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If you read Brandon’s earlier post detailing five reasons he’ll never open carry a gun you’ll know it provoked more than the usual number of comments. And if you follow frequently discussed gun topics regularly, you probably know that the advisability of open carry is #3 on the controversy hit parade right behind .45 ACP vs. 9mm and 1911 vs. GLOCK. Reader Aerindal disagreed with some of Brandon’s points and has written his own five-point defense of open carry . . .

1. Deterrence

The first rule of not being a victim is not looking like a victim. This is one of basic laws of nature and one that most of us learn in grade school. The best way to avoid a fight is to look like you can win one.

Except for the very rare mass murder

the goal of virtually every criminal is to make a profit, not to get in a gunfight. They want to take the least risk for the highest amount of gain. Plan A is never to get into a gun fight. They don’t mug cops and they don’t hold up the local gun store during business hours. They look for places where they feel that they have the upper hand.

Obviously there are always the odd exceptions, but clearly, the vast majority of the time a criminal will avoid a deadly confrontation if they can. We all know that predators target gun-free zones. When everyone conceals, every zone is gun-free until proven otherwise. With open carry everywhere you go becomes a known “We have guns!” area.

2. Education

It may have escaped some people’s notice, but gun owners are in a fight for survival these days with increasing pressure and hatred mounting against us in the media and the political world. Now some people think that the best way to cope with this is to lay low and try and fly under the radar, hoping that when the authoritarians and fascists start looking for someone to kick, that they’ll pass us by. I Just don’t see that happening.

If you look at other civil rights movements, it becomes pretty obvious that those groups only had their rights restored to them after they went public. It isn’t until people stop hiding who they are and come out of the closet that any progress can be made.

You would be amazed how many people in a gun-friendly open carry state like Montana are not aware that open carry is legal, and not just in the technical sense, but as something that you can actually do on a day-to-day basis without being arrested. Every time I go into town OCing it’s a chance to help educate someone who may be pro-carry, but not educated about it the way most of us are.

There is nothing you can do to change the minds of the dedicated gun haters, but there are a lot of gun-curious people out there who don’t carry, but in general support gun ownership if only in a vague kind of way.

3. It’s a great way to meet new friends

Yeah, I know, it sounds weird, but ever since I started open carrying people are a lot nicer to me in public. Not that I was getting kicked around or anything before, but generally I wasn’t the kind of person that anyone would try and strike up a conversation with in the checkout line. But since I started OCing people seem a lot more willing to talk to me, and it’s about the gun only about half the time. I admit I can’t really explain this one, but I feel more a part of my community than I ever did before.

4. Practicality

It’s possible to conceal just about every firearm if you really want to – yes even an AR – but most people don’t want to go through the effort to conceal a large gun and so the concealed carriers of the nation generally are packing small, lightweight guns. The only problem is that, as we all know, bigger, heavier guns are easier to shoot and they hold more rounds.

It’s that simple. Larger guns are better weapons than smaller guns. Sure, you can compensate for some of this with training, but that same training would make you that much better with a full-sized pistol. All guns make compromises but compact and sub-compact guns make the most.

5. It’s the foundation of what the 2A means

There is a reason that in the large majority of states, concealed carriers require government permission to carry and open carriers do not. Traditionally, a concealed weapon meant assassins, criminals and cowards. When gun control started (outside of the southern states where it was primarily based on racism) it was theoretically meant to control criminal activity, and as we all should know, criminals conceal their weapons. They hide who and what they are and then they use the element of surprise to attack.

Now I’m not saying that people with conceal carry permits are criminals. We all know thats not true. But I am saying that traditionally ethical people operate in the open which is why free and open carry was much harder to ban than conceal carry. Prohibiting open carry was considered a step too far, even in states that had no qualms about eliminating conceal carry.

As the Heller decision determined, a ban on carry outside the home is a de facto ban on guns and thus unconstitutional. Without open carry, a licensed conceal carry-only situation is tantamount to gun registration. It means that you have no constitutional right to carry, but may only do so with the government’s permission.

In short open carry is the last vestige we have left of “Shall not be infringed.” Use it or lose it.

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    • I would strongly disagree with your #1 pick, that the highest priority is deterrence.
      Mine would be situational awareness. You don’t need to win the fight that you are not in.
      That doesn’t mean that winning an unavoidable fight isn’t in the list. Just not at the very top. And that changes the whole discussion from there on down.

      • Agree, but the article makes a good point “The best way to avoid a fight is to look like you can win one.” I’m 6’4″ and 230 pounds with 10% body fat because I work out a lot and I look big and strong. A friend of mine is a cop, and told me there are guys like me that just give off a vibe that says that I’m not one to be messed with, although I really don’t understand why because I am a nice guy.

        HOWEVER, I have zero interest in an altercation, so, like you, I practice being aware of who is around me. If we are out dancing and someone with a little too much to drink is feeling their oats, I am the first to apologize. Being aware of what is going on around you is number 1, but looking like you can win a fight is something worth having on your side, and everyone can get into shape at the gym, take a beginner MMA class, boxing class or kick boxing class so you know what its like to get hit and you know how to take the fight to the bad guy if escape is no longer an option.

        • But this doesn’t cover everyone – would a 65 year old (regardless of sex) be able to get strong & train enough to defeat someone your age & condition in a fight? What about an amputee or other physical handicap? This is why firearms – they are a force equalizer.

        • “The best way to avoid a fight is to not be there.”

          A fight can find you.

          Home invasions happen. At night (while most folks are sleeping).

          Avoidance is a laudable goal…one we should all strive for to the degree it is possible.

          But saying “don’t be there” is unrealistic and unhelpful in the most general sense.

    • +1 more, and This all day long —

      “As the Heller decision determined, a ban on carry outside the home is a de facto ban on guns and thus unconstitutional. Without open carry, a licensed conceal carry-only situation is tantamount to gun registration. It means that you have no constitutional right to carry, but may only do so with the government’s permission.”

    • But if you make the purpose of open carrying to irritate and cause hatred then you are no better than those who despise you. Sure it’s a great side benefit, but hopefully it’s not your main purpose.

        • Bullshit.

          I know a bunch of people who open carry, and not a one of them is interested in irritating anyone. Most open carry because they have no interest in participating in de facto registration, or prefer not to be treated like a criminal in order to exercise a constitutional right.

        • I know a bunch of people who open carry, and not a one of them is interested in irritating anyone.

          Yep, I’m one. I open carry for several reasons, but mainly because I simply prefer it to CC. The last place I went today before I came home was Kroger. No one cared, and this was in a nice mid-Michigan suburb store full of soccer moms and kids.

        • @Roymond: Spot on. Of all the reasons I OC, irritating people or attracting attention don’t even make the list. It’s nice to just be armed, without being concerned about the privilege of a license, and being completely ignored in regards to the tool on your hip while you go about your business. Really, most people don’t even notice…And that’s fine by me.

      • @gman
        “But if you make the purpose of open carrying to irritate and cause hatred then you are no better than those who despise you”
        -If me carrying a gun causes somebody to hate me, being an American Citizen not a subject, then they are exactly what I carry a gun in defense from.

        The statist already hate gun owners, so SCREW THEM. The article the other day about calling people your enemies highlighted their fear towards armed Americans, and they should because of this:

        ” but gun owners are in a fight for survival these days with increasing pressure and hatred mounting against us in the media and the political world”

        It is impossible to oppress an armed people, unless those people are so neutered they sacrifice their tools of Liberty for theater of state security.

      • Fact: shannon already hates me b/c I am Black, conservative and a gun owner. As for open carry, I only want to do it around her b/c I would rather enjoy her throwing a temper tantrum when she can’t get her way. It is foreplay

      • Fact: shannon already hates me b/c I am Black, conservative and a gun owner. As for open carry, I only want to do it around her b/c I would rather enjoy her throwing a temper tantrum when she can’t get her way. It is foreplay

      • you mean how the gay rights movement won their battles not by sitting quiet but by having the most flamboyant and ostentatious gay pride parades and protests imaginable?

        • POTG could do well to emulate LGBT tactics. Considering that LGBTs represent somewhere around 3-5% of the population, accomplishments have been astounding.

          Tactics included:
          * protests, demonstrations, and disruption
          * ‘get out the vote’, financial support, and involved candidate forum participation
          * boycotts
          * litigation
          * outreach
          * volunteerism, neighborhood cleanups, etc.
          and many, many others.

          Frustrating because I’ve seen massive changes in public perception since oh – the Anita Bryant days. But unlike the gay rights movement, I see comparatively little active involvement by most gun owners. Many complainers, but very few willing to write letters, meet with public officials, or other pro-2A actions.

          Interestingly, the POTG activists I see are from the battled-hardened LGBT community such as Pink Pistols.

          Ross Perot’s question is still valid: Are we just going to talk about it [gun rights] or do something about it?

      • Better question: Dirk – do you appendix carry or is that something else?

        I like Shannon flustered b/c it gets a little color in her cheeks. And she does look better with a little color in her. 🙂

  1. I like the #2 point. It’s probably the only reason I’d open carry. Looking forward to Jan 1. Texas has open carry then.

  2. We PotG ought to STOP thinking about OC in terms of: – combat tactics.
    Instead, we ought to START thinking about OC for: – political strategy.

    We are apt to be of different schools-of-thought regarding the combat tactics of OC. We are, after all, very different people. Some of us have considerable training in guarding an OC gun; e.g., police or military. Others do not and would not acquire the skills and habits. All of this is very well. Different tactics for different folks.

    Let’s look at those who do not and would not acquire the skills and habits. Should these people NEVER OC? How about at an OC Gun-Rights parade or demonstration. Couldn’t these people OC in a parade/demonstration surrounded by other better trained and habituated OCiers? How about when walking the dog on a pleasant evening? Shouldn’t we imagine that these untrained people would have enough situational awareness to control their gun if a stranger approached them on the path?

    In my mind, what OC gives the Gun-Rights movement that can’t be otherwise obtained is an immunization of society to civilian guns in the public square. The ideal state I’m imagining is that everyone sees a couple of OCiers on each excursion to the public square. After 5 – 10 years of such observation the general public will become as immune to civilians OCing as they are to police OCing. Subconsciously, seeing a civilian OCing will become unremarkable.

    Once so immunized there will remain the small fringe of foaming-at-the-mouth Antis. However, their vitriol will fall on deaf ears. The general public will remain aware of news reports of:
    – police shooting suspects in the streets on a regular basis; but,
    – civilians shooting assailants or bystanders in the streets rarely and almost never without a self-defense pretext.

    It is totally UN-necessary for ALL (or even most) of us to OC ALL (or most of) the time. If just a few percent of carriers OC 10% of the time we should be able to reach the goal I propose. Suppose half of us never OC. Some of us OC on special occasions: demonstrations; parades; Memorial Day or Independence Day. Though un-trained and un-habituated these should be able to do so in safety. (Carry AirSoft guns on such occasions if really squeamish.) The remainder can OC more-or-less regularly according to the circumstances.

    Ask yourself: How else (other than by OC) can we immunize the general public from hoplophobia?

    By all means, if you have a better idea then let’s hear it! Promotion of hunting is nice; but it communicates that civilian guns are fine in the fields. It does nothing to communicate that civilian guns are acceptable in the public square. Promotion of marksmanship is nice; it communicates that civilian guns are fine at the range; not in the public square. Promotion of concealed-carry for self-defense is nice; it communicates that civilian guns are supposed to remain out-of-sight and out-of-mind. Boxers or briefs? Well, that’s just something that we don’t talk about in polite company. Guns and underwear are taboo subjects to speak of.

    • “We PotG ought to STOP thinking about OC in terms of: – combat tactics.
      Instead, we ought to START thinking about OC for: – political strategy.”

      We need to start thinking about OC in terms of fashion sense. If we can get women to open carry it’ll be the new “Coach” purse craze (except it will be more understandable to me).

      • I’ve never understood why a couple pieces of fabric sewn together by slave labor with a label slapped on it costs more than a many guns, which are made of metal and are designed to contain small explosions.

        • That is an easy question to answer. Vanity, is a much easier tool to use for division. A 10,000 purse allows the materialism to overwhelm moralism. A gun kind of ends immoral behavior rather rickity tick.

          A gun is a symbol of independence with a responsibility to protect good people against indifferent cowards. A 10,000 purse just reinforces that indifference, because they are made by slaves.

      • I wish my wife would buy guns the way she does purses. “Oh, you’re going to change styles again? I’ll take care of cleaning the old one up.” I wouldn’t even care if they were in girly colors. That’s what they make Duracoat for.

    • Even if you are convinced that OC will get your gun stolen and used against you, on certain occasions (parties, protests) you should have a full-sized BBQ gun or whatever to OC unloaded, while continuing to CC your real EDC. Let’s get the uninvolved/uninterested acclimated, the question will go away. And after you do that for a few hundred hours without incident, you may discover all the shouting about the awful results of OC are as overblown as the awful results of CC were 30 years ago. And load up!

      • Just get a solid retention holster (and practice your draw with an empty gun). It will help build confidence against the fear of gun grabs. The biggest obstacle after that is the “OMG, everyone will notice me!” concern that dissipates rather quickly when you finally do OC and discover how many people don’t notice, don’t care or actually approve of you carrying.

        Disclaimer: I am in AZ; your “shock and awe” experience may vary based upon your location and the degree to which those before you have normalized OC.

    • Well said. Most of the time I cc because my comfort zone is simply to blend in and go about my business. However, I’ve made a point to OC once in a while precisely because of the political climate.

      Living in AZ I don’t feel like there’s a daily pressure to take away gun rights here, but on the other hand we do have more to lose. And I think we are in a position of ambassadors of 2A freedoms on the national stage. I’m conscious of both of these things when I OC.

      I like to OC my handsome Springfield 1911 because the rosewood grips look nice. I make a point to be extra courteous, to tip well at restaraunts, etc. Otherwise, I pretty much just go about business as usual. I don’t evangelize, wear pro-gun or political shirts or try to actively draw attention, though I have found myself in a few polite conversations with people because of the gun on my hip. The most common question is “what are you carrying?”

      My OC experiences have been universally positive. While I don’t disagree with the general sentiments of the tactical advantages of CC, OC feels like what I need to do once in a while to help win the culture war against guns.

  3. Here’s a fun almost open carry video. By almost open carry i mean the pistol; is so blatenly visable that the perp just walks up behind him and grabs it:

    Can’t say that open carriers are never assaulted for their firearms because they are

    • OK, that’s one example.

      How does that one example apply to the millions of other gun owners as far as what they should or shouldn’t do? Yes it makes for a good learning moment, but I fail to see how it can be used as the basis for telling anyone else what or how they ought or ought not to do something.

    • Can’t say that open carriers are never assaulted for their firearms because they are

      Has anyone who supports open carry actually made the argument that open carriers are never assaulted for their firearms?

    • Right. Guy failed in his personal responsibility to OC properly. It does not lead to the conclusion that therefore we should not have OC. I know that’s not what you said, but it is pointed in that direction…

      It does seem like it needs to be made clear that OC is *optional*. I get the feeling reading objections to OC, that so many of those making the case seem to feel a pressure to OC, if it is legal, or otherwise seem to feel threatened by it.

      I see Brandon’s article in the same way that I would see an article titled, “Five Reasons I’ll Never Carry IWB”. A personal preference, not a first principle.

    • The exception that proves the rule. Millions of citizens openly carrying every day, not to mention the police. Once in a while you run into a Michael Brown type who thinks it’s a good idea to try to disarm someone. Meanwhile, deterrence is nearly impossible to measure because no police report gets filed when a thug decides not to commit a crime after seeing an armed citizen.

      • @curtis
        “Once in a while you run into a Michael Brown type who thinks it’s a good idea to try to disarm someone.”

        That is why situational awareness is a must. A person can grab for my open carried gun, but then they will find that when they touched my gun, my hand was going for the knife that is now sticking through their throat.

        I open carry and conceal carry my back up gun, and if some american’t says something to me they don’t get a polite response back, as they are not my American countrymen.

    • But your example is theoretically CC, demonstrating that CC does not prevent having your gun stolen, either. I guess the answer is to just leave your gun in the safe, huh?

  4. I’m personally growing tired of the argument that if you’re visibly armed you’ll be the first person shot by an attacker. This might apply to a gang fight where the aggressors are expecting to get shot at and willing to die, but otherwise there just isn’t any data to back this up, and precious few anecdotes. Criminal predators are cowards who avoid fair fights. Animals facing a threat will instinctively show their teeth and make themselves look formidable.

    • Quite a few people take it as an article of faith that OCers are a first target. The reality is more complex.

      In some scenarios, the OCer will be missed by the perps because they did not have line of sight to his/her gun.
      In other scenarios, the OCer may well be the first target by determined perps who performed thorough recon.
      In yet other scenarios, the sight of an OCer may cause the perps to flee.

      There are infinite ways things can play out, so one cannot make a blanket statement that OCers are targeted first.

      • “There are infinite ways things can play out, so one cannot make a blanket statement that OCers are targeted first.”

        And yet it remains often repeated as a FACT that OC-ers will be targeted first.

        We bash the anti’s for ignoring data and bleating emotionally; we have a good bit of that on our side, as well.

        If someone does not want to OC because they BELIEVE they will be targeted first, that’s their own look-out.

        It becomes problematic when they (and a LOT of them DO this) get on sites like this one (and many others) and preach to others why they should not OC because “it makes you the first target.”

        Freedom does get messy…

  5. I do occasionally b/c it is generally more comfortable. I am going to have to get some nicer looking guns and make them part of my sartorial choices.

    • Yep. And, IMHO, OC reminds criminals and would-be tyrants that the People are armed. CC leaves them guessing who and how many. Both are necessary and a good mixture is optimal in a free society.

      I really wish that the People would’ve put a stop at this infringement nonsense when CC first was subject to it. OC, CC, or both at the same time; shall not be infringed.

    • Yes. YES. AND YES.

      Plus a few billion. At least.

      PLEASE repeat this in every OC debate that comes up here.

      Arguments for/against one or the other are by far most of the time nothing more than personal preference to a given set of circumstances coupled with a LOT of hot air nonsense to “rationalize” the decision so others can validate it.

  6. Just because I’m open carrying does not mean that I’m not also concealed carrying. If you make a try for my open carry gun, you most certainly meet the criteria of an armed criminal threatening my life, in which case you might get a chance to see my concealed gun in action.

  7. 2. Education – I can certainly attest to the benefits of OC for the public education benefits. Questions ranging from what’s the best first gun to buy and how much to “gee, I didn’t know that was legal” happen daily. 99.99% of my encounters are completely positive.

    • Gman,

      Keep in mind that people who have a hysterical fear of firearms will most assuredly avoid you like the plague and the last thing they would ever do is get close to you and strike up a conversation about anything. That is, I suspect, a large part of the reason that nearly everyone who engages you is pleasant and curious.

      • Agreed, but in my considerable experiences this is a very rare event here in VA. Actually I can only count 1 & 1/2 times in 5 years. A young college gal gasped at the sight of my sidearm only to have her boyfriend chastise her to grow up (1). And a women approached me and asked if I knew my hammer was cocked and proceeded to tell me that it could go off and shoot someone (1/2). And then you ask, well how do I know that others weren’t just avoiding me? Situational awareness. I keep a very good outlook from horizon to horizon and am certain that just isn’t happening. Now, what they are mumbling to themselves, I cannot say, but they are not scurrying to avoid me like the plague.

        • And here we have one more reason to carry a 1911 instead of a Glock! She would not have seen the cocked hammer on the Glock, therefore an experience would have been missed. How’s that for a stretch?

      • I’ve found that if it is somewhere that the OCer regularly goes, the hysterical one will eventually tell about their discomfort to another member of their group. Enough people have seen me OC over the years that they explain to that one, “Oh, that’s just John. He is always armed. It’s no big deal.” Over time, even the hysterical ones come to grips with it. Sometimes, they even get over their fears and become interested… sometimes. With the completely rabid anti-gun progressives or the entrenched Fudd conservatives there is no solution. They aren’t going to budge no matter what you wear, how you act, or what you say. They will settle for nothing less than complete obedience and subservience to the State regarding bearing arms.

      • So true. One of the guys I see at the range said the he recently purchased an old BB rifle as a prop for a western-themed party. As he stepped out of the antique store with barrel pointed toward sky, pedestrians scattered.

        Yes – Silicon Valley, California.

        • While here in Michigan a local church recently held a “Western” Sunday where members of the congregation wore their loaded pistols openly (rather than concealed–yes, legal with permission) and dressed the part.

          Leftists are insane (and often Marxist, but that’s another argument).

  8. Aerindal has some solid points.

    I think his “Education” point is compelling. If we constrain ourselves only to concealed carry in an attempt to pacify people who vocally despise firearms: we may win the short term “battle” at the expense of losing the long term “war” for our right to keep and bear arms.

    Just look at California and New York: gun grabbers want to eliminate all options to keep and bear arms. Is anyone really going to argue that open carry of firearms precipitated their full-on assault on our right to keep and bear arms?

  9. I open carry regularly in – wait for it…


    Yeah. The way the law is written, open carry is completely legal here. Many people don’t know that. Even other gun owners.

    Once you show the fine print, that the license we’re forced to get is a License to Carry, and that all the related laws simply say “carry” or “possess”, with no mention of concealment, brandishing, or any of that nonsense, it’s like suddenly light bulbs turning on over people’s heads.

    Currently you can open carry in rural areas without issue, but as you go into the cities where there’s more crime and more hoplophobes, that’s where you start to have more problems. That’s where people start to CC, when really, we should OC more.

    I firmly believe that if I can open carry in a state like Massachusetts, there’s still hope for the 2A. People just need to be exposed to it.

    • As a fellow captive of the Commonwealth, I approve of your message. 🙂

      OC is legal in MA. In rural areas, it will not provoke a police response. In the cities and towns, “flashing” will provoke a police response but will not be grounds for an arrest. I know of several cases where a firearm was unintentionally exposed, the mighty po-po responded, lectured the carrier after checking his LTC, and then went back to the cop shop to have a donut. It would take egregious behavior by the carrier to cause an arrest, usually for some bogus charge like disturbing the peace.

      However, the Chief LEO who issued the LTC has the power also to revoke the LTC. So it’s wise not to rub him the wrong way.

      • The more people that see a gun in everyday places not killing anyone, the deeper into the cities we’ll be able to go without that police response.

        Also; Only way to rub the chief in the wrong way is to get on his radar in the first place. Only way THAT happens is if someone dials 911 due to your firearm.

        We gotta desensitize people to seeing guns.

    • So, what you really mean is that MA has LICENSED open carry. You didn’t mention that, had me going for a minute. Jan 1, we in TX will also have licensed open carry, but let’s not forget that quite a few states which claim OC are not talking about licensed, none is involved. Thus, I think we should distinguish between the two. Just sayin’ …

      • The reason I don’t distinguish is because in MA, you’re barely allowed to even look at a gun without a license. Without it, you can’t carry either way. Once you have the license, then you have your 2A right to carry how you want like other states do. At that point, the OC vs CC debate is the same.

      • so —

        LOC = Licensed Open Carry
        COC = Constitutional Open Carry

        Or perhaps better:

        OC = Constitutional Open Carry
        OC(L) = Open Carry (licensed)

        The term that represents what should be the standard should be the one that’s easier to type.

        • OC(L) = Open Carry (licensed)

          The term that represents what should be the standard should be the one that’s easier to type.

          I like OC(L) = Open Carry (licensed) and would advocate OC(C) = Open Carry (Constitutional). Whenever you have one modifier “. . . (L)” it is best to have symmetric modifiers “. . . (C)”. If you don’t follow a symmetric-modifiers convention then you will all too often create confusion. A reader will read just “OC” and assume something other than what you intended. E.g., he is apt to assume that it means Open Carry irrespective of the legal regime (Licensed vs. Constitutional).

          Given that gun control is federated we have lots of different regimes. E.g., Licensed is Shall-Issue, May-Issue and Won’t-Issue. E.g., “CC(LS)”, “CC(LM)” and “CC(LW)”.

    • Warlocc-
      Like Ralph I’d like to applaud you for having the cojones to open carry here in the People’s Republic of Mass. I’m curious to what part of the state you live in, and how much attention you get. I’m in the south shore and after the 8+ mo it took me to *legally* own the guns I moved here with I’m not in a hurry to have some dip $h!t call 911 on me .

      • I’m about halfway between Boston and Cape Cod. Right in the thick of things.

        I never seem to attract much attention, though. The ones that notice at all are usually talking to me already and either just stare, ask if I’m a cop or security officer (I’m the latter, so I have that working for me), or say something along the lines of “Nice piece”.

        As of yet, I’ve had no negative experiences outside of some lady giving it a dirty look, as if it was a separate person. But to be fair, I don’t go into the dense cities almost at all.

  10. actually I open carried as a cop for a couple of decades. I was also involved in enough fist fights where the perp attempted to grab my gun from the holster that when I carried a revolver, the first round in the cylinder rotation was empty just to give me a better chance. After i changed to carrying a semi-auto, I always used one that had a magazine disconnect so I could at least disable the gun by dumping the magazine if someone was gaining control of it.

    Grabbing a cop’s gun was/is so prevalent that the whole idea of retention holsters came about and they are now a requirement in most LEO agencies.

    I have no problem with people who want to open carry but based on my personal experience as a long time open carrier, i think it’s a really bad idea. Your personal experience may allow you to conclude differently.

    But, just remember, it will only take one bad experience to change your mind or kill you.

    • Bud, though I agree with everything you said, there is a big difference betwixt a LEO and a citizen. As a LEO it is your job to engage with people who are less than honorable. As citizens and responsible gun owners, it is our job to avoid conflict at all times. The best fight is no fight at all. Of course, personal responsibility, training, and good situational awareness are key to success in that effort. And, of course, we are all human and sometimes switch to inner space mode and lose our awareness. But I cannot agree with your comparison between the life of a LEO and the rest of us.

      • Really?

        When you are faced one on one with an adversary who intends to do you harm, what does being a LEO or not have to do with the situation?

        When a cop gets in a physical battle with someone, there is no LEO or bad guy special rules. It is just two people going at it to exert supremacy.

        The whole point of carrying a gun is for that moment when you can no longer flee or avoid a situation and must defend yourself. The only difference between a cop and a regular person is that it may happen more often to the cop.

        But make no mistake, when you’re in a fight for your life, there is no thought of “I am the police” it’s just just desperation and fear and that’s true of anyone from any background in that situation.

        My point is and remains, that open carrying is not going to dissuade some people from launching an attack on you. There are some truly bad people in the world who do not operate or even understand the normal rules of civilized behavior.

        • Bud, You misunderstood what I was trying to say. “I was also involved in enough fist fights…” BECAUSE you were a LEO. I don’t think you were trying to say all those bad guys walked up in your face and started a fight out of the blue. They occur as a result of you doing your job, and I would venture to say that you initiated the encounter as a matter of duty. There is the difference I was eluding to. That we, civilians, do not actively seek out bad guys. True, what you say, that once engagement occurs, all bets are off. But it is my belief, right or wrong, that I will see trouble coming and avoid it or God forbid, end it.

        • Bud,
          Let me leave you with this last thought. Why do we put patrolmen in uniform and well marked cars? As a deterrent. The apparent rationale is that the more obvious our LEOs are the more bad guys will think twice. Obviously there is no advantage to advertising you are a LEO with a uniform and then CCing. The whole point is mute. So would increasing the number of OCers in society have the same effect? It’s less the individual thing and more a collective herd effect.

    • Bud, thank you for your service in the dangerous profession of protecting the public. And thank you for the reminders:
      1) Avoid tangling with the criminal element whenever possible. Let the cops make the arrests.
      2) A good retention holster is essential for OC.

    • I think you’re making a false association with Open Carry and being a Cop… Many Cops do it because they get into the job for all the wrong reasons. They like to strut about sticking their gun and uniform in everyone’s face, reaping a feeling of superiority. To see “plain old subjects” doing it steals their thunder, and they start projecting all the other aspects of a Cop’s job that lead to such encounters. Essentially, one false association leads to many more false associations.

      Open Carriers are not out and about actively seeking criminals, which, you may have noticed, pisses criminals off. Since many Cops actively seek to harass non-criminals, or arrest people on silly, petty victim-less crime laws, they piss off pretty much everyone.

      Cops Open Carrying and Citizens Open Carrying is not even close to an Apples to Apples comparison.

      I still carry my 1911 in a Serpa, Crossdraw anyway. The only person who ever tried to take my gun, was a Cop, and he couldn’t figure out how…

    • Cop for only about 10 years. Had the opposite experience. Had my battles on the ground with perps and almost never had them attempt to take my gun.

      Wore a holster with the butt canted away from my thigh (for readier access) and a simple thumb break for retention. So it may have made a juicy target for someone so inclined. Was especially hyper aware of the possibility in domestics, where quite frequently the complainant would turn on you. (Had a buddy stabbed in the back by the wife as he arrested her abuser.)

      Ran solo patrol in the largest county in Illinois where backup was usually 20 minutes or more away. So most of the time I was on my own. I was a moderately imposing guy. 6′, 225 lbs. Don’t know if that’s a reason if our experiences differ.

      Just another data point.

    • Grabbing a cop’s gun was/is so prevalent that the whole idea of retention holsters came about and they are now a requirement in most LEO agencies.

      There are, what, 750K police officers in the USA? Let’s assume that the vast majority of them are in uniform, and therefore open carry daily.

      According to FBI, in 2011, 72 officers were killed. Of those 72, 3 were killed with their own weapons.

      So, approximately 0.01% of police officers are killed each year. Of those killed, approximately 5% are killed with their own weapons (using 2011 numbers). That means that, using 2011 numbers, 0.0005% of police officers are killed with their own weapons each year.

      And bear in mind: police officers are a high-risk subset, because they interact much more frequently with criminals, and are much more likely to be targets of criminal aggression.

      So, is the severity of risk high? Extremely. But the probability of occurrence, even among a very high-risk subset of open carriers, is extremely low.

  11. Though I abhor giving Shannon and her ilk ANY credit, she has shown one this is very true. She gets media attention. Her efforts, albeit with minimal supporters, get the media chatting and companies to at least address her concerns. The recent announcement by Regal seems to me to be an excellent opportunity for us POTG to rally En masse. Simple clear signs denouncing this type of security theatre, the uselessness of “gun free zones” all while OCing would certainly raise a few eyebrows and force Regal to respond.

    • Here’s my point.

      I last open carried in 1987 when i retired as a cop and went back on active duty as a soldier. That was 28 years ago. I haven’t once open carried since and the reason for that is based on my own personal experience. I am in Missouri right now and could open carry if I wanted to do so but I don’t. I do not believe in giving any person bent on harm an even chance or any ‘fair warning’ in advance and that’s what open carry is to me.

      By the way, taking the opportunity to slam me for being a cop or cops in general is hardly the wait to promote friendly dialogue

        • actually my reply was supposed to show up under Dustin’s post so no apology from you is needed.

          Now, since the DOW is down 800 points in two days and i have to drive through St Louis next week, i am off to my llocal purveyor of fine precious metals.

          You know, the brass and lead dealer

    • “Simple clear signs denouncing this type of security theatre, the uselessness of “gun free zones” all while OCing”

      I admire your creativity. Unfortunately, I am not persuaded that picketing a few theaters is going to have much of an impact. First, it requires quickly motivating the PotG in a given area around a theater. Get them to agree on a date and time. Make up some signs. A few OC. Will the press cover it? They will try to AVOID covering it.

      Something really compelling would be needed to get the media to give us coverage. It seems to me that this has happened but very rarely; and, its limited to the local news.

      I have wondered whether there isn’t something more within our power to promote.

      Suppose we print up some stickers that mock GFZs and stick them to GFZ signs.

      Suppose we print-up some business cards with the message: “I carried here” along with a cartoon mocking GFZs. We could inconspicuously leave a few of these cards behind tucked into the merchandise of a store that prohibits guns.

      These would be forms of civil disobedience; admittedly, they would deface and litter private property. Even so, they would be non-violent and petty. The property owners would spend modest amounts of effort scraping our stickers off their signs and picking up our cards. Yet, our message would get-out to customers who observe them and to the employees tasked with picking up after us.

      I do not presume that these ideas are the most effective or most appropriate. Merely, I wish to illustrate things we can do at the scale that we are capable of mustering that will show grass-roots (vs. astro-turf) support of the 2A an reach the uncommitted voter without mediation by the MSM.

      Doubtlessly, there are analogues using FB and Twitter.

  12. Regardless of your reasons, all of the effects of Open Carry occur because it’s visible. Part of why the nancy boys refuse to do it is because they falsely consider some of these aspects to be negative, pretend to have an advantage, etc… They’re really just afraid of being SWATed by a liberal, don’t want the attention, etc… The real cowards lash out, calling OCers attention whores, etc… Frankly, I’d rather be invisible, but that doesn’t help. I set aside my personal interest and Open Carry, in spite of the attention, because it’s the right thing to do. If I were selfish, short-sighted and passive aggressive, I’d be a democrat.

    • “The real cowards lash out…”

      …you nailed it right there. Cowards always try to punish the bold for doing what cowards are afraid to do, in a misguided attempt to save face for their own shortcomings.

  13. This is really well-written. I’m generally in the CC>OC camp, but this was a good condensing of the reasons to consider the OC position.

    A couple of things struck me pretty hard here:
    1) Deterrence. In a place where only one form of carry is allowed, I see greater value in CC. In that case, your get a level of herd immunity, as a potential criminal cannot tell who is and isn’t armed. With OC, you would know exactly who is a hard or soft target.

    Reality is that most places have both options. The article’s point hits that hard – having a mix of OC and CC reminds criminals that there are people carrying, and that they can’t distinguish between target types.

    2) “Aggressive” OC as a political statement. If OC is viewed as an aggressive assertion of gun rights, then it is essential to get the opposition to the table. While we are working on maintaining and restoring rights, which is a little different from the extension and development of new rights, there are lessons to be learned from the civil rights movement.

    In both the U.S. and British India, you had a peaceful MLK and Gandhi that could be ignored by the establishment. They were attracting attention and support, but they weren’t creating fear among those with power. It took the aggression of Malcolm X and Bhagat Singh (check out the wiki article) to power brokers to acknowledge their behavior. It was only through that heavy lifting that the path was cleared for the peaceful elements to be engaged as they could provide a politically palatable solution.

    Bringing that back around, without the push and education that OCers provide, CCers will always be easy to ignore. It is only when the made-for-media OC movement is recognized that the powers that be will be willing to look at good faith, intelligent, gun legislation.

    • “With OC, you would know exactly who is a hard or soft target.”

      There is no such thing as a soft target when you are engaging an armed person, unless the aggressor is in a nest with his rifle.

      Every weekend, open carried men act as a deterrence to the thugs down the street, and open carry is faster for drawing your weapon. Speed, allows swifter violence of action, and turning the tables on a criminal.

      It is the open carriers responsibility to not place themselves in a compromising position, and if the OC can’t do that then they need to conceal carry to get that herd immunity.

      • I think I may not have been clear.

        In a world of OC or nothing, a potential criminal can easily identify hard and soft targets. The armed would be the hard and unarmed the soft. Not saying it would be better or worse, but it is a different dynamic.

        It’s the world of both mixed options that yields the greatest protection to the individual and to society.

        • “It’s the world of both mixed options that yields the greatest protection to the individual and to society.”

          Absolutely. That’s why tiresome debates on OC vs CC are pointless.

          Some folks prefer CC. Others prefer OC. Some do both but in different circumstances.

          It’s ALL good. And, as you point out, the very diversity provides its own addition to the benefit column.

    • In other words we can take advantage of the tried-and-true “good cop, bad cop” dynamic. Open carriers represent the “bad cop” identity who brazenly threaten the cozy little world of meek, mild-mannered people who are afraid of the sight of firearms and what they represent. Concealed carriers represent the “good cop” identity who practice restraint and seek out the approval of government licensing and the “decency standard” of the meek, mild-mannered people who are afraid of the sight of firearms and what they represent.

      I still think open carriers will always be necessary to win the long term war for our right to keep and bear arms. Maybe I am wrong. Who knows?

      • Exactly and I think they are.

        Ignoring personal opinions on the subject, let’s look at a more recent example. most people prefer to discuss issues impacting homosexuals with reasonable, rational, individuals. But, if it wasn’t for the obnoxious-get-over-it crowd, I doubt society at large would have ever engaged with the rational groups.

        In the end, I don’t think any CCer wants more restricted gun rights than an OCer. As long as folks like OCT keep pressure, politicians will readily engage with what they see as the “reasonable” elements.

        We need each other, even when we are loathe to admit it.

    • I was in a 7-11 a few months ago when a shifty looking character walked in. I was waiting in line with my daughter, he walked past my strong side saw my pistol made eye contact and turned around and left. Did he forget his wallet? Did he feel uncomfortable with me oc? I don’t know. What I do know is a 100 pound, average height dude with dirty clothes and dark circles around his eyes didn’t stay in my vacinity.

  14. Sorry, I can’t agree. I am all for OC being legal and for OC’ing “en masse” for a designated political rally. But I don’t think general OC is a good idea. Here are my reasons against OC:

    1. It puts people off and often scares people. You may not care about that, but I do. I consider relationships and making people feel at ease around me to be very important in my life and the reality is that a visible gun doesn’t facilitate that. I tried OC for a while. Once I was walking my dogs OC’ing and a couple of cute little girls in the neighborhood who were out with their Dad came over and wanted to pet the dogs. All went well until the Dad noticed the gun and he started edging the girls away, politely, but nervously. I wished I had concealed the gun.

    2. While I get the deterrence angle, I am more worried about determined, armed attackers. OC’ing puts me in the “shoot me first” category, not where I want to be.

    3. I think for the political angle, OC’ing hurts more than helps. I don’t see it as public education. I see it as public aggravation. I think it mobilizes people against gun rights who would not normally care.

    4. OC’ing does not allow me to go into posted “gun-free zones.” In my state, violating a GFZ is only a trespass violation misdemeanor, not a gun crime. If I am CC’ing, no one would be any the wiser. If I am OC’ing, there would be problems.

    5. OC’ing causes problems with cops, even where OC is legal. OC is legal in my state, but we have had several cases of OC’ers being harassed and even arrested. Some people may see that as a rights challenge they want to take on, but I don’t. I don’t want that kind of trouble.

    • “It puts people off and often scares people. You may not care about that, but I do. I consider relationships and making people feel at ease around me to be very important in my life and the reality is that a visible gun doesn’t facilitate that”

      Excellent definition of what it means to be an appeaser, or just a liberal gun owner. Freedom of association is a great way to exercise the fact that some people are not your people.

      My rights are not contingent on somebody’s irrational fears of being responsible for their safety. I have already staked my life on that fact, which is what shall not be infringed means.

    • “1. It puts people off and often scares people. You may not care about that, but I do. I consider relationships and making people feel at ease around me to be very important in my life

      Yeah, who gives a sh1t.

      It’s part of being a grown-up…accept that you are not responsible for other people’s “feelings.”

      Those people that you think are going to be so upset by the inanimate object on your hip have a problem…a deep psychological problem: they think an inanimate object has agency.

      The very best “therapy” for them is to DEMONSTRATE that there is no danger from the gun itself…visible or otherwise. Seeing an OC-er that does not open fire to get his coffee first at Starbucks creates the kind of cognitive dissonance that is needed to shake irrational beliefs.

      So, yeah, while you might belief yourself high and mighty for not wanting to bother other people, it could well be argued that at the end of the day you are enabling harm to them by allowing them to continue living the delusions created by an irrational belief system.

      “2. While I get the deterrence angle, I am more worried about determined, armed attackers. OC’ing puts me in the “shoot me first” category, not where I want to be.”

      Absolute Bull Squeeze.

      No data to support this; not sure how using fantasies to make life’s decisions is beneficial.

      “3. I think for the political angle, OC’ing hurts more than helps.”

      Again…bull. Oh, wait….no you are RIGHT. The law in Texas is so much worse now than it was last year! /sarcasm

      OC is becoming more normalized. It’s to the point that the ONLY people freaking out about it are the hard core anti’s.

      So, what you are saying is a vocal minority should be the arbiters of acceptable behavior? Oh, and here’s a hint: they are going to be anti’s whether you OC or not. OC is their target today; CC will be tomorrow.

      “4. OC’ing does not allow me to go into posted “gun-free zones.” In my state, violating a GFZ is only a trespass violation misdemeanor, not a gun crime. If I am CC’ing, no one would be any the wiser. If I am OC’ing, there would be problems.”

      Here it’s the opposite. CC in a posted place is against a specific statute.

      Regardless, this point might make some sense for those places in YOUR state, but is not an argument against OC in general.

      “5. OC’ing causes problems with cops, even where OC is legal. OC is legal in my state, but we have had several cases of OC’ers being harassed and even arrested. “

      Statistically, does it happen all that much?

      Got some data to support the assertion? A few publicized cases out of thousands, tens of thousands or maybe even hundreds of thousands of instances of OC is not really “problems with cops.”

      Think about it: it’s news precisely because it’s not common.

      I don’t care how you carry, and I really don’t care what your personal reasons are.

      But, the reasons you list are almost entirely FUD and so my reply is to point that out for OTHERS that might read this.

    • JohnF,
      I wrote you a poem….

      I’ve met so many men like you;
      always out for #1,
      path of least resistance

      For any authority,
      unquestioning, pretzel-twisting compliance

      Only trouble makers exercise rights,
      and as long as I’ve got my shotgun,
      but the feelings can hurt too,
      and they are really not that bad,
      It’s really not that bad.

      ~ You have a noodle for a spine and I feel sorry for you ~

      • I am happy to be disagreed with. I fully expected it. But I don’t hold with your sophomoric criticism or your stupid poem. I served my country in the military, very much in harm’s way. I don’t need to prove “my spine” to you or anyone else.

        • I am happy to be disagreed with. I fully expected it.

          I’m glad, because you are wrong on all five of your points. Four of your points are just “opinions” that seem to be based on lies or fantasies. None of your points are facts except for one.

          1. It puts people off and often scares people.

          While there are some people who have a genuine fear of guns, most don’t. Open carriers have had thousands of positive citizen encounters where people have either asked about carrying because they didn’t know open carry was legal, they want to get a carry license themselves, or they want to thank the carrier for exercising his right to self-protection. Open carry of a holstered pistol while going about your everyday life is a non-event. Most people don’t notice, and most people don’t care. If someone who is afraid of guns is bothered that you are carrying a gun openly, they will also be upset that you are carrying a gun concealed. If you really want to allay the fears of the public who are afraid of guns, educate them. Show them that they have nothing to fear from a peaceable citizen lawfully carrying a holstered firearm. Show them their fears are based on emotion, not fact. The argument that open carry scares 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.

          1a. You may not care about that, but I do. I consider relationships and making people feel at ease around me to be very important in my life and the reality is that a visible gun doesn’t facilitate that.

          The most serious issue here is that you are afraid you’re going to offend others. This is entirely in your mind. There is no negative impact on the community from someone carrying openly, minding their own business, obeying the law, and engaging in commerce or social activities.

          2. While I get the deterrence angle, I am more worried about determined, armed attackers. OC’ing puts me in the “shoot me first” category, not where I want to be.

          I am amazed that people like you continue to spout this nonsense despite any evidence that it has ever happened. Your argument for concealed carry typically hinges on the assumption that you will be a bystander and not the intended target, thus relying on the element of surprise rather than preparing for being surprised yourself.

          Could it ever happen? Could you conceivably be taken out as the first threat in a robbery? Yes, anything is possible. But the fact is that criminals typically have tunnel vision and are focused on the object of their attack. Criminals are not skilled military tacticians. They are looking at the clerk behind the counter to make sure that he doesn’t pull a gun, not at the shopper getting ice cream from the frozen dairy counter. There have been instances where criminals have held up convenience stores with uniformed police in the store because they are focused on the cash register and getting in and out as quickly as possible. The probability of you being the target when you are alone in a parking lot or gas station is exponentially higher than if a criminal is walking through a convenience store shooting all the armed shoppers first before he robs the store. The myth that if you open carry a bad guy is going to shoot you first is just that, a myth.

          3. I think for the political angle, OC’ing hurts more than helps.

          Right. “Open carry is bad pro-gun PR and will likely lead to stricter gun control.” Where is the proof of your assertion? Each year open carry is becoming more prevalent and more widespread across the United States. With just a couple of narrow exceptions, most states are simultaneously enacting more pro-gun legislation every year. Although some do have limits, 44 states currently allow open carry, not including some rural open carry in California. Arkansas recently joined the ranks of full open carry states, and South Carolina had a bill working its way through the legislature that would have also allowed unlicensed open carry. Unfortunately it was killed last session. Texas also just passed an open carry bill that will become law in a few months, and campus carry as well. Florida won’t be far behind. As with the other spurious anti-open carry arguments, the facts prove just the opposite of what you claim. More states are expanding their “stand your ground” laws, slowly eliminating gun-free zones, and requiring CLEOs (chief law enforcement officers) to sign off on NFA items. In the past few years, a number of state legislatures have crafted and passed “Constitutional Carry” bills where no license whatsoever is required to carry a firearm concealed or openly. So show me how the expansion of OC across the US is hurting gun rights.

          4. OC’ing does not allow me to go into posted “gun-free zones.” If I am CC’ing, no one would be any the wiser.

          So you like CC because it allows you to break the law without being discovered.

          5. OC’ing causes problems with cops, even where OC is legal.

          Although it is true that in the past law enforcement has given law-abiding citizens a hard time for exercising their right to open carry, this now occurs far less frequently. Open carry has become increasingly popular, and because of that most law enforcement agencies have been or are being trained on how to handle encounters with open carriers. The fact is that most police do not bother open carriers at all. However, this is nothing more than a personal preference for the carrier.

          If it were up to people like you, we’d be living under some dictator’s thumb right now instead of enjoying the liberties we have. And you don’t even appreciate it.

        • Well-said, Danny. One point, though:

          So you like CC because it allows you to break the law without being discovered.

          Such signs don’t have the force of law in all states.

        • He said gun free zone where if he was caught would be a misdemeanor. Thus wherever he is and whatever GFZ he was talking about was written into the law.

        • Danny: I can’t be “wrong” on any of my points, because I stated them as my beliefs and my reasons for not being in favor of OC that is exactly what they are. You may not agree with them, but they stand as a correct statement of my opinions and reasons. Nothing I have heard here convinces me otherwise.

          As to “breaking the law” in gun-free zones: I can’t believe people here are being such pollyannas about that. I carry to protect myself. GFZs are some of the most dangerous places around. The laws on that violate 2A and they are unenforceable, at least in my state. I will violate them every time if I can get away with it. I’ll tell you something even more shocking: I break the speed limit when driving when I can get away with it. Oooooooo…

        • I can’t be “wrong” on any of my points, because I stated them as my beliefs

          Sure you can. You may believe that unicorns exist but you’d be wrong. Just because you believe something to be true does not make it so. I pointed out how you are wrong. For example, in point #3 you said that open carry hurts our legislative efforts (you wrote politically), yet I have just given you a small taste of the vast pro-gun 2A legislation that has been written, passed, and signed into law recently, including many more pro-OC bills (OC newly legal, OC without license). If required I can list bills by number and URL links from all 50 states for the last three years–for a start. Where people have been regularly practicing or advocating for open carry, gun rights have been expanded. This is fact, and your beliefs to the contrary are your own dystopian fantasy.

          If necessary I can equally eviscerate all five of your “beliefs.”

        • GFZs are some of the most dangerous places around. The laws on that violate 2A and they are unenforceable in my state.

          I find it odd that gun laws are unenforceable in your state. Why have laws if they are unenforceable? I am confused. If they are unenforceable, why don’t you OC in GFZs? Tell the cops to buzz off, they can’t do anything to you. Yet in another one of your points you say that you don’t want to open carry because even in OC-legal places the cops will give you a hard time.

          May I ask what state you live in? It sounds really screwed up!

    • John, probably a lot depends on where you live and who you are

      1. Perhaps their are some people who are scared of me when I care. I’ve never noticed anyone fleeing the stores I shop in but anything is possible. I do know that on several occasions I have had parents come up to me and show their kids “a real live gun” and I’ve lost track of how many people thank me for carrying or simply tell me “I like it, Nice”

      The two ‘negative” encounters I have had in the last several years of OCing stand out because they where so rare. Once a women told me “You don’t look very friendly” while I was walking out of a grocery story. I replied “You should get to know me,”

      About a year later, at a different grocery store that I had never been to before the checkout clerk commented “I see you’ve got your guns out” I replied “Just the one” “And why do you think you need that?” She asked. I replied “Well, you never know what is going to happen.” This wasn’t good enough and she asked “Well, I’ve never needed one” and I replied “I’ve never used mine either, but just last night someone was beaten in the walmart parking lot so badly that they went blind so you never know” After that she said nothing and finished checking me out. As I left the store and got into my car in the dark and mostly abandoned parking lot I wondered if I had given her something to think about.

      2. Determined armed attackers are a legitimate reason for CC, but they are the vast minority of criminals. I will count on there being CCers around if that situation ever happens to me in public.

      3. No group ever gained more rights by being quiet. Wether it was votes for women, gay marriage or civil rights the only way to make progress is to take a stand and show everyone what you are.

      4. I respect property rights and would not carry, even if it was legal for me to do so, in a place with a no gun sign. I find it disturbing that any person of the gun would say that a purpose of their conceal weapons permit is to violate other peoples rights without getting caught.

      5. There may be something to this but I have never had this problem. Encounters with police are to be avoided but if they happen when you are not breaking a law then its an inconvenient but valuable moment to educate the police and the population around you of their rights.

    • OC’ing does not allow me to go into posted “gun-free zones.” If I am CC’ing, no one would be any the wiser.

      So you like to CC because it allows you to violate the law unnoticed.

    • #4: You prefer CC because it allows you to more easily break the law.

      #5: Exposing law enforcement’s systematic harassment of citizens contrary to law is a good thing. Trust me, after one or two OCers get harassed and take it through the courts, such shenanigans from that department usually stop. The word spreads to departments in other areas too. Remaining free takes work. Nobody said it would be easy.

  15. Reason #6-don’t wear stupid shirts like that. I don’t see any bloodbaths a mile away in Indiana where I see the occasional open carrier. I don’t have that “right” in Illinois. If I had that “right” I would carry OPENLY. YMMV

    • Yeah. I didn’t get to pick it. I much prefer to actually answer those questions in person when people ask, but I also don’t like to wear any shirts with a ‘message’ on them, even if its just “Eat at Fred’s”

  16. Good points from both the OC and the Never OC articles. I tend to agree more with the OC arguments. Life circumstances makes me operate more on the Never OC way of doing things. I wish it were different.

  17. Thank you thank you thank you. This is one of the best posts I’ve read on TTAG. Thoughtful, concise, compelling. Too many “gun guys” line up to mercilessly attack and “broad-brush” OC’ers instead of thanking them. Additionally, these knuckle heads (usually with no training) are the first to offer up their unsolicited, anecdotal, fantasy land tactical advice about why OC is tantamount to a bat-signal for thieves. Brandon in his pro-CC article was (perhaps suspiciously) careful to make the point that his preference for CC was a purely personal choice, and that he is kind of OK with OC. But if you read closely you can clearly pick up on the under-current of hostility towards OC that seems to pervade much of the shooting sports and self defense world (I should mention that I don’t think that Brandon was doing this consciously).

    A major reason that Brandon prefers CC is because is fancies himself a great guy… and a great guy would NEVER OC, right? “I don’t like drawing attention to myself.” I’m a “laid back” guy and “tolerant” of my neighbors’ irrational fears (BTW, way to indirectly legitimize and validate the fear-fantasies and intolerance of the “general public,” Brandon). The inference here is very clear…. anyone who chooses to exercise their right to OC is obviously an attention wh**re, intolerant a-hole who is out to stir up shit for the same reason that little boys take magnifying glasses to ants. Brandon’s terrible analysis, which is actually a case study in confirmation bias, leads him to believe that there is virtually never any tactical purpose or advantage to OC (other than to be a schmuck). It just so happens that he was “right all along” about his views on CC… so those OC guys must have some ulterior motive. This narrative is troubling because it is the same straw man, motive questioning, “why do you neeeeed to…,” argument that anti’s use against all gun owners.

    The battlefield for civil rights always takes place on the MARGINS. Over time, the margin works its way in or out from the core depending on what happens there. The margin is ALWAYS messy and uncomfortable; mistakes are made there (i.e. mall ninjas show up in starbucks at the half ready) because the it is new and unfamiliar. It is also the place where you need to be if you want to be a part of the fight. While I have not been a big OC’er, I do try to support those that do wherever and however possible. There will always be jerks who want to snipe at those who are standing up for their rights and expanding the frontiers of liberty. I can imagine that there were many black folks back in the 1960’s who viewed Rosa Parks was uppity attention wh*re who was stirring up trouble. Why does she need to sit in the front of the bus (open carry), doesn’t she know that the back (concealed carry) is so much better, the seat are so much more comfortable? If she keeps this up she’ll get all our bus privileges revoked!

    Across the US open carriers have already won, and are regularly winning more and more real victories on multiple levels. These victories often come with significant spill over benefits for those of us that are not heavily involved in the movement and usually prefer to CC, like myself. On a personal level, open carriers have directly expanded my tangible, day to day level of liberty and for that I am grateful. You know what I have to show from “gun guys” like Brandon, who admits that he is terrified that his neighbors and friends might disapprove if they found out they owned a gun? Absolutely nothing. A hand full of jack. Thanks for nothing dude.

    As an example, in my area CC’ers used to have to worry about tangling with the cops over a disturbing the peace and/or brandishing charge because some bed wetter could call 911 after seeing them print. Even though technically this was not a crime in any way shape or form, for many reasons this was still a major concern and real serious danger for us. Not too long ago OC’ers standing up to exercise their rights in towns not far from me were harassed by LEO’s with a proclivity for d***-measuring contests. Through perseverance and at times legal action, these individuals were able to force the departments to be retrained in the law. In one case officer jack-boot got slapped down and had to apologize, although he kept his job. Departments in neighboring towns, including mine, saw what happened and decided to proactively update training and implement best practices for dealing with CC and OC’ers. The difference that I have seen is nothing short of miraculous. Officers are also now 10x more aware of the laws and I have also noticed a favorable shift in their attitudes towards gun owners (on the surface, this may seem counter-intuitive given the catalyst for their training). At a minimum, I can now walk out the door with my CC, head held high, and not worry about the risk of printing (i.e. a lady in the store says “sir, why do you have a gun in here!!!, come on” response “sorry tootse, that’s your problem, OC is the law here, have you tried xanax for your anxiety issues?, oh, is that a tear? may I taste?”). Additionally, I now have the option of OC where I didn’t before, should I choose to go there.

    Lastly, OC has the potential to be a long term game changer for gun rights. Gun control relies on selling fantasies and fear to the majority and OC cuts through those fantasies by normalizing something that is inherently normal. And I am sorry but, compared to the absurd lengths and discomfort that we CC’ers go through – stuffing steel down our pants largely to protect the sensibilities of lunatics who might otherwise be offended by seeing a gun – OC is by far the more normal of the two methods. ‘Cause having tried it, carrying a gun on the OUTSIDE of your belt feels pretty dang “normal” to me. Normal people doing normal things, normally. Oh, and every time a child sees an happy, well dressed adult with a gun on their hip, a socialist angel loses its wings.

    • Well said.

      I think a lot of the hostility between CCers and OCers comes from the way licensed CC is handled. In our American society where everyone is supposed to be equal and classless CCers are licensed to be better class of citizen. They pay money and time and are rewarded with extra freedom and privileges that ‘ordinary’ citizens do not have. That has to feel good right? Its like a getting a gold star from teacher except in this case its from the government. It has to feel insulting and a bit threatening when commoners who haven’t jumped through any hoops or ‘earned’ the right to carry start walking around without a permit and completely dismissing all the effort CCer’s put into their clothing, holsters, sub-compacts, etc. Its like we are saying, “hey, there is nothing special about that thing you worked to get” Nobody likes to be told that the special privilege they have isn’t really that special.

      Because its essentially a feeling of insecurity and jealousy (perhaps subconsciously) that makes them feel uncomfortable with OCers most of their anti-OC logic is forced and weak and their attitude towards OC is hostile.

      This isn’t helped by the fact that some OCers carry as outright hostile act rather than for practical or educational purposes (you don’t always have to be deliberately hostile to make a point) which re-enforces the us-against-them attitude. I feel that when your OCing you have a duty to be the most polite and friendly person in the vicinity even if thats not how you actually feel. I think its part of the social contract that when you carry the ability to cause instant death to anyone you meet that you also make a point of showing that you are their as part of the community and that your gun is their to make everyone around you safer rather than just for your own protection.

  18. Sure, one thug seeing you packing is a deterrent, if you look like you could win a fight. But if you’re a little guy and skinny, and don’t look people in the eye, you will be a victim regardless as you will be judged as easy prey. Now imagine that there are 3 thugs, and they see you packing. All three will rush you from behind before you realize what is happening. The lure is your exposed gun, as they will see that if they win, they will profit for sure.
    Where you are is equally important. Walk down the Main St. in Mayberry is a lot different than walking down Telegraph Ave in Oakland, Ca.

    • “All three will rush you from behind before you realize what is happening. “

      When has it ACTUALLY happened?

      Your imagination != reality.

      You might like to look into what the psychologists call “thin slicing.” Or, better yet, check out the full gambit of what William Aprill has to say on victim selection.

    • Yeah, just like I said, there are odd bizarre exceptions. Sometimes licensed conceal carriers murder people too but its so rare only the anti’s treat it like an important argument. You can justify any point of view no matter how wrong it is by finding rare examples but rational people look at how often certain things happen and don’t base their life choices on ultra rare exceptions.

      The great thing about open carry is that its not just a deterrent, its also a weapon for the people who are too stupid to avoid a gunfight.

      Realistically, where do you feel safer, the local gun store or the local Target?

    • I’m alive and whole because I’ve OCed. I’ve told the stories before here, but in brief, on two different occasions violent people began moving to attack me, then noticed my gun and suddenly decided they had somewhere better to be,.

      Deterrence is real; the rare exception doesn’t negate that.

      • I’m alive and whole because I’ve OCed. I’ve told the stories before here…

        I wish I would have known of them before now as I have written (articles) about such on occasion. If you care to tell me the stories, email me at [email protected]

      • Add to your list of two experiences the Kennesaw, GA Waffle House example.

        It is the rare case where the “perps” were arrested after a ‘deterrence event’ and admitted to the cops they were going to rob the place but when they cased it, and saw two OC-ers inside, they split.

        So, yeah; deterrence is a thing. There are many anecdotal examples and some formal ones. Good to have facts on the side of argument.

    • I don’t think that “bear” necessarily excludes CC. However, there is a school of thought that “THE right to bear arms” is doing so openly. CC is outside the protection of the 2A.

      Prescinding entirely from the righteousness of this school of thought, we ought to consider the politics of pursuing this argument.

      Might we have a much better chance of getting SCOTUS to take a case on Constitutional OC vs. a case compelling a State to go Shall-Issue on CC?

      Getting SCOTUS to find for Constitutional CC seems extremely improbable. There are too many 19th Century cases that serve as president that States can regulate CC. SCOTUS won’t want to over-rule those prior cases. If they don’t WANT to, they don’t HAVE to. They can simply not take a CC case on appeal.

      If they take a CC case then they will have to decide whether Won’t-Issue is unconstitutional or is May-Issue also unconstitutional. They may have to judge whether the fees are too high; or the training requirement too high. They may have to decide whether a State prohibiting-criteria is unconstitutional. Deciding a CC challenge is brought with lots of complexities that SCOTUS would prefer to avoid.

      Conversely, the constitutionality of an OC ban, particularly where CC is also Won’t-Issue, will be rather straight-forward proposition to evaluate. SCOTUS could, fairly easily, decide that an outright ban on OC is unconstitutional. They could proceed to decide that States can regulate OC “reasonably” such that we might get TX/MA-like Licensed OC on a Shall-Issue basis. That would be a crack in the opposition of the last 5 – 10 Won’t-Issue States’ regimes.

      I anticipate that plenty of intrepid advocates of OC would get OC licenses in these States and OC. Not happily, of course, but they would Carry-On. Now, the fight would be on for the hearts and minds of the voters. Do they really want people actively OCing? Or, would they prefer out-of-sight/out-of-mind?

      The longer the intrepid are OCing the more “the children” will accustom themselves to civilian guns in the public square. It might, actually, operate to our advantage for a generation of children to grow-up observing OC. That would considerably defuse the issue of civilian guns. The more defused it becomes the less pressure there would be to make Shall-Issue CC onerous.

      Eventually, the balance of pressures would tip and the legislature will pass a Shall-Issue CC law. Even so, the intrepid would Carry-On OC continuing to defuse the civilian guns issue.

  19. Deterrence: Maybe, but if the BG’s can see that you are armed, they can simply wait till you leave. I know you don’t want to hear this, but concealed carry IS a deterrence.

    Education: Yes, but too many OCer’s prefer the all or nothing approach, and think that OCing an AR of AK, or any long rifle in an urban setting should raise no reasonable or justifiable concern from anyone, least of all, your fellow citizens, who as you say, aren’t completely up to speed on the topic of firearms and the 2A. Publicly sticking your personal cause in their face, too often via a You Tube stunt, makes you sound like the intractable gun nuts, the intractable anti-gun nuts say you are.

    It’s a great way to meet new friends: Ya, it’s weird, and the last reason, if it even should be a reason at all, to be carrying, much less open carrying. “I feel more a part of my community than I ever did before.” What, I’m supposed to believe you can’t feel a part of your community unless you show everyone you’re carrying a firearm?

    Practicality: My P228 holds 13+1, and with 2 extended 20 round magazines, I’ve got plenty of bullets for my compact. 54 to be exact. A lot more than most carry.

    It’s the foundation of what the 2A means: No, it isn’t. The 2A says only that you have to right to keep and bear arms, it doesn’t speak once of any right to open carry them. Here is what you OC types don’t seem to understand. A society of free people can determine, contrary to your wishes, what that society will look like, outwardly. The history of this country shows that, 100 years and earlier, our society once found it acceptable for people to open carry any firearm they wanted, pistol or rifle. After law and order was well established, society decided that it didn’t want to see people openly carrying firearms, as though they were expecting to get into a gun fight.

    What bothers me most though about the OC position, is the way you sound like selfish children who are mad because a society told you you can’t do whatever you want.

    • Society isn’t telling people they can’t open carry as 45 states allow it, 30 with no license. If you lived in NY or CA and couldn’t get a carry license, would you describe yourself as a whiny, selfish child because you couldn’t do whatever you want? Grow up.

  20. WOW, I was only 70 yrs. old back in 2015 when the last time someone commented on this Post. But Thanking God I am still Alive and Able to both Read and Make my OPINIONUATED Comment on this Thread and also be able to say everyone still Alive and able to do the same as I am, should be very Thankful to God the Father and His Son Jesus the Christ who is STILL Hearing and Answering Prayers of the Righteous He and His Father Love because we are Abiding in Him and His Words and Commands (JOHYN 15:10). We MUST Bring God FULLY Back into our daily Lives, Homes, Children, Schools and His Country. Even though Social Media has become a Monster of Destruction that will never by Human Beings, be Put Back into it’s Devil Made Box. We CAN still Make our Lives and Lives of our Children

  21. I think an overall VERY important aspect of open carry is just the normalization of firearms in public. The more people out there that open carry, the more normal it will become, even in the eyes of the anti-gunners. Back in the early 90’s if the average person saw two men kissing, people would freak out, but the left knew that in order to normalize it, people would have to get used to seeing it. Now, while it still makes a lot of people uneasy, we know there’s nothing we can do about it so we move on. Open carrying your guns can work the same way. If the anti-gunners get used to seeing guns on everyone’s hip, they may not like it, but they’ll come to accept that’s just how it is. (Excuse my weird analogy)


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