Seems like there is a lot of attention being given to open carry right now. Although I am not opposed to it, I am personally not sold on the position of whether or not I would open carry if it were permitted. Currently 36 states allow open carry, and only 14 of those states require a license to open carry! First I want to tackle the topic of carrying from a legal and moral point of view.
“More Guns, Less Crime” (As John Lott says in the title of his best seller) in my estimation means the more good guys that have the guns and are properly trained to use them, the less the bad guys are going to catch us by surprise! Again, Kennesaw, Georgia is the example, shinning on a hill, of crime understanding what it is up against and for the most part steering clear! Chicago, Detroit and New York City continue to be the favored targets of the highest crime rates in the country… I know, I know… I am beating the proverbial dead horse since I talk about it all the time!!! When was the last time you heard of a Starbucks being held up? Well, this organization has publically stated that it has no problem with its patrons legally carrying firearms… do you think the bad guys are aware of this? So, legally you had better know what the laws are concerning conceal carry and open carry in your states! If you took the CCW or CHL class and you do carry you went over these.. but, did you know that you should check these laws every single year to see what, if anything, has changed? Why? Because YOU are responsible, no one else, for not knowing or not understanding the law. If you do something wrong, in regards to carrying, brandishing, firing, shooting someone, a defense of “Gosh, I just didn’t know!” won’t protect you. Texas law tells us that we can carry concealed except for federal buildings, court houses, schools, establishments where the 30.06 signs are displayed, etc. Up until Sunday, September 1st, 2013, you could not “accidently” show or reveal your concealed firearm. Now the law says that as long as it was not an intentional flash, warning, brandishing, etc. you can no longer be charged with knowingly displaying your concealed firearm, with the possibility of losing your license. You cannot intentionally brandish your firearm because someone upset you or cut you off. And, of course, you cannot threaten anyone for any reason with your firearm! Boy I hope we are all smart enough to know these things! Fortunately you do not see these kinds of stories in the news. At least not from law abiding, legitimate concealed firearm carriers.
The moral part of the equation is a little more weighty than even the law in my own personal, non-legal “opinion”! We have to have the laws unfortunately to protect ourselves from the stupid people around us. But, by choosing to carry, we intentionally made one of the biggest moral decisions in our lives. I, you, have committed to carry a firearm to ensure that our pursuit of life liberty and happiness is not infringed upon or that of a loved one. I hope and pray that you have considered what this means to you. I ask people all the time, do you think you could pull that trigger and potentially end another human being’s life? Can you live with the consequences after that for the rest of your life? If you have to think twice about your answer I recommend you lock your gun/s up until you have reckoned with that decision. I am talking about not just in your home, but in your car, in your office, at a store, at a gas pump, in a theater, at a daycare, are you prepared to do whatever it takes to stop a threat with your firearm? If you have made that moral commitment to do whatever it takes to defend life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness there is one other moral commitment I would like to know that you have made. You will say, oh Scott, that is NOT a moral commitment, but ask any member of the SEALs, Delta Force, Green Berets, United States Marine Corps, SWAT, and any law enforcement officer, if committing to practicing regularly is a viable component to the moral decision to carry a firearm! In fact I DARE you to ask them!!! I personally feel that practicing to do something that will protect yourself builds confidence and moral fortitude! I will be blunt… if you took the time to get your CHL, or your OCP, and only practice shooting that firearm once a quarter, once every 6 months, maybe even once a year, then you have not wrestled with that moral decision of carrying to defend yourself and your loved ones. Why? Because you will NOT be prepared to use that firearm in the most desperate of situations! You practiced driving that car over and over and over again why? So you could drive it and be comfortable driving it… maybe even because you wanted to be a good driver! Why does the military rehearse special operations for months on end? Because they want to get it right and they do not want any mistakes. Why should we be any different?
Ok, concealed carry or open carry? There is a place in society for both. I feel that in most instances open carry is a deterrent. A bad guy sees someone has a firearm on them they may be less likely to rob the place. In a state or city that permits open carry I believe that there is definitely much less crime committed because there are way more good guys that can return fire for certain than the bad guy is willing to deal with. But, on the other hand, open carry could mean you become the first target. Much less if you are with several others exercising that right, but if you are the only one in that store or bank, you may become the first casualty. Like I said, I am open both ways, but for me personally, at least right now, I prefer concealed carry. I want the bad guy to have to guess. But if I am in a national park or another open area that permits open carry I will most likely exercise that right, and I have in the past.
I am not sure if Texas will ever pass open carry, and I am certainly not opposed to it as I believe that it will definitely be a game changer when it comes to the majority of crime, but until then I will continue to practice and to teach and to encourage my friends that the sport of shooting is not at all scary as some would have you think. I would really love to see your thoughts on this subject. Let me know what you think!