Sunday, July 15, 2007

Open Carry

I'm lucky enough to live in an open carry state, and I do carry openly some of the time (I need to get a better gunbelt before I do so more often). I've heard a lot of arguments against open carry, and some of them are downright bizarre.

If I'm to believe everything I'm told, open carry will make me a target for criminals, encourage lawlessness, get my gun grabbed, make the antis create more laws, and get me thrown in jail. It is also illegal, immoral, and stupid. But let's examine some of these ideas.

There is, admittedly, a chance that a criminal will target me first, since I am a marked threat. There is also, however, a chance that he'll walk away because he can be certain that at least one person is armed.

Lawlessness does not result from open carry. In fact, criminals want the advantage of surprise, so they would much prefer to conceal. A gun on everyone's hip makes for a more polite world, not just because the other guy's armed, but because you tend to be more aware of your own behavior when you know everyone can see you're armed.

Yes, there is a risk of someone trying to grab my gun. That is why retention practice is so important. If you remain aware and practice retention, though, no one should take your gun away. The irony I find is that some of my friends call crossdraw the "take my gun" carry method...but it has to be taken from the front. It's is probably the easiest carry to prevent a grab from, but that's for another post.

The idea that my carrying openly will create political backlash is actually kind of absurd. They already work hard to take our guns. They prefer we hide them, since they can pretend no one carries. Open carry educates people. People see a friendly, ordinary, not-so-scary citizen carrying and they start to question the idea that guns make people dangerous.

Yeah, open carry could get me thrown in jail. And if it does, it could also lead to the officer and/or department buying me a house. After all, wrongful arrest, illegal confiscation, harassment, and possible abuse are worth big bucks after I'm told I can walk. Sure, it wouldn't be nice to go to jail, and I really don't want to have to go through the whole process, but they sure wouldn't like the aftermath. But they know it, so they probably won't arrest me.

It's not illegal to open carry in WA. It's not immoral to carry openly. In fact, there was a time that concealed carry was considered dirty, sneaky, and downright dishonest. Open carry tells people that you aren't ashamed of yor decision to defend yourself and others, and are responsible for your own safety. As for the stupidity of open carry, I think I probably covered that in the arguments above.

Is open carry a sensible option for every person or every situation? No. Do I feel that all gun owners should be ashamed if they don't open carry? No. Do I feel that I should be ashamed because I do? No. Make your own decisions for your own defense, but always consider both open and concealed if you have both options.

Unsure about open carry laws in your state? has a helpful map with all sorts of info.

1 comment:

Hammer said...

Open carry is perfectly fine. People like to make up excuses to discourage it.

I think it would serve more as a deterrent to crime than an enticement.