A fundamental problem with banning open carry on private property is that, at least in states where open carry is unlicensed but concealed carry is, is that the concealed carry preference in businesses deprives customers of the right to armed self-defense. An open carry only armed citizen is therefore limited on where he can shop, even if public property (government buildings, sidewalks, parks, roads, etc.) are open to him. Most of one’s activities take place on private property, so an open carry restriction at popular businesses severely impacts unlicensed carriers.
Concealed carry permits take time to obtain; for instance in Clark County there is usually a 3-4 month delay before issuance. Where there is not a significant delay, the cost and time of training courses, fingerprint, and application fees may be burdensome to those who can barely afford a gun, holster, and ammo.
The counter argument is that there is no deprivation of civil rights as the person is free to carry concealed; except this is not possible for those without a permit in non-constitutional carry states. Alternatively, the person can simply shop at open-carry friendly businesses. Yet this is often not just undesirable, but practically and economically infeasible, especially in areas where Walmart is the only grocery or department store.
Government bears responsibility for creating this problem. Unlicensed open carry, but licensed concealed carry is ridiculous on its face; something many armed citizens already know. But as criminals almost exclusively carry concealed, permits are a useful tool for police and permits for the most popular form of carry (concealed) also gives politicians piece of mind.
The demonization of concealed carry (which is really just the demonization of carrying a handgun) is an old, outdated, and factually false misperception of armed self-defense. Concealed carry restrictions and licensing are relics of the first attempt at controlling social violence through gun control. In the late 19th century, it was thought that carry a concealed weapon made one more prone to violence, as if they had a disease--not an uncommon canard from the hoplopaths today.
The problem of open carry bans can be alleviated by government is removing the remaining restrictions to unlicensed concealed carry. Prior restraint on self-defense (a right considered so universal, the Founding Fathers left it out of the Second Amendment and many early state constitutions) has to end. Until the ban on unlicensed concealed carry ends entirely, government is complicit in denying the ability for many citizens to defend themselves in places where concealed carry is banned.
We know citizens will still go, forced or otherwise, to these businesses. Walmart, Kroger, and other businesses do not care about the safety of its citizens but only about their public relations image. It is shameful that an antiquated prohibition maintained by the wishes of police and fearful, hoplopathic (gun-hating) politicians, disarms citizens.
Clayton E. Cramer
Gun Free Zone
The War on Guns
The View From Out West