Since my post on open carry was (I believe) the most emailed post I've written, I figure it's time for a brief follow-up.
Concealed carry folks who don't have any interest in open carry tend to fall into three categories: those who don't feel comfortable enough (retention, attention, legal issues, etc.) to try open carry themselves, those who are afraid others will get scared, and those who vehemently argue against open carry. The first two are generally normal folks who get along just fine with concealed carry and don't feel the need to rock the boat. I have no problem with them. THey do not tell me I'm an idiot for open carry.
It's that third group that really gets to me. It is further divided into three subgroups: those who hate open carry because they fear political backlash, those who hate open carry because it seems "macho," and those who claim "tactical" advantages are abundant in concealed carry. There are, of course, those who fit combinations of subgroups, but we'll examine them as though they are very distinct.
Political Backlash: These folks think everyone's going to be scared, leading to more gun laws. Your average citizen, in my experience, isn't very anti-gun. Sure, they might be a little apprehensive, but they are only against guns because they've been told only crazies have 'em. Concealed carry lets them keep believing that. Open carry can change minds, so long as you are courteous and friendly. Yeah, there may be some who call the police or just leave, but the more often they see guns, the more comfortable they'll be. And the police may even inform them that it's legal to carry, further educating them.
Mcho: These people think that everyone who open carries is trying to be a "Rambo" or whatnot. It's hard to prove otherwise, possibly because they'd feel the need to act tough if they had a gun out in the open. Most OCers I know of are actually even less macho when carrying. When you know everyone can see you're armed, you watch your words and actions. It's the macho guy who ends up in some trouble.
Tactical: These ones are the worst. They tell you that people who open carry are constantly disarmed, the target of attacks, and lose the element of surprise. OCers are rarely disarmed, criminals more likely choose other targets (after all, they want someone who isn't armed), and rarely even notice a gun on a person's hip. Look at the tapes of convenience store hold-ups. Almost always, the gun is out before the perp enters, and it is immediately trained on the clerk, with hardly a glance at the customers. As for the element of surprise, it says a lot about someone when they want to conceal so that they have control over when a criminal sees the weapon. In many of these arguments, you get the feeling that the "tactics" guys are looking for trouble, figuring they'll be a hero. It's far better to prevent a crime than die trying to be a hero.
I have no problem with concealed carry. It's fantastic for a lot of situations. Almost no OCers will argue that concealed carry is wrong. Just remember that OC is alright, too.