The Case Of Open Carry

Pt I: The Argument For
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“Open Carry”—guns worn visibly in public, presumably loaded—has long been a hot-button topic in the world of the gun, and in the last few years, the debate has extended to the general public and the mass media. Smart? Stupid? There are arguments for both sides.

Where this writer is coming from is the lonely middle ground. I’m not against open carry, but I don’t carry that way exclusively except when wearing a police department-issue uniform. Years of doing just that have left me acutely conscious of the fact some folks are scared of guns, and a few of them would just love to take the gun from you for their own messed-up reasons.

Personally, I always open carry on my own property unless weather demands a cover garment. A few times a year I’ll be at parties with like-minded friends, and darn near everyone open carries, sometimes with fancy “barbecue guns.” What would be the point of a fancy gun and holster if it had to be concealed?

Concealed carry draw (above, left), as with this Langdon Custom Beretta 92G 9mm, is slower by a
fraction of a second than with open carry. Leaving a hotel room (above, right), Mas’ Ruger .45 is openly
carried in safety-strapped Blocker holster. Most people won’t even notice, though some inevitably will.

Points In Favor

I would like to see open carry made legal nationwide without specific license, for any adult with a clean criminal record who has not been adjudicated mentally incompetent. One reason is often a non-gun person becomes a gun carrier out of desperate need when, overnight, they become the victim of a homicidal stalker. Having to wait for a carry permit application to be processed—sometimes 90 days or more—is not conducive to survival. In some jurisdictions, the wind blowing a coat open to expose a carry permit holder’s legal gun to view can be grounds for revocation of the permit, or even criminal charges. Legal, permitless open carry would end such draconian foolishness.

Open carry advocates believe the practice deters criminals, who generally seek easy marks and don’t want to get shot. Open carry opponents say, “Show me one case.” OK!

In 2013, a 40-ish psycho named James DiMaggio kidnapped Hannah Anderson, the 16-year-old girl his sick fantasies had fixated on after murdering her mother and brother. He fled with his captive into the woods of Idaho. On foot with his victim in tow, he approached a small group of people on horseback with what is generally believed to be the intent of killing them to steal their horses … and fled when he saw one or more of them were carrying handguns holstered in plain sight. The riders caught on and contacted police, who subsequently closed in on DiMaggio, rescued the teenage hostage, and killed DiMaggio in a gunfight like the mad dog he was.

Here, it appears, is a classic case of open carry deterring what might have been a multiple murder. I’ve heard absolutely plausible cases of a bank in one instance, and a 24-hour chain restaurant in another, apparently being spared robberies when thugs who gave all the signs of classic armed robbers suddenly “aborted” and left hurriedly after their eyes were seen to lock on a patron’s open-carried handgun.

In low profile open carry, Mas’ black SIG P226 9mm in a black Ted Blocker
thumb-break almost disappears against black clothing.

Common Sense Open Carry

The voice from the middle ground seems to be, “There’s a time and a place for open carry.” Heed the words of the brilliant gunwriter Tamara Keel: “Don’t open carry at people!” Make it a handgun, not a long gun. I’ve found a black gun in a black holster against black clothing is as low profile as it gets. Learn from cops of whom too many have been killed with guns snatched from their own visible holsters. Use a holster with a securing device—a safety strap at the very least—and above all, hands-on training and practice in retention techniques are a must. An arm with an engaged manual safety can help, too.

Don’t be the idiot who carries a military-style rifle near a school or an airport, so soon after the horrors that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School and the LAX airport. I’ve never met an anti-gunner who became pro-gun after seeing someone with a firearm where they weren’t accustomed to seeing one. The idea flaunting guns brings converts to the 2A cause has never been substantiated, and probably never will be.

Open carry has advantages, including a slight increase in speed of draw time if necessary, and comfort factor in hot weather. But it also has downsides. When you saw “Part I” in the title, you knew what was going to be discussed in this space next month, didn’t you?

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