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Monday, March 28, 2011

Open Carry or Concealed Carry

The Richmond Times Dispatch weighed in yesterday with an article on the topic of open carry.  They interviewed an activist with one of Virginia's other pro-rights groups as well as gun owners who expressed views supporting open carry as well as some who prefer concealed carry.
And some owners said if they wear guns, they keep them concealed as a way to respect the public's concern.

"You don't want to make people nervous by having a gun hanging on you," said Sam Slate, 57, of Midlothian, who has a concealed permit and was practicing shooting at Dominion Shooting Range Inc. in Chesterfield County last week.

His neighbor, J.R. Smith, 62, added, "You want to be subtle."
The usual malcontents on the anti-side also dragged out the worn out arguments against law abiding citizens carrying firearms.
Gov. Bob McDonnell has added two new locations to the list. In January, he approved the open carry of guns in state parks, where concealed weapons have been permitted for years for those with a permit. Public consumption of alcohol in parks is still forbidden.

Last year, he rejected the restaurant industry's concerns and approved legislation that allows gun owners to carry loaded, concealed weapons into restaurants that serve alcohol, but only if they do not imbibe. Openly carrying a gun into restaurants was already permitted, if frowned upon by bartenders.
Gun-control advocates say both decisions fall into the gun lobby's strategy to increase the number of places where guns are allowed.

"It is an attempt to make what is abnormal seem normal," said Joshua Horwitz, executive director of the Washington-based Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and vice president of The Virginia Center for Public Safety.
Horwitz also used the opportunity to push the gun ban crowd's favorite issue:
Gun-control advocates, like Horwitz, say they have made little headway with their argument that there are certain places guns don't belong, including locations where alcohol is consumed or children are present. The National Rifle Association is a powerful opponent, he said, and his organizations must carefully pick their battles.

He has focused efforts on closing Virginia's so-called gun-show loophole, which allows buyers to purchase from unlicensed sellers without having to go through a criminal background check. He said the loophole means guns are being sold to felons, who by law are not allowed to purchase guns.
The pro-rights community is not in lock step on the issue of open carry.  While it is probably safe to say that most pro-rights activists agree we have the right to carry openly, some believe openly carrying to make a political point is not the best way to win non-gun owners to our side of the issue.  VSSA supports the rights of gun owners to carry in the manner they believe best allows them to protect themselves and their families and that should be the reason one carries - not to make a political point.


Steve said...

I sometimes carry openly, but usually concealed; however, if more people carried openly, I think the general public would become more used to seeing guns on the hip without seeing gunfights on every street. Over time, fear among the uninitiated would become the exception rather than the rule. By the way, the argument in the RTD article by the anti-gun activist that the "gunshow loophole" gets guns in the hands of fellons is false according to DOJ crime stats. Also, the argument that guns should not be present at universities, grade schools, churches or "places where children are present" simply perpetuates the condition where criminals and crack pots have low-risk (for them), govt-sponsored places to wreak havoc. Had concealed carry by permit holders been allowed on the VA TECH campus, for example, the "VA TECH Shooter" might not have considered the campus fertile ground for his last hurrah.

Joseph Chapman said...

I open carried in Colorado, Utah, Kansas and Nevada before I had my conceal carry permit because it was the only way for me to go about armed. The only people that have said anything to me about my open carrying were all positive and usually questions about what type of gun I was carrying. I have gotten the evil eye look a handful of times but that is by and far the exception. Honestly I think that at least half the people I walk past while open carrying don’t even notice.
I currently carry whenever I legally can. I usually open carry because I find it the easiest and most comfortable but also because I think that it helps normalize people seeing law abiding citizens carrying guns. I doubt my open carrying is going to convince any hardcore gun grabbers but for people that don’t really have an opinion on guns it will show them that guns can be carried and used responsibly by everyday people.