Take a minute to read this story that popped up for the weekend on open carry. No really, go ahead, I’ll wait. It’s pretty good, and based on Chris’s experience, he’s not wrong.
But what he’s experienced isn’t the whole of the open-carry experience.
I’ve started to open-carry on the weekends when I can and I encourage others to do so whenever and wherever they can as well. I don’t think there’s much daylight in between Chris’s position and mine on this, and I think his suggestions against open carry are valid concerns.
Without a long history of open carry laws in our state and people who safely do so, Arizona would not be a “Constitutional Carry” state right now. As I’ve said before, out here, open carry is No Big Deal, so my perspective on the issue might be different from someone living in a state where it IS a big deal.
Personality, as Jules Winnfield once said, goes a long way, and as a policeman, Chris knows this. A scary cop makes cops seems scary, but a polite, friendly cop makes people trust the cops.
This is even more true with open carry, because someone with a gun on their hip who isn’t a policeman doesn’t have the innate trust factor that a badge provides a cop. If you carry openly (and you want to do so in the future), you must (and I can’t say this strongly enough) must GREATLY exceed the standards of politeness, courtesy and friendliness of your community. This is where Starbucks Appreciation Day got it wrong: No one likes their property to be used for activists of any stripe without their permission, and that’s why Starbucks Appreciation Day backfired on us.
Well that, and lousy coffee.
With regards to weapon retention and open carry, I agree that it’s MUCH easier to take away a gun you know about than one you don’t know about.
I’m not 100% satisfied with my open carry holster of choice, but I need more training on that so I can make a more-informed choice of holster for open carry and find one that looks good and keeps my gun where it should be until I need it before I buy another holster.
When it comes to any tactical disadvantages/advantages of open carry, I’ve never considered open carry to be an effective warning to Bad Guys, because if I’m somewhere that open carry CAN scare away a bad guy, I am in the wrong place. It’s the cop’s job to walk the streets chasing away crime, not mine.
With regards to this paragraph,
“Watch videos of convenience store robberies; you rarely see a robber watching his back, or securing customers. Most robbers quickly scan their surroundings for cops or other immediate threats, go to the counter, produce the gun, get what they want and run. If I’m regular Joe in the background, I can draw and make my move when I have the element of surprise.”
If the bad guy sees a cop or other threat like an open-carrier, what do they do? Turn around and walk out. Problem solved. If the robber sees me but doesn’t see the gun (a very likely occurrence), he’s going to be just as surprised by my reaction when open carrying as if I was carrying concealed. Open carry neither improves or detracts from my safety in such situations compared to concealed carry, and I’ve always considered the deterring effect of carrying openly to be greatly overblown.
As I said in the outset, open carry is normal and accepted in Arizona, but without people who regularly carry sans concealment, it wouldn’t be. If we ourselves make carrying a gun openly A Big Deal, it will be A Big Deal to others. If we make it as natural as wearing pants, it’s no big deal for others. If we want to have a choice about how we choose to defend ourselves, we need open carry to become as boring and no-stress in the rest of the country as it is here in Arizona. However, that won’t happen without polite people openly carrying a firearm in a low-key, polite and casual manner. I really like having a choice as to how I carry my gun, and I want others to have that choice as well, because having choices is what freedom is all about.