Aunt B.:

I may have told you this, but my dad is completely opposed to concealed carry. Not because he’s opposed to guns, but because he doesn’t believe concealed carry has any deterrent effect because who can be deterred by a gun he can’t see?

No, my dad is for mandatory open carry. If you own a gun, it is your responsibility to your community to wear that gun openly where everyone can see it and deter the fuck out of some crime.

I’m not a fan of open carry for a few reasons. It’s a little too in your face to make people comfortable with the idea. If open carried, you’ll have to give serious consideration to retention and other disadvantages. And some of the advocates are bad at marketing.

38 Responses to “On OC”

  1. MH in GA says:

    Also, as a practical matter, open carry is ill-advised unless you really, really want to get to know every LEO you meet– and rest assured that you will “meet” more than a few. In addition, even individuals with a lot of training often have a gap in their training regarding disarms and gun retention; open carry increases the chances of a gun grab.

    Finally, concealed carry works as a deterrent precisely because the bad guys DON’T know who is armed. I’ve done some training, and we’ve had students who related incidents where they actually weren’t armed, but because they knew (from their concealed carry training) how to adopt an interview stance and issue effective verbal commands, they ere able to successfully disengage from potential attackers.

  2. Paul says:

    I think we need to open carry from the stand point of threat we are trying to counter. LEO’s carry openly and when they expect to be jumped by bad guys they are carrying in the hand guns that are drawn and in battery.

    We as a populace will need to draw a gun when we are jumped by some bad guy. No warning, but jumped from a place of hiding. We need to fumble about and get the weapon drawn from some place of concealment and possibly put the weapon in battery, and then deal with the threat.

    No, I would much rather have the gun in plain sight in a retention holster. I don’t want the bad guy to guess, I want him to know. If he continues his attack in the face of known deterrent he deserves what ever he gets.

    Also when you read of a criminal using the defendants own weapon, it is usually taken while the defendant is getting the weapon out of concealment prepratory to use.

    I am carrying concealed and am very aware of my surroundings, but I still think it is a bad idea and as soon as possible I will be carring openly. Oh, and since my preferred carry is a revolver, it is always in battery.

  3. Steve says:

    While I think there are times when open carry is appropriate, like outdoor type activities, I generally agree it’s well, impolite.

    Open carry advocates can be sort of like those that lead with one aspect of thir life, like atheists who MUST inform you of thier status as a meet and greet tactic, then offer all relevant arguements for their atheism though you don’t care if they are and don’t wish to know or discuss the matter.

    It’s impolite, and makes people uneasy, like a fat guy in a speedo.

    Another arguement is:

    How many of us are trained in anti gun snatch techniques? Frankly, I don’t want a bad guy to know its even there until it’s far too late for him.If I have to draw it, I’m not giving any warnings, and not fighting fair. I’m not there to deter anyone. That’s not my job. I’m not the law and I’m not a crimefighter. I’m a me and mine defender.

  4. Shootin' Buddy says:

    Depends on where you live. Down where Uncle is, I can see how people would be upset with it, but here north of Ohio River, open carry happens a lot without incident.

    Open carry is also educational–equivalent to the homos shouting “we’re here, we’re queer, you better get used to it!” If we educate people that carrying a gun is a normal, everyday action which is done by decent, normal human beings, then guns become more accepted.

  5. Paul says:

    Steve, I too have problems with atheists, I don’t care what they believe as that is a personal descision.

    However I do get in the face of the kids in the neighborhood that are not behaving in a civilized manner. Adults too, for that matter. No, I am not a LEO, but I have an expected standard of behavior and if you aren’t behaving, I will call you out. Old guys did it to me as a young feller and it is the least I can do in their memory.

    For my two cents, live and let live is the path to decadance and decay. I don’t want to go there so I might be a little more forceful than you like, but you have to draw a line somewhere.

  6. Laughingdog says:

    “Also, as a practical matter, open carry is ill-advised unless you really, really want to get to know every LEO you meet”

    I live in VA and rarely carry concealed until it gets too cold out to not wear my winter coat. I’ve done this since they passed full preemption (VA code 15.2-915) back in 2004. The only time I’ve ever had a LEO come up to me, it was a federal LEO (Border Patrol I believe). The exchange was roughly as follows:

    Her: “What department are you with that they let you open carry?”

    Me: “I’m not law enforcement. Virginia law doesn’t prohibit open carry. You don’t even need a permit if you aren’t carrying concealed.”

    Her: “No shit?! That’s awesome! I just got transferred here from Texas. I would have never imagined gun laws would be better here than there.”

    Maybe I’m just lucky. Maybe the fact that I see myself as a salesman for Second Amendment rights whenever I open carry, and dress respectably whenever I OC, makes people assume I’m a cop. Maybe the police in most of Hampton Roads are just better than average on this issue. Whatever it is, I’ve never had the issues people all seem to expect will happen.

  7. Laughingdog says:

    “Open carry is also educational–equivalent to the homos shouting “we’re here, we’re queer, you better get used to it!””

    Not necessarily. If you dress like crap and act like an asshole when you OC, that’s a pretty good analogy. If you try to present yourself in the best light while doing it, it’s closer to seeing two guys walking down the street, and then realizing after a while that they’re holding hands. Done properly, it makes people that didn’t have a real opinion either way think that maybe it’s just not worth getting worked up about it.

  8. Mr. B says:

    I’m an LEO-in-training (Academy ends in Feb.). I would MUCH rather have the element of surprise on my side. My deterrent effect would come from the Federal HST 124 grain +P HP’s flaying toward the guy who just made a massive oversight by trying to rob me. Word on the street makes it around quick when shit like that happens. Criminals talk. Getting shot by an ‘innocent bystander’ is highly demotivating. Just MHO.

  9. Zack says:

    “It’s impolite, and makes people uneasy, like a fat guy in a speedo.”

    (blush) (ahem) Well…

    Okay, okay, I’ll lose the speedo…

  10. Weer'd Beard says:

    It’s nobody’s business but my own what, when, and how I’m carrying. If I want to share that information it’s my right…if I don’t that’s also my right.

    That being said, care to explain to me when it’s -3 degrees out and snowing how the fuck am I supposed to open carry???

    I’m so bundled up you can’t see my FACE let alone my gun.

  11. Gun Blobber says:

    The problem with this whole discussion (as with many such arguments) is that it’s pretty much based in theory and raw emotion. If you feel one way or the other about OC, it’s pretty easy to come up with reasonable-sounding justifications for your point of view. However, these reasons are not likely to ever be scientifically tested, because it’d just be impractical to. Even factual outcomes (which can be statistically analyzed) are pretty much anecdotes because crimes that aren’t initiated are never reported — a huge sampling error (although I suppose you could conduct surveys of criminals and ask them if they’ve ever had such and such experience). The whole “OC is a deterrent and makes people more comfortable with seeing firearms” vs. “OC makes you a target and just makes people uncomfortable” argument is just a pissing match. Nobody really knows one way or another. Both arguments sound good, and you could probably round up anecdotes that go both ways. But nobody can ever win this one definitively, so it just goes on and on forever. Like Glock vs. 1911 or 9mm vs 45ACP or whatever. Fortunately, most people now realize that the latter two arguments come down to a matter of personal preference and that there is no right or wrong answer. Unfortunately, the OC debate has not yet reached that point.

    Personally, I am in favor of OC and would be likely to do so if it were legal in Texas. Basically the argument has two aspects: tactical and social. Starting first on the tactical: I think the retention issue is largely a red herring — if you don’t have the presence of mind to tell when somebody is getting into your personal space, then you probably shouldn’t be carrying, concealed or open; and you should probably evaluate your idea of situational awareness. If somebody were able to successfully grab your gun out of its holster without you managing to stop them, then they would have been able to stab you, grab you in a chokehold, or any number of similarly bad things. Of course, if you are regularly placing your self into situations where you are jam-packed against other people and have little control over who is touching you (e.g. crowded subways) then you probably shouldn’t open carry. However, that is not what most of us usually deal with. I can tell if somebody is standing too close to me in line at the grocery store. If they are, I will turn around, make eye contact, back away, and make clear with my body language that I like a certain boundary around me.

    In viewing the deterrent vs. target issue (also tactical), I look at the common practice of police officers. Most open carry. Obviously there are exceptions (undercover and plainclothes) but by far the majority of police officers are dressed in uniform and carry openly. Does that make them a target? Yes. But I think they act as a deterrent in far more cases. Of course, a uniform stands out a lot more than just a gun on your hip, so I think that the effect either way would be much less in a civilian OC context.

    As for the social effect, that is more nuanced and I’m not sure whether I think the positive or the negative effect is greater; however, I really don’t care so much about this issue (I think the “what will the public think” mindset is, frankly, pretty much socialist; why should an individual abrogate his individual right just in order to satisfy the desires of the masses?). However, I do understand the need for PR and the reasonable desire to create a more gun-friendly attitude in society. I think the “We’re Here, We’re Queer” model is the wrong one to emulate, as IMO the “in your face” attitude put more people off than it won over. However, less outspoken methods can be remarkably successful. Marching in the streets? Probably not good. Openly carrying in a quiet way? No problem. I guess one benefit of the situation in Texas is that, if OC ever passes, it will be fresh in the mind of the public, and OC will be seen as a movement instead of just an odd whacko with a gun.

  12. ExurbanKevin says:

    Open carry doesn’t affect how I defend myself: I can draw just about as fast from an IWB that’s under a shirt as from one that’s exposed, the only difference is my weak hand is pulling up my shirt rather than waiting around in the vicinity of my navel for the gun to get there.

    What open carry affects is how I present myself in public and how people respond to me, and this is reason why I don’t do it. Others have no problem with it and I will fight alongside them to maintain their right to open carry, but I won’t do it myself.

  13. Molon Labe says:

    I think Aunt B’s dad is fundamentally wrong in his assumption that the purpose of concealed carry is meant to be a deterrent. The reason I conceal is not to deter crime, but to give me an advantage if the shit hits the fan.

    I still think the best deterrent is your brain; knowing your surroundings and avoiding at risk situations.

  14. Les Jones says:

    I disagree with B’s dad, too, for a different reason. Open carry is only a deterrent to attacking the person who open carries. Concealed carry is a deterrent against attacking anyone, since you don’t know who is carrying concealed.

  15. mike w. says:

    Mr. B – Your dept. still issues 9mm? Nothing wrong with that, I’m just surprised as LEO’s seem to be moving to .40 / .357SIG these days.

    I’m a big freedom of choice fan, so mandating one method of carry is not OK in my book.

  16. Grey says:

    I’m for open and concealed carry. Although open carry folks should be encouraged to have a nice tooled leather holster and a little engraving on their gun. For that matter, it should be smiled upon to carry a “barbecue gun” whenever and wherever one fells like it.

    Just saying.

  17. Grey says:

    Oh, open carrying in -3 degrees, you should probably just go with a carbine slung over the shoulder. I have no problem with this either.

  18. chris says:

    I open carry all the time, never had any problems.

  19. Yu-Ain Gonnano says:

    Nah, at -3 degrees, you want a flamethrower. You can use it to keep yourself warm for a little bit, plus you can use it to keep anyone stupid enough to attack you in -3 degree weather warm for the rest of his life.

  20. Mike Gallo says:

    Gun Blobber has it nailed down, IMHO. I’m really tired of hearing the same people who bitch about anti-gun people’s poor rhetoric attacking OC’ers in similar manners. Method of carry (including knives, sprays, or nothing at all) should be everyone’s personal choice, and fuck anyone who doesn’t like it. People make a lot of decisions I don’t like, and you know what? Unless they make it my problem, it’s none of my business.

  21. Linoge says:

    and rest assured that you will “meet” more than a few.

    Really? Where does one go to meet these law-enforcement officers? I have only been open-carrying for about two-three months now, in just about every location it is legal to do so, in front of both law-enforcement officers and security guards, and neither have bothered to introduce themselves to me yet. Guess I do not have a friendly face.

    Of course, that is TN, and I assume you are in GA, in which case I have only been open carrying for about two days, with much the same results. No 911 calls, no police, no diving for cover… wierd.

    open carry increases the chances of a gun grab

    Perhaps you can cite some examples? I have been trying to track down specific instances of what you are describing for a while now, and have asked for assistance in such endeavors over my way, and I have not found or been told of a single instance of a citizen being surprised-relieved of his firearm by a criminal, nor of a citizen being targeted simply because he or she was carrying openly. I would, of course, be interested in any such data.

  22. Ride Fast says:

    […] Open Carry: Damned if you do, damned if you don’t […]

    “in weirdo places like my home state of California. Since I can’t get a concealed carry permit in my county, open carry is my only legal choice.”

  23. Robb Allen says:

    The argument that will never die…

    One misconception though that many here seem to be making – Open Carry does not mean No Concealed Carry. I know it’s shocking, but you CAN have both, which means the bad guys will still have to guess who is armed if they don’t see a pistol on the side.

    As for some people who open carry possibly being bad PR, oh well. Being that I love freedom, that’s something I just have to live with rather than try to control.

  24. mariner says:

    I’m in favor of carry.


  25. straightarrow says:

    GunBlobber and Robb have pretty much nailed it.

  26. Yu-Ain Gonnano says:

    Where does one go to meet these law-enforcement officers?

    ColtCCO, could probably tell you since he was bodyslammed by one. And while the vast majority of police officers are curteous and know the law, the one asswipe that doesn’t can really ruin your day.

  27. MH in GA says:

    “We need to fumble about and get the weapon drawn from some place of concealment and possibly put the weapon in battery, and then deal with the threat.” (Paul, above)

    Perhaps somebody has already addressed this comment (2, above). Paul, if you have proper training, drawing from concealment is hardly fumbling around, and only infinitesimally slower (if drawing from under a vest or open coat) or at worst ~.05 slower (from under a garment) than drawing from a duty rig. As for putting the weapon into battery, well… let’s just say that once again with proper training and with a good holster, your gun will be carried loaded with a round in the chamber, and in the case of a 1911 or similar pistol, cocked and locked.

  28. MH in GA says:

    “Open carry doesn’t affect how I defend myself: I can draw just about as fast from an IWB that’s under a shirt as from one that’s exposed”


  29. ChrisTheEngineer says:

    Three cheers for dad.

    mariner Says: “I’m in favor of carry.” Well put. You don’t like a method? Well Sherlock, don’t do it.

    I’ve yet to have any comments by anyone, including LEO, about my open carry. And I know LEO’s have seen it, staring at a big .44 mag from three feet is a give-away. I frequently conceal, but not always.

    I had a few more comments to add to the pi$$ing match, but it will never end. And you all understand that the anti-rights bigots don’t like any carry method, so let’s just argue about it. Maybe we can give them some talking points.

  30. Burrow Owl says:

    Location, location, location.
    While wandering around my current home base in SE Oregon, OC hardly merits a second glance- other than comments like “Those grips sure are pretty..” while standing in the checkout line.
    OTOH, I’m currently working a contract in downtown Reno, NV.The trusty Colt Commander will stay under wraps while I’m here. No point in stirring up the tourists.

  31. TheGunGeek says:

    Les, I think you missed one thing when you said that OC only deters crime against the one carrying. Namely, that it will also deter crime against anyone that happens to be fairly close to someone carrying. Do you think that the perp is going to ignore the gun on your hip when he goes to commit his evil act on someone nearby?

    As for the ongoing talk of the public perception, it wasn’t that long ago that nobody thought anything about someone openly carrying a handgun. Even walking around with a rifle or shotgun wouldn’t get people all worked up. Of course, that’s also because so many people were doing it.

    Let’s say there are 50 million people in this country that own a handgun (I could be way off here) and they all started doing the OC thing starting on Jan 1st as a New Year’s resolution or something. How long before the 5/6 of the population that aren’t carrying learn to ignore it? Day in, day out, everywhere they go they’ll see people carrying.

    Exposure is one of the greatest stigma eliminators known to mankind.

  32. Texas Jack says:

    As mentioned above, Texas does not permit open carry. I’m comfortable with concealed carry, except for one problem: if my weapon is seen, even by accident, I could loose my CHL. Would I open carry (if I could)? Probably. Sometimes. Other times and places, no. just as I sometimes wear a coat and tie.

  33. straightarrow says:

    I have a question about ” It’s a little too in your face to make people comfortable with the idea”.

    Ok, I have more than one question. Is someone else’s unreasonable emotional discomfort a reason anyone should be deterred from engaging in any lawful activity in the same civil manner as he does or does not do anything else?

    Second question. If the answer to the first question is “yes” why can’t we ban fat people, ugly people, handicapped people, colored people, white people, et.al. from ever appearing in public, because it can be proven that someone somewhere is made uncomfortable by all and/or each of the above people? I mean if unreasonable emotional discomfort is to be our yardstick.

  34. Sebastian says:


    There’s a difference between saying we ought to ban fat guys in speedos, and saying that maybe a big fat guy isn’t the best means to market speedos to people who might not have thought about buying a speedo. I don’t think anyone here advocates open carry being illegal.

  35. Fred says:

    I live in Wisconsin and my governor has stated that if I want to carry a gun, I can do it in plain sight right on my hip. Apparently he doesn’t trust me hiding it…

    That said, I don’t think a holstered pistol on your waist is that “in your face.” I recently had a Walmart greeter stop me when I entered the store and told me I couldn’t do that(he looked pretty sad a couple minutes later when the manager told him that’s BS and he should know that, they’ve only had X training sessions about it and he should know better…) and I know I’ve walked past the same guy numerous times with a full sized 1911 on my belt. I did it less than 24 hours before that. This time I had a cart so my hand was up pushing the cart and not just hanging down my side. It’s not like gays screaming in your face, it’s more like gays wearing a little rainbow bracelette. 9 times out of 10 you probably won’t notice unless you’re looking for it.

    Would I conceal carry if I had that option? Yeah, just because if they ever pass CCW here they’ll have to fix the retarded vehicle laws and it would be more convienient and safer (less weapon manipulation), and I have a feeling that the DNR would insist that you could only do that if you were carrying concealled.

    But like I told the guy at Walmart, until we have a governor that will let me carry concealled, you’d better get used to seeing it.

  36. Paul says:

    I have no strong opinions regarding the advantages or disadvantages of open carry. I am neither for or against it. I do however strongly dissaprove of laws that would forbid open carry, or concealed carry for that matter.
    Paul in Texas

  37. CMathews says:

    Either way, if you a pro carry you should just support both. Why create a schism among the ranks of the carrying? Why can’t everybody just get along lol. What needs to be done is mass exposure and education.

  38. straightarrow says:

    Sebastian, why must you restate what I said before you can disagree with it?

    I didn’t say anything about speedos, though I can see your point about marketing. However, it doesn’t address the point of the fat man being in sight and making me uncomfortable, much like the gun being in sight, remember we were talking here about the sight of___ (fill in the blank), not any action on its part, but if you wish, you can envision a gun in a speedo then get all uncomfortable, sounds silly and off track to me, but hey you’re the one with the speedo fetish.

    I didn’t say anything about banning. I believe the word I used was “deter”or a derivative thereof. Which is the appropriate word to note the similarity of viewpoint if other people’s level of comfort or discomfort is to be our guide in how we exercise rights. Deterrence does not necessarily equate to an official ban, and I gave you no reason to assume that is what I said or meant.

    Now if you just want to be disagreeable for its own sake,ok.