Open carry, in particular, seems to evoke the most strident responses. There is very little gray area in most people’s opinion on the subject: Most are either fully for it, for fully against it.
According to OpenCarry.org, 44 states allow Open carry (14 of those require a permit), and 6 states don’t allow it.
I personally am 100% behind the right of anyone legally able to own a firearm to carry a defensive weapon in any way -and in any location – they so choose. I am a strong believer that exercising your rights is required to maintain your rights.
That being said, I only choose to Open carry in a handful of circumstances.
The first circumstance would be at a rally or another similar event as a political statement regarding second amendment rights . The primary instances would be while hunting or fishing, or while out in a natural setting with very few people about.
Why only then?
My safety and the safety of those around me.
In all circumstances, I want the tactical advantage over a bad guy. I want to be the one going home after an incident. By carrying Open, I am alerting the bad guys that I’m a threat to their plans. I am going to be their first target. If I’m the only good guy with a gun, now the bad guys get to run amok and commit their crime as there is now no one able to stop them.
“Well, I’ll draw my gun faster than the bad guys, and shoot ’em dead!” Great plan as long as the bad guys don’t out-draw you. Remember: They know they’re there to commit a crime, you don’t. You drawing your gun faster than them is dependent upon you seeing them, determining a crime is about to be committed, and getting your gun pointed at them before they have theirs pointed at you.
I don’t like those odds.
In my precious metals store, every one who has a gun has it concealed. There are some precious metals dealers that carry Open in their stores. Their view is, “If they see me with a gun, they’ll pick another shop that’s an easier target.”
Maybe. Or maybe they’ll calmly spread out when entering your store, so at least one of them will get a shot at you unimpeded. I’m not willing to take that chance.
If they’ve committed to trying to rob me, I want them coming in confident that they will succeed. I want their guard down, and their hubris up. Me drawing a weapon in self-defense will throw them off their game, and give me the ability to come out alive.
Having the element of surprise is huge.
As the following video by shooting legend Jerry Miculek discusses, retention of your firearm is a concern as well. If you’re in a public venue with Open carry, you can become a target of opportunity to bad guys looking to pick up some new hardware.
Not only have you lost your tactical advantage, you can actually become a target. Yes, it’s unlikely, but with Concealed carry, it’s not an issue at all.
Everyone has got to make their own choice on when and where they’re going to carry a gun for self-defense.
How they carry can be equally as important.
Your goal is to stop a bad guy from injuring or killing you or someone else. Determine which carry method – Open carry or Concealed carry – best accomplishes that goal.