Is open carry a wise self-defense choice?
- We have the right, but is it wise to carry in a way that may alarm other citizens?
- With open carry you can become a target of thieves, bullies and show-offs.
- It opens us to false accusations of negligent gun use — the firearm can clearly be seen.
- The author feels concealed carry offers surprise and thwarts potential “gun-grabs.”
The concealed handgun can’t be used to protect yourself and others if it is not readily accessible. If it is not discreetly concealed, well…it is no longer concealed.
Open carry is a hot-button issue in both the gun culture and the eye of the public. In some weather, this can add comfort to the carrier, since cover garments can be unduly hot. There is also an intimidation effect on potential criminals, and there is documented evidence of that.
However, that which intimidates bad guys will inevitably intimidate good guys, too. We live in a society where, for generations, media and politicians have relentlessly demonized guns and people who own them. Because people unidentifiable as law enforcement carrying guns in public are an aberration of the norm, it follows that some bystanders will perceive “aberrant person with power to kill me and others.”
There are other concerns with open carry. One is that the exposed handgun becomes an inviting target for thieves, bullies, and show-offs. More than one good person innocently carrying a holstered gun has been disarmed by someone who had no right to touch them, sometimes with tragic results.
Finally, any experienced cop can tell you that, sometimes, bad people make false complaints to the police about good people. If that person has spotted your small, gray semi-automatic pistol in your exposed holster, he can maliciously and falsely call police and tell the officers that you threatened him and pointed your gun at him, an act of felony aggravated assault which can bring many years of incarceration. Because he will be able to correctly describe your gun due to your openly carrying it, his false accusation gains credibility. That could all have been avoided by simply carrying concealed.