The Open Carry Quandary

Before we get into today’s blog, I just want to say that I do not open carry my firearms unless I’m out in the woods, away from public. I have a holster that has a quick release, so if I do need to take a break from cutting wood to get refreshments I hop in the truck and head to the gas station. There, I release the holster from my belt and secure it in my truck. More on this later. However, I do support the right to open carry responsibly.

Michigan Open Carry has it’s enemies. I’m a member of MCRGO and we have frequent discussions about supporting open carry. It amazes me how many people do not support open carry. Allow me to explore this topic.

Open carry used to be what people did. Those that carried firearms concealed were up to no good. Back in the day, people understood that sometimes firearms needed to be used and carried. Hunters hunted, they were used for rodent control and predator protection. They didn’t have gun cases to travel with, people just took it from the house to the field and practiced. Then gun clubs came about and you had to go to and fro with your guns from the club. Still, the only people who needed to carry concealed were the bad guys who were up to no good. So laws were made to prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms. Because such laws prevent people from breaking other laws, right? Wrong.

Anyway, as we moved from an agrarian society to an urban society, the practice of openly carrying firearms slowly became dead. The right still existed, sure. But no one did it. Soon communities passed laws to outlaw it.

Fast forward to today. Concealed carry is the latest rage and a lot of people don’t like open carrying. People who open carry make others nervous. My, how times have changed. The reality is that we are in a time when we are actually recovering many of our firearm freedoms that we used to have over 100 years ago and we are still trying to get back to where we were.

The people of Michigan Open Carry (MOC) support, advocate and practice the act of open carrying responsibly. There are many “Law Enforcement Auditors” and Youtube heros out there that do not do so responsibly. I think it’s great what they do, but at this time it is not something I will financially support. But there are many in the 2A crowd of Michigan that advocate against open carrying.

The primary reason people are against open carrying is because they hold that open carrying makes you a target. Lets explore that further.  The idea is that a bad guy with a gun wants to shoot a place up and he sees a person open carrying and, therefore, that open carry guy is going to be the first target. People in the 2A crowd also hold that allowing concealed carry into these places are a successful deterrent to bad guys that want to shoot places up.

Let’s revisit both: the people in the 2A crowd say, on one hand, a person with excellent access to a firearm is a target but a person who know one knows is carrying that will have to draw from concealment (which takes longer, is harder, and more prone to failure than open carry draw) is a deterrent. How does that make sense to anyone?

It makes sense because these guys think that the bad guy will find shooting the place up easier once the good guy with the open carry gun is taken out. OK, I get that. Do you know what else I get? It’s a whole lot easier for the bad guy to just choose another target with no one open carrying or just wait until the Open Carry guy leaves. So if you think the bad guy will want to make it easier for him to shoot the place up, it’s obvious that he will choose another target or wait until the open carry guy leaves.

I’ve heard from one person that he knew of several people who open carried and were robbed of their gun. This guy said they became a target because they were open carrying. I beg to differ. No….I don’t beg, I’ll just say that is wrong. Why? Those open carry guys who were robbed were robbed of their firearm not because they were carrying. They were robbed because they were not aware of their surroundings, which is how anyone gets robbed in the first place.

If you think you can easily just take the pistol out of a holster from someone, let me tell you my experience. In 1997, before I had my CPL or any formal pistol training whatsoever, I was at a range with some friends. I had my Glock 22 in a holster on my hip. My buddy wanted to shoot the pistol and, from behind and without asking, he started to pull the pistol out. I was not aware, was not trained in anyway. I immediately turned and grabbed his hand and arm and went to rotate to pull him off his feet when I saw he was my buddy. He didn’t even get the pistol out of the holster before I had my hands on him. It’s that quick. You have to be trained, prepared and ready to take a pistol out of someone’s holster reliably, even if they are unaware. And you have to trained specific to that holster, that method of carry because the grabbing changes between methods and holsters.

If open carry people are targets, then Police and Security Officers are even more a target. But they aren’t. Every day both are highly successful deterrents against crime. Sure we hear about Police getting ambushed. That’s by people set up the ambush on purpose whose aim is to kill police. They aren’t the guys wanting to start shooting up a school or a mall. They only have the goal of killing a police officer.

For an example let’s look at the Orlando Gay Bar Shooting. The shooter’s first target was Disneyland. He loaded up his guns in his car and actually went to Disney. But he stopped at the front gate when he saw armed security guards. He didn’t shoot them. He turned around and selected another target. Why? Because that was easier than shooting them and then shooting a bunch of other people.

It’s simply not logical to say that allowing people to open carry is a good deterrent and, at the same time, say that open carrying is a liability.

So, why don’t I open carry? Let’s say I’m out in the yard doing work. I live in the country. I sometimes open carry when working outside because you honestly might come across a raccoon or possum that is checking out my chickens. Or a tom cat coming around to harass and steal food from my cats. These are not common happenings, but they do happen. I need to get gas for the trimmer or mower, so I hop in the truck and head to the gas station. While there, I go in to get a drink. But I have a quick detach holster, so I pop it off and leave it secured in my truck. Why? The ladies at the gas station said they like the idea of a customer open carrying, makes them feel safe. So, that’s not it. I know the owner, he doesn’t mind if you open carry in his store. No, the reason isn’t the employees or the owners. The reason is that I have a great relationship with the owner and the attendants and I don’t want to make any of the customers who are just passing through nervous. That’s my choice.

There are others who work to try and make it so that these people who are nervous around guns not so nervous. I applaud the effort. It’s just not my mission. Not right now, at least.

Here is a good example of what Michigan Open Carry can do: When I was working security for the yearly Mackinaw Bridge Bridge Walk, I saw a guy who had a pistol on his hip. It wasn’t obvious, as in it didn’t draw attention to it. But the State Police stopped the guy, he was polite and they had a conversation. The troopers were respectful and he was respectful. The troopers didn’t want him open carrying because it would make people nervous, which is very true. The guy said that the only way for people to learn that guns aren’t dangerous is to present them in a non-dangerous way, and that was his goal. I can see that. I can honor that. The troopers saw that and let him go, although they knew they would have to take some complaints because of it. And no one got shot.

Whether or not you support open carrying, I hope you see that the idea of a person who does open carry is not automatically a target. I find that logic quite lacking. Further, it supports the idea from the anti-gunners that guns in the hands of good guys are not a deterrent to bad guys. That certainly does not do us any good, right? At least I hope you can see that.

If you have any thoughts, comments, or experiences that would help this discussion, both for and against open carrying, please share them in the comments below. Thank you and have a blessed day.

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