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So there I was, sitting at a lunch counter at a funky retro-50’s diner on Congress Ave. The guy to my left was a Chinese national. The guy to my right was a transplanted New York lawyer. The lawyer was sharing tales of his Chinese travels. I was keeping myself to myself when the lawyer’s food started moving (see: above). The waitress said it was some kind of dried fish. Yeah re-animated dried fish. Anyway, a conversation started and the next thing I know the lawyer’s going all anti-gun. It was like a lightning round game show or, if you prefer, chasing chickens . . .

He argued that the “well-regulated militia” part of the Second Amendment establishes the right to keep and bear arm as a collective right, designed for common defense. Nothing to do with personal liberty. I reminded him that all of the rights in the Bill of Rights are individual rights, as per the Supreme Court’s Heller and McDonald decisions. He said “the Founding Fathers didn’t envision semi-automatic weapons.” I cited private ownership of cannons.

Machine guns? Why not? Registration? No thanks. “If you have nothing to hide why would you be against registering your guns?” Because tyranny. Why do you need a gun? Why do you need to make it hard for me to get a gun? It was really that quick. Which was fine by me. My steak sandwich arrived in short order; I was more interested in making sure it was dead than debating someone who reminded me of me

The conversation, such as it was, ended with a not entirely unexpected yet surprising confession. “I just don’t want to live somewhere where there are guns around me,” he said. “You do know you’re in Texas,” I asked, even though clocking his moveable feast made me wonder if I was the one who was hallucinating. “I know we’re in Austin, but there are millions of guns all around you.” He looked around. “It just doesn’t feel right,” he said.

I resisted the urge to help him connect the dots between the previously disclosed fact that I’m a professional gun blogger and the entirely logical supposition that a man in that line of work would most likely be carrying a gun on his hip – especially in the great state of Texas. Hand-on-heart, I don’t think the idea that I was packing heat occurred to him.

And that’s why open carry is such a big deal for defending and extending gun rights. As long as armed Americans are forced to conceal their firearms, the people who would deny them their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms can maintain their anti-gun belief system thinking they’re winning – even when they’re not. They will not change their minds.

Alternately, anti-gunners who regularly and routinely encounter guns openly carried by their fellow Americans – without spree killing and ballistic psycho-drama – will gradually shift their perspective towards respect for gun rights. They may pitch a hissy fit at first, as some whites did when African-Americans first “invaded” previously all-white enclaves (e.g., professional baseball and Ivy League schools). But once they experience repeated exposure, over time, they’ll go back to their squirming fish dishes.

Note: open carry won’t convince antis to take a position for gun rights. It’ll be a move towards gun rights. Towards tolerance. Once a person sees a pig herd sheep, or a law-abiding American with a gun on his hip eating at a lunch counter, they can’t un-see it. They know it’s not just possible, it’s OK. Nothing bad happens. Gun rights are alright. As Farmer Hoggett said, “that’ll do, pig.”

Meanwhile, what the antis don’t see can hurt us. As great as it is, concealed carry prevents pro-gun peeps from spreading a positive message of individual gun rights for personal and communal safety – especially to the next generation.

Open carry is the way forward. We must make it the law of the land and then, despite potential tactical disadvantages, practice it. Sometimes you just have to hold your nose, cross your fingers and eat what’s in front of you. And sometimes, thankfully, you don’t. Know what I mean?

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  1. I went to an ivy league school. Smart kids. Very expensive. Looking back, wonder if it was worth the debt given other lawyers I work with who went to state schools generally make the same and didn’t have to pay back $100k+ of debt. Just saying – being Black and Having an Ivy League degree is nice but . . . I could have a porsche by now

    • Granted law is a far different profession, but I tell incoming engineering students all the time that not once has anyone cared where my degrees came from.

    • It is much more about what you can do and who you know than what the fancy type-font of your degree says. I went to Kettering University (formerly General Motors Institute) and what landed my job wasn’t the superiority of the classroom experience (which I would still argue is top notch) but the 5 year paid internship. I’m about $50k in debt, but if history is any judge I’m in a good position for the future.

      If I had gone to another school that allowed me the internship, and paid less money, I’m fairly certain I’d be in just as good a position. But schools that mandate internships for upper- and lower-classmen alike are few and far between in this country. I don’t regret a dime of my debt.

      • Once GMI, always GMI. Proof that enough money will get a school named after you 🙂

        Really, I’ve only had one instance where I told a student he was insane for his school choice. He was offered a full ride to MIT for a bachelors AND masters, and wanted to go somewhere else that was ABET accredited.

        1) Most employers of engineers state in their job requirements ABET accreditation, but the vast majority have no idea what that even means and

        2) Freaking MIT. Paid for.

        • Yeah…at no job interview did anyone ask if my degree was from an accredited university. Even then, if you are capable of obtaining TWO degrees from MIT, I’m sure you could pass any prerequisite tests to get into a Ph.D program at another university.

          This person I would categorize as someone who was intelligent, but not smart.

        • “Once GMI, always GMI. Proof that enough money will get a school named after you :)”

          So it’s named after General Motors? How many stars? ;D

      • Holy Hell, another Kettering grad! We pop up all over the place! (plus you called it Kettering, not GMI so you are probably near me in grad year)
        Going to school in flint, where the weak are killed and eaten, I would always escort my girlfriend to and from her evening classes and labs with an open carried Glock and a D cell mag light. I didn’t enter the campus (against the rules) but other students gave us a smile and knowing nod, cops left us alone, and on two occasions we saw some kids we didn’t know angle towards us, notice the gun and quickly change direction. Now wife (same girl) and I are anxiously awaiting the passage of open carry here in Texas where we plan to do it everywhere we are legally able to do so. Can’t wait.

        • Yeah, we’re everywhere. We are legion.

          I graduated in 2012, B-section, student commencement speaker (brushes dirt off shoulder)

          Are/were you in KSCC?

        • Another Kettering guy here. Glad to hear we are around! I’ve actually seen some articles about KU student government clubs making a great effort to promote gun rights and campus carry. When I was there we only had a skeet and trap club.

          College in Flint is a great eye opener…..

      • I’ve heard nearly that same thing from almost all of the Kettering grads I’ve kept in contact with.

    • Dear Dirk,

      If you would have taken up my offer to join me, your evil twin, as my legal counsel on retainer for my crime syndicate, you would have already had TEN Porsches!

      The position is still open, and we are branching out into the illegal Canadian toys sector.. There is a huge demand for Kinder Eggs! Very exciting times. We’ll talk later my friend.

    • The person is more important than the degree once you get your foot in the door, but it really, really helps to get the foot in the door.

  2. What you are talking about is “normalization,” and I think this is a good argument. It’s used “against us” all the time…things we disagree with are “shoved down our throats” all the time.

    You mentioned a few good examples but there are many others. Things that were once socially unacceptable (for right or wrong) are now defended as normal.

    I’m all for open carry, and support my open carry brothers and sisters in exercising their fundamental right.

    What gives me pause about open carry is exactly what the anti’s rail against (they we are all just irresponsible nut jobs)…it’s how (some number I do not know) OC-ers act while OC-ing. Folks wearing a gun just going about their business are a-ok, and you are 100% right on the money that the grabbers need to see that.

    It’s that (number I don’t know but assume to be a small percentage) of OC-ers that walk around with a chip on their shoulder bigger than their gun (not talking specifically about OC protesters, alone or in groups) or those that act irresponsibly carrying or not that are also OC-ing.

    What I mean is that if it’s just once or twice a year that someone shows their backside while OC-ing, the anti’s will grab onto that story and make a deal of it…

    My answer to this complaint is not to discourage OC. My answer is for all of us to continue to bang the drum as loudly as possible, and as often as possible, to carry (O or C) responsibly and to act appropriately.

    My definitions of “appropriate” are pretty loose…don’t drink and show your A$$ while carrying, don’t go looking for fights because you think you are some sort of sheepdog whose job it is to save the world, don’t brandish (or laser your audience while using your gun as a pointer!) just for show, etc. Be diligent and disciplined regarding safety and responsibilty.

    Like we often say about the cops…it only takes one bad apple to ruin a barrel…and same is true with OC. If you choose to OC, don’t give the anti’s one single iota of even the appearance of improper handling.

      • Yeah, but ANY carry…don’t be a d*ck. Open carry is just more likely the haters are going to associate d*ckish behavior with the gun.

        • Officer: “Why are you openly carrying?” (in a state where open carry is legal.)
          OCer: “Why do you think I should have to answer such a question?”

          Is that being a “d!ck”?

        • Could be seen as “confrontational” by some. That line that defines d*ckish is fluid.

          Better response might be something like: “Am I violating a law and am I being detained?”

          If he says “No” to both, then ask, “Am I free to go?” And go. I say this theoretically…I’ve never tried it.

          If he answers “yes” to violating the law, the very next question is “What is the statute number?” (*)

          My comments about being a d*ck centered more on playing into the bs stereotypes the anti’s always paint. How we interact with LEO’s is always going to be tricky at best.

          A fun watch on a butthole cop getting his legal clocked cleaned on the street (man, that ‘supervisor’ was an a$$):

        • Line between confrontational and d*ck is fluid.

          Some thoughts:

          “Am I breaking a law” and “Am I being detained?”

          If ‘yes’ to the first, follow up with “What statute number?”

          This is just theoretical, though…there are some youtube vids of people putting this to use. How it works out in practice at any given time is an open question.

  3. I agree with this completely. I’ve only ever open carried once, but I’m working up to do it again. The first time I don’t even know that anyone noticed.

    • I open carried a few times in michigan (ann arbor of all places) with a SW .357 magnum while wearing sweatshirt and jeans. No one noticed or said squat in that hippy liberal town.

    • Just did the other day in Cadillac. Granted, not the most gun un-friendly place in Michigan. And it was so damn cold it quickly turned into concealed carry…

    • I open carry when I can’t be bothered to go into the safe for my snubbie and my clothes just don’t make the full frame concealable without printing worse than the NYT editorial page.

      One time I drew a TON of attention at Starbucks (before their faux-ban) because I got my jacket stuck on a display rack not once, but twice. Each time it caught, was pulled, and then sprang back with a very loud *TWAAAANNNG!* and instantly all eyes were on me. The 2nd time the rack actually went skittering across the floor.

      But yes, on other occasions nobody has noticed at all. When I lived in Flint, I was having a conversation outside with my neighbor for 10 minutes before she noticed. But she didn’t really care, her husband also has a CPL. I just didn’t have one yet so OC was my only option at the time.

  4. Right on.

    The thing that people like me and you don’t appreciate Robert, is that many people like their privileges. They’re also uncomfortable with what other people will think about them exercising their rights. So, excuses are made about grave “tactical disadvantages”, even when those disadvantages are blown completely out of proportion, while the obvious benefits of OC are willfully ignored.

    I see things changing for the better though. Slowly, but surely.

    • Just out of curiosity, how do you blow a tactical advantage (or disadvantage) out of proportion? In a fight, you either have an advantage or your don’t. You either exploit it properly or your opponent does…or not.

      What all this looks like on paper in the Real Test is moot.

      It’s like the caliber wars and defensive ammo blathering….13.5″ penetration in gel vs 14″ etc. It’s like this holster vs that. All of this stuff breaks down when real DGU’s are examined.

      If OC has a chance of changing a PARTICULAR armed encounter, that has nothing to do with “tactical advantage being out of proportion.” Just like it can be argued that OC may have helped in another particular situation.

      Sorry, man…it’s just that I don’t get all the “one right way” kind of thinking that your post reminded me of…that a lot of people seem to do.

    • When carrying a concealed weapon you have only two tactical advantages 1) No one intending misdeeds knows if you or anyone else in the area is carrying, which 2) May allow you the advantage of surprise in your armed response.

      Therefore it can be and is argued that open carry deprives you of this “tactical advantage” and they are absolutely right, however…

      If you are in the same place under the identical conditions and your EDC is clearly visible due to open carry, what are the odds that any Bad Guy, or even group of Bad Guys, is going to simply move on until they find a similar location with no firearms in evidence? I would suggest those odds are very much in your favor and this is a superior tactical advantage to being able to surprise and defeat a Bad Guy AFTER he decides to make his move. Unless of course you are looking/hoping for a reason to shoot someone.

      Keep in mind that despite what Hollywood likes to portray on television and in movies, Bad Guys, in groups or alone, are intent on committing a particular crime, most often for economic reasons, and the LAST thing they want to do is get in an unnecessary gunfight. Just like cops, what is most important to BGs, generally, is getting home alive at the end of the day. Intentionally confronting an obviously armed individual in a public place, unless they are trying to make their bones with the gang or are just plain stupid, is not likely part of their usual routine.

  5. If the cooked food starts moving on your plate it’s time to put your hand on your gun and unass the place. This sort of thing never goes well in the straight to video horror movies I have,

  6. God I hate this “do you need” argument. At the moment no, I don’t need one. But in the event I do need one I’ll be damn glad I have one.

    “I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.”
    — George Mason, in Debates in Virginia Convention on Ratification of the Constitution, Elliot, Vol. 3, June 16, 1788

    • I usually ask a question right back, “so you must ride the bus, right?”. No one around here rides the bus. Why do you need to have a car, the buses still run?

      • I also hate the “need” argument.

        Nobody needs a bus either. Everyone could walk.

        Nobody needs to live outside of prison. All we need are food, water, and basic shelter. We could all be thrown in a hole, feed enough to stay alive and we have all we need.

        Hell, people in a coma have all they NEED. But life isn’t about what is needed, it’s about what we want to do. As long as those wants do not endanger others, it’s not a legitimate area for government legislation.

    • Driving with a friend of mine once, ex Army Ranger, the topic of gun control came up.

      Ranger: I don’t think anyone needs a machine gun.

      Me: I don’t think you need this 3/4 ton diesel pickup.


      • Perfect response.

        Nobody “needs” a Ferrari. Or a 60″ TV. Or a gaming computer. Or a million other things.

        Or his diesel pickup truck.

      • Perfect response.

        Nobody “needs” a Ferrari. Or a 60″ TV. Or a gaming computer. Or a million other things.

        Or his diesel pickup truck.

      • “It just doesn’t feel right,” he said.

        And that’s the problem – when their “feelings” trump our rights.

        • Many women say it doesn’t feel right to wear white shoes after a certain day, I don’t think men wearing pink feels right, but I don’t get to make laws about it.

    • Freedom isn’t about “needs” anyway. It is about the ability to do as you choose, as long you do not infringe upon others rights to do the same. Keeping and bearing arms does not in and of itself infringe on anyone’s rights. Contrary to liberal thought, feeling “warm and fuzzy” is not a right.

    • I usually throw out ‘Do you need a fire extinguisher? Why? You’ve never had a house fire.’ Much like a fire extinguisher, you don’t need a gun until you do.

      • In 64 years I have had three occasions where I needed (and had and used) a fire extinguisher and three occasions where I was glad I had, but fortunately didn’t actually need, a pistol. I believe the analogy is apt. On the occasion when you actually NEED either of those devices it is too late to go and buy one, and like the police, when seconds count the fire department is only minutes away.

        (Second use of fire extinguisher was to put out a battery fire on a diesel fuel delivery truck. Waiting for the Fire department would have been interesting.)

        • The “fire extinguisher” for the house, and the “spare tire” for the car, are two analogies that I like to use.

          We certainly don’t WANT to have to use any of ’em … but if we do have to use ’em, we’re glad that they’re available.

    • Yup… I didn’t realize we had the Bill of Needs. I must have missed that on my trip to the National Archives.

      • You can find it in the same part of the Constitution that guarantees the “right to not be offended”.

        I think it’s in what they call the “penumbra” …

    • “Whether or not I need it will be decided by someone else at a later date. I had fanned well already have it if and when that happens.”

      I’ve said this many times to folks.

  7. A lawyer that still believes that the Bill of Rights outlines collective rights. I’d bet he’s up for partner in the law firm of Duey, Cheetum, and Howe.

    • Or someone who chases ambulances and employs several doctors to make sure his clients get really positive exams.

      • Nah. His comprehensive misunderstanding of the Constitution indicates to me that he’s a corporate lawyer.

        • Don’t a lot of people consider Obumma a Constitutional scholar? Cause I don’t think it means what they think it means.

    • Generally speaking, when it comes to contracts, a lawyer believes the document means only what he can convince you, and a jury, that it means.

  8. It doesn’t bug them to see the open carried firearm so long as the person doing it has a uniform on.

    It doesn’t bug them to glimpse one in a shoulder holster because they will always figure the person is a police officer or private investigator or body guard or something like that.

    I question whether it would really bug very many people to see pistols in a hip or shoulder holster open carried because of the two above things also. I would suspect most people would assume a valid reason for it.

    Open carry of long guns used to not be a big deal either because people would assume ‘going hunting’ or ‘going to the range’ when they saw a ‘hunting rifle’ or shotgun slung over the shoulder.

    Sometimes I wonder if we need more ‘wood furniture’ for our ARs.

  9. A very compelling argument for a carry style I normally avoid at all costs.

    But maybe not so much in the future.

    We really need to start a nationwide open carry movement. in a huge and unavoidable way.

    • I like the reasoning behind this one. Open carry on the second of every month (at least). If someone has a problem or asks a question, (attempt to) have a rational discussion with them. And, my favorite part, don’t be a d*ck about it.

      Full disclosure: I heard about it first on YankeeMarshal’s YouTube channel. Yes, bring the hate, but I like the idea.

    • I also have avoided open carry for several reasons. I like the idea of “normalizing” the image of Americans carrying firearms. Too often, what I see are people who are hoping to create an incident by carrying an AK or AR into a shopping mall or someplace similar. Really? Is this the image we want to portray to those that haven’t made their minds up about firearms? I know, I know, IT’S MY RIGHT! Keep acting like an ASS and watch what happens to those rights…

      I will have to reconsider my previous stance of opposition to RESPONSIBLE open carry however… As KCK illustrated in his post, appearance does matter. This battle is of the utmost importance and must not be lost.

        • Exactly.

          We have been exceedingly meek, polite, and discrete and we are/were on the brink of widespread, pervasive, voracious, and violent government infringement of our Second Amendment rights.

          Being meek, polite, and discrete has done absolutely nothing for us.

          It is time to be pleasant, assertive, and open about our right to keep and bear arms.

    • I like the idea, but cringe at the thought of all the Mall Ninja’s walking around with AR’s and AK’s, looking to get themselves on YouTube. Some of our 2A “supporters” are our worst PR nightmare. Yes, this is about PR, to those of you who haven’t realized it. We need to demonstrate to the uneducated what responsible gun ownership looks like. Their votes are important.

    • Sometimes I like to be discreet, like when I am going places such as the mall where they might ban me with an open carry pistol, but there are other times when I would be more comfortable not having to ensure my pistol was always concealed.

      Washington state has a theoretical Open Carry status, but it is the policy of most large urban centers (Seattle/Tacoma/Spokane) that their police officers will find a reason to harass and annoy you even though you are not breaking the law. Their intent is obviously to make exercise of your legal right so onerous that you just would rather not bother, which has worked so far in my case since I have better things to do, generally, than argue with LEOs. Another concern, in Seattle at least, is that SPD policy is to take your weapon into “protective custody” while they discuss the situation with you. I really do not want to relinquish my loaded pistol, to anyone I do not know, cop or not, and then have to argue with him if he doesn’t want to give it back. All the while wondering if he will find or manufacture some reason to take me into custody.

      I abhor this sort of police-state tactics, but at present I do not know of a reasonable solution.

      • Cliff,

        Thankfully, you’re flat out wrong about Tacoma police. They have seen me packing in the open multiple years at Freedom Fair and Taste of Tacoma, walking down the street, at the Tacoma Marathon, and at Round Table Pizza (and maybe others I’m forgetting) and have never said a word.

  10. I know this is considered a faux pas in the gun world, but I think in this case I would have, in a very roundabout way, suggested or implied that I may have been armed, just to see what his reaction would be. Some people do freak out, but a lot of them think “Oh wow, this guy that I’ve had a very normal conversation with is carrying a gun, and I had no idea. Maybe my preconceptions about guns and gun owners were slightly off.”

    Then again, considering you told him your profession and he still didn’t get it probably means he is in some serious denial.

    • I suspect that the very fact that RF was debating him on the topic had his alarm bells sounding that it was not a “normal conversation.” He was probably not seeing this as friendly and casual, but was itself some kind of attack.

      I could be wrong. People can be swayed. But I’ve seen the converse, too…that the very act of contradiction confirms all of their stereotypes.

    • I do not concealed carry (I open carry), but I would think that if you’ve had a normal friendly conversation somewhere with a stranger, it does present an opportunity to show that normal, decent folks do carry firearms by mentioning that you’re carrying one.

      I wouldn’t say it completely out of the blue. But if the conversation somehow drifted towards a topic (e.g. crime, self-defense, firearms themselves, etc.) that was related, you could work it into the conversation somehow, IMO.

  11. “We need to do this every day of the week and really brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way.”

  12. After seeing that, I don’t think I’d have stuck around for my lunch. I’m not picky, but I do have SOME standards.

  13. Interesting debate. I would agree more people carrying openly would go some towards normalization. I always was concerned we were forced to concealed as all the bad guys on Saturday afternoon carried concealed. the good guys always open carried.

    Since I am one of the good guys, I would prefer to open carry.

  14. Open carry, everywhere, would be awsome. If commonplace it would no longer be much of a tactical disadvantage.

    In a short time, it would change the entire equation, just like RF said.

  15. Robert, you seem bipolar on the issue of open carry. First you were against it, then you were a big proponent of it, then you got scared that you’d be arrested and were against it again, now you’re a fan of it again. Get yourself a neck brace so the whiplash doesn’t injure you!

    • Unless I’m mistaken (thousands of posts later) I’ve always been for open carry. I ran a series on open carrying in RI back in the day. I gave it up for personal reasons: I’m my daughter’s only care-giver. If I’d been arrested she’d be SOL.

      I look forward to Texas passing open carry, at which time I will OC – with a suitable retention holster and a BUG (if it’s not hotter than Hades).

      • With so much daily content that yesterday’s articles are now page 3, how DARE you not remember a single post from 3 years ago? I want my money back.

        • I remember that post. If memory serves I supported his choice to stop open carry. I was a single parent for many years and the thought of leaving my kids to the tender mercies of the system prevented me from doing all sorts of things that might not have gone so well.

      • Agreed. Great article and much better than clickbait posts asking whether 1911s are worth it or not.

    • Not saying that Robert has changed his mind, but things do change.

      If someone is against open carry, and encounters a very well reasoned argument in favor of open carry, then I’d expect that person to take the new information into account when deciding the stance on open carry.

      This is the same with any position held. When evidence changes, positions need to change. I’m pretty sure that if you drove a route 100 times over a bridge, and on a trip a passenger pointed out that the bridge is gone, that you wouldn’t just drive off into the bridge for the sake of prior consistency. The fact the bridge is out is pretty important evidence you should not ignore.

  16. I’m all for OC where it is legal. For me, I would rather encourage would-be criminals from making an informed decision to NOT try something, rather than letting them make the fatal mistake of tangling with what he may have thought to be a soft target. “I OC so I DON’T have to use it.” Also I never go places with my gun that I wouldn’t go without it.

    Unfortunately I am banned from OC until I can convince my wife to change her stance from “you can have it but I don’t want to see it.” Ironically she was the one who encouraged me to get one for personal/family protection. I need to work on normalizing guns within my walls before thinking about outside.

      • Because a happy wife is a happy life.

        My wife’s only input on carry method is that she forbids me untucking my shirt over the gun. She says it makes me look fat(ter). Yeah.

        So, IWB tucked in or open carry. She’s good with either.

        • my wife carried an AK on the WA state capital lawn. sorry to hear about yours. too many women are 2a hypocrites – “protect me with it but don’t let me see it!”

          (oops replied to the wrong post… I hate how the reply box goes to the bottom of the page)

        • Try it on mobile. If you can stomach typing with your thumbs and auto correct making you look like an a$$ the reply box shows up under the relevant post. Much more gooder.

  17. Most folks walk around in the little matrix movie they have made for themselves. Cuomo and his “No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer” is a great example of it. A privileged elitist snot whose daddy and his connections made Andy’s life in the upper reaches of societal atmosphere possible. He has no real connections outside of his matrix. This lawyer fellow probably floats through the day with only minor if any interactions outside of his fellow elitist aholes. And then most likely only to screw them in court. Their world view, their little matrix, gets all discombobulated when confronted by storylines that violate all they’ve learned and believed. If you had told him you were carrying, he might have had a meltdown right there and then. Crying, screaming, shaking, psh would have set in.

    • Stop focusing on Como. Focus and direct the verbal attack on the people around him… When his support fades, so will he.

  18. I don’t understand, if you’re for OC why not tell the guy you were carrying? It would be worth it to see his reaction and would help him in the normalizing process, seeing gun owners aren’t crazy. I know Texas doesn’t allow open carry yet, but that’s the next best thing.

    • I believe it’s against Texas law to say that you are carrying. It has to remain concealed in every way, even verbally.

    • Bonito flakes on Okonomiyaki me thinks – my ladyfriend (not asian!) actually whipped me up a couple of those as a Christmas present – ridiculously tasty. Not sure where I read about it, but had been dying to try it for years – it did not disappoint. The bonito flakes are really interesting tasting – basically a smoked fish type taste.

  19. Everyone of you, who legally can, should try OC. I do it almost everyday aside from when my job does not allow it. It’s great and you would be amazed at the great conversations it starts with all kinds of pro-gunners who are still stuck in their closets. Homosexuals of this country did not get where they are today by staying in their closets. They did so by being loud, proud, and flaming. This country has now shifted 180 degrees (like it or not) on their sentiments when it comes to LGBT. It needs to for us as well and it won’t do it if we stay in our collective closets. We need to be flaming gay for our guns boys! (LOL – tongue in cheek). Sentiment will change.

    • The LGBT community got where they are by the successes of people like Elton John and Feddie Mercury, etc. And blacks have Jackie Robinson and James Brown to thank more than MLK or Malcom X. It’s hard to hate the group when you admire the individual.

    • Gays have gotten their rights (which I strongly favor) for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that Hollywood is as gay as a San Francisco bathhouse and created a popular culture that’s accepting of gays.

      Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Ned and Grace, Soap, 2 Broke Girls, Oz, Heroes, Lost Girl, The OC, The L Word, Glee, Queer as Folk, and that’s just a few examples from weekly television. If I covered the movies, I’d be typing all day.

      We don’t have that kind of media support, and we never will.

      • One small quibble. 2 Broke Girls doesn’t belong on that list. Both main characters are vehemently and outspokenly hetero. Lost Girl swings both ways, and God bless ’em for it.

          • Well, lots of shows have gay supporting roles or guests. My point was that 2 Broke Girls doesn’t belong on that list because it’s the only show there where the main characters aren’t at least bi.

        • ….I was working up something incredibly witty, but I just realized that I am in the middle of a discussion about 2 Broke Girls on a blog about guns. I’ll be handing in my man card now.

          • OK, but one more quick story. One of my best friends and I get along really well when we go out, in part because our tastes in women run in nearly opposite directions. I like curves and dark hair, and he likes blondes who are often petite, and usually very thin. One day I was telling him something about 2 Broke Girls (naturally, Kat Dennings is right up my alley, certainly more so than Beth Behrs), and he responded, “Oh, is that the show with the hot blonde and that other chick?” I just shook my head, because he just doesn’t get it.

            De gustibus non est disputandum — “In matters of taste, there can be no disputes.”

        • I seem to recall you telling that story in thread from WAY back. My ability to retain information like that is scary…movies, television, books, discussion posts…..

      • For every pro gay movie / show you mention I can site ten or more gun glorifying (arguably pro gun) movies and / or tv shows over decades and decades. For every Elton John there have been scores of John Waynes. Gays did not start making inroads until they started putting themselves out there and in the face of the American people through political activism. I do agree however that the difference between them and us is that they have the media in their back pocket and the MSM hates us with a passion. Open Carry is just a start in the right direction and I believe that we should all be onboard with it. Normalization is huge for us.

  20. The fish flakes are not reanimated. They move when exposed to heat and moisture because they are shaved from dried and salt cured fish. Nothing to be afraid of, they don’t eat brains.

    • A Listerine pocket strip will do the same thing if you lay it out on your palm. Or there’s a thin plastic toy shaped like a fish (as I recall it was supposed to tell your fortune by how it moved).

  21. I was at a business dinner with a colleague who is here on secondment from the UK and he mentioned something about his daughter coming of age soon, and hoping she doesn’t bring home an NRA member for dinner. But then he said (he works in North Carolina) that he knows plenty of “fine” NRA members.

    We had a brief discussion on UK gun laws, and he was very happy that the gun “amnesty” had disarmed the gangs. But then HE (not I) volunteered that the crime rate isn’t down, now people just get stabbed, and that is not OK either. I didn’t want to work too hard on him (everyone at that table was several ladder rungs above me in the chain) so we never got into a real debate, I just placed some nuggets of logic and truth out there for him and the rest to nibble on and made it clear that I’m a gun owner and I do not support increased regulations on guns. I spent a week with this person in meetings, car rides, meals, etc., and I hope that the positive impression I made as a gun owner and a normal human being may rub off on him.

    • “…hoping she doesn’t bring home an NRA member for dinner. But then he said (he works in North Carolina) that he knows plenty of “fine” NRA members.”

      At first I thought they were going to eat said NRA member but then I thought: Wonder what he thinks of Colion Noir?

  22. Open carry is legal in Iowa, but I don’t know of anyone doing it. It’s not just a legal matter but a social one. We have to appease the most hoplophobic in our society so they don’t run away dialing 911. You can eliminate the legal prohibition with a thin majority but to achieve social acceptance you need an overwhelming majority.

      • Robert, interesting question, I think –

        Why don’t you acquire an antique black powder pistol and open carry that from time to time?

        Next, it occurred to me to wonder, if you are open carrying a perfectly legal antique pistol is there any law restricting you from concealed carry of a BGU at the same time? If the answer is no you would not even have to load the antique six-shooter – just carry it cross-draw so it doesn’t get in the way of your EDC.

        Legal opinions?

    • I know several people who open carry here in Iowa. I’m one of them. Don’t do it all the time. But I do do it. Of course it depends on where you live. Most of the time no one notices or cares. The other times it’s people who are interested and supportive.

      • In Michigan, under a democrat governor no less, it was enacted that 911 operators needed to question callers making “man with a gun” calls in order to minimize the chance of sending police response out to confront a man legally open carrying. Operators are to inform callers that it is quite legal to be armed as such in the state. The state also refuses to recognize the federal 1000 foot “gun free school zone” rule.

      • It probably doesn’t help that I live in the tiny liberal enclave of Ames. I’m sure the vast majority would hardly notice around here, but it only takes one hoplophobe…

  23. Food for thought. I’m in the concealed carry camp.

    To Dirks point, the Bill of Rights addresses individual rights

    First, it’s nobody’s business if I’m armed. I’m not a social worker with a need to move people towards a position.

    Second, it’s the unknown that gives me choice under a variation of circumstance. To engaged, deescalate or walk away.

    • Good point, there are many tactical advantages to concealment. Sure, open carry would be ideal, but if we lived in an ideal world we wouldn’t have to debate open carry.

    • “…it’s the unknown that gives me choice under a variation of circumstance. To engaged, deescalate or walk away.”

      See my comment earlier. It is the KNOWN presence of an armed citizen that gives the Bad Guy the choice to engage, or more likely, to walk away. If you are carrying concealed the BG gives you no choice except to decide AFTER he has made his move if you will engage or RUN away. De-escalation would still involve armed encounter that might have been totally unnecessary and walking away during the incident would be highly unlikely. Wouldn’t it be better all around if the incident had been avoided in the first place?

  24. I think having overt gun owners normalizing guns in public helps but I think having some who are more reserved about it is good too. Cuz loud, proud gun people rub certain people the wrong way, but people who keep to themselves about it can change things too. Like if you know somebody for a while before you find out they own guns, then you can’t prejudge them on it. So when you do find out later, it challenges your preconceptions of gun owners.

    I’m like this but I live in Canada so it’s different here anyway. But I live in a big city and I’ve never had anyone react negatively to my owning guns. When people get to know you as a “normal person” and only find out later that you’re not normal, they might see things differently.

  25. I think any step toward normalization is a good thing. As Robert pointed out, as long as they don’t see it happening, they can pretend like it’s not happening.

  26. Loved the babe reference, it always amazes me how many college educated degreed dumbasses there are in the world, and how high they can rise to power in the right circumstances. It kind of seems that a lawyer would want to be armed but I guess it depends on the kind of law you practice. Kind of sad I missed that Dallas Open Carry TX meetup, now that I finished school I have some spare time 🙂

  27. It’s funny. After discovering this website last year I found that while I thought I was absolutely pro-second amendment, I wasn’t. Though this article did not change my mind (I am already firmly in the “open carry is a positive thing” camp), many others have made me not only change my opinion, but also made me re-evaluate and re-confirm why I feel the way I do. This article is an awesome example of the writing Mr Farago does that makes me think. When reading it I hear a soothing voice in my head (def not yours, Robert…sorry) and it all just makes sense.

    Gush-fest over.

  28. I’ve always thought open carry was stupid. But this article is very persuasive and makes me think about it a new way.

    …and hey, it doesn’t even call out liberals or leftists or point the finger at anybody other than people against guns, the antigun folks.

    Great article!

  29. That looks like an incompletely steamed cockroach in the middle of that….. (what is it?…. an over easy egg?….)


    -“Why do you need a gun?”
    -“Why do you need to make it hard for me to get a gun?” – FTW

    • Yep – eggs. Not sure what the green-ish garnish thing is… but the moving stuff = bonito flakes – just moving due to re-hydration / heat I believe. Okonomiyaki – ridiculously tasty treats right there.

  30. As far as I know no one is legally carrying YET in Illinois. If I see someone open carrying I assume (rightly or wrongly) they’re a cop or a guard. I like in Cook County,Illinois. Most people are blissfully unaware. Kinda like the enormous cadre of sheep who constantly wear headphones all the time. If you can open carry Do IT.

  31. If you have to keep your right concealed from view, it really doesn’t exist. It you aren’t allowed to conceal your right from view, it still doesn’t exist. The option belongs in the hand of the one exercising their rights.

  32. During some of the first days after Wisconsin got both CC & open carry a young man walked into the bank with a 1911 on his hip, THATS when you know you live in a free state. Open carry “is” intimidating, as it should be. We could push our cause selling girlscout cookies, but being nice & carrying a big stick is the warning that tends to get through.

  33. As my daughter, she owns a phd in chemistry, likes to say, it is BS, MA, PHD. Bullshit, More shit, Pile it Higher and Deeper.

  34. I agree with RF that our tactical move needs to deal with the view of non-gunners first but also influence anti-gunners.
    What we project in that regard is critical. And in order of my personal preference, the following:
    1. Khakis and Polo professional look , Glock 19,26 or M&P Compact etc. in a nice OWB holster. Projecting, not LEO but just as safe.
    2. Ladies as ladies dress. Gun size, proportional, Projecting, women need self-protection too.
    3. Jeans and T-shirt (clean) casual but responsible. Same equipment as above. Projecting purposeful competence.
    4. Long Bearded, pot belly, leather vest, well used jeans with a cocked and locked 1911. Projecting, slight anti-government slant. (I see ’em all the time)
    5. Dressed whatever, AR slung on back. Projecting: this guy is dangerous or trying to make some political point by some stupid stunt.
    6. #5 plus camo and tactical vest. Projecting, I’m a nut.
    7. #6 but all black and a balaclava. Prjecting, I AM dangerous.

    Yeah yeah stereotypes all the way, but used to our advantage.

    • I would propose an edit to #5 to state he/she is alone. In the case of Texas, a gathering of such people is exactly what they need.

      Personally I am somewhere around #1, only with a 1911 in condition 1. It WILL be an XD(m) compact .45, but that’s just because I’m getting tired of hauling around 3 pounds of iron.

    • KCK: Agreed. Use it to advantage. Our society at large is so trained to have an emotional response to visual stimuli that it is low hanging fruit to utilize stereotypes to advantage. That and the fact that intellectual, conceptual arguments would be lost on them.

    • I fit category #3 and I would like to comment that in addition to all of this should be considered that the tool has to be appropriate to the job requirement.

      Just as a lone wolf wandering around with an MSR for no particular reason is disconcerting, open carry pistols should be reasonable and probably NOT a giant pistol in a thigh holster, .454. Casull, .50 S&W, .50 Deagle, etc.

      • But if that’s all you have… Again, that’s drawing a line where I don’t necessarily think there should be one.

        Although I personally think thigh holsters are pretty stupid, unless you’re wearing body armor (because armor or a heavily laden tac-vest make it difficult to draw from the waist).

  35. Let’s deal with collective rights thing. The concept of collective rights is a product of the early 20th Century Progressive movement. It would be totally alien to an 18th Century American. If the Second Amendment was about Militias it would not be a “Second Amendment.” It would probably be placed as a clause in the 10th stating that the States’ right to form a militia could not be infringed. The Militia is established in Article I Section 8. There is no need for a Second Amendment if it only applied to collective bodies, i.e., the States.

    Progressives reject the concept the individual and individual rights. Everything is about groups. That is why folks like ST and Dirk are considered sellouts for not following the group leaders on any number of issues. We must remember that Progressive is nothing more than a synonym for Fascist. Remember the first Progressive hero was not Lenin but Mussolini.

    • Mussolini made the trains run on time, and he made a great Trippa alla Romana. Or so I’ve heard.

      Hey, isn’t Mussolini’s grandson the Governor of the State of New York?

  36. ”If you have nothing to hide why would you be against registering your guns?”
    If you’re not planning for gun confiscation, why do you need gun registration?

  37. The country has gone cuckoo-bonkers. When the Second was written, honest men openly carried their guns while footpads and highwaymen concealed theirs.


    Back on topic: I support peoples right to carry openly but I wouldn’t open carry. Mainly because that would make you a priority target to any madman bent on shooting innocents.

  39. The Founding Fathers didn’t envision modern media, (radio, TV, Internet, etc) and yet the First Amendment applies to those.

    The Founding Fathers didn’t envision electronic communications, much less electronic storage of documents, and the Fourth Amendment applies to those.

    The Founding Fathers didn’t envision abortion on demand, and yet the SCOTUS found that right lurking in the “penumbras” and “emanations” of other rights in the Bill of Rights.

    As for the idiotic “collective rights” interpretation of the Second: Let’s get this over and done with: All nine justices on the SCOTUS rejected the collective rights argument. That’s the important thing about Heller: Even the dissents rejected the collective rights nonsense. Collective rights interpretation of the Second is done, over with, 9-0.

    • Exactly, DG, or in a term liberals have of late become fond of wielding: it’s the law of the land.

  40. I’ve open carried for the past few years every time the weather is good (several months a year in Washington State). I go to big events, restaurants, farmer’s markets, stores, etc. Folks like those who frequent this website and love guns make a bigger deal about it than anyone else.

    • That’s because some of it still don’t have it as an option. So I will guard your option to do so jealously, because someone else losing the ability is one step away from me ever getting it.

      • I don’t agree.

        Many lovers of the Second Amendment don’t open carry, so it’s just foreign and “a big deal” for them. Additionally, many who have only carried concealed are bigoted in their opinion of carry. This doesn’t tend to work the other way—i.e., people who open carry are perfectly tolerant of those who choose to carry concealed only.

        • Jay, I second this … it really baffles me how some pro-gun folks have such vitriol against open carry. I almost never see an open carrier bashing concealed carry.

    • Jay, I have to wonder what portion of Washington you open carry in. Legal or not you will spend a significant portion of your day discussing your open carry decision with law enforcement in Olympia, Tacoma, SeaTac, Seattle or Spokane. In many of these places the police will try very hard to provoke you into some behavior that will justify your arrest and the confiscation of your pistol. That’s assuming you don’t do something they can justify as threatening so they can shoot your ass.

      You can openly smoke marijuana on the Capital mall in Olympia, but I would not recommend walking past with an open carry pistol, yet both are perfectly legal under Washington law.

  41. ‘“I know we’re in Austin, but there are millions of guns all around you.’” He looked around. “’It just doesn’t feel right,’ he said.”

    Replace “guns” with any other legally protected status, such as gays, women, handicapped, minorities, and so forth, and see how far that gets you in polite society. Ahhh, but it’s guns, the evil tools of a backward notion from a bygone era. Right up there with bills of attainder and letters of marque and reprial, don’t you find? So all is well.  Well.

    I disagree and I’ll go even farther: the entire concealed carry license system is an apparatus of apartheid. (Oh no he didn’t!) It segregates citizens based on which rights they hold most dear and choose to exercise.  No other Constitutional right suffers this flagrant indignity of hidden exercise!

    Freedom of speech isn’t confined to silent missives, hand written and furtively spirited around. Freedom of assembly isn’t relegated to back woods and mountain tops, unseen and unheard by those whose attention is sought. The right to a public trial isn’t tethered to an illogical mandate that it be conducted in private.

    And yet, the right to keep and bear arms gets wrapped up in unconstitutional concealment, an act that disrupts its exercise and blights its legitimacy. It’s as unconscionable as it is unconstitutional.

  42. I open carry in Delaware, which is far from the most gun-friendly state. We have numerous bills that legis-critters are trying to pass that heap further infringements on the RKBA. But we don’t have a prohibition on open carry. And I take advantage of it.

    I don’t dress like a cop, but I don’t dress like a thug either. I wear clean, non-torn jeans and whatever shirt I feel like. Half the time my shirt has a sports team name on it. I just dress like a normal guy, because that’s what I am.

    Robert, much thanks to you for writing this. The more that “normal people” open carry, the better off we all will be. Concealed carry is great – I have nothing against it – but it does absolutely zero to normalize carrying a firearm in public, unless you casually mention it in conversation (and with the “concealed means concealed” comments from some folks, I have to wonder how often that actually happens).

    If we all hide the carrying of our firearms, we will never help other people realize that we are normal folks, just like they are. The difference is that we take responsibility for our own self-defense. We realize that police officers are not personal bodyguards and are not responsible for our safety. And even if they were legally obligated to help, in the vast majority of situations, they are at least a few minutes away if not more.

    True open carry is part of the political fight. I’m not talking about the demonstrations that some folks do – I’m talking about normal everyday carry. OC is not a political demonstration, but it can help change culture, and that can help with our political goals.

    I hope that the folks in SC, TX and FL (not to mention NY, IL, etc.) are able to legally open carry soon. I hope the rest of you, if possible, take advantage of the ability to open carry and do so from time to time.

  43. To Robert Farago:

    Although you can’t open carry your pistol yet in Texas, you can wear a t-shirt or button that states you are lawfully armed.

    I know I would do that in Texas or Florida if I were there. I do enjoy OC’ing here in Georgia.

    It’s time the few outlyer states finally legalize open carry of handguns. I do believe it’s coming soon in Texas.

  44. I’ve only seen one mention in all this love fest for open carry about the GFSZA. Now I have no idea which states enforce it and which do not–but California is one that most certainly does. And even if it were legal to openly carry a handgun in an urban area, it is impossible to go anywhere without violating the Act. I cannot leave my house openly carrying without violating the act, as there is a school just down the street. A map I saw of San Francisco demonstrates the impossibility of open carry in that town, and the same is true for large areas of LA and even Fresno. Thus open carry is essentially a pointless exercise, or a felony, take your pick.

    [Open of concealed carry of handguns is legal in unincorporated areas, other wise hunting would be impossible. However, openly carrying loaded firearms in incorporated areas was outlawed in 1968, and open unloaded was made illegal in 2012 for handguns and 2013 for long guns. These two laws were the direct result of people openly carrying handguns in an attempt to preserve their rights under the law. That openly carried guns are no longer in fashion was noted by the majority decision in Peruta.]

    • Which reflects on the unconstitutionality of the gun free school zones and their attendant 1000 foot buffer. Some states have decided to not recognize the buffer zone as legitimate.

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