Opposition To Open Carry Is About Shaming Gun Owners

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 4 months ago

I want to cover this ground one more time for good measure.  The lawmakers in South Carolina are toying with constitutional carry, and this is a small step forward for liberty, but the largest step has yet to be taken and is still opposed by the power brokers in South Carolina.  Open carry.

Please realize that as gun owners, you’ve been conditioned to be embarrassed and ashamed of the fact that you own and carry weapons.  What was once considered poor taste, ill-bred and even criminal, hiding your weapons, is now required of you in order to keep them out of sight of all of the offended parties.

You’ve been taught that all of your gun owning life.  You have holsters for concealed carry.  Instructors and trainers are there to teach you to draw and present from concealment.  You know all of the applicable laws on concealed carry for your state.  There are entire posts and videos on carrying in non-permissive environments.  It’s even in vogue for the gun community to criticize open carry and viciously attack open carriers, with largely irrelevant and ridiculous notions of tactical advantages on concealment.  Those advantages, as you know, cannot be demonstrated to be advantages with any statistical significance that meets the Central Limit Theorem.  Finally, the tactical advantages of open carry, which is quicker draw and presentation, is largely ignored in these conversations.

Comfort is largely irrelevant to the conversation, as is the fact that you’re sweating and dirtying your weapon with IWB carry.  All of these things are signs and symptoms of the fact that gun owners have been taught by society to respond like dogs or other pets by “operant conditioning.”  The first time you ever openly carried caused you some degree of self consciousness, didn’t it?  Just go ahead and admit it.  It’s useful to demonstrate my point.

Gun owners, and in particular open carriers, are treated like second class citizens, inferior men, uncouth savages, like those who have no etiquette, when exactly the opposite would have been true two hundred years ago.  That’s one reason I openly carry when I can.  In some small way I want to change all of this.  I open carry “For the peace, good and dignity of the country and the welfare of its people.”  So should you.

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  1. On February 5, 2018 at 3:07 am, Jon said:

    I open carry all the time, but then I’m in Arizona where there really isn’t much of a stigma. Well, except for the CC-only crew who will denigrate you every chance they get as you mentioned, but I don’t have to sit and listen to that.

  2. On February 5, 2018 at 6:18 am, MamaLiberty said:

    No stigma on OC here. I’ve been carrying openly for more than 10 years. In fact, I’m well known in the little town to the north as the old lady who carries a gun. :) I’ve also carried concealed at times, mostly for practice since I taught both OC and CC. But I’ve retired from that now, so OC all the time. Absolutely nobody here is “uncomfortable” with that – or at least nobody expresses that… and it wouldn’t matter to me if they did. Not my problem.

    I don’t listen to those who would denigrate me for OC. I have no use for their opinion in the first place. In order to be “shamed,” you have to care about what they say.

  3. On February 5, 2018 at 8:44 am, Frank Clarke said:

    The last time I visited my cousin in New Mexico, we went for a walk down by the Rio Grande, and I OC’d. It felt like walking down the street naked except that nobody paid any attention to me.


  4. On February 5, 2018 at 12:45 pm, Sailorcurt said:

    Even though it has been recognized and protected by the Virginia courts for decades as the basic manifestation of the right to bear arms, open carry in Virginia was pretty uncommon up to about 15 years ago or so.

    It started becoming more common back in the early 90’s when gun controllers had the upper hand and gun owners had little recourse. Openly carrying a firearms was not illegal and could not be made so without the Virginia Supreme Court reversing long-standing precedent.

    By about 15 years ago, it had really come to a head…open carry was becoming more common, but the police would often harass or outright arrest open carriers and scared sheeple would try to get them ejected from public venues, or call the police to report a “man with a gun”.

    What it took was a couple of high profile (and highly profitable) lawsuits from harassed gun owners and a few highly publicized “if you don’t want our business, we’ll hold a rally and spend lots of money at the place down the street where we’re welcome” incidents and it all kind of died out.

    I have been involved in gun rights and the defensive carry movement from the beginning; back when I was always wondering when I was going to be stopped and interrogated and/or arrested, it felt a little…um…odd.

    Now days, if anyone notices or says anything, it’s only to admire my choice in carry gun or to tell me what it is they carry.

    The whole concept of “normalizing” that the left fears is legitimate. People get used to seeing private citizens openly carrying firearms with no negative consequences and pretty soon, it’s not only not looked down upon, but is lauded by many.

  5. On February 5, 2018 at 2:36 pm, Jeffrey Dege said:

    Back around 1998 I became active in our local shall-issue fight. We got the law passed in 2003. Sometime in between, maybe 2000, I was scheduled to work a booth at a local gun show.

    On the way in, walking through the parking lot, I saw a guy get a cased shotgun out of his trunk, and look around nervously to see if anyone was seeing him.

    And that struck me.

    There is nothing in the slightest bit wrong with carrying a cased long gun from a parking lot into a gun show, and that people should have been so ingrained with fear about carrying guns as to be nervous about it is simply unacceptable.

  6. On February 6, 2018 at 11:40 am, MarkPA said:

    Is the Open- vs. Concealed-Carry debate distinguishable from fashions in hemlines and décolletage? Where is Joan Rivers’ Fashion Police when we really need her to arbitrate this debate?

    That opinion has evolved on this topic over the centuries makes the debate look like fashion. That practice varies from State to State and even within some States reinforces the impression.

    Why to hoplophobes not object to uniformed police Open-Carrying? If they are triggered by the sight of guns, what makes the difference? Those of us who carry could consider wearing our best blue go-to-meeting suits if that would help.

    When I lived in NJ I regularly found myself in line at the Dunken-Donuts behind a 40’ish woman dressed in civilian cloths; accessorized by a six-shooter on her belt. We were always surrounded by giggling girls on their way to Catholic school near-by. No one seemed to notice, except me. One day I asked if she were a cop. She replied in the affirmative. I observed she wasn’t in uniform. (Notice how I pick-up on every subtlety.) She replied that she was a detective.

    Maybe our intrepid sisters-in-arms might best take the lead. As women, they have experience wrestling with the emotional challenges of choosing what-to-wear in diverse contexts. They are somewhat insulated from being shamed for enhancing their “endowment”. It’s hard to accuse a woman of behaving in a “threatening” manner; particularly so if escorting children or if elderly.

    I think the movement needs to begin as a conspicuously political statement, NOT a personal expression of ego. E.g., imagine a neighborhood restaraunt where many patrons know one-another. If “Joe” appears alone open-carrying there will be murmurs about how “odd” he really is. Conversely, if a half-dozen guys meet regularly at 9:00 AM under the name “Al’s Breakfast Open-Carry Club” the “odd-ness” is diluted. Almost all other patrons will know at least one of the half-dozen, recognizing him as level-headed. People recognize that they intend to make a political statement; and, that fact will cut them a lot of slack. After a few months, no one will notice that they Open-Carry daily, coming and going as individuals. Thereafter, they may Open-Carry throughout the town-square as merely an extension of what they started doing. Groups in adjacent towns follow suite.

  7. On February 6, 2018 at 11:51 am, Thane Eichenauer said:

    Is that video of “For the peace, good and dignity of the country and the welfare of its people.” still available somewhere? It looks like it is no longer present via:

  8. On February 6, 2018 at 11:59 am, Herschel Smith said:


    Not that I can find. It’s really a shame. T’was a great video.

  9. On February 6, 2018 at 2:51 pm, Mike0369 said:

    I get the “it’s my right, deal with it” attitude, however I see three practical things wrong with open carry.
    First, the gun is a target for theft, and 99% have no training to defend the gun, AND 90% of armed citizens are NOT in condition yellow when out in public.
    Cops take classes on weapons retention and many have good situational awareness.
    Second, it eliminates the valuable tactical element of surprise, and potentially makes the carrier the first one shot when things go wrong. Again, 90% of armed citizens are NOT in condition yellow when out in public. The bad guy will see you before you see him.
    Third, depending on where you live, it can generate “man with a gun” calls to police. This kind of interaction with cops is dangerous as hell.

  10. On February 6, 2018 at 3:09 pm, Herschel Smith said:


    Use a retention holster. I do.

    As for the other objection, i.e., “I’ll be first because the perp sees me,” good. I should want to perish trying to defend innocent lives before I ask for the perp to shoot women and children before me just so that I get what I consider to be a better chance. “Greater love hath no man …”

    A chance I don’t think you can statistically prove to be better anyway.

  11. On February 6, 2018 at 8:21 pm, moe mensale said:


    “First, the gun is a target for theft…” Get a GOOD retention holster.

    “…and 99% have no training to defend the gun…” Get a good retention holster. It doesn’t take much training or strength to know how to punch someone in the throat or break an elbow joint. We don’t require super secret Ninja or cop training. Common sense works.

    “…AND 90% of armed citizens are NOT in condition yellow when out in public.” Conjecture on your part. The basic act of carrying a gun tends to put most people in a heightened state of awareness.

    “Second, it eliminates the valuable tactical element of surprise, and potentially makes the carrier the first one shot when things go wrong. The bad guy will see you before you see him.” Conjecture again. Most perps are going to be so focused on their impending deed that you probably won’t even be noticed. Unless you’re the target.

    “Third, depending on where you live, it can generate “man with a gun” calls to police. This kind of interaction with cops is dangerous as hell.” Conjecture again. Otherwise we’d be reading stories about this daily from open carry states. Have there been such instances? Of course, but far and few between. Sometimes the cops need to be reminded of what their laws say. Now if you’re a “YouTube Star” looking to make a point by being an ass and encouraging a little police interaction, well you won’t be getting any sympathy from me.

  12. On February 6, 2018 at 8:23 pm, moe mensale said:

    ETA – Yes, I open carry every day here in GA. No issues.

  13. On February 7, 2018 at 8:10 am, Ned said:

    No issues in Arizona either.

  14. On February 7, 2018 at 2:56 pm, Gryphon said:

    Virginia is a ‘Shall Issue’ State for CCW, and with Open Carry with few Exceptions as to Place. (Schools, jails, and Courthouses), for the most part. Where it becomes tricky is Location; in most urban/suburban parts, Open Carry lights up the 911 Desk without Fail. Depending on the Attitude of the responding piglets, it can become a VERY Dangerous situation. The (very few) Times I have Carried Open was due to a Known Threat, and anyway, I’m out Far Enough from the Swamp were Open Carry is just common enough that most people don’t Pay any attention to it.

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You are currently reading "Opposition To Open Carry Is About Shaming Gun Owners", entry #18589 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns and was published February 4th, 2018 by Herschel Smith.

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