Click here to watch the autoplay video of a Muskegon Heights, Michigan man who carries a rifle to and from the bus stop to protect his daughter. “I’ve been doing this on a daily basis, every day she goes to school. To make sure she gets there safely and home safely,” Michael LaMay told wzzm13.com. So far so good. And Mr. LeMay has every right to do so. But c’mon. Really? Here are three reason why you shouldn’t open carry a rifle in a non-apocalyptic urban environment. . .
1. Open carrying a long gun in a city isn’t very handy
Most long gun open carriers use a sling to schlep their rifle/shotgun, leaving their hands free for the things people need hands for when they’re out and about. Yes, well, have you tried carrying a rifle with a sling all day? Or even a few hours? They damn thing gets mighty cumbersome mighty quick. Talk about chafing!
2. Open carrying a long gun in a city isn’t tactically sound
While I’m sure that most long gun carriers are more operationally operational than Mr. LeMay (a scoped Savage?), it’s not easy bringing a long gun into action – unless you carry the firearm in the low- or high-ready position. Which tends to scare good guy non-combatants even more than normal.
A [non low- or high-ready] long gun’s especially clunky to bring to bear compared to a properly holstered handgun. Especially when that properly holstered handgun is being carried openly (should open carry be what floats your boat).
Also, the armed civilian’s first and best response to a lethal threat is to escape or evade the attacker(s). Running with a long gun isn’t all that easy either. Add a daughter to the team and how are you going to grab her and bring your long gun to bear and fire while running for cover or concealment? Not that you couldn’t have a handgun as well, but you know what I mean.
3. Open carrying a long gun in the city makes you the target
I’m not speaking here of the “shoot-me-first” conundrum that is open carry, generally. I’m talking about responding police officers.
AFTER an attack, when your gun’s hot and the perp is not, you want to put your gun away. [NB: That’s providing you’re no longer in danger. If you are in danger, hang on to your gun, leave the scene, holster ASAP and call 911. You have no legal obligation to disarm or remain at a dangerous crime scene.] A long gun isn’t easy to holster, is it? A cop sees you at an urban crime holding a long gun? Say goodnight Dick.
And, of course, there’s the “he’s a spree killer!” prejudice against people carrying long guns in urban environments. What’s that all about? I remember when teachers carried rifles to school to use as blackboard pointers. Yes, well, as Mr. LeMay discovered, the police didn’t get the memo from 1957. So it is what it is. And what it is is SWAT bait. Or . . . it stops being bad guy protection when the police (and neighbors with proverbial pitch forks) start thinking the bad guy is you.
Better to open carry a handgun. If you want deterrence, it’s gotta be a Smith & Wesson 686 in a proper holster. It’s eye candy for the kids! It’s nostalgia for the oldies! It’s death-on-a-stick for the bad guys! As opposed to the scary ass (to the po-po and the public) boom stick that is an openly carried long gun.