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I don’t smoke marijuana. I have no idea what it’s like when a wave of THC-enhanced paranoia washes over you, filling every muscle, nerve, fiber and cell of your body with a sense of dread. I imagine it must be similar to the feeling I got when an elderly lady walking towards the supermarket clocked my Glock and freaked. Mind you, it was a minor freak. She looked at me like a Japanese extra in a Godzilla movie, her eyes widened in silent fear. She jinked left, slightly. Her pace quickened, almost imperceptibly. And that was that. Or was it? My mind started to race . . .

What if she called the cops? I’d already run the scenario through my head dozens of times. Officer Krupke arrives, cherries alight, siren ablaze. I freeze. He bolts out of his car, draws his gun and yes, points it at me. I remain frozen, staring down the business end of a firearm identical to my own, save the larger caliber cartridges.

I do whatever I’m told, slowly. He disarms me. At some point, somehow, slowly, I extract and proffer my Pistol Permit. I tell him the laminated card allows me to open carry (stifling any desire to use the word “right”).

As the cop and I attempt to climb down off adrenalin mountain, his colleagues arrive. A crowd forms. Decision time. Not for me. At this point, I’m powerless, doing the STFU thing. The cop and his brothers in blue have to decide whether or not to arrest me. If they do, I’ll have to call my housekeeper to look after my eight-year-old.

And then my lawyer. I’ve got a good one—who charges me $300 an hour. I get stuffed into the Impala and away we go. No matter what happens I’m headed for a Kafkaesque nightmare of police paperwork and prosecutorial investigation. During this kerfuffle, I’ll lose my gun, maybe all my guns, and my Pistol Permit.

Best case: no charges, charges dropped or I win in court. Worst case: I lose, buddy-up with Bubba in the hoosegow and lose my gun rights forever. Oh, and Lola’s father, a single parent in all but name, is absent without leave.

What are the odds? I don’t know. But this I do know: the local constabulary aren’t exactly au fait with open carry laws. One of my cigar guys told me he’d mentioned my open carry (and right to do so) to a State Police officer. “The Statie said, ‘No way . . . Never heard of it in twenty-years.'”

It’s not inconceivable that the police will yank my open carry chain under the principle that it’s better to do so than not, and let the guys back in the station sort it out. “What if they send a SWAT team?” the rabbi asked when I’d made it back to base. “Chances are they’d find something to charge you with.”

Oh great. A SWAT team. Nothing like seeing that little red dot bouncing around on your T-shirt to turn an OK day into a not-so-OK day—no matter how it turns out.

Equally, I’m not insensible to the socio-political argument against open carry made by more than a few members of Armed Intelligentsia. How does frightening the locals help promote gun rights? “You’re scaring the sheeple,” the rabbi remarked, echoing the sentiment. “Your gun confirms their prejudice against carrying . . . It does nothing to convince them that guns in civilian hands are OK.”

“If you get hauled into court and win, who benefits?” he continued. “Society. Not you . . . It’s the same thing as defending someone else with your gun. It may be the right thing to do but you have to ask yourself, is it worth it?”

Bottom line: Lola. By standing on principle I’m being a selfish prick. Especially if I’m honest and admit that I consider open carry a way to generate blog fodder. I mean, “explore the philosophical, legal and practical benefits of exercising my Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.”

And speaking of Lola, is open carry a suitable carry way to protect my daughter in public? According to the rabbi, Rob Pincus, Wayne at AFS and a range of gun gurus, hell no. I’m of two minds on that. On one hand, yes, my openly displayed firearm says “shoot me first.” On the other hand, it’s says “Don’t fuck with me with me fellas.” And open carry is a much faster draw.

Long story short, I stopped. I decided not to open carry anymore. And then I ran into my pal Steve at Stafano’s . . .

Steve open carries his Bodyguard everywhere without any qualms (A Farewell to Qualms?). Four months in and he’s not had a single LEO encounter. As I watched him kick my ass at pool (1 for 3) I noticed that Steve’s gun isn’t really noticeable. Neither was my Caracal C in its Kydex sheath. Maybe my issues have something to do with the switch to a big ass Glock 19 in a HERE IT IS retention holster. Maybe not.

By the same token, maybe I’ll revisit this open carry thing in a couple of days. Or after Lola leaves the nest. Meanwhile, it feels good to live life outside of condition orange, without all those paranoid rushes. But it doesn’t feel right.

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  1. So, having a SWAT team show up at your house IS a big deal? Shouldn’t you be more afraid of STD’s than SWAT teams? Or does that just apply to right wing bloggers? Sorry for the pissy nature of this comment, but your “Conservative Bloggers Fear ‘SWAT-ing’ Attacks” post is still stuck in my craw a bit.

  2. Wise decision. Add pretty much all the instructors at Suarez to your list of gun gurus generally opposed to open carry.

    Open carry is primarily for political purposes in my mind, maybe comfort, and maybe rapid deployment as smaller secondary purposes. I am not sure open carry achieves its desired political purposes as well.

    For some there is no other option and I am sorry those folks live where they do.

  3. As an OCer, you have the OC nerves. It takes awhile to get used to it. I’ve had odd looks and yes I have even had the cops called on me a few times. Living in the great state of NH, they can not arrest you for open carrying (and rarely do they come out). Depending on how you dress it can almost be concealed. I OC a 4.5″ XDm and unless my arm reaches up, its almost concealed. I tuck in my shirt and then fluff it out and it covers the grip and back end of the slide.

    The biggest thing is to go about your business and don’t look suspicious.

  4. I OC’ed for the first time in a few months the other day, just a quick run up to the corner grocery store and McDonalds. Got a funny look from one guy in line at the store, and the guy at the counter at McDs was interested enough to ask me if my 1911 was a .45, and if it was a Colt (Yes and yes). Nothing major.

    I’ve learned, act calm and look like you belong there. People will give you funny looks, they might even say something positive/negative/neutral, but they generally won’t seriously bother you or call the cops. I know of 1 person that had the cops called on them, no guns were pointed at anyone and they got to leave without any problems.

    Personally, those funny looks and innocent questions/comments are why I prefer to conceal (even if it’s lazily, barely anyone notices printing or stuff like that). I’d rather be just another face in the crowd you forget about the second I’ve paid for my stuff. And I certainly don’t want cops wasting my time, it’s MY time. That’s just me though…

  5. On topic, I can’t fault you in the slightest for your decision, and your reasons for it.

    Off topic, I really hate the word “sheeple.” Whenever I see someone use it, it unconsciously knocks about 25% off their credibility, no matter what they’re saying, or how much I agree with it. If it’s someone whose opinion I otherwise respect, it may only be 10%, but it’s still kinda disappointing.

    • I feel the same about the word “ignorant”. It’s too commonly used simply as a label against those who do not agree. I cannot count how many times I’ve seen people dismiss facts, stats, and legitimate arguments then call the other “ignorant”. It’s come down to a overused personal attack and label that even if the person using it is the one offering facts in their arguments it still makes me cringe.

      Sheeple, ignorant, racist, sexist, subject, bootlicker, fascist, too many terms of close-minded dismissal have fallen into use by both sides.

    • I hate when people call others slaves. Usually they do this because the person they are arguing with chooses to be less than belligerently defiant about some otherwise trivial issue. Most times acting like this, and being proud about it does not come across as strong or macho, it comes across as childish and frankly too dumb to come up with clever solution. What really bugs me about it is to launch this as an epithet for the described reasons means the person is oblivious to the reality and history of slavery, oblivious to the fact there still is slavery, and oblivious to how awful and complicated it is. I do not see how someone who truly understands the value of freedom can be at all cavalier or imprecise about the meaning of slavery.


  6. THC-enhanced paranoia is when you notice that the bag of Doritos is nearly empty and you aren’t sure Dominos will make the delivery in time before you run out of munchies?

  7. “Maybe my issues have something to do with the switch to a big ass Glock 19 in a HERE IT IS retention holster. ”

    I agree with this thought. I do open carry my SP 2022 occasionally, but there are two things that make it not so comfortable for me. First being my Blackhawk SERPA holster that sticks out off my hip a good 2.5 inches or so. I feel like it is prominently displaying my gun at all times. The second is the stupid law in Ohio (where I currently reside because my fiance bought a house on the wrong side of the river, much to my chagrin) that states that without a CCW, you cannot even have a loaded magazine in the car if it fits a weapon also in the car, let alone have a loaded gun on your hip. Unloading a 15 rd. magazine everytime you enter your vehicle and having to reload every time you get out is a real PITA, not to mention a safety hazard. Once I have my CCW and can carry a loaded gun in the car, I’ll probably OC much more often. And I’ll buy a tighter fitting holster.

    As a side note, I think its time to change my handle to OHgunner. Make things less complicated.

    • I think its time to change my handle to OHgunner

      Agreed. I was beginning to suspect that you have something against a certain personal lubricant.

    • Actually, that’s not the law (regarding loaded magazines) and even my brother in laws have said that it’s perfectly legal to do. However, many crooked / retarded cops don’t know the law and will arrest you for it – that’s why the Ohio state congress passed a bill recently (we’ll see what happens in the senate) that makes plenty of small changes regarding CC and reciprocity, but also explicitly states that you’re allowed to have a loaded magazine – just not a loaded GUN – in your car if you don’t have a CCW.

      Oh, and welcome to the right side of the river, where the schools teach you how to count past 10 and almost everyone you meet has all of their teeth. 🙂

      • Hey, now, my family is from eastern KY for the last couple hundred years… that’s not nice.

        Nor is it correct. I always learned that all the bad drivers and inbred hicks came from OH.

  8. “Don’t exercise your rights or you’ll lose them”.

    This argument is less invalid in a place like Rhode Island , granted. OC definitely helps gun rights in states that are not anti-gun. Virginia comes to mind. In a cloistered place like RI, it’s like swabbing alcohol at the site of the lethal injection, at least at this point in time.

    Even so I think you’re overeacting. The worst case scenario is that you’d be arrested, released, and lose the permit.

  9. A friend of mine once told me that “the law is whatever the judge says it is when I am in his court”. I would argue the same fact applies to law enforcement officers. “The law is whatever they say it is when you are in their jurisdiction.” Carry openly in their jurisdiction and they could do all sorts of things regardless of what the laws actually say.

    I have pondered this situation many times and concluded that it certainly carries a lot of risk. I think the best answer is that you should only carry openly when you are in a group. You will have multiple witnesses to corroborate the real facts versus whatever the law enforcement officers make-up in their reports. And at least one of the members of the group must have at minimum a digital voice recorder and even better a compact video recorder. Now your cooking with Crisco. If law enforcement shows up and arrests you, you will have an open-and-shut case of violation of civil rights under color of law and will walk away with a tidy sum of money — in the tens of thousands of dollars if not more — even after attorney fees.

    Walking around carrying openly by yourself is not a good idea. It should not be that way because we have a fundamental right to carry openly anywhere. Until a lot of citizens bust a lot of law enforcement officer’s chops using the strategy I mentioned above, we are facing an uphill effort.

  10. Accounting for the fact that you live in deep blue RI it is probably better to let some activist win his lawsuit for being unlawfully detained for openly carrying a permitted handgun. However, for those of us who live in or travel through/to more gun friendly environments a reluctance to OC is unwarranted. As I have recently posted walking around a place like Fort Collins Colorada with a 8+” 1911 openly displayed does not upset the local citizenry. Ouside of deep blue Denver and Boulder it is legal and accepted by the locals.

    I also suggest you dress like a detective when you OC in RI. If you look a cop then nobody will challenge you. Dressing in a way that gives people the impression that you are a LEO is not against the law. I know people in Virginia who dress well when they OC and they have been comped at Dunk’in Donuts.

    • The thing is, most plain-clothes cops only sorta open carry – they usually have a suit jacket, blazer or windbreaker over their holster. The jacket can and does come open sometimes, so it’s not exactly concealed, but it is not 100% blatantly open either.

      • I have seen many Arlington County detectives without a jacket on a hot today (like today) openly carrying.

    • I wouldn’t say it’s accepted by the locals, but certainly less propensity to freak out. 6 years of OC in Westminster/Fort Collins and now Loveland. No police problems, few questions from people in lines about it.

  11. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that open carry antagonizes many of our fellow citizens. Further, it doesn’t take a genius to understand that antagonizing our fellow citizens is a low percentage endeavor. NOTHING good will come of it.

    I’m all for concealed carry and open carry has it’s place out in the boonies but I think O.C. in an urban or suburban area is nothing more than a childish stunt that will just add fuel to the antis bonfire.

    • +1 . oc by grampas jn starbucks got it banned by law in ca. more strident long gun oc followed – arguing w cops w ar over shoulder on beach got same legislative lefty response swiftly. this while 9th court cited oc as excuse to support effective ban on ccw by sheriff gore in san diego… thank u narcissists…i cant legally carry effectively enough to protect my kids outside home.

    • You’re probably right. All those Civil Rights marchers and lunch-counter sit-ins and Freedom Riders were just out to antagonize people and all they did was hurt their causes…. oh…. wait a minute….


  12. I Conceal carry, in my state you can OC and most people DGAF. You may catch a look or two, but most of the time it is people making note or maybe wanting to buy your piece from you.

    You seriously should think about moving to AZ.

    • +100. Great weather, great restaurants, great sights to see and we scored the worst on brady bunch’s ranking of states.

      • Um, no. Eight out of the next ten days are expected to be over 100 degrees and the other two are going to be 92 and 99. That’s not “great weather”.

        Arizona is great on gun rights, though. Gotta give you that. And the Brady score card is like golf, the lower the score the better.

        • It’s an oft-used but entirely true statement – its a dry heat. I’ve lived my entire 40 years in Arizona (Tucson 10, Glendale 30). I can take 115° here with ease but put me in 80° and 80% humidity and I crumple into a whiny mess. Here sweat evaporates immediately and cools you down. I’ve visited humid areas and never came close to drying off from the minute I stepped out of the shower till I laid down at night and stuck to every sheet. My hat is well and truly off to those folks that can live in humid areas.

        • Yeah, well, sweat’s not an issue when the high temperatures range from the mid 60s to the mid 70s.

          Dry or not, 115 is just freakin’ hot. It’s “the weather kills people” hot. We very rarely have lethal weather up here in the Northwest. Occasionally, but not often.

        • Depends on what part of the state you’re in. Go to higher elevations (Flagstaff, Alpine, etc.) and it’s far cooler. IIRC, over half the state is above 5000′, it’s the lower areas that are the “hot zones”.

        • Great point. Flagstaff, Payson, Pine, Strawberry, Page, Heber/Overgaard and many other towns have plenty of moderate weather as well as cold and snow.

  13. We’re very lucky that here, our Sheriff, (a self-proclaimed “Constitutional Sheriff) supports open carry for everyone.
    When the lame-a$$ town board tried to pass an ordinance to squelch our rights, he helped mobilize everyone with a gun to come to the town board meeting and slap them down. This included every off duty deputy he had as well.

  14. Robert, as the primary caregiver for your daughter, I think it’s wise not to try to tempt fate—particularly when your fate could be in the hands of certain authority figures I consider to too often possess the worst combination of traits: surly and stupid. In other words, do it for the child(ren)! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

    I have previously stated my thoughts against open carry vs. concealed carry. Here’s another reason: I once conducted an experiment where I drew and fired a Glock model 26 about 50 times each with a Blackhawk OWB retention holster and a Galco IWB holster. When I compared the time it took to sweep back my cover garment and draw from the IWB with the time it took me to assert positive index finger control over the retention button, there wasn’t more than 1-2 seconds at most difference in shot delivery time. Yes, the Blackhawk was slightly faster, and I know those 1-2 seconds might be the ones that count most, but I balance that against what I feel is a greater certainty that either my open carry gun might tempt someone to try to take my gun away from me or target me first in an active shooter scenario. I also feel it might be that my presenting a previously-hidden gun from concealment surprises the bad guy and will cause him to switch to reaction mode—which, according to the action/reaction model could/should shift the advantage away from him to me. In short, being in “stealth mode” is best for me. And, I think it will be for you, too.

    • “…might tempt someone to try to take my gun away from me or target me first in an active shooter scenario.”

      Judging by the lack of reports of such, it doesn’t seem to happen with any worrying frequency. Maybe such incidents don’t get reported?

  15. “The Statie said, ‘No way . . . Never heard of it in twenty-years.’”

    I could fill the entire Encyclopedia Britannica with things that RI staties haven’t heard of, and still have enough stuff left over for the Encyclopedia Americana and a couple of Little Golden Books. Let’s face it, there are only two requirements for being a state police officer in Rhode Island. They are (i) union or political contacts — oops, I think I misspelled “kickbacks” — and (ii) an IQ below room temperature. RI staties and Providence/Pawtucket cops are, by and large, incredibly stupid.

    • Ralph, I am a bit surprised by your comment and lumping the State PD in with Providence/Pawtucket PD. I know several State PD officers and have witnessed them arresting Providence PD who went sideways of the law. The local PDs have a lot more issues than the State PD does here in RI.

  16. BOO RF!

    Now that I learned that Wisconsin has had OC forever, I plan on it the next time I go camping. I just need to see if there is a prohibition on OCing with a BAC over 0.08.

  17. How about this as right to carry activism: Invite famous antis to a public debate, tell them that they can name the time if you can name the place. Hold it on the street in the middle of the highest crime area in your state. Conditions: you meet outside of the area and walk through the neighborhood on foot to the debate location. When the debate concludes everyone will walk together back out of the neighborhood. You and your supporters Open Carry or CC. He’ll be poo-ing himself trying to argue why citizens shouldn’t have the right to self defense. You can walk out together and end it here, but if you want to kick it up a notch, when the debate is over arrange to have a bus drive up and take you and your supporters away leaving him there to walk out with his by themselves. This would be even more sensational and headline grabbing story than the typical OC rally stuff, and it would vividly illustrate an important point to your opponent.


    • OC’ers always argue about being able to march through high crime areas. I seriously doubt any of them ever have. I’d love the local OC’ers to walk through the worst parts of Detroit at night like they did in Birmingham. You can find every weapon imaginable in any given household, and no one is impressed with your open display of your firearm. As a matter of fact, someone might just walk up to you and take it. People in those neighborhoods wake up and go to sleep to gunfire and death and violence everyday, and they’re scared of you? It’s so laughable to see some yuppie strutting through suburbia like their part of the cast of The Walking Dead looking for “Walkers”….gimme a break…

  18. I wish I could open carry. Sure its legal in my state, but a brown skin guy walking into a service business openly armed in these parts is an invitation to misfortune.Heck doing so no matter what skin color one has can provoke an ugly Law Enforcement response, but being biracial I have to consider outside factors much as the author has here. Notice I did not mention racism;its a statistical fact in many places that a majority of crimes are committed by black men.

      • The easiest way to change the bias against open carry is that, for states where it’s legal, when someone calls 911 because “Someone is carrying a perfectly legal inanimate object! STOP THEM!!!”, the dispatcher should ask “Are they pointing it at anyone? Are they acting violent or shouting? Have they made any threats of violence against anyone?” If the answers to those questions are “no”, then the 911 dispatcher should tell them that they’re not doing anything wrong, open carry is perfectly legal, and to not waste the time of 911 dispatchers and police who have more important things to do.

        • Totenglocke,

          I respect your opinion but I think you’re dreaming.

          I wish it was like you describe but face it, it ain’t gonna happen that way. Ever.

        • It won’t happen because the people running the show don’t want anyone but their armed thugs to have guns. But it’s a quick and easy fix to the “I saw a gun, then shit my pants and cried” problem involved with open carrying. Just because asshole politicians won’t do it doesn’t mean it won’t work.

      • I don’t think any are willing to be martyrs for the open carry crusade. ST is absolutely right. All the people crying about their 2nd Amendment rights would s— their pants if an African American man, or God forbid, a group of AA OC’ers were to assemble…you would then understand the rational of “just because you CAN do it, doesn’t mean you SHOULD do it”.

        • Martyr! Again, this is an illusion created by the mindset that open carrying is going to have people running out of a store, screaming in terror at the sight of a ‘gunman’ , and that cops will automatically treat you as if you’re some psycho getting ready to embark on a killing spree. Nothing could be further from the truth. My personal, actual, real world experience has been the exact opposite. The public overwhelmingly had no reaction at all other than a quick glance at the weapon and then quietly going along their way. Not one mother shooed their kids away ‘just to be safe’. Not one store manager has come up to me and said a customer told them they were uncomfortable with my gun. I have had several people ask me if I’m a cop, or if I work in some kind of dangerous profession, or if it’s legal to be openly carrying in public. Each time someone reaches out to me is an opportunity to help the public understand that a gun on the side of a law abiding citizen is no threat to them.

          And ST is absolutely wrong. I’m a hellovallot more concerned by the gangster looking white guy with a gun imprinted under his shirt than I ever would be with a clean cut black guy openly carrying. The number one killer of black men in this country is another black man. So is the problem black men with guns? Hell no! You know as well as I do that the problem is murders with guns. The color of someone’s skin is irrelevant.

        • BuddhaKat: Somewhere in this thread I made a geographical distinction between you and people in the Northeast. I stand by it. Your worldview is correct, and I totally agree with you, except, again, you live in a place where OC is allowed, and accepted, and a non-issue. You said you can see California from your back porch, but that’s not what I’m talking about. California is stupid and (effectively) everything is disallowed there. RF (and others like him) live in a place where OC is allowed, but not accepted (yet) and it is an issue. The instances where people OC and are hassled outnumber the instances where people OC and are left alone. So for now, OC is the domain of people who have the time/freedom/ability to deal with those potential hassles. That group does not, at this point, include single parents of preteen daughters, nor does it include black men who live in an area that practices “selective enforcement.” Their day will come, but it’s not today.

          • So you’re saying we shouldn’t stand up for our rights because we might encounter a hostile cop? You might get hassled, so don’t do it, is that what you’re saying? To me, it’s not an OC issue, it’s a 2nd Amendment issue and I think it’s incumbent on us all to do our part. I live in a state where it’s accepted and no big deal because at some point, when Nevada became a right to carry state, people started carrying. The public quickly learned that violent crime rates dropped dramatically and the streets did not run red with the blood of innocents gunned down by armed vigilantes doling out their own brand of justice on the streets. It took time. It had to be proven, but in the end even the most ardent opponents were silenced. What’s the downside to that?

            They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
            Benjamin Franklin

        • So you’re saying we shouldn’t stand up for our rights because we might encounter a hostile cop? You might get hassled, so don’t do it, is that what you’re saying?

          No, I’m not saying that “we” should or shouldn’t do anything, and I’m pretty sure you know that. I’m saying that you have no business telling other people what they should be doing. I’m saying that everyone has to pick their own battles.

          You can quote Ben Franklin all you want from on top of your morally superior high horse, but until I know that you, personally, as a single parent to a preteen daughter, are out there, living in an OC legal but OC unfriendly location, and prepared to suffer the consequences — be they legal, familial, conjugal, or economical — your opinion carries little weight, and your bolded quotations carry even less.

          • No, I’m not saying that “we” should or shouldn’t do anything, and I’m pretty sure you know that. I’m saying that you have no business telling other people what they should be doing. I’m saying that everyone has to pick their own battles.I think what I did, other than to unintentionally degrade the conversation, (for which I apologize), was to post my honest experiences and opinion. I did it because the OP explained the encounter in exquisite detail “She jinked left, slightly“, “Her pace quickened, almost imperceptibly“, “What if she called the cops? I’d already run the scenario through my head dozens of times“. Been there, done that. All I was trying to do was reassure the OP that these things are normal when you first start to OC. They’re more contrived than real. Again, based on personal experience.

            You can quote Ben Franklin all you want from on top of your morally superior high horse, but until I know that you, personally, as a single parent to a preteen daughter, are out there, living in an OC legal but OC unfriendly location, and prepared to suffer the consequences — be they legal, familial, conjugal, or economical — your opinion carries little weight, and your bolded quotations carry even less.

            So my bolded, morally superior, Ben Franklin quote doesn’t apply here? I’m ok if you don’t think so, but I think it’s exactly on point.

            If this debate doesn’t have any merit, what’s the purpose of this site? Mr. Fargo should shut it down if he’s not willing to step up when the going gets tough. Should you or I follow the lead of someone that’s more bluster than bold? Should I trust The Truth About Guns when its publisher is willing to forgo such an important right because there could be some trouble? So you and I have to be on the front line while he sits comfortably in the background?

            To be frank, I think TTAG is a great site and I think Mr. Fargo has balls of steel. I don’t think he’s a coward or a hypocrite in the slightest. I think he’s simply going through what we ALL went through when we first started openly carrying. The mind plays tricks on us. We get caught up in the same ether we got the first time we stepped out the door with a shiny new concealed carry permit and a Glock tucked under our shirt. It’s a BIG deal for each of us at first. When we first started walking around with a loaded gun in public, it was impossible to put it out of our mind. After a while, you don’t give it a second thought. You know it’s there if you need it, you keep well abreast off your safety obligations, but other than that, you go right back into your old routine with nary a thought about all that killing power under your shirt.

            The same is true with OC. Your head plays with you. Look at the threads. Day one, two, three……Day five and it’s all over. The head trip wins. All I’m saying is, you get past that. You want to thwart the cops, carry a copy of the statute. Understand that if you see a uniformed cop in the store isle, it might not be about you, but don’t be stupid and touch your gun while he’s walking up. Keep your hands where they can see them and treat the encounter as an opportunity to make a friend. Cops can read people from a mile away. If you’re an honest to God threat, they’ll know it as soon as they see you. If you’re not a threat, they might not completely drop their guard, but they’ll at least give you the benefit of the doubt. If you’re completely in compliance with the law and the cop wants to be a jerk anyway, just cooperate and don’t make a fuss. Cooler heads prevail. If you can do something about it, do so. If the cop’s hell bent on some street justice of his own, you’ll be talking to your lawyer. That could happen no matter what. Cops can get into a lot of trouble for taking the law into their own hands.

        • BuddhaKat: I suppose all of that makes sense, so I’ll let you have it, with one exception, and that is this line:

          You want to thwart the cops, carry a copy of the statute.

          I would be very surprised if, a cop having made up his mind (out of ignorance) to hassle you about your weapon, a copy of the statute in question is going to change anything. It’ll be a great thing to show an attorney after you’re bailed out. Someone once said, about this situation or one very similar, that once the decision has made that you’re going to be arrested, there is virtually nothing you can do or say from that point on to prevent it happening.

          • Yabbut, if the cops gets snarky and cites you or even arrests you, the fact that you showed him a legitimate, true and correct copy of the statute is not going to bode well for him in court.

            Of course, you can always record the encounter on your phone. Clandestinely if you want. Even if it isn’t admissible in court, it would still go a long way toward administrative action if you filed a complaint.

            I think I read somewhere that the Supreme’s have ruled that cops can’t stop the public from recording them.

        • So what color was the gentleman OCing an AR-15 outside the Obama rally in Phoenix?
          Guess you missed that one while getting your news from msnbc.
          There are tons of vids from OC activists from NH and ME to name a couple off the top of my head.
          I don’t care what color someone is.
          However, you seem to pull the race card every chance you get.

          • Are you asking me that? I have no knowledge of this incident and I rarely watch MSNBC, except I do watch Rachel Maddow once in a while. That fella is really funny sometimes.

            As far as the race card is concerned, it ain’t me using it. I judge people by the content of their character not the color of their skin. The color of someone’s skin means nothing to me. Now a big fat guy wearing a T-Shirt with the sleeves torn off and down to his last three functioning teeth, now that guy scares the crap outta me.

    • Good God, what state do you live in?

      At what point did the Civil Rights movement turn to vapor there?

  19. Can’t decide whether to open or concealed carry? Unsure which OWB or IWB holster to choose before you leave home? I have the “perfect” solution you your “problems”! May I suggest moving to New Jersey, where we don’t have these dilemmas. No sir, you don’t have to worry about silly stuff like that! Because here, your choices are 1) carry either way and get arrested or 2) don’t carry because you can’t, because we don’t issue permits, because you’re not worthy, because we said so. See? It’s that simple.

    Oh, and I’m not bitter at all.

    • So does open carry. Precious seconds would be lost while I try to dig out my gun. As far as me being the first target, that’s highly unlikely. It’s more likely a bad guy will decide to go somewhere else rather than take the chance. One thing can’t be denied, crime rates are lower in states that allow their citizens to arm themselves.

  20. “I’d see the police, the only ones, openly carry every day… But to me, having to ask permission and conceal my firearm was a way of life; we had no choice but to accept what was the custom. ” -Rosa Parks.

    Well, she said something like that.

  21. And this, Rob, is what you get for living in a state that doesn’t respect your rights. You have to choose between exercising your rights and going to jail. Sorry, but seeing as how you’re a grown man (especially since you’re older than I am), you’re fully capable of leaving and moving to a state where you don’t have to live in fear of the police every time you walk out your door.

    Why there are masochistic gun owners who enjoy living in anti-gun states so that they can constantly have their rights violated and fear for losing even more rights is beyond me.

    • I grew up in CA. Lived and worked there. Still have good buddies who do. I was fortunate that the company I worked for gave me an option to transfer east. But my gun-loving buddies don’t have the job prospects or even the money to make a move. So they just suck it up and carry on. I try not to ride them any more about it because it makes em feel bad…

      • In the current economy, you can use that excuse. What about the many years where the economy was good and there were plenty of opportunities to move?

        • It is a little dangerous to assume what opportunities people you do not know may or may not have had when trying to make a point. Life is complicated for most folks.

        • Don, most people have plenty of opportunities in life to move if they choose to. If you have the opportunity to move to a better place but you choose to stay out of laziness or cowardice, then you have no room to complain about the conditions where you live.

  22. again. i keep seeing the move if you ain’t happy advice. are we not all americans with the same rights? my wife and i were talking about the femizination of the american male and this seems to be one of the more glaring symptons. run away if you don’t like what’s happening. then what, we all stand around in a corner of arizona patting each otheer on the back while there is no more america?

    • It’s well documented that there are a few Soviet states that will not, unless physically forced to by Federal troops (because we’ve seen first hand that laws don’t deter their anti-right agenda), respect people’s rights. The only way this will ever change (barring a Federal takeover of the region) is if you find MILLIONS (we’re talking 15+ million) of people who support the Constitution being willing to live in such a wretched place in the hopes that they might have enough of a majority to change the political system in that region.

      Moving is the only option if you want to regain your rights, because you’re not going to convince intelligent people to willingly move to those regions and you’re sure not going to educate millions of emotional cowards who cry at the sight of an inanimate object.

      • Some of us are working to fix it in ca. check out calguns and donate for smart case law step by step. money talks and your bad mouthing is starting to sound like you know what walks toten…

        • Sorry for “bad mouthing” places like CA and Chicago for accurately depicting their anti-gun policies. It’s better to pretend they don’t exist, eh?

        • Money does talk so why not pay your taxes to a gun friendly state? I can absolutely understand loving your state but when the status quo is a majority of idiots continually electing anti-gun politicians I’d have to question where my money would be better spent. Most of us don’t frequent establishments that ban guns so, albeit a much larger step, the philosophy is the the same. I can understand and respect those that stay and fight but to me a state that doesn’t respect my rights should be left out to rot. F*ck ’em.

          Antigun cities/states get exactly what they ask for and if more right-minded people would call bullshit and move to a better state the numbers would be even more telling. Imagine if every legitimate gun owner left Chicago and all that was left was nothing but non gun owning libs and armed criminals. Idealistic libs would be getting popped every day and have to face the stark reality that it isn’t legitimate gun owners causing problems.

  23. Guns aren’t for everyone and that’s okay. For those of us who do have guns and choose to carry them, some are comfortable with OC and some aren’t. That’s okay, too.

    Go with your gut and whatever you choose to do, don’t worry about what others might think or feel. They don’t sign your paycheck and your thoughts and feelings are just as valid as theirs.

  24. RF,
    I hope this post is merely a cliffhanger before an incredible plot development. If not, your instincts as a writer suck. Your OC posts have been the best thing TTAG has seen. Keep it going. I have faith. Besides, how long has it been since Celine? We need a good prison novel…

    • Oh, good point, Aharon! It could very well have been that she was actually hoping you were just “happy to see her”.

      Grandmas need love, too, ya know… 😉

      • 🙂 I hope you meant she was hoping RF was happy to see her. Maybe RF will let us know if she has a gun tattoo pointed at her nether parts.

  25. While it is perfectly legal in my state to open carry with a permit, I have decided to spare my wife the embarrassment of seeing me handcuffed and stuffed into the back of a copmobile just because I thought it was a good idea to exercise my rights.

  26. It takes a couple of months of OCing before you get past the feeling of being conspicous. It helps being in a state like New Mexico where the police understand that it’s legal to OC without a permit.
    After two years of OC, I feel at ease when I’m out in public.
    For me, it’s a human beings natural state.

  27. I was getting certified as a concealed weapons instructor in my state and the boys from the state BCI were talking about attending LEO conferences around the country and listening to other LEOs talking about taking guns off the street. “Taking guns OFF the street??? Okay…” Ranking officer says, “if I wrote the laws… concealed weapons permit? You 18 yet? Thats your permit.” Love my state and all our LEOs. Got out of a tickets o

    • Sorry, meant to say:

      Got out of a ticket once when I let the LEO know I was carrying. He just appreciated the courtesy.

      While we can OC in ND, most don’t. Everybody’s got a gun here and we prefer not to offend people’s sensibilities here. Most don’t OC because it’s considered rude to make others uncomfortable, even if they’re stupid for feeling that way. Kinda like you don’t cuss in front of kids, even though you can. Also, I’d rather have a dirtbag not see it coming if I have to put him on the business end.

      • Surely the whole point of OC is to get the ‘dirtbag’ used to an armed citizenry, thus reducing the dirtbaggery? That goes for reminding polititians too.

        • Every civilization has, and has had crime, armed or not. Arms do not diminish dirtbaggery, only the number of dirtbags. Take Saudi Arabia, where crimes are punished by public floggings and beheadings, or China where death sentences are carried out immediately. These countries still have crime. You cannot change the nature of the beast, only his life expectancy.

      • Well said. another nd squarehead here. lots of scandies and krauts – polite lutherans all that u dont want to piss off waken the inner viking…

        • You should try rural Nevada. People often smile when they see your gun, or start chatting with you in the grocery store or Wal-Mart.

        • I live in Reno, NV and I’ve been open carrying my Springfield XD45 for over 6 months now and I can tell you firsthand, it’s been a positive experience for me. I’ve had two instances where I’ve been asked to not bring my gun in a business. One was The Meadowood Mall, (which did have a no guns sign posted that I didn’t see), and the other was Baldini’s Casino, who simply thought it might make their guests uncomfortable. Other than that, all encounters have been positive. I’ve been in restaurants and had a cop come in to eat. Two times the cops THANKED me for open carrying and told me they wholeheartedly support law abiding citizens having the ability to effectively defend themselves. The third cop was a California corrections officer who was transporting prisoners and had to make a pit stop. We had a nice chat in line at the BK and he was quite emphatic in his support of our state’s position on self defense.

          I open carry because I’m a big guy and I come from an era where we tuck in our shirts. I also wear suspenders. There’s no way for me to conceal a gun effectively. One of the things I enjoy about open carry is that I get asked about it a lot. It gives me an opportunity to educate people about how my gun is no threat to them. I can honestly say, I’ve had a positive effect on many of our local businesses by easing their tension. In fact, the places I frequent, I rarely see anyone even looking at it anymore.

          I don’t consider myself an ambassador for the 2nd amendment, but I do think of myself as a good steward for responsible gun possession in public.

          Please don’t give in to the fears of what you think people are thinking. After some time I promise you won’t have any worries and you’ll stop thinking about it as well. I thought people would flee in terror at the sight of my gun. What I got was support and encouragement. Truthfully, I don’t even think about my gun when I carry. I just feel better knowing it’s there in case I need it.

  28. Hi Robert,

    Imrambi, above, is correct. You have the jitters. They will pass.

    I would get to know your local LEOs (and FBIs) personally. Become familiar with them on a first name basis. Do things with them. Find out if the Police have any community out-reach programs that you can get involved with. Some local and federal departments have Citizen Academies. If you ever do get reported, it would be nice to have a friend in Blue on the scene.

  29. You made a good decision to not open carry any longer. Your daughter’s well being is important. More to the point she isn’t any safer open carry versus CCW. You don’t increase her safety wearing the iron openly.

  30. Let’s just cut out all this sermonizing and philosophical naval-gazing nonsense and concentrate on one and only one issue:

    OC vastly increases your likelihood of an encounter with the police.

    Now, if police were competent, this would not be an issue. In another hypothetical daydream, I’d also like to own a herd of unicorns who crap Skittles.

    We all know that a) cops are often not competent, b) they enjoy sovereign immunity, so they can do all sorts of things to ruin your day, from false arrest or oppression under color of the law up to and including killing your ass dead

    And guess what? They don’t lose a wink of sleep or a dollar of pay for doing so. The stats are quite clear that where guns are concerned, the cops are some of the most misinformed people on the law, technology and safety issues of firearms. This applies even here in the west, where we have far more people who are used to seeing guns.

    In Rhode Island or anywhere in New England, a region of the country positively filled with big government nannycrats and hyperventilating busybodies?

    You’re painting a very big target in the center of your chest for your local donut-munchers. There is no rational or reasonable explanation for doing so.

    Quit being an attention whore, get a concealed rig and go about your business in as low a profile as possible.

    • Not wanting to delve into the OC/CC debate, I do take issue with your claim that “OC vastly increases your likelihood of an encounter with the police.” That certainly hasn’t been my experience. In fact, my experience has been the exact opposite.

      Cops know that when law abiding citizens are armed, violent crime rates go down, and I’ve never met a cop that didn’t support people’s right to self defense.

      I fully suspect that you’re making this statement not based on any facts but rather your personal belief that corrupt cops with no regard for the law will have you on the ground with a boot on your neck for simply, lawfully carrying a weapon. While I can’t deny that has happened, even you have to admit the frequency is rather small. I wonder if you’ll acknowledge the tens of thousands of times each day when law abiding citizens openly carry without incident? What about the cops that have THANKED me for openly carrying? These guys all thought OC was a great idea and openly encourage people to do it.

      • You appear to have totally missed the geographical argument he made.

        You’re surrounded by cops who love it and think it’s great. In the Northeast, the observation has thus far been that the opposite is true.

      • Au Contrair my friend. You forget, I live next to Commiefornia. In fact, I literally can see the border from my bedroom window. I’ve talked to several California cops and they’re just fine with law abiding citizens carrying firearms in public. I do have to admit, I never discussed OC/CC though.

        But I still believe in the facts, in places where law abiding citizens are armed, violent crime rates go down. Most cops are aware of this indisputable fact . I’m sure there’s a few cops that don’t support us carrying, but I think they’re in the minority.

        However, legally carrying, especially without incident, helps to ease the fears of the public, (and the cops), over time.

  31. I agree with your current stance. It only takes one incident, one cop having a bad day, one scared civilian, to make everything go south. Who needs the attention? Yeah, open carry might give you quicker access to your weapon, but that’s assuming that you see trouble before trouble sees you. I’ll take stealth and the element of surprise anyday over an open display of firepower. Open carry doesn’t say “I’m a bad—” to me. It says “I think I’m a bad—“. We had an incident here where I live an a bunch of open carriers walked into the local library…trying to prove a point. All they did was succeed in scaring a bunch of folks, and now the library is going to try an get an ordinance passed to make libraries one of the places you cannot carry concealed. Thanks a lot….

    • You’re right, it only takes one incident to make everything go south.

      I don’t carry because I want to be a badass or even look like a bad ass. I carry for my own personal defense. I don’t pass on any opportunity to answer people’s questions and talk in favor of self defense, but I couldn’t give a rats ass if my gun scares anyone. I know I’m no threat to them and I can’t put a priority on whether anyone else’s world is all fuzzy and happy. I’m more concerned about this, which happened 20 miles South of my hometown.

  32. Robert Farago,

    Do visit OpenCarry.Org and look into your states forum. You should be able to find other OC’ers in your area and can do group OC.

    Although your state seems to be lacking people. You could go and find other OC interested and get them on the forum and hang out.

  33. Here in Oklahoma OC is not common, but not all that unusual either. I generally CC for the reasons well-discussed other places, but when OCing, nobody seems to freak out. Maybe a look or two, but guns catch my eye as well. LEOs generally don’t seem to care at all, other than noting the presence of the weapon. More than one LEO has told me that they regard civilian carriers as “good guys,” because of the hoops jumped through to carry here (CCW requires background check, training, etc. No “constitutional.”)

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