Youtube is rife with various pro-2A activists who open carry firearms as much for show, defiance, or antagonism as the rest of do for self-defense. I’d like to show you one such video, which I think is better than most. However, I would also like to add the following comments. Feel free to review the comments and video in any order you desire. 🙂
1. I do not advocate open carry as a means of showing off, making political or sociological statements, establishing “turf,” or for any other reasons save for the following two:
2. I only open carry for two reasons: Response time and deterrence.
2.a. Response Time: The least amount of time between drawing and hitting one’s target is achieved by means of open carrying on one’s hip. That’s why competition handgun shooters carry on their hips. It’s why all openly-marked law enforcement officers carry on their hips. It’s why I and most members of the military who carried handguns into either combat or hostile fire zones carried on our hips. And it’s why I open carry on my hip today. My open carry response time is less than a second. If I have to conceal, it ramps up to at least a second and a half, if not two seconds. Should you ever find yourself in a firefight, things usually happen very quickly, hence the expression about “the quick and the dead.” I’d rather not be the dead one.
2.b. Deterrence. The visible presence of a firearm in modern society is a deterrent. This is quite different from combat, where the enemy could be anyone, and if you look like a member of the American military you may indeed be a target. In modern American society, criminals want just one thing, but in two parts. The one thing is to survive. Most are in a situation where they feel they have to steal. That’s Part A. Most also do not relish becoming wounded or killed (Part B). They have no interest in reliving any semblance of the “Wild West.” In fact, the “wild west” really wasn’t the wild west, either. That’s largely Hollywood fiction created to sell movies. The firearms death rate per capita back then was a fraction of what it is today, even though several times more people routinely carried firearms. Wait… What? You heard me. In any given society, there is an INVERSE correlation between the percentage of citizens who’re routinely armed and the firearms death rate per capita. Amazing how that inverse correlation keeps popping up, isn’t it? 🙂 You can’t compare between dissimilar societies, though, such as the U.S. and Yemen, because there are so many more factors at work than merely the number of firearms vs the number of firearms related deaths. That’s why I said, in any given society, there is an inverse correlation between the percentage of citizens who’re routinely armed and the firearms death rate per capita.
Regardless, the visible presence of firearms in modern America is indeed a deterrent. That’s the other reason why law enforcement open carries, that’s a primary reason why the military open carries, and that’s the other reason why I open carry. Criminals are into stealing from you, not mixing it up with you. They have no idea how fast or accurate you might be, or the nature of your demeanor of disposition. If you’re carrying concealed, you or may not be a target, depending on other factors. If you’re visibly carrying, you’ll probably not be considered a target. The often-voiced objections of “they’ll kill you to get your gun” or “they’ll kill you first because you’re armed” bear no resemblance to reality, and are not supported by any number of crime statistics, for good reason: When faced with a choice between walking away or attending their own funeral, criminals are pretty similar to the vast majority of you and I: Live to fight another day. I always use my brain first (stay away from trouble), feet second (get away from trouble), and firearm third (deal with trouble, in that order. All the testosterone posing in the world will only increase your chances of injury of death. On rare occasion you might encounter a different response, but that’s the exception, not the rule.
3. Speaking of which, I believe a large part of these YouTube “open carry demonstrations” are little more than a testosterone exercise, choosing to err on the side the of the law, hoping for the best, or recording the worst. While I admit they’ve had have some utility with respect to checking the actions of a wayward department or catching a rogue cop in action, I’m not an advocate. The vast majority of the planned ones seem rather silly, and some have been downright dangerous. I think the unplanned ones have had the most utility, but usually only after serious civil rights violations.
4. When I open carry, I simply go about my business. Whether that’s to the bank, a restaurant, or the grocery store is really no one else’s business but my own. I have a CC permit, and do so when it’s expedient or more appropriate to do so. The choice, however, remains mine. I exercise sound judgement, reasonable caution, and do so as I see fit given all involved circumstances.
This is a freedom upon which our country was founded, the freedom to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, on our own terms, non someone else’s. The criminal element in our society exists, but it’s a very small percentage of the remainder of us law-abiding citizens. It’s up to us law-abiding citizens to ensure the over-zealous control freaks in our government remain in check and continue to work with us to enforce the laws as necessary without crossing the line, trying to force us to do their bidding.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the primary reason why we carry in the first place. It’s both the first line in the sand against everything from aggression, robbery, rape, homicide, as well as the last line in the sand against tyrannical aggression. Those in law enforcement who respect this, and they are many, we’ve got your backs, and we know you have ours. Thank you. You should know by now from the above reading we’re not in this for show.
Those who don’t, if I may, please start with the Library of Congress. Better start at the beginning. Follow the links. Follow the history, lest we repeat it, and please, let’s not repeat the massacres of the 20th Century.