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Open Carry: You Decide

The vast majority of U.S. states allow the open carry of defensive handguns under one provision or another of their individual law. What is interesting is the amount of discussion and debate that this freedom has created among defensive shooters. Some think that open carry is virtually the only way to go. Others like it under certain circumstances, while others think it is a real mistake for the armed citizen. Let’s try to take a look at both sides of the argument.

Many who open carry prefer it because it gives a clear message to crooks. Realizing that most crooks don’t want to get into a gunfight, they just want whatever it is they want with the least possibility of their getting hurt. In this case, advocates believe open carry simply says to the crook, “I am a hard target, and you will be making a big mistake by messing with me.”

Another argument for open carry is that, since concealment is not an issue, one can be armed with a service-size handgun. Coincidentally, this would be the same type of handgun that most shooters find that they do their best work with. Without the covering garment, one can be expected to get the gun into action much quicker, should the need arise. Remember, of course, that pistol retention is also an important consideration.

Those who are not fond of open carry argue that the sight of the gun makes its wearer a target, often before he or she realizes that there is a threat. They would agree that some crooks would avoid the open carrier, but point out that this might not be true if the crook is high on drugs or has mental issues. In short, they would argue that the sight of the open carried gun is simply saying, “Shoot me first!” And, we all know that none of us are always as aware of our surroundings as we should be.

Another thing in favor of concealed carry is the surprise element. The crook has a plan for what he is going to do and what he anticipates that the victim will do. When he suddenly finds himself with a gun stuck in his face, a gun he didn’t know was there and hadn’t planned for, his plan just went out the window and the advantage is on the side of the armed citizen.

The real value of the open carry law is that it lets the individual citizen decide what is best for him or her. Some may carry open on some occasions and concealed on others, depending upon the circumstances. But, you decide that for yourself, we don’t do it for you. And open carry reminds all of us that the only thing we should really ask of other armed citizens is that they act responsibly. And that, my friends, kinda sounds like America to me.

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