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Can’t we all just get a long gun?

There’s this truck that drives around various parts of East Tennessee. On the side of the truck is a large, graphic image of an aborted fetus and some phrase that is no doubt catchy to pro-lifers. It’s an eyesore. I don’t want my kids seeing it. And, frankly, it makes me lose a bit of respect for the pro-life movement. It is offensive and I doubt it is very effective at getting converts. It is designed to shock. And, frankly, it is bad marketing. Though I find this truck offensive. Someone else may not. That doesn’t mean that I think we should ban this truck.

Some folks feel similarly about this recent open carry debate playing out on the gun blogs. Open carrying may scare the white people and all of that. And, you know what, depending on where you live, it may well. Remember the black dude who had his AR-15 strapped on at the protest? Lot of people weren’t fans. And I doubt he gained many converts, though he (probably like the truck driver above) did get quite a few attaboys from similarly minded folks. And that is the issue I have with the in your face open carry sorts. OC seems like it’s preaching to the converted. And not much more. Non-converts either won’t notice, won’t care, may become a bit curious, or may think you’re a loon. Rightly or wrongly. I don’t think it’s effective marketing. Simply, I don’t think the plan of acclimating folks to handgun carry by exposure will be effective. That’s based on my own experience with open carry. My experience seems to indicate that most folks won’t even notice. Or, if they did, they didn’t say anything. Conversely, no one flipped out either.

That doesn’t mean I think it should be banned. Or that I think you’re stupid to do it. Or that you should stay in the closet.

Also, open carry, as Jay reminds us, has lead to a few unpleasant encounters with the police. Which is why some folks think it should be a sort of last resort.

It also doesn’t mean that I think having such reservations is pulling a Zumbo.

The open carry folks are some of the most passionate and hardworking second amendment activists out there. And hats off to them. They’ve had some major successes in cases where I thought they would not have had such success. So, I may be wrong about all this.

But if you do it, get a good retention holster.

Tam on why she doesn’t OC:

I don’t generally O.C., mostly to avoid excessive face time with the Po-Po and conversations with the occasional goober that can’t resist a “Hey, you got a gun there! You ‘spectin’ trouble?” or “Did you know that your gun’s cocked?”

34 Responses to “Can’t we all just get a long gun?”

  1. Tam Says:

    I open carried at work for many years.

    Believe it or not, said goobers occasionally came into my place of business and gasped “You’re carrying a gun!” Not often, mind you, but it happened.

    That’s kind of like expressing surprise at the girl behind the Estee Lauder counter wearing makeup.

  2. Tam Says:

    Also, most folks would not believe how unobtrusive an IWB carried just behind the hip really is, whether you cover the gun or not. People just aren’t all that observant.

  3. Robb Allen Says:

    See, people like me would like the option to exercise my rights without being thrown in the pokey for doing so. I don’t want to OC as an in-your-face thing, and I take umbrage at the suggestion that me going about my business at the grocery store or heaven forbid talking to those who are supposed to be representing me as akin to a large sign showing an aborted fetus.

    I respect those who don’t feel they want the hassle of OC. But what has pushed my button in this instance are those who, because of their discomfort with it, openly deride the actions of others who might not be so disinclined for being openly armed.

    Maybe it’s because I don’t get to open carry that I don’t see it, but according to those who disparage the act, OC’ers generally walk up to people and scream “I HAVE A FUCKING GUN YOU SHIT STAIN AND THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT!!!!!” Because that’s the only way I can equate simply carrying a gun openly to being in your face.

    I was under the mistaken belief that most OC’ers simply put their sidearm on and went about their business, even if that business happened to coincide with showing up at a town meeting.

  4. bwm Says:

    Can someone please point me to a summarization of why someone would choose to open carry where concealed carry exists? I’m not trying to stir the pot, I am genuinely curious.

  5. Robb Allen Says:

    bwm – the easiest answer is because they want to. There is no other reason necessary.

    That’s like saying “Why would someone use the word ‘fuck’ when ‘frigging’ would do?”

  6. Like I Says:

    I dunno. It seems like a tactic of the anti’s is to go to the most extreme end of the spectrum (such as rhetoric about “bullet hoses,” “military-type assault weapons,” blood in the streets,” etc.) to gain some ground in a compromise type fashion – and it was working for a long time in the 90’s.

    Why don’t we do the same. I wanna see some ppl. open carry a SAW, M60, or better yet a minigun. Then ppl. might actually be glad when we tone things down and merely go strapped with an M4 on our backs at the local ice cream parlor.

  7. bwm Says:

    Robb Allen,

    I’m all for people doing whatever the frigg they want to as long as it doesn’t hurt me, so I have no problem with it. It seems awfully tactically disadvantageous to alert potential baddies that you have a gun though.

    I’m sure there’s a counter argument to this, which is what I am trying to get at.

  8. Melody Byrne Says:

    I was under the mistaken belief that most OCíers simply put their sidearm on and went about their business, even if that business happened to coincide with showing up at a town meeting.

    I don’t know about other places, but that’s how it is in AZ. Most people don’t notice; those who do don’t raise a fuss (or, just as often, comment on how much they like/dislike your choice of model). We regularly hold OC dinners here, and the other patrons at the restaurant don’t care. We’ve yet to hear a complaint or be asked to leave.

    That being said, we also don’t carry around signs advertising the fact that we carry, and we act like normal human beings. Most people just honestly don’t notice. Police officers? Never been a problem here.

    As for the whole OC/CCW debate, I find it much easier to draw quickly while open carrying. You mileage may vary.

  9. RDB Says:

    Off the top of my head in no particular order.

    I don’t care to open carry in public, but from experience around the farm, conventional holsters are more comfortable than IWB. Usually cheaper, too.

    Designing your summer wardrobe around concealing your pistol is aggravating.

    Some people object to the whole concept of getting a license to exercise a right.

    Larger (normal size?) pistols are harder to conceal.

  10. Melody Byrne Says:

    bwm, it depends on the cowardice and laziness factor of your particular baddies. For those who are afraid of being hurt, don’t want to get into a real altercation, or just don’t want the hassle of dealing with someone who is armed, OC is more of a deterrent.

    If your baddie is so badass as to want to take you out first, or is part of an actually organized crew with a plan, your odds of surviving dropped anyway. Anyone who is willing to kill you is willing no matter whether you’re carrying open or concealed.

  11. The Packetman Says:


    I would also point out that handicapped citizens or those with other physical limitations may not be able to carry concealed.

    And I, too think the open carry/ abortion billboard analogy is weak at best.

    Sorry Uncle!

  12. SayUncle Says:

    Packetman, why? I said I was repulsed by the billboard. Others may not be. I am not repulsed by open carry. But others may be. That was the point. You can find a form of political protest that offends you.

  13. Tomcatshanger Says:

    I’d guess that the big differnce is dead fetuses don’t show up on prime time, guns do.

  14. Robb Allen Says:

    What if we armed dead fetuses?

  15. Homer Says:

    Local and/or state laws may provide some justification for OC. Virginia, for example, provides for OC in both the state Constitution and the statutes supported by it, notably 18-2.308, which stipulates legality provided the gun is “…not hidden from common observation…” In VA no permit is required to OC, and there are places where OC is legal but concealed carry is not – restaurants that serve alcohol, for one.

    I’ll concur slightly with Uncle about OC, and completely with Robb. There are times where OC is handy. In Florida, for example, it’s a misdemeanor to allow your concealed firearm to be observed. That means when riding the motorcycle I have to wear the riding jacket into a men’s room, switch to the vest, go back to the bike to put the jacket in the saddlebag and then proceed with normal activities. Upon leaving the process is reversed, and it’s a PITA. If Florida law provided for OC I wouldn’t have to worry about the gun being momentarily observable.

  16. Texas Jack Says:

    In spite of our “Wild West” reputation, Texas does not allow open carry, but does permit concealed carry. I don’t particularly feel the need to strap a big iron on my hip, but as the laws are now, I can loose my CHL and a lot more if my weapon is seen even accidentally (reach for something on a high shelf, shirt rides up, flash!) by a grouchy LEO. That’s about 80% of why I want open carry in Texas, so I don’t go to jail for an accidental display. Besides, I’d like to be able to tuck my shirt tails in again.

  17. JJR Says:

    I wouldn’t object to OC in Texas, indeed I’d support it, but I want Campus Carry for CHL’s *FIRST*, since that has a more immediate impact on me.

  18. Robb Allen Says:

    Now, that’s a different story JJR – Pushing for one legislation over another because of a better impact is easy to discuss.

    Simply trying to marginalize something you don’t particularly care for is another.

  19. Dan Says:

    I know that if I saw more people carry openly, I would too.

    If anything, those people remind me more of the civil rights movement of decades ago. I still wonder how people could be so upset at ‘coloreds’ sitting in the front of the bus. Maybe in decades time we will have no problem with people carrying openly again.

  20. Tom Says:

    If I follow, Tam does it to NOT have to interact and engage in conversation that might win folks over.

    Probably a good thing in her case.

  21. Kim du Toit Says:

    Even if OC were legal in Cuidad Tejas, I’d still carry concealed, especially in the burbs or cities.

    But if I were traveling out in the country, the Ruger Bigass / Colt Monster would be strapped to the belt.

    A guy I knew carried open (it was legal in his state), but his open carry piece was unloaded. He also carried, concealed, a loaded “backup” 1911. Kinda funny, when you think of it.

  22. nk Says:

    Used to be, a hideout was considered cowardly and the law frowned on it. Things change. Hide your weapon.

  23. The Packetman Says:

    Packetman, why? I said I was repulsed by the billboard.

    See, that’s the difference ….. the billboard is intended to offend, while my open carry is only intended as a means of self-protection. That some might feel uncomfortable with me legally carrying openly is their problem (strictly speaking), not mine.

    But Sebastian’s dictate is ‘I want open carry to be legal, but don’t do it if someone might get offended, because that might reflect badly on me.’ and that the Rosa Parks situation was a ‘strategy’ ….. why can’t OC’ers have a ‘strategy’ that involves OC? How can you show that OC’ers are normal unless normal people OC?

    I know I’m not the only one who sees the catch 22 that fellow frearms enthusiasts have suggested we jump into.

  24. SayUncle Says:

    my open carry is only intended as a means of self-protection

    But in some cases, people do so to make a point.

  25. Ride Fast Says:

    […] Positive side effect of open carry […]

  26. Yu-Ain Gonnano Says:

    the billboard is intended to offend,

    No, it’s *intended* to accomplish a goal. If doing so offends you, well, to them, that’s your problem.

    Of course, I hear the same argument from the OC side.

  27. Yu-Ain Gonnano Says:

    If I follow, Tam does it to NOT have to interact and engage in conversation that might win folks over.

    Sounds to me like she does it so as to NOT have to interact and engage in conversation with people who cannot be reasoned out of their hoplophobia because they obviously weren’t reasoned into it.

  28. Scott Says:

    > I know that if I saw more people carry openly, I would too.
    I feel the same.

  29. Tam Says:


    If I follow…

    Which, as per usual, you don’t.

  30. countertop Says:

    I like Virginia’s open carry law because it keeps me from having to worry about showing my gun when I am out at the store and my shirt lifts up.

    I don’t usually do it, I will on occasion in a restaurant or for a quick dash to the supermarket if I forget I’m open carrying. But its not soemthing I go out of my way to do.

    With one exception. When i travel on I95, If I stop at a rest stop I always open carry. For a few reasons. One, being a former kid from Jersey – I just like getting in your face with all the folks from Jersey and New York going to Disney. Also, I don’t trust I95 and similar to people who are boating and might show off a gun while at port to serve as a warning to looters, it serves as a warning to the scum that travels I95 not to try to bother me or my car.

  31. Nate Says:

    People normally don’t open carry because they are racists and or socialists. And because they carry wussy 9mm and not 460 Rowland…..

  32. Gunstar1 Says:

    I don’t get what the big deal is.

    There are pro’s and con’s to OC and CC. Neither one out-weights the other.

    Some say it is offensive. That it could hurt our cause. Really? If they are a fence sitter, then it wont really matter to them. If by seeing a person open carry means they are no longer a fence sitter, then they really were not a fense sitter to begin with (if they have such a reaction to the sight of a firearm then they are not a fence sitter at all). If they are not a fence sitter then they are already a foe and you carrying openly or concealed will not make a bit of difference.

    The opposite is true too. If you find someone that wants to know more about carrying, then it is most likely they were already interested and you happened to be there. It is just as possible that they would have followed that interest and found someone else to tell them about it.

    OC did not make them do anything they would not have already done.

    The same pro/con situation is true about tactical advantage. There are studies that say guns are used in defense without being fired far more often than when the trigger is pulled. If your objective is to not get into a situation where your gun might be needed, then OC is best. If you CC then the criminal thinks you are easy prey and you get into a situation where you can be killed even if you draw your firearm. That is not good.

    Some say you loose the element of surprise if you OC… but who is really going to be affected? Those criminals that will turn tail and run at the sight of your CC pistol being drawn are the same crimainals that avoid a person that is OCing.

    Being hassled by the police because you OC is a concern but it should not be if OC is legal where you are. In this case OC does provide education. You should not be afraid to do something that is legal because the police are not properly trained.

    This coming from a person who doesn’t care to OC but does want to make sure the option is availible if I want to.

  33. Diomed Says:

    It’s nice not having to worry about getting jacked up for printing or momentarily exposing the butt of the gun.

  34. Tom Says:

    Which, as per usual, you donít.

    OH, you’re just too good to talk to little people? Are you even capable of polite conversation without toxic levels of sarcasm?

    Lets look at the reasons you give:

    The po-po: Surely you know the laws and can cite them in full legalese to them, their supervisor, and dispatch. Is it just much easier to snark away the day then stand up to cops abusing people for committing no crime? Then WHY are you unwilling to take a stand in a Rosa Parks (and the others who got no credit) kinda way to help educate those people who the good guys have to deal with?

    (tangent) Is there any research looking into how many criminals OC before, during, or after committing a crime (excluding police)? Has anyone EVER heard of a criminal just strolling down the street holstered up and openly carrying a gun while committing a crime?

    The goober: Probably the most likely to be encountered. The one not leaving a golden drip trail behind them, but probably a know-it-all type (you can relate) May or may not be hostile. “would you rather it was concealed? would that make a difference somehow? or “Can you identify who else around here is carrying a weapon legally, or even carrying one at all?” would be the extent of a conversation, maybe the “do you wear a seatbelt?” If seeming hostile at this point, a “good day sir” and continue on your way. If not, continue discussion if willing.

    The gun owner: I assume that to be the last, or perhaps you meant the too many john woo flicks guy. Yeah, that’s the point of carrying it, having it ready if God forbid it has to be drawn. possible discussion follows.

    To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men. -Abraham Lincoln

    A fee levied for the exercise of a Constitutional right “…restrains in advance those Constitutional liberties… and inevitably leads to suppress their exercise.”
    U.S. Supreme Court, 319 US 105, Murdock vs. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Decided 3 May 1943

    I can respect and fully understand not constantly wanting to deal with dipshits, but 1) you have a blog with your picture, so any anti or dipshit can come and engage in conversation and/or unleash a verbal tirade on you at any time in public 2)your stance is outreach:FAIL for a few reasons a)being a woman so you can play the rape card, the sexist card, and all the other emotional bitch smacks that antis always throw around against them b) you use the woman card and can help remove the sexist stigma and cliche of gun ownership as an “angry white male” thing as the press continues to bang away at c)missing opportunities for combating ignorance of the law d)apathy, the same kind that has helped get us to this point doesn’t help the cause of changing flawed perceptions.

    What good does preaching to the choir actually do for gun rights?

Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.

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