I (John Lovell) have adjusted my thinking about open carry. While I haven't yet embraced it for myself, I've come to believe that when it's done responsibly, open carry is an asset to the cultural exchange.
There was a time in the not so distant past when my perception of open carry guys was of a podunk man with a crappy gun in a crappy holster worn on pants with a plumber crack in the back. It's because this is what I commonly saw at the grocery store near my house.
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As you can imagine, open carriers like that gave me very little confidence in that whole side of our pro-2nd Amendment brothers. I'm grateful for guys who like to wear it loud and proud on their belts, but it also made me concerned that they would be a detriment more than a benefit in a tactical scenario.
Perhaps this is the trainer in me who can size someone up pretty quickly to know whether they could really handle themselves in a gunfight.
But I've gotten a little softer toward the idea of open carry and my opinion has been changing a bit to where I'm actually able to appreciate some of the benefits of open carry practitioners.
Here are a few reasons why I'm becoming more open to open carry:
Reason 1 for Open Carry: Cultural Conversations
While I still see some red flags and liabilities when it comes to open carry, when it's done well, it sends a message to the general public that we're a country built on firearms ownership. It's a symbolic gesture that encourages more gun rights because it's a conversation starter for 2nd Amendment advocates.
The more open carriers do so responsibly, with good equipment and training, the more civilians and law enforcement will see this as a normal and beneficial practice rather than a liability or a weirdness.
Reason 2 for Open Carry: Hardened Targets
Let's be honest, when bad guys get the impression that the good guys are walking around well armed, they're less likely to make an establishment their next target. Guns on hips can encourage the bad guys to look elsewhere, so a couple of open carry guys standing outside a school or religious establishment can serve as a considerable deterrent to would-be attackers.
The fact that I am saying anything positive about the benefits of civilian open carry is a testament to how far I've come on the matter.
However, I still have my hesitations about it and probably won't practice it myself until I'm an old man sitting on my front porch and double wielding six shooters on my hips just for the fun of it.
Concealed Carry Is Still Superior in a Lot of Ways
Having said all that, I will probably continue to argue for concealed carry in most cases, because concealed carry is tactically superior to open carry.
Carrying a pistol on your hip makes you a target for ambush and the first target an assailant will seek to neutralize in the act of a crime. Open carry makes you more liable to having your weapon taken from you by sneak attackers. And open carry still scares the crap out of some people, who might end up calling the cops because they see a gun in a public place.
Some Good News for 2nd Amendment Advocates
Here's something very encourage, though, that I've observed in our seemingly-rapid advance toward a left-tilted country–I don't actually think there are any blue states in America. Not even in super-liberal California.
There are no blue states, only blue cities. In fact, California has some of the most ardent Warrior Poet supporters, selling out our classes almost immediately when we host them there.
The major cities in almost every state are, of course, left leaning. But our states overall are proudly red.
That's been an encouragement to me.
Anyway, wherever you fall on the spectrum of concealed vs open carry, hopefully this is an encouragement to you, too. And I would just urge you to know how to handle your weapon and yourself in a tactical situation, which means it's critically important to Train Hard. Train Smart. So we can Live Free.