Monday, October 29, 2012

Open carry: my take on the who, what, why, where, and when.

Open carry.  The big topic.  I can't remember if I've harped on this subject before, but I can't help but feel a need to throw in my two cents on the matter now.  There are many differing opinions on the issue all over the interwebs, and many a gunblogger has devoted more than a couple posts on it, too.  However, what gets me on the topic, was that I ran into a entertaining young gentleman in person, who was very much against the idea; to the point that he carried on a very long argument against it one evening.

His arguments aren't without some merit, as this man works with law enforcement on a constant basis.  He believes that open carry is a stupid idea, because he feels it is intentionally trying to provoke or insight confrontation.  He also states (factually this time) that people who open carry are often stopped by law enforcement, and end up wasting police time.  He also notes the risk associated with it, in that with a visibly displayed weapon, you run the risk of someone taking your gun from you.  He insisted that if you can't conceal carry, you shouldn't carry at all.

Well, to retort, this is why I'm very much in favor of open carry, and get ready for another super-long rant.

First and foremost, that this is meant to be a free country.  If there is no law regarding something and people aren't getting hurt, the police have no business trying to intervene (one of the tenants this country was founded on).  If the media has taught me anything, it's that law enforcement in general needs to better educate their officers on the laws of the land.  In many issues (not even related to open carry), law enforcement in America is becoming less and less respectful of many constitutional individual rights.  If the police want to not waste time, they should just wise up and piss off, peppernip.  Not only that, but the police are to be there to serve the community as well, if they are fed up with people calling them up because someone is open carrying, they should educate the person who called in, and if they continue to call and be a nuisance, well, there's your confrontational party right there. 

Now, as for people intentionally trying to provoke or be confrontational, that is not the point of the open carry movement.  Now, of course there will aways be idiots on both sides of any argument, so it's inevitable that there will be a small minority that misses the point, and will piss people off.  The point of the open carry movement on the other hand is to:
  • participate in exercising your legal right to carry a gun (also ensuring you only carry in places you're legally able to)
  • do so in a peaceful, non-confrontational manner that illustrates "normal people" can carry.
  • help other people better understand their rights through calm and frank discussion (ie. not reasond discourse).
  • to encourage enough people to open carry that the public at large will no longer try to erroneously "criminalize" people who open carry.
Then there's the the dreaded topic of "but you'll get your gun taken away from you, and you'll get shot! OMFGWTFBBQ!"  First off, law enforcement open carries.  They have the exact same risk in having someone taking their gun, and there have been more than a few cases of that happening.  So of course the risk is there, but the point being that these same "professionals" have been proven in the supreme court to not be responsible for my personal safety. 

So, yes.  It is a risk, but that just means it's like everything else in life... a risk.  This particular one just requires a bit more personal responsibility, education, and practice to mitigate.  Not only that, but in the state of Utah, people open carry large knives all the time, but no one seems to complain about that.  The very same risks apply to them as well.   Personally, I'd much rather have the tools to defend myself and risk getting hurt by those same tools by putting up a fight, then simply consign myself to being a victim by default.  Then there is the flip side to this argument, which is that open carrying allows better ergonomics than conceal carry, allowing you to draw/ready yourself much faster in the even of an emergency.

However, my biggest argument in favor of open carry is that it's an option for those who can't conceal.  These cases happen more often than you'd think.  There are many people I know of (including myself) that are legally allowed firearms, but due to convoluted and stupid laws, are not legally allowed a concealed carry license.  The most common scenario being a perfectly law abiding citizen, has the police called on them due to a misunderstanding and is temporarily arrested.  They may be proven innocent later in a court of law, but just having charges pressed, or even just having been arrested can permanently revoke one's right to concealed carry.

I will concede that discreetness is good, and at the moment, concealed carry is by far the best option for carrying a gun.  But, unless the state passes a "shall issue" law that allows anyone legally able to own a firearm to obtain a conceal carry permit, this is the only option for a large number of people.

Long story short, if you have no means to defend yourself, you will be victimized.  As much as the movies like to say the cops can prevent something bad from happening, it is nothing more than a Hollywood fantasy.  Much more often than not, the cops will show up after all has already happened and let you fill out the report while offering numbers to good therapists and say they'll try to catch the baddie, or in the worst case scenario, call the meat wagon to clean up the mess and notify the next of kin. 

In summary, we open carry because it's legal, because it's our right, because we can, and because no one is responisble for your safety but YOU.  We don't fancy ourselves to be mall ninjas, bounty hunters, cops, robbers, cowboys, or Indians.  We know a gun is not a magic talisman to ward off danger.  We know the best way to get out of danger is to avoid it in the first place.  We know the risks and have accepted them.  We don't carry a gun because we are scared, we carry a gun because we are seeking to be an educated, responsible, and prepared individual. 


  1. Thanks for venting! I agree!

  2. This statement of yours.. "if you have no means to defend yourself, you will be victimized", is not to take lightly! That is the sole reason why I cannot have a concealed carry. Understand...."We don't carry a gun because we are scared, we carry a gun because we are seeking to be an educated, responsible, and prepared individual".