Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Open Carry vs Concealed Carry

Just to be clear here, I'm not advocating one way or another. I happen to live in a state where open carry is legal, and I do so on occasion, usually because it's too damn hot to wear a cover shirt. I think that aspect of it is nifty as hell cause I don't have to choose between stroking out and not carrying a gun.

What I'm addressing today are the advocates on either side. Those who rabble rouse for open carry, and those who get their panties in a twist because concealed carry is the only way to go.

I'd just like to say to all of them who are busily getting into arguments about the particular subject and everything related to it: You're All Wrong.

Not your opinions, have whatever opinions you like. The fact that you intend to (metaphorically) die on a hill over someone else's choice, that's just dumb.

Caleb has a post up over at his blog on the subject, and although Caleb and I by no means always agree on stuff (ok so there have been a couple of times we've disagreed rather spectacularly in the past) this time I think he's hit the nail on the head, and I told him so in comments. Frankly it's a couple of the comments there that inspired me to go ahead and ramble on the subject. In one of them (go read if you want them in entirety, I'm paraphrasing) someone said something to the effect of "if someone pro-gun comes out as anti-OC, then that gives the anti-gunners ammunition."

Ok, I can see how you could say they would use it as ammunition against law-abiding gun owners, but there's a difference between ammunition that is used and ammunition that is valid.

Personally, that statement rubs me the wrong way, because I detest being manipulated, and to me that reads as an attempt to manipulate someone into supporting something they don't necessarily agree with, because (the manipulator wants you to think) if they don't, it can have a negative impact on something they do support. I'm not going to say that it was intentional, or unintentional, I don't know so I'm not going to point that finger, but that's how it read to me.

Also, apparently, there is some big hullabaloo in the blogosphere on blogs that I at least don't follow closely, which, frankly, there are a lot of out there. I have no idea what that even is other than that it exists, and I take no sides there, just so ya know. (End Drama Llama Disclaimer)

My stance on it is, if you don't have legal open carry in your state and would like to, by all means work towards that goal, but don't expect anything other than "hey you're being a dick" if you're working towards that goal by being as obnoxious about it as possible. If you're OCing a Desert Eagle (in whatever way/place/time is legal in your area) and when someone asks you why, you climb on a soap box and scream "Because I can so take that bitches!" or something similar... you're being a dick. If you are stopping people on the street while open carrying to hand out pamphlets about open carry and give them a speech, well, you're kind of being a dick. I can see how that last one could be done in a non-dick way, but it would bring up other problems like people reporting a loitering man with a gun on a corner smiling in what could be taken as a creepy way at all passers-by.

As for the committed concealed carriers... where do I start. You have made a choice regarding your personal property and your person, congratulations. Let everyone else make theirs. Whether you're just trying to get the "don't be obnoxious because you make all gun owners look bad that way" point across (a point I agree with on BOTH sides of this particular argument, by the way) or not, hammering on the OC advocates makes you look like a dick too.

The argument that what one does hurts/helps us all... well, there is some validity to that, but not as much as some who use that argument would like to be true, I don't think. I think a better example of non-foaming at the mouth gun ownership from both sides of the issue would help everyone involved far more than simply being the loudest one in the argument.

Don't get me wrong, there are reasonable people on both sides, and there are groups that are doing OC advocacy in a completely non-dick way... or as non-dick as you can be when you're advocating something, because that's sort of the point of advocacy when you look at it in the right light. Anyway, they're polite and calm, and let people ask them questions which they answer in a pleasant way.

I'm not even against OC days, although I do have the caveat that if you're going to gather to OC, the fact is that some people are going to get nervous about it. Also, if you believe that strongly in OC, perhaps you should consider just... I dunno... having every day as an OC day? Not everyone wants to put up with the questions and extra interactions every day, sure, I get that. But one person OCing on a semi-regular basis and being polite and pleasant is going to leave a far more positive impression on the people within your sphere of influence than a group of people suddenly showing up obviously armed and banding together, I think.

The first may just be that odd but nice guy/gal from down the street, the second can be intimidating. Even just suddenly seeing a bunch of guns on people's hips that you're not used to seeing, even if they're not all in one spot and clearly together, can make people more nervous than curious.

Now, some places you can't OC at all except at very specific times/places. Not saying you shouldn't ever have a gathering at which everyone OC's (we did, and pretty much do every year, but that was more about the people who couldn't do it enjoying the sensation of having a gun on their hip in the open and no one bugging them about it than any advocacy) but do it the right way. If your state says you can open carry while engaged in hunting/fishing... then don't go take a pole to stick in the water and strut around amongst the non-carrying plebes waiting for them to ask questions. If you do that, you look like a smug dick who found a loophole to assert your opinion on everyone else.

However, if you actually FISH... then you're a guy fishing who happens to be carrying a gun. You're doing your thing and not getting in anyone else's space. As someone who has spent most of her life watching animal behavior and seeing corollaries in human behavior, let me tell you, curiosity is a strong pull, but if you add that pressure away by moving into or toward their space or clearly having no interest in what you're nominally there for, but rather focusing your attention on those around you (hello predatory behavior, how are you?) the push is going to outweigh the pull.

Hopefully I've provided enough examples of what I mean here that people won't be inclined to take one sentence and run with it as a flag to plant on their personal hill, but here's the gist:

I believe, in my own personal opinion, which you are in no way obligated to agree with or even read, on my own corner of the internet that is this blog which I maintain and write upon for my own pleasure, that there are members of both sides of this particular debate that are so far off track and into the weeds that you couldn't find them if they had a bicycle flag stuck to a helmet on. I think all of those people, collectively and regardless of which side they happen to be on in this argument, are acting like dicks. I happen to believe that you are more likely to make people think and possibly re-evaluate their opinion when you don't act like a dick.

There, I've said my piece, now we'll see if the dramallama comes to visit over it or not.


Bob S. said...


I'm the person who said it gives the antis ammunition and I'll stand by it.

When a supposedly “pro-gun” trashes Open Carry, it provides ammunition to the anti-rights cultists.

Your views about the difference between valid ammunition and ammunition is accurate.

The point that I continually make is the antis will twist and distort nearly anything close to their position and this is one of their favorite targets because it requires so little distortion.

I'm not trying to manipulate anyone. I'm expressing an opinion determined after years of observation and discussion.

Please also note that I'm not referring to any discussion of the pros and cons, just when someone trashes OC. As the person did at SaysUncle -- http://www.saysuncle.com/2012/06/02/a-reminder-6/#comments

What I would like to point out is I tried to do the same thing you are basically doing -- warning people that what they say/do can be used to negatively impact our rights. Not much difference then your examples of the Every Day Open Carry and Open Carry Events.

I hope that makes sense and clarifies my views. No hard feelings on my part, your words helps me learn to better express my view.

God, Gals, Guns, Grub said...

I agree... most folks are too far off in the weeds to even find their way back to the road...

Dann in Ohio

Tam said...

...and all the people said "Amen."

Robb Allen said...


I'm the one who shoves a fishing pole in the water and waits for questions. I don't fish. It's not something I enjoy doing and the vast majority of the time, I don't even have bait on my hook because it's nothing more than a prop.

And when my group pushed for open carry to be legalized all the time rather than just when hunting, fishing, or camping I assure you those who didn't want to vote for the bill absolutely brought up how "even these gun owners don't like Open Carry". It's much more damaging than you think in certain places.

Valid ammunition or not, it's used.

The problem is, I believe, that people assume how their backyard looks is how everyone's backyard looks. California isn't Arizona, and Arizona isn't Florida. How people react to OC in Wisconsin doesn't mean people in New Hampshire would do the same.

I know there are OC'ers who are dicks. There are Fudds who are dicks, competitive shooters that are dicks, and assume there are macrame clubs with people who are dicks. It's still wrong to tar the entire group for the actions of a few and that's generally my beef.

Caleb has it right though - whatever you do, if you want people to accept it, don't be a dick.

And the verification word is 26 pornseep? Huh.

Anonymous said...

The thing that I learned from this blog, and it clearly shows my complete ignorance about all things US-gun-law-related, is that when I heard about 'those strange places in the States where random people carry handguns around' I had always taken for granted that places that had concealed carry laws were the less restrictive/more pro-gun ones.

I.e., not _only_ are you allowed to carry a handgun around on public property, but you're _also_ allowed to hide it so people don't even know you have one on you. And now I find out it's the exact opposite. Huh.

I'm missing something of the reasoning, clearly.

Nice blog, BTW. I would agree, as someone leaning far more towards the pro-gun control side, that a low-key and pleasantly reasonable approach like yours is far more likely to plant positive seeds in the mind of someone like me than anything even remotely pushy or assertive.

Chuck Kuecker said...

Been OC'ing now for three days straight when out and about.

One clerk at a gas station wanted me to pull my gun out and pose for a "picture" - no one else has remarked on it or even looked at me twice.

(I declined the photo - op)

When I'm not dressed in a way that facilitates concealed carry, I just carry.

I do believe that it is also a matter of common sense - don't open carry in an area where you are likely going to make a target of yourself, as one gent in Milwaukee did a while back.

Chuck in Wisconsin

Rat said...

@Anon, I'm from a strongly anti-private-firearm country and you beat me to the comment I was planning to write here. :) I also thought CC would be considered the more pro-gun, "we trust firearm owners" approach.

Old NFO said...

Concur... Everybody has their own opinions and actions. HOW they present them is the crux of the argument. Well said FG!

mustanger said...

I'm all for legalized open carry, but I'm not for also carrying a bad attitude. I recall once in a restaurant I witnessed some guy carrying both. If asked why, I'd expect a reply along the lines of "because I can, you ignorant (blah blah blah)". If I'm right, there's no telling how much damage that guy alone has done. Attitude is everything and a bad attitude does nothing to convince anyone we're not a bloodthirsty clown posse.

Farmgirl said...

Rat and Anon-
I can understand why you would see it that way, easily.

Most gun owners in America view it as "the Second Amendment doesn't say anything about having to HIDE your gun."

I happen to be about as non-threatening as is possible when carrying a gun, purely because I am female and small.. I also happen to have a nice story to go with my usual carry gun.

It makes the idea of carrying a gun in the open seem a lot less threatening when you hear "Oh yes, my dad gave me the gun for Valentine's Day, my friend got me the grips for my birthday and had them engraved with a picture of me and my horse from when we won the reining competition at college, and my mom conspired with another friend to tool the holster and have it made custom for Christmas."

I've noticed that it makes even anti gun people look at it less as a dangerous thing that might bite them from the holster, for the most part.

Really, I'm not against open carry, or concealed carry. Depending on the circumstances I do both, because I live in a state where I can. I just think being obnoxious about trying to make your point doesn't do your side any good, no matter what side you're on, whether it be open carry vs concealed or Apple products vs Windows, or anything in between.

Skip said...

Here in Kali, it's concealed only...sigh.