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Thread: How will you handle open carry encounters with the public?

  1. #1
    Regular Member okiebryan's Avatar
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    How will you handle open carry encounters with the public?

    (Article in next post for better formatting)
    Last edited by okiebryan; 10-07-2012 at 07:09 PM.

  2. #2
    Regular Member okiebryan's Avatar
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    In just a few short weeks, SB1733 will go into effect. While we all hope that the word has gotten out, there will be some members of the public who may not know that your holstered handgun is actually legal, and more importantly, not a threat. Even among those who know, there will be a subset of anti gunners who will think it's their job to give you a hard time.

    Much of what is being suggested here is gleaned from the experiences of open carriers in other states.

    There are as many different reasons to carry a visible firearm as there are people who will carry. Obviously, deterrence and ease of access are major reasons to choose to OC. Another very important reason is that it can place you in a position to be a good ambassador for lawful gun owners. Keep this in mind when you decide how to handle encounters with the public.

    You will likely get a number of questions. These may include, "Why do you have a gun?", "Is that legal?", "What gives you the right to walk around with that?", "Are you a cop?", "Do you have a license for that?", "Are you compensating for something?", "You planning to shoot someone?" Some of these questions may be coming from an anti who thinks it's a good idea to harass someone they claim to be afraid of (huh?), but others may be a curious gun owner who really just wants to know how you get to carry like that. The trick is not to react, but to listen for a second and find out where they really are coming from.

    I've found that by pondering these questions in advance, I am better prepared to respond in a manner that doesn't make me look dumb. Of course, your answer will depend on the tone and body language of the person asking the question.

    First and foremost, unless you are in a bonafide self defense scenario, NEVER EVER touch your handgun. It could be taken as a threatening or intimidating act. If you feel it's necessary to protect your handgun while you are being distracted, then "elbow check" it. Just don't put your hands on your handgun. Second, know and understand that it is a CRIME to impersonate a police officer. Never say anything that could get you into legal trouble.

    When it comes to members of the public, you have no obligation to answer any question. There is always the temptation to answer a "stupid" question with sarcasm. Depending on the demeanor of the person engaging you, you may decide that this is completely appropriate. "Because a police officer is too heavy", "Compensating? Why yes..my Corvette is in the shop"

    I have open carried in my business for some time. It has been my experience that when I thoughtfully answer questions with the top goal being to communicate that I'm not a threat, sometimes I take someone who is on the fence and sway them to my side. Other times, the rabid anti becomes less rabid. Of course there are some who will not ever be swayed. With those people, my goal becomes to disengage at my first reasonable opportunity.

    Remember that when you are in someone's business, the law allows business owners and their designees to control the possession of handguns on their private property. Nothing requires them to put up a sign. We don't want them to put up a sign. Even if you are embarrassed, DON'T ARGUE, and JUST CALMLY LEAVE. Don't ask "Where is the sign?" Either return later (unarmed or concealed) and try to have a calm, educational discussion with the owner or manager, or share your experience with our community so that we can work together to convince that gatekeeper that banning lawful carriers is a bad idea. Don't be that guy that totally confirms the idea that LACs with guns are scary jerks. Give us all the chance to salvage a good educational opportunity.
    Last edited by okiebryan; 10-07-2012 at 09:52 PM.

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    Regular Member pfries's Avatar
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    I am excited for all of you; you put up the good fight and have prevailed.

    One point in the article I would like to touch on and share my experience with is the “NEVER EVER touch your handgun”.

    I have garnered a practice that when approached I do an elbow check, this is to rest your elbow or forearm just below your elbow on the firearm.

    This accomplishes a few things. Being as your attention will be diverted from the rest of your surroundings,

    it gives you an added measure of control over the weapon, it is a non-threatening posture that many recognize as Law Enforcement Officers do it as well.

    It guarantees that your hand goes nowhere near the weapon but leaves you in a ready position.

    With a little time it becomes both comfortable and second nature.
    Last edited by pfries; 10-07-2012 at 08:31 PM.

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    Open carry

    I totally agree. A lot of women , like me , have been doing elbow checks with our purses for years. I think it can carry over to my holstered weapon easily enough. I'm looking forward to not having to worry so much about accidental printing....yay

  5. #5
    Regular Member okiebryan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pfries View Post


    I am excited for all of you; you put up the good fight and have prevailed.

    One point in the article I would like to touch on and share my experience with is the “NEVER EVER touch your handgun”.

    I have garnered a practice that when approached I do an elbow check, this is to rest your elbow or forearm just below your elbow on the firearm.

    This accomplishes a few things. Being as your attention will be diverted from the rest of your surroundings,

    it gives you an added measure of control over the weapon, it is a non-threatening posture that many recognize as Law Enforcement Officers do it as well.

    It guarantees that your hand goes nowhere near the weapon but leaves you in a ready position.

    With a little time it becomes both comfortable and second nature.
    Thanks for suggesting this. I've updated the article.

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    Congrats on you Okies getting OC! I look forward to the successful OC reports in the future!

    Good luck!

  7. #7
    Regular Member hermannr's Avatar
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    Nervous Nelly's draw attention to themselves...so don't.

    The "elbow check" is the standard...because it very effective.

    Under no circumstance become confrontational....ever...you do not win friends or influence people that way...does not matter if it is LE or citizen,

    Remeber: the number of people that will notice your properly carried OC will probably be >1% (higher with children, they are just more observent) Of the >1% that do notice >1% will care. Of those that care maybe 10% will say something.

    If you are asked by a child why you carry...My answer is "so I can protect..." "you", "my children", "My wife" (all as approreate) If they persist on knowing more. Ask them if they wear a seatbelt, use a car seat...Then explain that the seat belt protects you in a car...be polite, be kind...even to the blazing anti's/

  8. #8
    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    If you are in your business establishment and you are visibly armed you do not have to communicate that you are not a threat.

    Do what you always do, do normal stuff. Be normal. Folks who see normal folks doing normal stuff don't notice abnormal stuff. If you behave in a manner that "translates" into a "oh, that, I forgot I had it on" type of demeanor then your customers may never notice or won't care if they do notice because you don't care. Normal stuff. Your customers are focused on themselves and you need to keep them focused on themselves by being a good at your job. If you appear to be focused on your pistola, tapping you elbow against you pistol constantly, then they will likely pick up on that and notice it too.

    Normal.....repeat after me, normal.....

    Congratulations Oklahoma!
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
    It is AFAIK original to me. Compromise is failure on the installment plan, particularly when dealing with so intractable an opponent as ignorance. - Nightmare

  9. #9
    Regular Member okiebryan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC for ME View Post
    If you are in your business establishment and you are visibly armed you do not have to communicate that you are not a threat.

    Do what you always do, do normal stuff. Be normal. Folks who see normal folks doing normal stuff don't notice abnormal stuff. If you behave in a manner that "translates" into a "oh, that, I forgot I had it on" type of demeanor then your customers may never notice or won't care if they do notice because you don't care. Normal stuff. Your customers are focused on themselves and you need to keep them focused on themselves by being a good at your job. If you appear to be focused on your pistola, tapping you elbow against you pistol constantly, then they will likely pick up on that and notice it too.

    Normal.....repeat after me, normal.....

    Congratulations Oklahoma!
    My business isn't the typical business. I run a wrecker service. When people come here, it's to get their car out of impound. They would almost rather be undergoing root canal surgery than to be here. Sometimes the OC handgun comes up, most of the time it doesn't. If I'm asked a question, I answer it as nicely as I can...(most of the time)

    There's a sign in our office: "Please don't confuse my attitude and my personality. My personality is a reflection of who I am. My attitude is a reflection of who YOU are."

    I'm definitely not referring to myself about the elbow checking. Some people who are new at carrying will do this, and it's definitely preferable to putting your hand on it. Mine has been there so long, It's like my wallet. I can tell it's there just by weight. Just like you can tell if you left your wallet in the car. Something is just off.

    Sorry if I caused you to misunderstand what I meant.

  10. #10
    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by okiebryan View Post
    My business isn't the typical business. I run a wrecker service. When people come here, it's to get their car out of impound. They would almost rather be undergoing root canal surgery than to be here. Sometimes the OC handgun comes up, most of the time it doesn't. If I'm asked a question, I answer it as nicely as I can...(most of the time)

    There's a sign in our office: "Please don't confuse my attitude and my personality. My personality is a reflection of who I am. My attitude is a reflection of who YOU are."

    I'm definitely not referring to myself about the elbow checking. Some people who are new at carrying will do this, and it's definitely preferable to putting your hand on it. Mine has been there so long, It's like my wallet. I can tell it's there just by weight. Just like you can tell if you left your wallet in the car. Something is just off.

    Sorry if I caused you to misunderstand what I meant.
    No problem and I guess a wee bit of confusion was indicated in my responding post. I attempt to portray myself as unarmed while I am armed. This tends to keep my fellow citizens focused on my dashing good looks rather than checking out my wardrobe accessories.
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
    It is AFAIK original to me. Compromise is failure on the installment plan, particularly when dealing with so intractable an opponent as ignorance. - Nightmare

  11. #11
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    Too bad it doesn't take effect sooner. I just traveled through your state last week and will be doing so again later this week. I OC almost all the time and was less than thrilled by the need to cover.

    Congratulations on the progress toward restoring your rights.

  12. #12
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    Congratulations to Oklahoma for finally getting into the 21st century. It certainly will be a relief not to have to worry about "printing" anymore.

    If you choose to actively OC, that's your call. Having lived in a Constitutional Carry OC state, and just moved to TN where you must have a concealed carry permit to open carry, I'm spoiled, because until my move, my answer, to civilians or LEO, was "I'm carrying in the open - don't need a license!". Not so much now.

    I'm still very interested in the whole "stop and ID" movement that seemed to be afoot with LE for a while in OK ("if we see an OC'er, we're gonna demand his permit just to make sure he can legally do that"). Wonder if they're gonna stop every driver just to make sure they have a DL and can legally drive that car..... I see no distinction....

    At any rate, good luck, and most importantly --

    CARRY ON !!!

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