Even more open carry thoughts

Sebastian has been one of the gun bloggers discussing open carry a great deal in recent days.

Earlier today I wrote a bit more about my own thoughts on open carry and how I’m just not into it for myself because I don’t carry to make a political statement. Now Sebastian writes on a critical question that comes up in this discussion:

Ride Fast has a question:

What I would like to hear from Mr. Cramer and others who support not openly carrying, is just how do we acclimate people to open carry without actually open carrying? Or is Mr. Cramer advocating we give up on open carry altogether? I can’t support that and never will.

I would ask why acclimating people to open carry is an important goal for the gun rights movement? Because doing that really only benefits the small number of people who want to openly carry. To me that’s a step 36 thing, when we’re on step 12.

Now you have to back up and look at Ride Fast’s post. But frankly he answers his own question and Sebastian furthers it.

Dramatic change is not going to work. People just don’t like change, or perhaps better is to say that most people don’t like big changes really quickly — especially a change that could invoke negative feelings (like seeing a gun on someone’s hip). Recent years have been very big on anti-gun, but it is slowly changing. Heck, in the past year a lot has changed in that regard and many more people are warming up to guns and gun owners. But taking giant leaps into open carry just may not work for the masses. Again, it’s well likely to scare the sheep.

Case in point, as soon as I posted my earlier bit, a buddy of mine posted an experience he had at a local bank. And he wasn’t open carrying at all. Heck, it sounds like it was possible they went purely on the knowledge that he had a concealed handgun license. And folks, this is in Texas.

I just don’t think the sheep, on the whole, are ready for us to jump into open carry.

But now we have Bushmaster putting ads in Maxim magazine. Savage Arms advertising in Boys’ Life magazine.

So this is how you do it. Like Ride Fast said, it was a slow haul through advertising and other avenues. Honda started an ad campaign. Kinda like Bushmaster with Maxim, eh? It’s a slow process of allowing the mainstream to see us and think nothing of it all.

Sebastian continues along the lines I also feel, that if you’re open carrying to make a political point, it’s a passive show and the message received by the viewer may not be the message you wish to convey. I know Ron’s a good guy, but the man at the bank did not and assumed the worst. It’s better to be able to engage people actively, so you can explain, so they can ask questions and you can answer and ensure they are receiving the message you’re trying to send.

So should we not open carry at all in the meantime? No. To some degree you still have to have it out in the open. Just realize that that avenue is going to be a rough road and cannot be the only road. I’m happy to discuss things with people. When I go to the gun range, I have to walk outside with my guns and range bag to load them into my car and I’m sure neighbors have seen me. You shouldn’t hide what or who you are, but on the same token, like anything else, we have to be mindful about flaunting it in front of others. You don’t win people to your way of thinking by rubbing their noses in something they have a problem with.

Updated: OK. Yeah… Linoge gets the win here. 🙂  I’ve been swayed, at least enough to go back and think about it more, as it pertains to open carry as a political statement and then how I personally wish to conduct myself with regards to carrying openly.

16 thoughts on “Even more open carry thoughts

  1. I will say the guy who was upset had no knowledge of my CHL. And to give him credit, it may be his job to watch for people who might be potential bank robbers and carrying a gun might indicate that too him.

    Of course sitting around for 2 hours opening an account should have been a tip off I wasn’t there to rob the place. 🙂

    • Look at all the crap Melanie Hain went through, just to pick one high profile case.

      There’s some other guy out in gun bloggerland… I forget his name, but he’s a black guy and he open carries and he gets hassled all the time. I guess “black man with a gun” is just unsettling enough for some people to warrant a call to the police. It happened to him numerous times.

      Just because it doesn’t always get reported on the news doesn’t mean hassles aren’t to be had. Doesn’t mean that some OC’er didn’t get a visit from the police and had their time wasted because while it may have been legal, the cops still have to do their duty to check it out. It may not be newsworthy, but it’s still more crap than I care to deal with in a day.

  2. On the flip side to Ron’s experience, I have open carried on four separate occasions so far, and the only interaction I have had with people concerning the firearm was another handgun carry permit holder asking if open carry was doable with his new permit.

    I consider that opportunity to educate him a definite win.

    By and large, however, the general feeling seems to be that no one noticed, and those who did notice (i.e. those people behind me in line or whatnot) did not seem to care sufficiently to do or say anything about it. I am certainly prepapred to engage in conversations, and deal with whatever police presence may be requested, but the lack of reaction, any reaction, has been quite interesting.

    • That you know of.

      The trouble is, the only interaction you had was with a person that came up to you. Yes it was a win.

      Then you observed others around you, but did they not care? Or is that just the perception you took of their behavior? Maybe they were scared shitless on the inside and just put on a good front. Unless you could question these people afterwards to find out, you really don’t know what they did or didn’t think. Then on the 4 times you did OC (and 4 times does not a data sample make), how many people did you perhaps walk by that you didn’t notice their reaction?

      I’m not saying it wasn’t a big deal… certainly your experiences ended up amounting to a lot of nothing, which is good. But it’s only not a big deal as far as you know. We just don’t know what the grander impact it was upon all the people that may have crossed your path that day. Maybe it was good, maybe it was bad, maybe it was neutral, we just don’t know. My point here is that we just can’t chalk up lack of information to being a win for our side. 🙂

      • My point here is that we just can’t chalk up lack of information to being a win for our side.

        I was not. But neither can we chalk up the lack of information to being a reason not to do something.

        • Touché.

          Still, I guess I prefer to take my activism through more active means instead of passive means. Together tho, we can hope this all makes a positive difference.

          • I guess I don’t see how OC is passive. Maybe he should hold up a sign next time?

            “I’m here! With Speer

            Gold Dots 124 gr +P”

            • I’m here with Speer. I like that. Good endorsement, and it rhymes too. 🙂

              It’s a passive political tactic because you are not directly engaging people. There’s no question and answer, there’s no discussion, there’s no feedback. It’s not an active tactic to persuade people about the virtues of open carry. This isn’t to say it’s a useless tactic, just that you can only take it so far if you cannot complete the communications loop and get feedback from the audience.

              • So when you go out as a big tall Korean hippy mac lover, do you go out and complete the communications loop?

                Because if not, you should probably stay inside the house and not go around scaring folks.

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