“Contrary to the gun-control lobby’s hair-on-fire hysteria, there have been no gun-related incidents involving legally licensed gun-owners in national parks in the two summers since the ban was lifted. In fact, according to the Department of the Interior, crime — all crime — continues to decline on federal lands.” Quelle surprise! That’s outdoorlife.com’s take on the whole open carry in parks thing. And just to see for themselves, they sent one of their reporters, Scott Sexton [not shown], out on the Appalachian Trail packing a wheelgun. The result . . .

“The legal presence of guns in a park largely went unnoticed and neither added to nor detracted from anyone’s experience, as far as this experimenter could tell,” Sexton wrote in an April 30 column. “As an issue, the carrying of firearms in a park — handled legally and properly — is a nonstarter.”

Anecdotal? Sure it is. But just like all the other tired, overblown blood in the streets on the trail predictions, all is well. And no one’s freaking out about hikers with heaters on their hips. But that’s the great outdoors. Would they get the same result at sporting events? In concert halls? Even when we get to that someday when a gun on a civvy hip no longer prompts notice, are there some places that should just be off limits?


  1. I can only think of a couple places – mental hospitals and inside prisons/jails (when mingling with the inmates of both places).

    • The Appalachian Trail was a good choice for testing this, as you’ll encounter a mix of hardcore hikers, weekenders, and plenty of wackadoos. I’d hiked the trail in the 90’s an had a couple of encounters that caused me to question my safety. Maybe it’s gotten better, but I always advise women against hiking it without a man in the group – that doesn’t always go over well, but I think that it’s solid advice based on my experience.

    • Years ago, my two brothers-in-law and I had gotten this wild hair to find a B-17 that had crashed in 1942. An old timer had put a circle on our map of where he thought the wreckage was. The following weekend as we tried to go up a forest access road across private property an armed ranch owner stopped us and turned us around. We went crying to the Ranger’s office because we felt we had been kept from traveling legally up that access road. The Ranger agreed, but then pointed out he had a gun. She then asked if we carried when we went into the National Forest. We said no. Her words were, “I would never go up there unarmed. There are just too many crazies up there now-a-days.”
      That was twenty five years ago. I’ve carried in the mountains ever since. We don’t have grizzlies anymore in Colorado. The most dangerous wild animal we have in our mountains walks upright on two feet.

    • I am definitely a proponent of open carry everywhere without exceptions. That said, I am starting to think that Bob is right to exclude mental hospitals and jails when mingling with the inmates. Otherwise, everywhere including courtrooms!

      • Yup otherwise I think open carry should be allowed everywhere period all 50 states.
        Oh ok maybe not government buildings like court houses or let’s say the white house, state capitals. But other than that everywhere else.
        It is to bad they really don’t have solid open carry. Lord knows I would…

        • Jails and prisons, mental hospitals, sure.

          I don’t see any reason why a law-abiding citizen shouldn’t be allowed to carry his weapon any where, any time, with or without reason.

          If judges, lawyers and legislators are so afraid of armed, law-abiding citizens, then perhaps it’s time they re-evaluate their own behavior, rather than seek new curbs on ours.

        • Well lets just say if you met my ex wife the thought of shooting her in court might have crossed your mind lmao!
          On a serious note crimes of passion as something that could happen in a court room. Imagine being the father or mother of someone killed and the person is acquitted on a technicality. Things like that you want to avoid, but otherwise I would say anywhere and everywhere.

  2. That woman is in need of a proper gunbelt. Ill offer her the use of my own, but she must visit in person to verify that it fits. Can’t loan out unsafe equipment!

  3. The wonders of modern medicine, Scott looks more like a Sue.
    Here in CA open carry of unloaded hand gun was banned last year, open carry of long gun will soon be banned and I will qualify for CCW shortly after monkees fly out my ass.
    Never wanted to carry a hand gun/long gun that was not loaded.
    Unloaded open carry, might as well wear a sign that says shoot me first

  4. Why the ban on concealed carry at the post office hasn’t been lifted is beyond me. If anecdotal evidence is accurate, they may need protection from their own employees, especially if projected closures go thru.

  5. To the note of the article mentioned, I visited the Great Smoky Mountains NP recently, and being able to carry while hiking was quite nice. Nobody cared, either. (I kept covered, so I doubt anyone saw.)
    We saw signs posted along the loop trail about a day hiker whom had gone missing a month before. It caused me to think of my hunter safety course. Three shots in a row to signal distress. I assume the poor guy had yet to be found. Between bears, steep hillsides and cliffs, I wonder if a firearm could have saved his life or helped someone find him.

    • But just because you’re in a bar doesn’t mean you’re drinking. The alcohol isn’t going to magically leap out of the bottles and force itself down your throat.

      • This is true and also the exception, not the rule. I think making an argument about beer leaping from the bottle is a bit outside of reality. Most people go to bars to drink.

        • And we (I mean they) used to think that most people go armed to commit crimes. Wisconsin has lots of bar/diners. Many people frequent them without drinking. Our CCW law permits that but forbids drinking.

        • There are also a lot of people who go out to bars with their friends and don’t drink because they’re doing the driving. Why can’t they also be trusted to carry? The designated driver could also be the designated gunner as well.

      • We are def talking about two dif things. I am ref to the bars, where there is only a bar and stools to sit on. Just alcohol. Not a dinner which also serves alcohol. I am talking about a place where there is nothing to do but drink…not sure about your area, but where I am from they have lots of bars like that. Non-stop bar fights.

        • Same applies to the bar-stool bars you’re referring to. There are plenty of designated drivers shepherding a group of liquored-up friends at straight up bars. The DD should absolutely be able to carry.

        • Virginia repealed its ban on firearms in places that serve alcohol. How many reports of drunken firefights have you heard from them recently?

    • How about if bar owners are allowed to decide who brings what into their bars? You know: individual choice, property rights, all that crazy stuff we used to believe in?

      On a related note, the United States is no longer one of the top ten countries in the world in terms of economic freedom, in large part due to the massive degradation of property rights over the past few decades.

      • I’m all for that, and for people therefore to be able to decide whether those businesses deserve to receive their money. Then the business owners can decide whether they feel the policy is worth the cost or not.

        I pretty much almost never drink anymore because of the way it reacts with medications I have to take, but I go out with my wife sometimes and have a Diet Coke while she enjoys a cocktail. Washington’s laws preclude me from carrying if we do that in a bar, because I guess they assume like Rydak that people in the mere presence of alcohol will not be able to restrain themselves and will lose all semblance of control. The law here is especially stupid because it’s perfectly legal for me to carry in restaurants, where I can order beer or wine and get falling down drunk if I wanted.

      • Of course bar owners determine what is in their bars … up to the point that their determinations endanger the patrons. A bar owner cannot keep an uncaged cobra in their bar. A bar owner cannot forbid fire extinguishers or illuminated “exit” signs. Similarly, a bar owner cannot forbid a personal safety device such as a cane, walker, wheelchair, or firearm.

        Property rights mean the property owner gets to keep their property and manage its use. Property rights do not empower the owner to harm citizens or subject them to peril.

        • A property owner does not endanger you by prohibiting firearms in his property. You endanger yourself by knowingly entering his property where firearms are prohibited. If we were truly concerned with property rights, the same logic would apply to cobras, etc. I understand that it doesn’t, and that’s why regulation is smothering American business. If you don’t want to drink with my cobra, don’t come to my bar.

          There’s a difference between the cobra analogy and the fire alarm analogy. The justification for fire codes, etc., ia that groups of people cannot understand and appreciate the dangers of an unsafe building. In contrast, you can make an individual decision to expose yourself to the Cobra or enter the bar unarmed, and you, not the bar owner are responsible for the decision.

    • If you are not under the influence of intoxicating substances, then you are good to carry even in a bar. Alcohol doesn’t excuse a person from the consequences of their actions — it isn’t my fault if some drunken dumbass wants to start a brawl and I am armed. I have a right to defend myself effectively no matter where I go. Something tells me that a lot of drunken people would be less likely to start stupid brawls if they knew anyone could be armed.

  6. What gun? Really, she does need a better belt ( the second thing I noticed ). She could have walked the length of the trail, and no one would have noticed the pistol .

  7. “hair-on-fire hysteria”

    I thought you were referring to the right-wing Fixed News and CONservatives. The sky is always falling with them. Ditto for the NRA.

  8. Open carry should be banned, period, except for law enforcement. The agitation and concern amongst the citizenry prompted by open carry is simply unnecessary. Concealed carry offers just as viable protection. In fact, it would be ideal if the rest of the country follow the Florida model, where open carry is permitted only while engaged in, or going directly to and from, lawful Target Shooting, Hunting, Fishing, and Camping expeditions. Otherwise, those possessing a valid permit must carry concealed, without printing.

    I would support moving in this direction 100%, as it makes complete and total sense, and would eliminate the vast majority of unnecessary MWAG police calls.

    • All I have to say is I live in Florida and it is damn hot from April through October. It makes it hard to conceal a handgun bigger than a pocket gun. If it is IWB then your gun gets soaked with sweat if it is OWB then you have to wear two shirts to keep you gun dry and concealed, but your hotter than HELL!.

    • Aw, why don’t you just go ahead and make a list of everything else that makes you uncomfortable so we can just ban that stuff too. ok?


    • So, not because it’s hurting anyone, not because it’s damaging any property, not because it’s even remotely infringing on any elses rights, but because it might make some people uncomfortable, we should inconvenience a significant portion of the population?

      I would think people that are afraid of guns and gun owners would prefer open carry. That way they know who/where to avoid. With concealed carry (que scary music) the person right next to you might be armed and you wouldn’t even know it. *bum bum buuuuuuuum*

    • Otherwise, those possessing a valid permit must carry concealed, without printing.

      Oh I get it! You’re being sarcastic!

    • CC laws and Anti-OC laws are nothing more than limitations on clothing fashion. Armed is armed. Anybody who doesn’t like it can go cry in their copy of the Constitution.

  9. Hmmmm, a place where open carry should be banned? I had to think on this a while, inside jails and prisons, inside mental hospitals, inside state and federal capital bldgs, inside any states’s division of motor vehicle bldg (no one is happy there), inside police stations (too easy for bad guys to walk in and shoot up the place), and the US Mint. I’m thinking other possible places and I freely admit I’m not 100% on these, might be pharmacys, any other place where drugs are available, maybe banks although if other customers are armed I could see bank robberies really declining, and taverns.

  10. If you are not otherwise prohibited from possessing/carrying a firearm then the answer is simple – you should be able to carry wherever you want.

  11. Is there anywhere open carry should be banned? No.

    Call it equal rights for nudists, who can’t carry concealed.

    • OMG this so crossed my mind. How do you conceal carry at a clothing optional resort?? Or then again maybe I don’t want to know lol

  12. No.

    If people get uncomfortable or agitated, they’re free to move to any number of tyrannies in the world where their delicate sensibilities won’t be offended and they won’t have to bother with that whole “personal freedom” thing that gets in the way of their fantasy utopia.

      • Convince anyone of what, that Dan was a little bit off with that excessive statement he made? Convince people that you guys often close your eyes to half the evidence and then pretend it doesn’t exist?

    • Okay, let’s review shall we? The full quote from which you took that snippet out of context:

      Contrary to the gun-control lobby’s hair-on-fire hysteria, there have been no gun-related incidents involving legally licensed gun-owners in national parks in the two summers since the ban was lifted.

      Things to note: the ban on carry in National Parks was lifted in February of 2010, making the summers the quote refers to summer of 2010 and summer of 2011. The incident you’re referring to happened around New Year’s of 2012. Not in the two summers after the ban was lifted.

      Also, let’s take a look at the Mt. Rainier incident. What happened there? So Benjamin Barnes was a tourist who was visiting Mt. Rainier and happened to be carrying when he suddenly snapped and killed a park ranger.

      Oh, wait. No, that’s not remotely it at all. No, Barnes was an Iraq veteran who had serious anger management problems who was involved in a shootout in a shootout on New Year’s and then fled to the park to hideout and shot his way past the checkpoint, killing the ranger. How likely do you think it is that he cared if carrying in National Parks was legal or not? Or maybe it’s just a tad more likely that he headed for a big forest he thought of to hide out in, and Rainier is a pretty damn obvious choice if you’re in Skyway.

      • It’s pretty obvious that if he’d seen a “no guns allowed” sign, he would have calmed down from his murderous rage, realized how unlawful what he was doing truly was, and vowed to build rainbow factories for orphaned puppies. The guns made him do it.

    • Try us with another of the numerous incidents Mike. Sometimes I think you just say anything you like as long as it supports your pre-conceived ideas.

    • Yeah, that wasn’t an “open carry” incident. That was a felon who had just murdered people in an urban area and then fled to Mt. Rainier to continue his killing spree. That is exactly why I want to be armed in a park … when psychos like him come a calling.

  13. On this issue I fall back to the constitution and the second amendment. No where does the constitution state anything about regulations. Should everyone be able to own a fully automatic firearm Frank? Is the question I always hear. The answer is yes, the constitution doesn’t state otherwise. Same for open or conceal carry. If you are uncomfortable with my 45 on my side, don’t look. There was a time in this country where EVERYONE has a firearm on their hip. We need to get back to that leval of comfort with firearms, as a country.

  14. Why don’t gun owners like that show up to open-carry events that I go to? Everyone there looks like… well… me. 🙂

  15. Open carry and concealed carry should be banned in each and every location specified in The Bill of Rights but nowhere else. That said, armed citizens have to take it upon themselves to get training in retention and conflict avoidance to calm and evade hoplophobes.

  16. In Canada, ‘open carry’ is a moot point, for civilians. Most Authorizations To Carry ONLY apply to open carry–CIT guards, wilderness ATCs, etc. The only CONCEALED-carrying Canuck is likely one of those rare folks with an ATC Type-3 (Crown Prosecutors, political cronies, etc.). And, even in ‘gun-free’ zones, like universities, CIT guards schlepp their guns, whilst filling up ATMs.

    But bans on bringing weapons into some venues (e.g., airplane cockpits, courthouses, highschools) is perfectly reasonable. However, this isn’t enforced consistently, thanks to political correctness. An example are the Kirpans, worn by Sikhs. These have been involved in stabbing incidents, in schools and such, but governments and school administrators are too gutless to ban them.

  17. Nowhere should be banned. There are places it may not be smart, depending on your assessment of risk, but that’s not a matter for legislation. I am a lawyer, I want my gun in jails, at my hip, just like the guards. Guards who, by the way, are also too far away to help if someone decides to shiv the lawyer. I want it in the courtroom. I’ve been to psych inpatient too, and you know what they do with the ones uncontrolled enough to attack people? Don’t let them near people! Anywhere I remain a free adult, I want my gun. I’d argue that children have a right to defense as well, either self or their guardian, as determined by their guardian (aka when my kid is ready for a gun, I’m giving them one).

    And please remember that self defense and the right to bear arms are inherent rights, not *granted* by the constitution but specifically noted so those rights, which already exist, are protected *from* the government.

    • The only place I would possibly consider a ban would be in prisons, and then only because you couldn’t carry enough ammo.

      The gun bans have worked out SOOOOOOOO well everywhere else, like schools, colleges, courtrooms, etc., ad nauseum.

  18. LOVE your “Contrary to the gun-control lobby’s hair-on-fire hysteria” opening. Laughed until I cried. I will use that remark, with attribution of course, in my next letter to the editor of our local propaganda emporium (Newspaper). Thanks.


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