Open Carry draws a lot of public attention and proper Concealed Carry can go completely unnoticed. Some people consider it an advantage to show their gun for self-defense and others don’t want this kind of attention.
All states allow citizens to Concealed Carry while Open Carry is only permitted in some states. As a result; it can be a problem when traveling between states. We must also be mindful, city laws can also vary. Consult your State Attorney General’s website for details concerning each method.
The tactical benefit of Open Carrying a handgun on your “strong arm side”, with no clothing obstruction, allows for “quick draw” capability. It can also be more comfortable carrying exposed, rather than hidden plus it eliminates the need for additional cover clothing required with some concealed holsters. Should quick draw access be your major self-defense tactic, or, should you place key emphasis on other maneuvers?
Open Carry can be a social disadvantage as noted in the two following examples which creates pause for thought. I talked to a man in South Dakota who visited his mother in a nursing home while wearing his 357 magnum revolver with a cover vest. Unknown to him; someone spotted the weapon and called the police. As he left the nursing facility he was met by (4) police cruisers in the parking lot. The policemen indicated they did not like the idea of him carrying a weapon, however, made no arrest.
It also happened in Englewood Ohio, to an individual who claimed to be harassed by the police, at a local festival, while Open Carrying a 9mm Beretta. He took his case to court and won, however, is exercising the right to Open Carry, when allowed in your state, worth the hassle? These people were negatively approached by the police without regard for their legal rights.
It can be an alarming experience for instinctively cautious law enforcement officials to see an individual with a gun, based upon the history of shootings in our society. A grave mishap occurred when Concealed Carry resulted in a deadly experience for a man in Las Vegas who was killed by overreacting police officers who received a phone call from a horrified store clerk indicating “a man had a gun in the store”. No one questioned whether he was legally carrying.
Open Carry persons can be regarded as champions, blatantly fighting for our 2nd amendment rights, which may improve social acceptance, but, in most cases we are dealing with public fear and ignorance of firearms. Exposing a firearm may be viewed as an “in your face confrontation” that will only reinforce public opposition.
This issue should be treated like any other prejudice that society faces. An effective solution will be based upon the behavior of qualified citizens, carrying firearms. The actions of the “Concealed Carry Society” will have the greatest impact on future success of our 2nd amendment rights.
Perhaps “Concealed Carry” is the best compromise for now. If the public “doesn’t see…they won’t know”. The above examples illustrate general public fear of seeing weapons on an individual. We must understand and accept the fact that a large segment of society has this mindset and will not change in the near future. Continuous positive results with license allocations will change public opinion over time.
Concealed Carry is the most hassle free method and the safest when you consider that you are acting undercover and less of a target for public scrutiny. Neither choice is perfect, but, each offers excellent self-protection…keep on packin dude.
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