Open carry and concealed carry each have their own unique advantages and disadvantages; neither is inherently superior to the other. Both methods complement each other and allow for flexibility in self-defense
All citizen carriers have their own favorite method of carry. Each reason is personal and unique to the individual. Problems arise when one person insists only one method of carry is correct and denies any argument to the contrary. Open carry unfortunately suffers undeserved vilification, which is often supported with rumor and unproven assertions. At worst, someone may be deterred from the only method of defensive carry they have available. It's not okay to scare someone out of self-defense.
What is a concealed carry supremacist?
A concealed carry supremacist is not someone who believes concealed carry is what works best for them.
A concealed carry supremacist is someone who denigrates open carry and those who choose to practice it, without fully understanding open carry or ever having practiced it. They believe that their chosen method of carry, concealed carry, is the only way to carry and anyone who carries openly is foolish, ignorant, or eager for attention. A concealed carry supremacist’s opinion goes way beyond personal preference. Their opinion is rooted in ego and a lack of education and experience. Immaturely, they dismiss open carry because it does not fit their preconceived notions about self-defense and an armed citizenry.
Some feel that a concealed firearm permit makes them superior to others because it requires training and a background check. It is a privilege that has to be earned, rather than a right exercised. Anyone who can legally own a gun can carry openly (in Nevada). A supremacist feels diminished that someone can carry without all the extras the supremacist took the time to obtain. In the supremacist’s mind, open carriers are ill-trained sheep wandering around without a shepherd.
“They’re gonna steal your gun.”
The major reservation that many have with open carry is that the gun could be snatched. While this unfortunately happens all too often to law enforcement officers, citizens don’t face the same type of encounters with criminals. Most of these types of gun snatchings are either an attempt at suicide by cop or a desperate way to escape from the officer during a struggle. Gun snatchings from open carriers are extraordinarily rare events and concealed carriers face the same, if not greater, chances of being disarmed.
From the handful of documented times an armed citizen was targeted, each incident has many nuances that negate the simplicity of the supremacists’ arguments. Furthermore, it will take an epidemic, rather than a few isolated stories, usually tied to someone unprepared to use their weapon, before totally discounting open carry’s validity. Concealed carriers are also subject to the same threats. Let’s take a look at some incidents:*
June 2010, Milwaukee, WI (confirmed open carry)
An open carrier was robbed at gun-point for his gun. Details are sparse, but the citizen was locally known as “the guy with the gun.” Though it could simply be prejudice, a neighbor (who also admitted to be scared by seeing the openly carried pistol) felt that the man carried out of bravado. "I think he was trying to scare people off like, 'Yeah, don't mess with me,' kind of attitude, but it didn't work." Open carry isn’t about projecting a tough attitude or a substitute for being tough or street-smart.
Nik Clark, of Wisconsin Open Carry, summed up the situation perfectly. "By and large it is a significant deterrent…but I think it really does make the point that Wisconsin should have concealed carry along with open carry so that people who live in a very high crime neighborhood where criminals aren't deterred by firearms would have the ability to conceal carry to protect themselves.” In some places and situations, concealed carry is the better option, which is why both methods allow for flexibility.
Nov. 2011, Richmond, VA (confirmed open carry)
A sixteen year old thug and an accomplice followed the open carrier into a BP gas station. At some point, a struggle occurred. "The suspects walk in and one immediately reached for [the victim's] gun." The victim was unable to draw his firearm in response. Now disarmed, the victim began to chase the now-armed suspect, who was shot in the chest and killed. The suspect later murdered another man with the stolen gun. The suspect was apprehended and received a sentence of 40 years in prison.
It’s unknown if the victim was using a retention holster or not but appears that the victim was taken by surprise. What probably got him killed was chasing the suspect into the store. Chasing a bad guy with a gun when you don’t have a gun is a bad idea.
Oct. 2014, Gresham, OR (open carry)
The 21 year old had purchased a gun earlier in the day. At 2AM he was on a street corner with his cousin when he was approached by another male who, after asking for a cigarette (a common ruse to get close to someone), brandished his own gun and robbed the young man of his new pistol.
There is enough information in the article to lead one to believe this was not an incident of a person open carrying a loaded firearm for self-defense. Anecdotal evidence around the internet says this isn't exactly a great area of town. Also, nothing good happens after midnight, or so the saying goes.
Rather this reads as a young man, unprepared to use the gun he was carrying, inexperienced with guns, showing it off to his cousin. No mention was made if the weapon was loaded or even holstered.
Dec. 2014, New Orleans, LA (concealed carry)
The victim was approached by multiple males, pistol whipped, and forced to the ground. He was then frisked and relieved of his concealed weapon. The suspects fled. It is unknown if the victim had a concealed weapon permit.
Jan. 2015, Brandon, FL (concealed carry)
A Florida man was arrested and also placed on a mental health hold after he attacked a man legally carrying a concealed weapon (not open carry). Michael Foster, 43, saw that 62-year old Clarence Daniels, shopping for coffee creamer, was carrying a concealed handgun. Foster apparently saw Daniels take his weapon from his vehicle and holster it under his clothing before entering the store.
Security camera footage shows Foster approach Daniels from behind, grab Daniels’ head, and knock Daniels to the ground. After a brief struggle, Foster subdues Daniels. Passersby assisted in restraining and disarming Daniels. During the struggles, Foster was yelling “He has a gun!” Daniels replied “I have a permit! [to carry the weapon].
Shannon Watts, of one of hydra-headed Bloomberg supported groups, posted on Twitter apparently supporting the attack. Such anti-gun groups, through their supporters, are known for advocating such attacks or false reporting to police, known as ‘SWATing’, to harass law abiding guns owners.
April 2015, Yakima, WA (confirmed open carry)
A man was shopping with his children, purchasing a new batting helmet for his son, when he encountered a disheveled man, Trevor Zumwalt. Zumwalt made eye contact with the citizen carrier several times. Zumwalt then drew a baseball bat from the rack and raised it to a swinging position. The citizen turned to take the blow on his arm, drew his pistol, chambered a round, and held Zumwalt at gunpoint until police arrived. The citizen said that he will choose to carry concealed in the future.
The citizen carrier, Brandon Walker, didn’t do anything wrong. It’s unknown what exactly Zumwalt was doing or what his intention was when he attacked; there was no admission or information that Zumwalt was trying to kill because of his pistol or disarm Walker. One thing is certain and that is Walker should have been carrying with a round chambered in his Sig Sauer pistol.
July 2015, New York, NY (concealed carry)
An off-duty NYPD officer was assaulted in a parking garage. A suspect was seen in security video hiding and lying in wait. The suspect ripped a necklace off of the female officer and the two began to struggle over her purse, which contained her pistol. When she attempted to retrieve her firearm, the suspect punched her several times in the face. Once the officer lost control of the purse and the gun, the suspect fled, now armed with the officer’s weapon. He was later arrested. NYPD officials werelooking into disciplining the officer for violating department protocols by failing to keep the weapon holstered on her body.
Aug. 2015, Philadelphia, PA (concealed carry)
A robber approached an armed citizen from behind and grabbed the citizen. The men began struggling, and at some point, the citizen's gun fell out of its holster. The men began fighting over the pistol. A shot was fired inadvertently, narrowly missing the (dis)armed citizen. The citizen regained control of the situation and chased the robber out of the store.
The citizen was apparently not using a retention holster, which could have kept his gun from being snatched. In the video, you can clearly see the robber get way too close to the citizen, who is totally unaware that someone is standing so close to him. Such an egregious violation of personal space should have been a huge red flag. This was a failure of situational awareness.
Sept. 2015, Medford, OR (concealed carry)
The victim was carrying his pistol in a holster in the back of his waistband (small of the back), partially concealed by his shirt. He was followed into the restroom by the suspect, who then tried to grab gun. When he was not able to, the suspect punched the victim, who fell to the ground. The victim was disarmed and the suspect forced the victim to run away at gun point. The suspect was later arrested and found to be a felon under the influence of drugs and on parole.
A concealed firearm needs to be properly concealed or entirely out in the open. A poorly concealed firearm lends the impression that one is untrained and unprepared to use it. Furthermore, small of the back carry provides the least amount of control over a firearm of all positions. Yet again, this is a case of concealed carrier being attacked. It’s important to note the presence of a firearm does not magically keep bad things from happening. Sometimes you will be victimized regardless of your precautions simply because tweaking felons don’t make smart choices. All one can do is prepare the best they can for adverse circumstances.
Jan. 2016, Madison, WI (concealed carry)
A Madison man was robbed of cash and his concealed handgun while he was trying to buy marijuana. The drug buyer—an unlawful user of a controlled substance and thus prohibited from possessing a firearm—also had a concealed carry permit. The victim was not injured.
Feb. 2016, Newport News, VA (open carry)
An open carrier was robbed of his firearm. He was approached by two men who demanded his firearm, disarmed him, and knocked him to the ground. Nuances: he’s at a motel that has had several past prostitution and drug busts. Sure, police say he had his gun in a holster, but something sounds odd about this. Could he have been carrying concealed illegally and told police it was open carry to avoid a charge, but still being able to report the robbery and loss of his gun?
Similar incidents across the country have generated more media interest than a single article, with scant details, repeated only in national online publications that appeal to armed citizens and conservatives. At face value, this may be the only actual example of a true open carry example ever, but something is off about this whole incident. Ultimately, this ‘open carrier’ did not have situational awareness and was a coward for not defending himself while armed.
April 4, 2016 Mandeville, LA (open carry)
An open carrier, who happened to be a firearms instructor, shot an attacking bad guy who would not retreat. The incident occurred at a gas station when the suspect started harassing the clerk verbally "including the use of racial slurs." The clerk told the suspect to leave and threatened to call the police. When the suspect did not leave, the customer firearms instructor, stepped in to assist. The suspect then walked outside. The instructor then followed to get the license plate of the suspect's vehicle.
At this point, the suspect got out of his van and began to 'physically attack' the instructor. At some point, the suspect tried to grab the instructor's openly carried handgun on his hip, but was unsuccessful. During this attack, the instructor was trying to retreat, but the suspect kept approaching. The instructor shot the suspect once in the chest, but the attack continued and forced the instructor against the wall, so the instructor fired twice more killing the suspect.
April 30, 2016 Phoenix, AZ (open carry)
Once again, the concealed carry supremacists are pointing out another open carry robbery.
Guns.com has good video footage of the incident, where the suspect, while talking on a cell phone, brazenly walks up to the victim and easily lifts the pistol from the victim’s back pocket before leisurely jogging from the store. From the video, the victim can be seen wearing a baggy shirt, and one could make the argument that this was an example of poor concealed carry rather than open carry. Even so, a careless person casually carrying a firearm in a pocket for heaven's sake rises to a level of stupidity that ought not even to be taken a serious example of anything not to do except be stupid.
This half-assed not openly carried, but poorly concealed and unsecured method of carry ought to be coined ‘Dumbass Carry.’ Why dumbass carry? Because people who carry with a gun exposed in a pocket, improperly concealed, or without a holster are dumbasses. Wasn’t he worried about it potentially falling out? Quite frankly, if you take no steps to properly secure your gun and rely on half assed concealment, you probably deserve to get robbed.
August 1, 2016 Glendale, AZ (open carry)
A small-framed Arizona woman was the victim of an attempted armed robbery on August 8, 2016, however, because the woman was openly carrying a firearm, she was able to kill her attacker. What is even more amazing about the encounter is that her handgun did not have a round chambered and the suspect held his gun to her neck.
The incident occurred at a Circle K gas station in Glendale, Arizona, during the early hours of the morning. Carolann Miracle was approached by Frank Taylor, 27, who asked to bum a cigarette from her. Taylor then put a gun to her neck and threatened her. She then drew her holstered firearm, “cocked it”, and fired, fatally injuring Taylor. Miracle then ran home to call 911, not knowing if bystanders at the gas station were a threat. Miracle was not arrested.
Based on Miracle’s news interview, her comment that she “cocked” her firearm, clearly seen as a full size Glock, almost certainly indicates that she chambered a round, in the so-called Israeli-style (where the slide is racked to chamber a round as part of the draw). Striker fired guns such as Glocks are ‘cocked’ when the trigger is pulled, unlike on a revolver or hammered fired pistol. Despite the oft-made assertion that an open carrier would not be effective in such a situation, Miracle clearly was. Despite having a gun to her neck, she was able to draw and kill her attacker.
Second, one of the most common myths regarding open carry is that a criminal will target and shoot open carriers first to eliminate a threat to them was disproven here. Miracle was not disarmed either. Having a gun to her neck did not intimidate her into complying with the suspect’s demands. In TV and movies, even the toughest, most-skilled protagonist puts down his gun in such a situation and uses martial arts to disarm their attacker or escape later through guile. Overcoming a huge disadvantage, Miracle prevailed against her attacker when common wisdom would have said that Taylor had the drop on her.
Some commentators in the gun community speculate that the suspect never saw Miracle’s firearm, as the incident happened at night and the black firearm would likely blend in with shadows and a wide range of clothing. As is discussed elsewhere, simple human bias to expect people to be unarmed may have also been a factor.
November 2, 2017. North St. Louis, MO (unconfirmed concealed carry)
A would-be station robber got into a shootout with an armed citizen when the citizen drew a backup gun after the pistol in his waistband was snatched by the robber. Both were wounded in the shootout and so was another suspect. The citizen had a CCW permit.
This shows the value of a backup gun. The method is unknown; it more than likely was a case of poor concealment than true open carry, giving the cool autumn weather, warm outer garments were probably worn. Carrying in a waistband implies the pistol was not holstered and thus there was no retention benefit.
December 21, 2017 Fayetteville, NC (open carry)
A Walmart shopper had his pistol grabbed. The suspect ran out of the store without further incident. The call initially went out as a shooting. Per the Fayetteville Observer, "During the incident, someone yelled out in the business about a gun, and a commotion broke out.” The only details provided about the facts of the theft was that the victim was openly carrying his gun, a .40 caliber Glock 22 and apparently pointed it at the victim (see police report face sheet). No details regarding the victim’s holster or any retention actions, lack of situation awareness, etc. were available.
The victim at least had the sense not to chase after his now-armed assailant while unarmed. This incident likely falls into the lack of situation awareness, no retention holster, and no will/attempt to retain his weapon.
December 17, 2018 in Madison, WI (open carry)
A man openly carrying had a handgun snatched from his holster and managed to avoid being shot. In the words of noted pithy Madison Police public information officer Joel DeSpain:
"The victim said he and a buddy were just 'hanging out.' His friend was not armed, but he was. In fact, he was carrying two handguns, a long gun, and a machete type knife in a sheath this past Monday night.
"His friend would later tell police that the victim – a gun advocate – was wanting to make a statement about the right to bear arms, and had been on busy State St. a couple of times practicing 'open carry.' The friend also admitted another goal – for both of them - was to 'get girls' (phone) numbers.'
"The MPD had gotten calls from people regarding an armed man, walking State Street, but he was breaking no laws, and was not contacted. That was until he, himself, called 911.
"Another man, who has no permanent home, and is known to downtown patrol officers, had confronted the victim saying something similar to: 'Why you wanna kill people.' The gunman responded saying he was armed because it was his right, and it was for protection.
"It was around this time that the suspect closed distance between he and the victim. He grabbed and yanked a holstered handgun from the victim's body. The suspect pointed the loaded weapon at the victim, and the victim – in turn – pulled his long gun and pointed it at the suspect. It was a fluid, tense and quick standoff.
"It ended with the suspect running off, still in possession of the victim's handgun. Officers would later locate him. They recovered the stolen handgun and took the suspect into custody on a number of tentative charges."
The suspect, Melvin F. Bogus, age 39, a transient, was arrested for second degree reckless endangerment, theft, possession of firearm by felon, possession of cocaine and bail jumping.
Like the young man in Oregon who was showing off his new handgun, it’s obvious from his own words that this Madison open carrier was not your average person carrying for everyday self-defense. He had a rifle and large knife with him. Part of his stated intention was to “get girls numbers.” He was showing off—not making any serious political statement about the Second Amendment nor carrying for practical defense. This open carrier was behaving stupidly.
The details of the snatch and whether or not the holster was retention holster are unknown. Though the two did struggle over the handgun, indicating the open carrier did have some presence of mind to protect his handgun, carrying a rifle likely interfered with his ability to retain his pistol. At least he had his long-gun to point at the suspect, though it’s unclear whether or not the Mr. Bogus actually intended to harm his victim.
This incident is not evidence that open carry is ill-advised or that one is likely to be similarly victimized. Rather, this is an example of a foolish person who was not serious about his purpose and certainly not engaged in everyday defensive carry. It was a political/attention-getting stunt that backfired spectacularly. Several of the admitted factors by the victim indicate that this was very likely an amateur targeted by a slightly deranged Bogus who saw the imprudent open carrier as an easy mark. Had the open carrier not made open carry into a spectacle, this incident almost certainly would not have happened. Bogus’ remark implies the image the open carrier projected was not that of a situationally aware defensive carrier, but instead was threatening or stupid.
A person who open carriers a handgun in a secure holster for self-defense—rather than parading in public to flaunt his guns and woo the ladies—will more than likely not find himself in this situation. The carrier’s ability to retain control over his handgun and push away Bogus was likely inhibited by holding the long-gun (or at least keeping it out of the way during the struggle). However, the presence of that long-gun may have kept this from escalating.
Six incidents confirmed incidents of open carriers robbed or attacked for their gun, only one victim fatality, and one thwarted attack. One of those victims was killed when he chased the now-armed robber down. The one event not counted here is when the aggressor was attacked the armed citizen for reasons that do not appear to be related to the gun itself. Two or three of the open carry incidents can only be dubiously considered to be true cases of open carry. Six of the incidents, a narrow majority, were confirmed to be concealed carry.
What did these events have in common? Most of these events took place during the hours of darkness. What appears to be common thread with those who were disarmed is carelessness, including:
The majority of these incidents show, or at least hint at, major failures in judgment and basic self-defense techniques. Human failure, not systemic failure. Three equivocal documented events in recent news don’t amount to a denunciation of open carry as dangerous. It’s like saying concealed carry, with its higher rate of incidents, should be discounted as well.
The assumption that an openly carried weapon constitutes an invitation for victimization is false in light of the isolated incidents. A few events do not constitute an abundance of evidence. Rather, abundant evidence is available that open carry is indeed a deterrent to crime while concealed carry lacks that deterrent factor.
While cops are the most likely to lecture someone about the 'dangers' of open carry, they put on their uniform and practice open carry all day. Why? Deterrence. For the most part, it works, despite the occasional incident where some desperate criminal decides to attack anyway. There is no guarantee that any method of carry is going to insulate someone from attack or save their life should one happen, regardless of experience, equipment, or precautions taken.
“Open carriers are gonna be the first to be shot.”
Concealed carry supremacists like to think that a bad guy will assume them to be unarmed and either ignore them totally or pay little attention to them. As the criminal is too busy robbing or etc., the concealed carrier will then draw his weapon and fire. Of course, the supremacists imagine those who were openly carrying are now lying dead on the floor. In another scenario, the concealed carrier, though surprised by an incompetent foe waiving his gun around, draw quickly from under their concealment garment and shoot the bad guy. Suddenly, they’ll go from ‘gray man’ to the last thing the bad guy ever sees. All right, in theory.
Criminals aren’t likely to target open carriers to remove any resistance to their crime based on the simple fact that most criminals don’t want any trouble, just a quick and easy score. Shooting someone massively complicates things for him. Executing an open carrier is far more risky than simply going elsewhere or waiting until the armed citizen leaves.
A criminal who starts shooting is at a huge disadvantage compared to an armed citizen. The armed citizen isn’t going to get in trouble for a righteous self-defense shooting. It’s the criminal who fires his gun that has to worry about running from the police and evading homicide detectives. Criminals generally seek easy targets. They are after money, not starting a gun fight. Guns are primarily used as an intimidation tool or as a last resort.. Going after someone who they know is armed introduces an element of risk that they could otherwise avoid.
In fact, there have been a few document cases where robbers have been in a business, but decided to leave and come back at a later time, because of the presence of an armed customer. Here's just one example. More of these examples exist than open carriers being disarmed. With concealed carry, one loses the deterrent effect of a visible handgun.
One argument a concealed carry supremacists made was that concealed carry "gives him control [of the situation]". The example was where he is ordered to the ground by a robber. Then, while the robber is momentarily distracted, he will draw his firearm and shoot the robber. First, the supremacist already lost control by not noticing the robber first and then by putting himself in a vulnerable position.
The supremacist’s anti-open carry example was that three bank robbers walk in, see the open carrier, and blast him. In theory, the concealed carrier could appear ‘harmless’ until the opportune time to counter-attack. In the sense of a stealthy bad guy sizing up his target before springing the attack, this theory does make sense, but it is the only time it does. Now what if the bad guys just start randomly shooting people? In most of the mass shootings and terrorist attacks I’m aware of, that’s what happened.
A concealed carrier is just as likely to be a target as anyone else who is unarmed. Blending in with the sheep only has advantages for those who know they are going to be targeted anyway. A wolf will still attack another wolf in sheep’s clothing, but that same wolf isn’t going to go after another wolf that looks just as fierce as him.
Robbers have either extensively planned out their crime or have at least cased the location. They wait until there are no cops around and pick the best times for their crime. They want as little resistance as possible as their goal is to score, not kill people. That makes it harder for them to make their score and successfully get away. It is more advantageous for them to pay attention, size up the situation, and wait until any potential threat leaves, rather than execute an armed citizen and instantly complicate their plot at its inception.
Most robbers or terrorists who are likely to preemptively ambush an open carrier have the tenacity to succeed at their diabolical goal, concealed carry hero in the crowd or not. Those not specifically looking for a fight will wait or walk away if they see an open carrier. That's assuming a criminal is paying enough attention to see it in the first place. An unobservant criminal pulled a knife on an open carrier only to run away after the armed citizen drew his pistol. Remember that the criminal population is about as smart (probably less so) than the ordinary public who doesn't notice a holstered gun most of the time either.
Those who would kill an armed citizen on sight are probably going to be the ones doped up or otherwise too nervous to notice someone who is nonchalantly carrying a holstered pistol. A magical discovery of the open carrier would have to come into play and intertwine with said open carrier’s total lack of situational awareness.
Most criminals who kill do so on impulse. They are the ones who are desperate and/or high, rushing into a liquor store for a quick score. These are the ones who shoot at compliant, unresisting clerks—the ones startled by a frightened customer, who they quickly ventilate in a panic. Those are the wild cards that only a fast draw from behind cover and an accurate shot can deal with. Even so, these people are so emotionally and psychologically all over the map they are just as likely to violently evacuate their bowels at the sight of a gun.
Terrorists are another story. They are the ones most likely to target open carriers. However, one would hope that the average citizen carrier has the presence of mind to notice the Middle Eastern dude or white kid with the crazed look in his eye whipping an AK-47 out of a duffle bag. For the terrorist scenario to be plausible, the terrorist would have to blend in until it was time to ‘go loud’, surveilled the area, ID the open carrier, and hopefully draw and fire without the open carrier noticing.
“I want to blend in so I can surprise an attacker.”
Open carry’s main advantage is deterrence. Some concealed carry advocates prefer to blend in with unarmed citizens and rely on surprise in the event of an attack, feeling that open carry may make them a primary target for a criminal or terrorist. There is no evidence to suggest that open carriers have been prioritized in crimes over other parties because of their openly carried gun. Deterrence is a better option than surprise.
Far too many concealed carry supremacists don’t practice what they preach, specifically, the ‘gray man’ doctrine. That is, to dress and act in a non-descript way that draws no extra attention to oneself. Police officers are rather fond of this and for good reason. For the rest of us, it’s not so important in most of daily life. Hypocrisy arises when a supremacists says “I don’t want to draw attention to myself” and yet does so anyway.
Black Panther protests (WA State Capitol pictured) lead to a racist over-reaction that banned open carry in California
A lot of the guys that say this wear ‘Molon Labe’, Gadsden flag, or obviously pro-Second Amendment shirts. To an observant individual, it’s the equivalent of loudly announcing you have a gun. A less obvious extension of this is ‘tactical’ clothing like BDUs or 5.11 cargo pants, known affectionately as “kill me first pants”. Tactical flashlights and other gadgets clipped to the belt are a dead give-away there’s probably a pistol lurking under that waist band. A smart criminal or terrorist, intent on killing, will lie in wait and execute the supremacist when their back is turned.
The 'gray man' element, appearing unremarkable and blending in with the crowd, only has application when one may be specifically sought out; such as in the case of a police officer. Cops have a vested interest remaining inconspicuous off-duty. The last thing they want is to be recognized by a bad guy, let alone identified as a cop when out with their families. Remaining inconspicuous is an important consideration, but it’s far from the only factor that one should use when choosing a method of carry.
Most of the objections to open carry are rooted in police officers’ opinions. Cops are a huge element in the concealed carry culture and moonlighting or retired cops often work as concealed carry instructors, passing along their opinions and biases to their students, most of whom are just average Joes. Cops have a vested interest in not being identified off-duty and their concerns don’t.
“Open carriers do it to get attention.”
Concealed carry supremacists argue that all open carriers are doing it just to draw attention to themselves; that it's somehow an ego boost. This statement comes from someone who probably hasn’t carried openly before or much at all. They imagine that all open carriers are like the Chipotle Ninjas who carried their AR-15s, legally, into a restaurant to make a point that it was absurd for Texas to ban the open carry of handguns (prior to this year). Yes, sometimes people do use open carry to make a point, but the vast majority of open carriers aren't doing it out of vanity.
Many are worried about hearing criticism. Others feel that open carry frightens some and could sway an otherwise moderate person to the gun control side. This was a major argument in Texas during their struggle for open carry. "Out of sight, out of mind" will not change opinions. In fact, seeing normal people harmlessly going about their daily lives with an exposed pistol on their hip reinforces Second Amendment rights, just as the gun in the hands of a gangster has the opposite effect.
The interesting thing about concealed carry supremacists is that they seem to be obsessed with how others perceive them. Worrying about what others think is really self-absorbed. Only in a social environment where opinions do matter (such a family, church, work) should others’ opinions on method of carry be given consideration. Depending on the occasion and audience, one method or the other may project the desired appearance that the armed citizen desires, such as concealed carry at a dressy dinner, but open carry during a tax appointment.
The debate over 'attention' is largely a matter of taste and environment. A citizen carrier with anti-gun customers or friends may want to protect themselves without alienating others. Some people may feel uncomfortable carrying openly. Whatever the choice, it is a personal one and not to be judged or criticized.
The advantage of concealed carry lies in the fact that it may be possible to carry in places where open carriers would be shunned or asked to leave, such as casinos. Legally speaking, (in Nevada) the advantage is with open carry, yet due to modern sensitivities, the discreet option of undetected concealed carry would prevent any debates with anti-gunners or objections to having the weapon on private property where the owner/management might prohibit it. Also, given one’s choice of dress or activities, concealed carry may be more appropriate.
I’m a concealed carry instructor, get a CCW (and pay me to take my course)!
A pervasive and persistent problem is that concealed carry instructors denigrate, misrepresent, and outright lie about open carry. Why? Because open carry is free in Nevada and many other states. These dishonest instructors are engaging in a misguided attempt to earn additional business at the expense of their students. For an instructor, who is supposed to be an expert on their subject matter, it is immoral to offer training which is contrary to reality.
Students are subjected to bombastic rants about all the rumors debunked in this article, leaving them with the false impression that open carry is dangerous. Bad advice has seriously affected the firearms community in Clark County because of instructors who are more interested in promoting their own selfish agendas than provide accurate training. Ego gets in the way and they use their position and influence to impose their opinions on others. When challenged for spreading disinformation, far too many instructors double down on their stance, denying evidence when confronted and dismissing logical arguments.
Are you a concealed carry instructor who demonizes open carry? Your dishonesty is a disgrace to the Second Amendment and self-defense community. A good instructor knows that open carry allows flexibility for self-defense. A good instructor explains the benefits of being able to conceal in places and situations where open carry is undesirable. A good instructor tells their students about the background check discount a permit can get them and the other states that recognize Nevada’s permit. A good instructor tells the truth, lets students decide their own opinions, and doesn’t win business through deceit.
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Clayton E. Cramer
Gun Free Zone
The War on Guns
The View From Out West