What's the difference?
Open carry is not a stunt. Sometimes it's about politics and protests require donning arms to get the point across. Yet the license (so to speak) to openly carry is not one to be a tone-deaf idiot. People don't want to see long guns in restaurants.
After the first few incidents in Texas were misinterpreted, Open Carry Texas backed off this practice. Here in Nevada, we always openly carried handguns into restaurants for our meet-ups. We minded our own business, were friendly, and weren't threatening. It was kind of like being in a celebrity in a lot of places. As we normalized open carry again in Nevada, the novelty kinda wore off and now an openly carried handgun is unremarkable (save certain corporate practices that force or encourage employees to make a big deal out of it).
Open carry isn't about showing off. It's a practical means of defensive carry. Pistols are ordinary, effective enough, and do not frighten the average citizen or rational politician. Rifles do. A protest or rally with rifles and American flags doesn't send the same signal that some unknown dude walking into a business does with a slung rifle.
For instance, it may be legal for women to be topless in New York and Utah, but if you walk into a church half-naked, people are gonna freak, you're gonna get trespassed, and you will win no one to your side.
Now you don't have to be Mr. Clean Cut White Shirt Guy while openly carrying, but not toting an AR-15 that half of America thinks is capable of killing on its own into TGI Friday's is a good thing. Pistols are normal and people support or ignore that. Rifles in the wrong context freak them out.
Clayton E. Cramer
Gun Free Zone
The War on Guns
Western Rifle Shooters