a lot anti-gun people here. The law is on your side but when they call the cops you will be the target of their annoyance because you are the reason some idiot pulled them out of the doughnut shop or perhaps some actual legitimate police. I have open carried in the park at night and some people have notice but I also think they just assume that the guy with two big hunting dogs is a LEO. In most of the state you will be fine even in Fairfax County.

    I also note that someone besides me understands that when you carry a gun either concealed or openly that you should dress like an adult.

  16. Can someone answer this for me? NC is an OC state and I see a bunch of folks OC here but I have yet to see any of them carrying spare magazines/ammo why is that?

    • I don’t know… I always carry as much ammo as I reasonably can. Because you never know. As I learned in the army, always carry as much water and ammo as you possibly can. And I do to this even in the civilian world, I always have a big jug of water with me, and my .45, and a few spare mags.

    • I don’t know about other states; but I OC a 1911 and two 10 round mags. The other OC’ers I’ve seen also carry one to two extra mags.

    • I live in NC, too, but I’ve never actually seen anybody OC here. Either that or I’ve been oblivious to it for all the years I’ve been here.

      As for not carrying extra bang-bang, I guess they don’t expect trouble or expect too much of it if it does rear its ugly head. (That’s what we all hope for, after all.) As for me, I would carry one of those in-line five or eight pouches from TUFF Products. Why so many mags? Why not?

    • Just a thought, maybe they’re carrying the mags concealed. It makes sense if you sometimes carry concealed and sometimes carry openly. That way, your mags are always in the same place, no matter which way you’re carrying the gun.

      Plus, it’s generally easier to conceal mags than a pistol, so it’s not so necessary to hang them off the belt, Batman style.

  17. I remember when I was flying with my parents in 1959-60. There was a guy on the plane with a SA Colt in a leather holster on the waist. The seats were much larger then and on top of that, we always flew first class. Back then, even in Coach, you wore a jacket and tie or you didn’t fly. Anyway, this guy gets on the plane and no one batted an eyelash; no flashing of ID, no recognition of a familiar face, or anything. I got the impression he was just a regular person.

    What the hell has happened to this place?


  18. Nicely written, Mr. Brown.
    In California, a group of OC advocates chose to throw the gauntlet down to the Democratic Socialist, gun-owner hating Sate Legislature and got it outlawed. Prior to that you could OC provided the Arm was not loaded (about as useful as a condom with the end cut off), so these people made a big deal of flaunting the OC of pistols and screaming about their “Constitutional Rights”, which ticked-off the DS public, played right into the hands of the gun-grabbers who launched a “gun owners Open Carrying terrorize the Public” campaign and got an end put to that. Classically what Paul Brown suggests you should not do. Not satisfied with that failure, the same group then went around OC’ing long guns (not loaded as per existing State Law), which was also legal in Ca prior to their meddling with it, and got the same result…OC of long Arms now outlawed with restrictions on transport thrown in to boot. So, again, this seems to illustrate the truth of what Mr. Brown is saying. The moral of this story for those of you contemplating your own OC Normalization tactics for your own State is just to choose your battles and venues carefully to avoid the same “undesired consequence” we, in California. suffered at the hands of a few zealots.

    It’s a campaign worth embarking upon and good luck to all who undertake it. California will, in my prediction, be the absolute last State to reverse the damage our OC “advocates” only a few months. If you cannot accept Mr. Brown’s entire thesis, at least carefully re-consider his ideas and see which ones you can use. It’s sound advice.

      • We all “lick the hand of the Master” when we buy our guns from FFL holders, fill out Form 4473 (Mandated by GCA of 1968) and submit to a Background Check (Brady Bill of 1993), obey any State Law more restrictive than those two…and don’t forget the NFA of 1934, So, let’s not delude ourselves. It’s disingenuous and embarrassing.

        • There are private sales (no FFL in Ohio) and not everyone does the paperwork on prohibited items. In Ohio, one can avoid background checks and carry without a background check; private sales and open carry. I have licked the hand of the “master” (in this context) but avoid doing so wherever possible. However, I’m not advocating for it like you did in your post. 😉 Perhaps it’s an acquired taste? Or perhaps, you ruined it for the rest of us? 😀

        • I am not sure where you get the idea I am advocating it, but I am not and it does not bother me you have made that erroneous conclusion.

        • Okay, fair enough.
          My beef with the California Open Carry folks was never what they were doing, but how they went about it. They had no partnership with any of the organized pro-gun groups and fancied themselves a “grass-roots” movement. The were amateurish, abrasive, and created a terrible “public image” replete with interviews with their “spokesmen” that were just awful. So instead of getting public approval for Open Carry and a change in the Law to allow Open Carry of loaded arms, they got all Open Carry, except inside your place of residence, completely banned. As long as the Democratic Socialists keep their stranglehold on California, we will never, ever get that unfortunate Law reversed. It is what it is.

    • If you could post, “They ruined it for the rest of us!” then my day will be complete. 😀

      BTW: The only zealots were those in the legislature who infringed upon the individual right to keep and bear arms, flaunting their tyrannical power in the process. 😉

      • There were zealots on both sides. The zealots in the Open Carry Movement flaunted their guns, pushing for more acceptance of Open Carry and loaded-gun Open Carry, and totally missed the fact that the zealots in the Legislature had the option to flaunt their tyranny by outright banning all Open Carry in California.
        There’s nothing wrong with being a zealot, but you have to be smart about it and recognize when you are pitting your zealotry against another group of zealots who have the power to screw you (and everyone else in the State) over. That’s as close as I can come to saying, “They ruined it for everyone else.” Hope that completes your day…I am still bitter, and hope anyone else contemplating Open Carry “normalization” and enhanced pro-gun rights Open Carry Laws takes an important lesson from CA.

        • The problem with voting the Democratic Socialists out of office in California is that they have driven many Businesses out of the State, and those Businesses took a lot of Conservative people with them. In the meantime the State has welcomed many low skill, low income people, bought their votes with State public assistance and liberal laws. The result California is Solid Blue in many/most of the major population centers. So, their is a slim chance of breaking the stranglehold the Democratic Socialists have on the State in the foreseeable future, unless it breaks into several smaller States.

  19. I OC in Virginia any time I’m out of the house unless I’m going to work or some other place where I can’t carry, such as court. The way I see it is that Introduce dozens of people a day to guns. I think when people see a guy with a gun standing in line to order food just like them they think that I’m just another normal person who just happens to have a gun. It goes against what a lot of people think of when they think of gun owners. A lot of people think of guys like Adam Lanza when they think of gun owners. I’m clearly no Adam Lanza, and I think people pick up on that.

    Just today I was ordering at Taco Bell and a guy asked me if I was a police officer or if I had a permit to carry my gun. I told him that I was just a regular guy, and that I don’t need a permit to OC in Virginia. He was a nice guy. He asked me some questions about gun laws, I talked to him, and we went out separate ways. Now that guy knows that it’s legal to OC in Virginia and that people who OC aren’t maniacs.

    Things like this happen pretty often when I OC, and I’m always happy to take a few minutes to explain the laws and answer any questions people have. I believe it helps our cause immensely.

    Some CCers like to give us OCers flak, saying we damage the cause, and I just don’t see any evidence of that. CCers will probably never talk to a random guy about guns whereas I do it on pretty much a weekly basis.

    I’ve had exactly one person voice a negative opinion about me carrying. I explained that what I was doing was legal and then I walked away. That guy was and probably always will be an anti so I didn’t hurt anything by exposing him to guns.

    Just my two cents.

    Oh, and I dress normally when I OC. Black tshirt, blue jeans, and work boots. I may not be a sharp dressed man, but I don’t look terrible either.

  20. The problem is most people will see a gun, and immediately think you are a potential threat. It is natural. If you saw two guys walking down your street open carrying a few AK’s, would you let your kids out to play in your yard? How about if they had meat cleavers in their hand? I wouldn’t, and there is no distinction between the two for most people. They are weapons, they are a potential threat. The “men with the guns” could be anyone, with any personality. They are unknowns. To be completely accepting of unknown armed individuals is foolish. Open carry does nothing to further our cause, it merely frightens people pointlessly. You will never “desensitize” the population to guns.

    • Pretty much BS, Rick. Maybe true in the fetid zombie zones of NYC and the District of Criminals, but not everywhere.

      Maybe you should consider visiting some more civilized areas of this great country. 🙂 I’d love to show you some of the wonders of Wyoming.

    • Way too much generalization, here. Where I in particular live, I know everybody who walks up and down my street, if two strangers were walking up and down my street I would be concerned/curious, guns would have nothing to do with it. If two of my neighbors were walking the street with AKs or ARs, I would load my AR and join them to find out if we had a problem.

      Other people live in different circumstances. Telling us all we’re askeert of a man with a gun is just silly.

    • One of the big reasons that some might have a negative reaction is that openly carrying a firearm is somewhat unusual in certain locations. It is the unusualness of OC that initially spurs suspicion. Once it becomes more common place in an area, it no longer raises suspicion because it is no longer unusual. That’s the very thing; desensitization. Where people have been sensitized against armed individuals going about their lives armed, proliferation of everyday open carry is the only thing that really has hope of desensitizing the people to firearm carry. To claim that open carry will not desensitize people to bearing arms openly is to declare defeat for the right of the individual to bear arms in this country. I don’t believe that the American people are that far gone yet. Your solution is to give up and that’s not acceptable for me.

      Open carry does nothing to further our cause,

      What cause is that? Mine is the restoration of Liberty in our land. That includes the individual right to keep and bear arms, openly or concealed.

  21. Not interested in talking to folks about guns because I am OC’ing. I’m not a talker or a people person really. I wish I could legally OC in my state, county and city trails and parks but the powers that be made it CC only. The only time that becomes a real pain in the butt is summer time. Did someone say 5 Guys? Mmmm…hamburgers and a brown paper bag full of french fries.

  22. saw an older gentleman open carrying in home depot yesterday (here in phoenix..and not out in the sticks fringes of phoenix…this is squarely residential phoenix..) and no one paid any extra mind to him..

    the way it should be

  23. I carry a gun – Get over it
    By MamaLiberty

    I carry a gun. All the time, just about everywhere I go except to bed and the shower. Even then, a gun is within a foot or so of my hand all the time. An occasional trip into the disarmed victim zone of the post office, and my last (and I do mean last) trip to California to visit family are the extreme and very temporary exceptions.

    So, why do I carry it? I’m asked frequently, so much that I printed up cards to hand out to the curious. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to explain the most important reason:

    I own my life and am the only one responsible for that life and my safety. I can, and do, work with others – including the local sheriff’s dept. – for mutual defense, but in the end it is the responsibility of each person to guard their own safety and that of their legitimate dependents.

    No, I’m not paranoid or afraid.

    The fact that there is little crime where I live is not relevant because there is no place where the risk of attack is zero. So a gun is simply insurance. But, unlike an auto policy, it can’t do me any good in an emergency if it is locked up and unloaded. It has to be instantly available, in my hand to be effective. And, just as with my auto insurance, I sincerely hope I never have to use it.


    But, in the end, I live and therefore I am. I don’t need any other person’s permission to live or defend myself. I don’t need anyone’s vetting of my intentions or sanity, nor approval for the self defense tool I choose or how I carry it.

    I don’t NEED to explain myself. I don’t NEED any reasons at all.
    [See the rest here:

    I carry a gun – Get over it

    But, in the end, I live and therefore I am. I don’t need any other person’s permission to live or defend myself. I don’t need anyone’s vetting of my intentions or sanity, nor approval for the self defense tool I choose or how I carry it.

    I don’t NEED to explain myself. I don’t NEED any reasons at all.

  25. I would welcome OC just because it relaxes deep conceal problems. I have many times found that the shirt or coat I plan to wear would nicely conceal my Glock 19 in an OWB holster but it would peak out in certain circumstances so I would have to resort to my pocket 380 instead, since NY does not want any hint of a gun showing.

    • Ha! Exactly! We’ve been stating this wrong. You have CC, you have OC, and you have SCSOC (Sometimes Concealed Sometimes Open carry). If either is illegal you may have problems. Maybe your shirt gets loose and partially conceals your OC while a cop is looking, never mind Shannon? Or partially exposes your CC? The only satisfactory answer is both.

  26. Personally, I feel that open carry when concealed carry is an option, is irresponsible.

    In today’s world, we have people who refuse to know the laws, but will call the cops just because they see a gun. Sometimes, kids get scared seeing a gun, as they don’t see them every day. Adults who are not gun friendly or not exposed to them or educated on the subject get scared by the sight of a gun because they watch the news, and you know how rarely the news bothers to report any gun use that is not criminal in nature.

    I do not believe the argument that more open carriers will normalize the populace to it. Anti gunners are some of the most rabid, fanatical, fact ignoring people on earth. Seeing more guns is not going to make them realize anything. So all you people who decide to take your AR for a walk down MainStreet USA.. YOU ARE NOT HELPING. As far as they are concerned, you are doing something on par with waving the gun in their face.

    Meanwhile.. the concealed carry folks don’t disturb anybody, don’t have the police called on them, offend nobody, and do not draw the direct ire (and cameras) of the anti gun movement.

    • So, are you asserting that those of us who live in a state that requires a license for concealed carry should simply accept the privilege and abandon the right? Surely we would all get along better if we would go to the back of the bus or not eat at the lunch counter. I guess I’m just one of those uppity gun folk who don’t know their place, huh?

      Is the privilege of licensed carry equivalent to the actual right of unlicensed open carry?

      • Yeah, you should go read my post again. Right there in the beginning, “if concealed carry is an option.”

        As in, if you can carry concealed.. I said nothing about “Carry concealed or give up your rights” or whatever else you are trying to imply. Sorry if that’s what you took from it.

        • open carry when concealed carry is an option, is irresponsible.


          Sooooo… it’s what I am implying, eh?

          Again I ask, is the privilege of licensed carry equivalent to the actual right of unlicensed open carry?

        • Licensed carry is a privilege. If carry were recognized as a right, you wouldn’t need a license to exercise your right.

        • Specifically, in Ohio, concealed carry can be licensed, making it a privilege, only because open carry is not, i.e. it’s a right. Otherwise, concealed carry licensing law would be found as contrary to the Constitution of the State of Ohio.

          Generally, when one must take a license to exercise that which would otherwise be considered a right, it is the exercise of a privilege. Government sanctioned privileges are subject to the whim and regulation of government. Of course, that’s contrary to shall not be infringed.

    • Irresponsible? Offend others? That is entirely in the mind of the person making the argument, and the argument of scaring the public is made by people who haven’t carried openly themselves. Those of us who do so on a regular basis have an entirely different experience.

      I’ve never had a bad encounter with a citizen in four years of OCing daily, and police have never given me any problems or even stopped me to ask questions. Not even university police when OCing on campus.

      On Friday night a local guy was listening to the scanner and heard a call go out about “a man with a pistol, in a holster” helping push a car out of the road. LPD Command came back and responded. “Perfectly legal, no need to make contact. We won’t even approach him, leave him alone.” As long as no one is waving a gun around threatening people, it’s a non-event.

      You are either pro-liberty or you’re not. Let people choose for themselves. And why bring AR-15’s into the argument? The OP wasn’t talking about long gun open carry.

      • For liberty or not. Interesting.

        So, either I follow your vision of liberty, or I’m against liberty all together?

        Sorry, but I don’t see the point of angering soccer moms, or scaring people who don’t know any better, if it isn’t necessary. That means taking an AR for a walk, strapping a GLOCK on my thigh to go get a burrito, or a slung shotgun while I mow the grass. When I could just as easily carry a compact 9 IWB.

        For me, it’s just being considerate.

        • It seems like you’re one of those “I’m for 2A, but…” people. Yes, you are either for liberty and 2A or you are not. Try carrying openly for a while. I think you will find that what you envision is not reality.

        • Consideration is given where consideration is due. I can assure you that your level of courtesy for the ignorant masses will not be returned in kind.

        • Thanks for being one of the guys that help the cause. Confrontational goofballs OCing single action revolvers for attention aren’t what we need anymore.

        • smette, I OC and CC my single action for self defense everyday. It’s the sidearm that I’m absolutely most proficient with. Your problem is what, exactly?

          BTW: More people comment on what a beautiful holster and gun that is when I have the Vaquero than they ever do when I carry the 1911. 😉 People seem to love that shorty Vaquero in a carved Tom Threepersons and so do I. 😀

        • Danny: Not a bit. I am very much a supporter of the 2nd. I am against denial of carry. But see, if I carry concealed, there is zero chance of some Shannon Watts wannabe throwing a fit about it, calling the cops, and causing a public nuisance because she(or he) is ignorant of the laws. Those people equate a holstered sidearm with “brandishing” as if I was waving it in their kids face. And while the chance of this happening is slim.. the chance is non-existant if my gun is concealed.

          F.S.: I believe, and am raising my kids to believe, that consideration is due to everybody. Especially those you have not met. If we were all a little more considerate of others, the world would be a better place. And if that consideration is not returned? So what? That doesn’t mean the next stranger gets the shaft.

          Yes, we all have the right to bear arms. But we do not have the right to be a public nuisance, we do not have the right to scare people, bully them, or anything of the sort. So yeah, I don’t open carry if I am in a public place where people might have a negative reaction to it. Not once did I say YOU can’t. Not once did I say it should be banned.

          Some of the folks in this thread are just as fanatical as those MDA and Everytown people.

        • I could make the same argument that I am being considerate to everyone also… desensitizing the general ignorant public (which I know you said you don’t believe in, but many can provide countless tales to the contrary) to the presence and safety of legal, law-abiding carry (no, we’re not talking about showing up to your local Starbucks with your AR slung over your shoulder). I’m showing my children that if someone is uncomfortable with a legal activity, then it is not their (my childrens’) problem. We have taken political correctness much too far, wherein almost anything that someone does or says can be construed as inconsiderate or threatening or damaging to some other party. Am I going to trade in my large SUV because the person in the Prius next to me somehow feels offended by it? No. Will I take the time to explain to them – in a calm and rational demeanor, regardless of how snippy or flippant they may be – that I am a father of four, in a household of seven (counting the 95# purebred Labrador), and the large SUV is a necessity? Absolutely.

          Much in the same manner that I will explain to them that I carry a firearm because I don’t rely on law enforcement to be omnipresent (nor do I mistakenly subscribe to the belief that they have a duty to protect, which many people still do ignorantly believe and legal precedent has been established to the contrary), and should a situation ever present itself, I will do everything in my power to protect my family. Does the ignorant public react strongly when said policeman shows up (a so-called good guy with a gun)? I believe the literature would strongly support that you are far more likely to get shot by a policeman than a law-abiding carrier (open or concealed).

          I am considerate. I do not draw attention to myself (“Look at me, look at me!”). I do not go around with my hand on the grip (because usually I’m holding one of my boys’ hands). I do not go around looking to show it off to people (nor are most people even aware of its presence). I do not even touch it unless for some reason I feel that I need to check its security or make a comfort adjustment (much less necessary when open carrying versus concealed with IWB). I also carry with level II retention when OCing, so someone cannot just come up and easily take it away (and no, I do not use Blackhawk equipment… which has been shown to be easily broken off your person or too easy to manipulate the retention to remove the firearm from the holster in a struggle).

          I understand that you never said COULDN’T, but you’re making quite the strong argument for SHOULDN’T. I disagree.

        • Some of the folks in this thread are just as fanatical as those MDA and Everytown people.

          And some of the folks’ (*cough* Sean N *cough*) emotional hyperbole sounds just like them. 😉

        • Sean, although you didn’t state that I or others “couldn’t” OC, you said we “shouldn’t” because it is irresponsible behavior and that we do not have the right to be a public nuisance. OC is lawful behavior, and is not irresponsible and does not create a public nuisance. It also does not bully others. Stop telling other people what lawful behavior they should and should not engage in. If you choose to not open carry, that is your choice.

          The Shannon Watts and Bloombergs of the world don’t want your gun hidden, they don’t want you to have a gun–period. The fact that people carry concealed firearms still scares them. They want to eliminate carry outside the home, they want to eliminate stand your ground laws and castle doctrine laws, they want to limit magazine capacity and only allow “smart guns.” The ultimate goal is private firearms elimination, with the possible exception of strictly controlled long guns for hunting. So simply concealing your gun does NOTHING except make you feel better because you are not as likely to have a cop ask you a question.

        • And as Noir said, just because you (not you personally, but the hypothetical you… or maybe the real you, I can’t tell) don’t feel comfortable with the gun doesn’t make it my problem.

        • Sean, this is not a personal attack and I hope you don’t take it as such, but people who express the ideas you have in this thread are the 2A equivalent of Vichy France. No matter how much you try to hide and get along and not upset anyone, that will not dissuade the anti-gun crowd. That attitude only emboldens them. Here’s the latest proof:

          Didn’t you, yourself write elsewhere that the way to get anti-gunners on our side is to introduce them to firearms? You advocated a one-on-one approach, and that is good, but we can only know and invite so many people personally to the range. However, we come in contact with many more people we don’t know every day, and what better way to show the general public that bad things don’t magically happen when a gun is present than by law-abiding citizens going about their everyday lives open carrying? That will help dispel the various gun myths that have been promulgated by the government, the police, Hollywood, the media, and the rabid anti-liberty people.

        • I’m made this point before, and I’ll make it again.

          It’s common for open carriers to be just fine with any mode of carry—they don’t lecture those who carry concealed. The reverse, however, it not true. A number of concealed carriers posting here are anti-open carry. I find this interesting. Maybe we should call them the “carry liberals”—i.e., they want to tell other people how to carry. The “carry conservatives”—those who carry open—don’t care how people carry.

        • You don’t have to follow my version of liberty, and I damn sure will not allow you to dictate your own, to me. Carry concealed if you like! I don’t care! Why are you so concerned about what I legally do? Is it “for the children” or something?

    • Irresponsible carry is waving your gun around and shooting out the streetlights. Use of the term for perfectly legal concealed or open carry is irresponsible.

  27. Very well written, and spot on. I have gone back and forth between open and concealed carry for a while now. I almost 100% carry concealed. WI was a legal open carry state before concealed carry was allowed. I would urge everyone to know the laws in their state or jurisdiction, because many have written clauses stating that any piece of clothing partially obscuring the firearm falls under the definition of concealed. If you don’t have a CCW license and your jacket falls over your pistol, you’re no longer considered openly carrying.

    I think I will need to dust off my OC holster and take my G19 out for a spin in the sun. The other day I took off my outer shirt and had it in my IWB holster exposed while playing in the yard… my oldest pointed at me and said, “Dad, you should cover that up… people can see it.” My response, “So, it’s my yard.” He’s comfortable with the fact that I go armed, but perhaps even he needs a little more exposure. Cheers!

  28. As an example of how to expand our gun rights (supposed to be protected by the BOR) the homosexual community should not to be emulated. The homosexual community is a sign of the decline of our nation just as it was in many great nations throughout history. I cringe when the homosexual community is held up as any kind of example for life. I will give some resources for those with an open mind to research for themselves and , hopefully, give them food for thought.



    • That video is fraudulent as hell. George Washington rarely attended church and when he did he stood in the back and didn’t participate in the service. He was not attended by a priest or minister at his deathbed, by his own choice. [And I quite frankly don’t care if someone decades after the fact chose to paint George Washington praying at Valley Forge; that doesn’t mean it happened–I mention that because I’ve seen it used as “evidence” though at least this video doesn’t try to pull that stupid stunt.]

      As to whether god intervened to save his life at Duquesne, even if true it has no bearing on whether this was founded on a Christian country.

      Cherrypicking John Adams for an example is convenient of course, he was the most Christian of the major founders. Most of the major figures were indeed deists. “Divine Providence” (repeatedly misused by the narrator as evidence of Christianity) was in fact a *Deist* phrase, as were things like “Architect” and Supreme Author and Almighty Being. George Washington’s use of that phrase after the “miracle” doesn’t make your point, it makes mine. A Christian would have said something like “Jesus Christ” or “Our Lord Jesus” or “our Father…” makes the point that Deism was hardly akin to atheism; though with no organization to impose a specific doctrine, it certainly ran a spectrum from “almost Christian” to “not even remotely Christian.”

      And John Quincy Adams didn’t help draft the Constitution; this video is the first attempt I’ve seen to classify him as a founding father. A bit of desperation?

      And somehow all these “America Was Founded on Christianity” diatribes never get around to showing that clause in the Constitution that says we are a Christian Nation. Surely if we were intended to be it would be mentioned there, right? They don’t because there ISN’T one. There is not one mention of Jesus, Christ, or God in the entire document. (“Lord” does appear in the date at the end because any formal document phrased it that way as a holdover from past practice. No one seems to bat an eyelash at the references to the Norse Goddess Tiu (from which we get the word Tuesday); that too is a holdover from past practice.) There IS a mention that no religious test could be required of anyone serving the US government (Article 6). It’s pretty clear that far from basing this nation on Christianity, the founders wanted the Federal Government to be neutral on the subject of religion. And that’s clear regardless of how many of them were personally Christians. (That the United States had lots of Christians in it is not in dispute.)

      The constitutional convention didn’t even open with prayer–despite Ben Franklin’s suggestion that it do so. So we have a document with no Christian references in it (beyond boilerplate) written at an assembly that did not engage in prayer… as somehow founding this nation on Christianity?

      • Steve… written by David Miller, PhD (

        Those who insist that America was not intended to be a “Christian nation” point to the obvious absence of specific directives regarding Christianity in the federal Constitution. The popular propaganda since the 1960s has been that “the irreligious Framers did not want the nation to retain any attachment to the Christian religion.” Such an assertion is a monstrous perversion of historical fact. The truth of the matter is that they were fearful of the potential interference by the federal government in its ability to place restrictions on the free exercise of the Christian religion. Consequently, they desired that the specifics of religion be left up to the discretion of the several states.

        Nevertheless, we must not think for a moment that the federal Framers did not sanction the nation’s intimate affiliation with Christianity, or that they attempted to keep religion out of the Constitution. On the contrary, the Christian religion is inherently assumed and implicitly present in the Constitution. In fact, the United States Constitution contains a direct reference to Jesus Christ! Consider three proofs for these contentions (See Constitution of the United…, 1789).

        First, consider the meaning of the First Amendment to the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” We have been told that, by “establishment of religion,” the Framers meant for the government to maintain complete religious neutrality and that pluralism ought to prevail, i.e., that all religions (whether Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, or Hinduism), though equally tolerated, must not be given any acknowledgement in the public sector. But such an outlandish claim is absolutely false. All one has to do is to go directly to the delegate discussions pertaining to the wording of the First Amendment in order to ascertain the context and original intent of the final wording (Annals of Congress, 1789, pp. 440ff.). The facts of the matter are that by their use of the term “religion,” the Framers had in mind the several Protestant denominations. Their concern was to prevent any single Christian denomination from being elevated above the others and made the State religion—a circumstance that the Founders had endured under British rule when the Anglican Church was the state religion of the thirteen colonies. They further sought to leave the individual States free to make their own determinations with regard to religious (i.e., Christian) matters (cf. Story, 1833, 3.1873:730-731). The “Father of the Bill of Rights,” George Mason, actually proposed the following wording for the First Amendment, which demonstrates the context of their wording:

        [A]ll men have an equal, natural and unalienable right to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that no particular sect or society of Christians ought to be favored or established by law in preference to others (as quoted in Rowland, 1892, 1:244, emp. added).

        By “prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” the Framers intended to convey that the federal government was not to interfere with the free and public practice of the Christian religion—the very thing that the courts have been doing since the 1960s.

        Second, consider the wording of a sentence from Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution: “If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it….” “Sundays excepted”? The government shuts down and does not transact business on Sunday? Why? If this provision had been made in respect of Jews, the Constitution would have read “Saturdays excepted.” If provision had been made for Muslims, the Constitution would have read “Fridays excepted.” If the Founders had intended to encourage a day of inactivity for the government without regard to any one religion, they could have chosen Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Instead, the federal Constitution reads “Sundays excepted”—proving conclusively that America was Christian in its orientation and that the Framers themselves shared the Christian worldview and gave political recognition to and accommodation of that fact.

        Third, if these two allusions to Christianity are not enough, consider yet another. Immediately after Article VII, the Constitution closes with the following words:

        Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth….

        Did you catch it? Their work was done “in the Year of our Lord.” The Christian world dates all of human history in terms of the birth of Christ. “B.C.” means “before Christ,” and “A.D.” is the abbreviation for the Latin words “anno Domini,” meaning “year of our Lord.” If the Framers were interested in being pluralistic, multi-cultural, and politically correct, they would have refrained from using the B.C./A.D. designation. Or they would have used the religionless designations “C.E.,” Common Era, and “B.C.E.,” Before the Common Era (see “Common Era,” 2008). In so doing, they would have avoided offending Jews, atheists, agnostics, and humanists. Or they could have used “A.H.” (anno hegirae—which means “in the year of the Hijrah” and refers to Muhammad’s flight from Mecca in A.D. 622), the date used by Muslims as the commencement date for the Islamic calendar. Instead, the Framers chose to utilize the dating method that indicated the worldview they shared. What’s more, their reference to “our Lord” does not refer to a generic deity, nor does it refer even to God the Father. It refers to God the Son—an explicit reference to Jesus Christ. Make no mistake: the Constitution of the United States contains an explicit reference to Jesus Christ—not Allah, Buddha, Muhammad, nor the gods of Hindus or Native Americans!

        Let’s get this straight: The Declaration of Independence contains four allusions to the God of the Bible. The U.S. Constitution contains allusions to the freedom to practice the Christian religion unimpeded, the significance and priority of Sunday worship, as well as the place of Jesus Christ in history. So, according to the thinking of the ACLU and a host of liberal educators, politicians, and judges, the Constitution is—unconstitutional! Go figure.

        • Geez, did you actually *read* what I wrote before posting? Or read what you posted before you copy/pasted it? (I at least did the courtesy of watching that video before commenting on it.) I have already debunked half of the points you pulled in with this copy/paste!

          OK let’s start with Mason’s wording of the first amendment. Maybe HE wanted it to say Christian. But clearly the Congress did not, they struck that word. Why would that be, if their intent was to safeguard religious liberty ONLY for Protestant denominations? (And for that matter even Mason didn’t have the gall to say “(except non-Protestants)” so maybe you are just all wet on even HIS intent.) Far from being an argument that we were intended to be a Christian country, it’s an argument that Mason wanted us to be, and Congress rejected that.

          The Sunday point is the closest anyone has yet come to finding an accommodation of Christianity in general in the Constitution, but is it an accommodation of Christianity as such–or merely a recognition that many people would do no business on that day? In other words a bow to custom as opposed to an acknowledgement that Christianity is true?

          Already covered “In the Year of Our Lord.” It’s legal boilerplate that appeared in legal documents back then.

          There is still no claim anywhere in the Constitution that the United States shall be founded on Christianity. Such would have been easy to insert, in a non-denominational way, if that was the intent. In fact during the ratification process, many opposed the Constitution on the grounds that it did NOT say this, they complained that it was godless! Maybe they understood something that you, frankly, are refusing to acknowledge.

          References in the Declaration of Independence–I already covered this. They are deistic in form. Thomas Jefferson, its drafter, was a deist. That doesn’t mean he was an *atheist* but it does mean he was no Christian. But of course Christians are not above hijacking any reference to a higher power and claiming it must be a reference to Yahweh and/or Jesus. They’ve even done it to the generic word “god.” Or hijacking old pagan holidays and turning them into Christian ones.

          But of course, so far I am arguing from an *absence* of statements. It’s a pretty compelling argument I think, especially since in some cases (Mason’s draft of the first Amendment pointedly NOT being adopted) they went out of their way to say nothing on the topic. But still someone can always weasel around and try to draw a tenuous connection, and then say that that connection (whether or not its real) overrides the deafening silence we hear.

          But then there’s this:

          “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Mohammedan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

          This treaty was signed during the Washington Administration, and UNANIMOUSLY RATIFIED BY THE UNITED STATES SENATE under John Adams. (23 of the then 32 senators voted aye, the rest were not present.) Not one senator protested that we are in fact founded on Christianity. Because we weren’t and aren’t.

          I don’t dispute that there were a LOT of Christians in the United States at this time. Likely even a majority. But the actions of omission–sometimes going out of their way to delete mention of Christianity, as with Mason’s draft of the first amendment–and the occasional positive act by the early Federal government, makes it clear that though this nation was populated primarily by Christians, the intent was to establish a religiously neutral (not just a non-sectarian, but a non-religious) government. The evidence you present, in many cases–attempts to put Christian references in that were rejected–only bolsters my case!

  29. First time I seen open carry was in ‘Pet Smart’, I spent most of my time trying to identify the pistol (Glock)

  30. Great consise article. In the run for a gun. I’d love to open carry in Illinois. I’ve seen people open carry many times & assume they are a cop or security guard. And do stupid people understand that bad guys would NOT display their firearm on their hip??? Duh indeed

  31. I was open carrying today. Polo, jeans, and my smith and wesson, i had three people go outnof their way to greet me. That is not a normal occurence around here. One even inquired about my gun and how i liked it. No one freaked out. I have my ccdwl but open carry many times for convenience. Around here, it is no big deal.

  32. I completely agree with what you’re saying, and being from Ohio I generally have the option to open carry if I wanted to. However, I’m one of those utterly introverted people who struggles to carry on a conversation once it gets past the pleasantries, and I know damned well I wouldn’t be a great spokesman for open carry.

    If someone I met were to politely inquire about my carrying, I would probably get choked up and come off like an insecure fool. I would hate to play into the stereotype of “needing to carry a gun to feel like a man.” If someone actually got aggressive and confrontational, I probably don’t have the tact to de-escalate the situation.

    I recognize that carrying concealed is not at all the sort of social or political statement that open carry is; however, much as I’d like to be an advocate for 2A rights, I think I’d best leave that to people who stand to make at least a decent impression.

    • Ideally a lot of people would open carry; but for it to work they should be people who will come off well. If you honestly believe that it’s not true in your case, then of course you should not. Thank you for doing a bit of introspection and making a good choice for yourself. (And for not assuming the best choice for you is the best choice for everyone!)

      • This, but also…

        Continue to educate yourself some more. Keep reading TTAG. Read Know the misconceptions, the myths, the *FACTS*, so that when you do find yourself in a situation, you are better equipped to extricate yourself more gracefully.

        [BTW, SteveInCO, where in CO are you located? Me: Monument.]

        • Elsewhere in El Paso County (that’s as much as I will say publicly). We aren’t that far apart.

  33. Paul, thanks for this post. I have been thinking about open carrying more frequently, but I still haven’t worked up the nerve.

    Here’s a suggestion: Wouldn’t it be better to not look like a cop? If someone assumes you’re a cop, that just reinforces what they already know: Cops carry guns, big deal. If you were to change it up a little, like blue jeans and a colored or patterned polo, it may make a little more of an impact.

  34. The “Open-Carry Movement” only does harm to pro-gun ownership.
    Sure, I’m not dense, I understand their argument and it sounds right.

    But, they only serve to make all gun owners appear to be total idiots.
    They dish up unlimited free ammo to anti-gun radicals & media.
    They cause politicians to pass new bans on us so we are more likely to become indicted criminals.

    I don’t care if someone carries their gun in the open if they have a legit reason to. It’s the “movement” people that are actively going out and getting us all screwed.

    • What do you mean by The “Open-Carry Movement?” Do you mean just the people who carry long guns? I consider myself part of the open carry movement, however I only carry a holstered pistol, and I do it for self-defense.

      People who state that “Open carry is bad pro-gun PR and will likely lead to stricter gun control” are wrong. Each year open carry is becoming more prevalent, more widespread across the United States, and—with just a couple of narrow exceptions—most states are simultaneously enacting more pro-gun legislation every year. Arkansas recently joined the ranks of full open carry states, and both South Carolina and Texas have open carry bills working their way through the legislatures. Unfortunately South Carolina’s was killed for this session. As with the other spurious anti-open carry arguments, the facts prove just the opposite of what they claim. More states are expanding their “stand your ground” laws and slowly eliminating gun-free zones despite the increased popularity of open carry. I’ve been tracking and publishing pro-gun legislation across all 50 states and D.C. for the last couple of years for a newsletter. Most people don’t see the big picture. Many gun owners don’t even follow all the State House and Senate bills in their own state.

      • +1

        You’ve made lots of good posts on this thread, John. I was going to ask this same question. Actually, I probably would’ve worded it a bit more strongly, but this is the idea.

  35. I have a similar anecdote re: conversing with a neighbor for a long period of time before she noticed I was open carrying. Near the end of the conversation her eyes got a little wider and she exclaimed “Hey, you’re packin!”

    We then talked for maybe a full minute about the fact that I was carrying before going back to our “normal” conversation. Not a SWAT team in sight.

  36. “When I have open carried I have realized that most people don’t seem to notice. ”
    Amen. My eldest son got married last year. As has become a tradition in our family, all the groomsmen were armed (first Family Wedding was with swords and battle axes — but that’s another story 😉 )

    Now the interesting thing is, the MOTG and I were late for the pre-wedding photography session. Actually, our tardiness really isn’t interesting, at this point, it is expected…

    By the time we arrived, the photographer and her assistant had been taking pictures of the groomsmen, the groom, the bride, the bridesmaids, et cetera for nearly an hour. We arrived just as they started the “joint” shots — groomsmen and bridesmaids together. At the point where they lined everyone up for an “all in the family and wedding party” photo, they placed Middle Son, who was wearing a .44 Vaquero on his right hip, on the left (as you face the camera) end of the line, and youngest son, who was wearing a .44 Western Marshal on his left hip on the right end of the line.

    As the photographer was trying to adjust her camera for the shot Middle Son said, to Youngest Son, “Say, how about we trade sides, that way my wife is not getting poked in the ribs by the butt of my revolver.” To which youngest son replied, “Yeah, and that will put our holsters on the outside of the line where they belong.”

    They traded ends by walking, with their ladies, around the front of the line, crossing paths right in front of the photographer. As they passed by the photographer, who was kneeling on the ground trying to cast enough shadow on the LCD screen of her camera to make some adjustments, their holsters were at her “eye level.” Her eyes got as big as saucers and she exclaimed, “They’re wearing guns! How come nobody told me they are wearing guns. I can’t believe this! I’ve got to get some pictures.”

    She spent the next 5 minutes or so taking individual pictures of these two groomsmen in various poses that would show off their firearms. She had just spent over an hour with them, instructing them to move feet, hands, heads, et cetera and not noticed the firearms until they passed right in front of her…

    Afterward, we all got an extra good chuckle because, even when the fact that the Wedding Party was armed wound up “right in her face” as it were, she failed to notice that the groom and the best man were also open carrying as well! (Now, to be fair, the Best Man is an exceedingly large fellow — weighing in at nearly 500 lbs, with arms the size of most people’s legs. His firearm, a Replica Remington 1858 in .44, carried in a waist-level holster, virtually disappeared whenever he put his arm down at his side. Still, neither she nor her husband/assistant thought to examine the other wedding party members and, consequently missed the other Open Carry revolvers present.

    It has been my observation, on more than one occasion, that folks do, indeed, fail to “notice” open carry!

  37. I open carry every day. Open carry dot org is a great place to get real time, real everyday people really open carrying. A great place to get real open carry info not the type of info that comes from opinions and hear say.
    Nevada has a thread of where did you open carry and how did it go over one hundred seventy thousands views and full of great info.
    Check your states open carry dot org for those on the fence or thinking about open carrying this can help to make that decision and a great source of yous states carry laws.


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