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Thread: Open Carrying while Traveling

  1. #1
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    Oct 2011

    Open Carrying while Traveling

    Last week my husband, son and I drove out of state to visit my family. We left SC and drove through NC and VA to WV. These are the encounters we had while open carrying.

    April 26th

    Carsontech and I have had another opportunity to carry our self defense tools openly among the public last week. We usually carry openly on private property as much as we are allowed to. When we're in a state that doesn't prohibit carrying openly, we take that opportunity to carry our primary tools openly and our backups openly or concealed.

    Carsontech was wearing around his 1911 in a Blackhawk SERPA on the hip and sometimes on a Blackhawk drop leg attachment. He usually wears his BUG (Sig 238) on his ankle. If he wears pants, it's concealed, if he's wearing shorts, it's not. He also will usually throw an extra mag for his primary in one of his pockets.

    I wore my 1911 in a Blackhwak SERPA on my hip with an extra mag in a mag holder.

    Anyway, the following is for people interested in experiences on how carrying openly and/or concealed is accepted in states other than SC.

    On our way to our destination we didn't stop much except for gas and food. At the rest areas, restaurants, and gas stations no one gave Carsontech's dropleg holstered 1911 a second glance; the same with my 1911.

    After settling in for a day at our destination we went out on a double date in an artsy college town. I'm talking dreadlocks, all natural women that don't shave, everyone smells like they haven't had a bath in 10 days, and Mary J all around kind of college town.

    We pulled up and parked in front of a nice little hippie restaurant about a hundred yards from the college. As we went inside the restaurant to get a table some of the more situationally aware patrons glanced at our self defense tools but they give us a second glance or seem to care. We ended getting a table out in the courtyard they had.

    I had a beer with my meal. At no point did I stand up, un-holster my openly carried 1911, and start doing stupid stuff with it. Responsible drinking and carrying a self defense tool can be done, regardless of what the bed wetters in the SC (or any other!) legislature want you to think. The staff nor the patrons cared that anyone was openly carrying a self defense tool and drinking a beer. It was a non issue, just like the many other times we've carried and drank alcoholic drinks. The whole restaurant experience was a none issue, as usual.

    After that we walked around the town sight seeing and going to a little shop here and there. Everyone treated us like they treated everyone else. It was getting cooler out and we wanted to get back to our son, so we headed back to the house.
    Last edited by PistolPackingMomma; 05-04-2012 at 06:41 PM.

  2. #2
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    Oct 2011

    April 27th

    My mom and sister wanted me to accompany them to get their hair cut at a friend's house 8 miles away. I drove since my mom doesn't have full use of her arms anymore, and my sister is only 12. Well, we realized the fuel gauge was dipping below "E" after we'd passed the gas stations, so we were committed to finishing the drive to the hair appointment, out in the country. It was one of the more stressful situations I've been in, because I knew that I could walk however far it would take to fetch gas if we ran out, but my mom couldn't, and I absolutely refused to entertain the idea of leaving my mom and little sister stranded in the car without any means of protection.

    Once we reached our destination, I asked my mom's friend if she knew where the closest gas station was. She said it was 10 miles down the road, and it was hills most of the way so if I coasted, I'd conserve enough gas to get there. She gave me directions, and I took off. I felt more comfortable handling the situation alone while my mom and sister where in a house with someone they knew, especially since her husband would be home any moment.

    I made it to the gas station on fumes, and saw a sign that said "Pay inside first" so I walked into the store, and an older gentleman came out of the store room to assist me. He looked at my face first, then his eyes flickered down to my hip. He returned his gaze to meet mine, and seemed a slight bit unsettled, but still friendly. He told me I could pay at the pump, so I wished him a good day and went back outside.

    Several folks were filling up at the pumps around me, so I kept an alert eye on everyone. I think that's what took me so long to notice it. While I was pumping gas, I happened to glance at a little sticker that said "Fuel meets all regulations required by Maryland."
    After about half a second I mentally said "Oh ****!", hung up the nozzle, grabbed my receipt and slid into the car as quickly as I could.

    Despite my instincts to peel out of there, I drove normally, maintaining the speed limit. I had no idea I had crossed over into Maryland! I knew we were close to the border, but I'd been keeping my eye out for a sign that would tell me I'd crossed state lines. I never saw one, and since I wasn't familiar with the area, I didn't beat myself up too too badly. I did check a few license plates on some parked cars as I drove past, and that pretty much confirmed it for sure.

    Since I wasn't familiar with the area, I assumed once I drove over the canal and passed the river, that I'd be back in a "free state". I relaxed a little, but still paid close attention to the road, because it's a bit like driving a mine cart on a roller coaster here.

    Anyways, I got back to the friend's house, with a full tank of gas, and jokingly told my mom "Thanks for making me a criminal for a few minutes by sending me into Maryland!" and they all looked at me and said "Honey, you're still in Maryland!" Apparently the state border is just outside the college town, so I was still 6 miles from freedom. My mom's friend wanted to know why I was a criminal, and I explained I was not permitted to carry a gun in Maryland. She said "Oh, do you have it in your trunk or something?"

    My mom and I exchanged a glance, and she said "Nooo, she's wearing it on her hip!" I angled myself so she could see my stainless Kimber riding comfortably next to my spare magazine. Her eyes got wide and she said "Oh..." then finished cutting my mom's hair. When we left, I noticed her checking out my gun, but she didn't seem upset or scared, just a bit startled.

    We drove back into WV without incident, but made a stop at a little tea shop in the college town. I wanted to buy some lavender tisane, and one of their tea pot sets.
    While I was waiting for them to find the tea set that I wanted, two guys in their 20's came in. I'm not sure if they worked there or just frequented the shop a lot; they and the staff knew each other by name. They were obviously there to pick something up, and while they were waiting, one of them turned to me and said "Nice piece."
    Me: "Thanks!"
    Guy: "what brand is it?"
    Me : "Kimber."
    Guy: "Nice, I have a Sig that I really like."
    Me: "Yeah? What kind?"
    Guy: "Oh, just a basic 9mm. I also have a Beretta that I really like shooting."
    Me: "Yeah? I'd really like to go shooting, but the ranges here are soo expensive!"
    Guy: "Yeah, especially if you don't bring your own ammo!"

    Then the employee brought me my tea set to inspect, and the guys moved away. It was a great encounter, and aside from that conversation, no one else noticed or reacted to my gun. Good times!!!

  3. #3
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    Oct 2011

    April 27th, later that day...

    Went out to a medical appointment with my mom today. Her therapist has seen me carry before, and keeps a gun in his office, so open carrying did not bother him in the slightest. It was my first time meeting his staff though, and one of his employees noticed my fire arm, and I thought her eyes were going to pop out of her head! She wasn't frightened, just surprised. She asked me why I carried, and I explained it was for self defense, as well as exercising a right. She was very accepting of my reasons, and seemed to think that everything I said made sense.

    After our appointment was over, we went to a little sandwich shop for lunch. We ordered, sat and ate all without incident. Then, as we were finishing our meal, I noticed three men, dressed gang banger style, approaching the shop. I noticed them peering through the side windows, like they were looking at the people inside. They hung around the outside for several minutes, not coming in, and not showing any signs of walking by. One of the guys was on his phone, and he hung further back then the other two, who entered the first set of doors and stood in the entry way. Occasionally the taller one would survey the restaurant, then grab a menu and look at it. I think the shorter guy was just talking to him; his body was partially obscured by sunlight reflecting through the glass.

    Now, it could be that these were just some fashion conscious friends out for lunch, and maybe they just got done helping little old grannies across the street, but I saw some behavior that struck me as out of place, and I felt uncomfortable. I told my mom in a quiet, firm voice, "We're leaving. NOW." and we grabbed our drinks, tossed our trash away, and walked out. I was a bit nervous because we had to walk in between the two guys to leave, but as we did, the tall one held the door for my mom. What struck me as odd was that they went completely silent as we approached, and kept their faces down like they were looking at their shoes. We passed the third guy, still outside on his cell phone, got in the car, and drove away.

    I think they caught sight of my gun after I passed them, but did not see or hear a reaction, aside from a peripheral glimpse of the tall guy looking after me.

  4. #4
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    Oct 2011

    May 1st

    On our way home, we stopped in Dublin, Virginia to spend the night. We checked into the hotel, rested for a little while, then went out to Fatz's to get some dinner. As we were seated, I noticed four older folks in a booth gawking at my side arm. One of the women in particular gave me a frigid, disapproving stare. I ignored her and played with our son while we waited for our meal.

    Moments after we sat down, they got up and left. I shrugged and kept playing peek-a-boo. While we were eating, Carsontech overheard a guy a few tables away saying that open carry was the surest and fastest way to get your gun taken away. We both just rolled our eyes and carried on. After we finished our meal, we walked out to our car, and passed the four older people who'd left in such a hurry. I don't know if they had been outside saying goodbye for thirty minutes, or if they'd just moved to a different part of the restaurant and were just now leaving. We just walked right on by, got in our car and drove over to the Wal-Mart to look for ammo for Shootzenfest. (the Wal-Mart in Simpsonville never seems to have any!)

    We were chatting with the guy working the ammo case, about what kind of 1911 he wanted to get, and as he was ringing up our ammo, I asked him if needed to see I.D. He laughed and said "Well, I tell you what, if I didn't think you was over 21, I don't think you'd be carrying that pistol on your side either."
    Carsontech: "Actually you can do it at 18 here in Virginia."
    Employee: "No, not really, 'cause you're not s'posed to be in possession of handgun unless you're 21 years of age."
    Carsontech: "You can if you're 18."
    Employee: "18?"
    Carsontech: "Yeah."
    Employee: "No, not in Virginia, I don't think so."
    At this point another customer and his buddy walked up, and chimed into the conversation, saying "No, no, they're not supposed to."
    Employee: "Because I know if you're not 21 you can't even buy handgun ammunition."
    Carsontech: "Right, but you can possess it."
    Me: "Or if it's gifted to you."
    Carsontech: "You just can't buy a gun from a licensed dealer."
    Employee: "Yeah, you can possess it, but I still don't think you're supposed to be able to carry it."
    Me: "There's lot of states where you can."
    Employee: "Well, I don't know the full law..."
    Customer: "I'm a firefighter, and the only reason I got away with it is because I worked at the fire department."
    Carsontech: "Right."
    Customer: "But if your under 18, or 18 and under, *mumble mumble something about ammunition* you'll go straight to jail."
    Carsontech: (politely but firmly) "I think you're wrong about that."
    Customer's buddy: "What're you carrying? A 1911?"
    Carsontechanswered questions about his gun, and general chit chat.

    Employee: "I know there was a boy who came in, and he said he bought a pistol or revolver over at the fairgrounds or flea market, and he come in here to buy ammunition, and I wouldn't sell it to him. He was like 'What do you mean, I can buy a gun but I can't buy ammo?' and I said 'You're not s'posed to be buyin' a gun if you're not 21, not a handgun!"
    Carsontech: "You can do private transaction, or gift it, but you can't really do it from an FFL."
    Employee: "Yeah, well I called the state trooper and told him about it, and he come over here and talked to me about it; he went to the fairgrounds. The trooper told me to call him if that boy ever came back, and he never did come back."
    Customer: "Yeah, my uncle works at a pawn shop and he said 'Yeah, I can't even sell you a gun' and I said 'Well what if I got one already?' and he said 'You ain't s'posed to.' He was *mumble mumble*." (Guy didn't enunciate very well)
    Employee: "Like I said, if it's gifted to ya, then I believe you can, but I don't think you can carry it."
    Carsontech: "As long as it's in the open..."
    Me: "We tend to study the laws a lot because we travel through a lot of states, and if you look up the codes it will actually tell you that it is legal; a lot of cops don't like it, but it is legal."
    Carsontech: "I have some pamphlets, but they're out in the car. We're like those side walk lawyers you hear about."
    Me: "It's good to know the law, because if someone wants to push it with you, it helps to know what your rights are."
    Employee: "Yeah that is true."
    me: "Have a nice day."

    We walked out to the car, and debated running some pamphlets back in. Carsontech decided to go ahead and pass some out, so he went back in, and as he walked up the counter, the two customers who had participated in the conversation immediately walked away and refused to make eye contact, like they didn't want to talk to him. The employee was nice, and said thanks. Carsontech explained the content quickly, and left. We went back to our hotel and got our son ready for bed.

    An interesting encounter, to say the least.

    The next morning I went down to the lobby for breakfast, and had a few people ask me if I was a cop, and I explained no, I was just a regular citizen exercising my rights. A few other people asked me if it was a real gun or a stun gun. I confirmed it was real, and they were all kind of shocked. No negative comments, no dirty looks. Just a lot of curiosity and cautious questions.

    It was a great trip and we loved being able to open carry! We had a lot of fun and it was so liberating to exercise our rights!!!
    Last edited by PistolPackingMomma; 05-04-2012 at 06:55 PM.

  5. #5
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    North Chesterfield VA
    Nice travelogue, except for that dream sequence where you were dreaming that you were no longer behaving as a a law-abiding citizen. That was a dream you were telling us about, wasn't it? Just a dream?

    'Cause, ya know, if it was something other than a dream someone could think that your travelogue was an admission of a felony and use it to file charges.

    As for the three snazzy dressers - while there is no way to know ahead of time, there is nothing wrong with being wrong and leaving when it turns out you did not have to. As opposed to fighting your instincts and remaining in order to find yourself part of festivities you did not want to participate in.

    WlaMart gun counters! Some of the best entertainment you can get, with or without a price for admission. And, yes, occasionally a source of ammunition. Kudos for trying to educate the uneducated. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it just proves that after leading a horse to water even holding is head under may not be enough.

    Glad you enjoyed your stay in Virginia. And thanks for spending your money here.

    stay safe.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

    "No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"

  6. #6
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    Mar 2012
    Stuarts Draft, Virginia
    Traveling to Michigan from Virginia with my wife we have to pass through a half mile of Maryland between WV and PA. I stay puckered the whole time. MD state police aren't to be trifled with. Glad things didn't go bad for you! The borders in the mountains can be tricky sometimes.

  7. #7
    Activist Member carsontech's Avatar
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    Apr 2011
    Anderson, SC
    Momma forgot to mention that we stopped and ate in an anti-OC establishment, Cracker Barrel, in Christianburg off of I-81. Back when Cracker Barrel released their anti-OC policy the Momma and I decided to never patronize a Cracker Barrel again. Our stomachs got the best of us though, so we decided to stop at the only restaurant that had, relatively, decent food. We OCed, of course, and I expected us to get a flack from the employees there.

    To our surprise, the only looks (kind of like this - ) we got were from the patrons (must have been tourists), the staff treated us great. The food was nothing to write home about, just like any other Cracker Barrel, its either hot or cold.

    The only relatively interesting thing happened to us on the way into the restaurant. Although it may not be interesting to most of you, I always enjoy reading about interactions while OCing:

    On the way to the entrance of the restaurant the couple that was leaving asked us if we were from SC, even after seeing our license plate was a SC license plate. After telling them I had a sign and it was theirs... just kidding, we played nice . They told us they were from SC as well, and they were so glad they moved away from SC to VA. I told them we'ed love to move from SC to VA ASAP (if AZ doesn't work out), but isn't possible in our current situation.

    Then couple noticed we were both OCing and had to think out loud about whether VA was an OC state or not. They came to a conclusion that it was and then proceeded to tell us that SC was an OC state. We corrected them about the status of OC in SC and explained to them that OC was extremely regulated there. I let them know that each year there are more than a few bills introduced in the SC legislature that would make OC legal, and that the governor said she would sign any Constitutional Carry bill or OC bill that made it to her desk.

    The couple then explained that they went to high school with the current governor of SC and that she was crazy.

    Momma responded with "Aren't they all?", to which the couple agreed. We then ended the conversation so we could try our luck OCing while hungry in a, supposedly, anti-OC establishment.

    We felt bad about giving Cracker Barrel our money, but I'm glad a manager didn't ask us to cover our tools up or ask us to leave, as we were very hungry.

    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    'Cause, ya know, if it was something other than a dream someone could think that your travelogue was an admission of a felony and use it to file charges.
    Lets say Momma had another dream, and it was about how Maryland decided to do something about her "accident" in her previous dream. How would that go with her being so far away from Maryland in the dream?

    I predict Momma would say "molon labe", give them the middle finger, and... J/K

    Anyone else have any other "predictions"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roverhound View Post
    Traveling to Michigan from Virginia with my wife we have to pass through a half mile of Maryland between WV and PA. I stay puckered the whole time. MD state police aren't to be trifled with. Glad things didn't go bad for you! The borders in the mountains can be tricky sometimes.
    Nothing went good or bad for Momma, she was just going into detail about a dream she had that turned into a nightmare.

  8. #8
    Regular Member 09jisaac's Avatar
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    Apr 2011
    Louisa, Kentucky
    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Nice travelogue, except for that dream sequence where you were dreaming that you were no longer behaving as a a law-abiding citizen. That was a dream you were telling us about, wasn't it? Just a dream?
    I took it as all being fiction. I particularly liked the story of Cracker Barrel, I liked how everything worked out well for the protagonists.
    Last edited by 09jisaac; 05-05-2012 at 09:54 PM.
    No man alive can beat me in a fair fight: It's not fair to chase a man down and beat him.

  9. #9
    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    Dec 2008
    Whatcom County
    If you keep driving West for a few thousand miles you may end up in my state and we love to OC here.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

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