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Thread: The Open Carry Argument

  1. #1
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    The Open Carry Argument

    Not mine, but I thought it was worth reposting



    My primary goal when Iím out and about (besides whatever I went out and about to do) is to go about peaceably and not be the victim of a violent crime. To that end I carry a firearm whenever I go out as well as follow all the other standard safety practices like maintaining situational awareness, staying out of high crime areas, and avoiding confrontation. I also have a larger overall goal of making it through my life without shooting anyone. Simply put, I donít want to be responsible, legally or morally, for anotherís death. Those two goals might appear at first blush to be mutually exclusive, and with concealed carry it would be a difficult set of goals to realize.

    Carrying a concealed firearm presents to a criminal that I am unarmed. Every study Iíve ever read, not most but every study, says that criminals will avoid an armed person or home when selecting a victim. That only makes sense, right? Robbers, rapists, or carjackers might be dumb and opportunistic, but they have the same instinctual sense of self preservation we all have. Hyenas donít attack lions to steal the gazelle the lions have just killed. Itís all about risk management; are the potential gains (a tasty gazelle dinner) worth the potential pain and damage the lionís teeth will cause, and does the hyena really need to test the lion to figure out the answer? No, the hyena can see the lionís teeth and knows to stay well clear.

    Deterrent Value:

    When Iím carrying concealed I feel like my Ďteethí are hidden, and thus of no real deterrent value. If I appear unarmed then I am unarmed in the eyes of the robber, I appear as easy a target as almost anyone else out on the street. My probability of being a victim of a crime, violent or otherwise, is completely unchanged by the fact that I have hidden beneath my shirt the means to defend myself. My goal, however, is not to be a victim in the first place, remember? I donít want to be a victim that fought back successfully and triumphed; I prefer to not be victimized at all. Concealed carry is good; it throws a wrench in the works for criminals who might see the teaming masses as a smorgasbord of financial gain. This deterrent effect is, nonetheless, indirect. At some point the thug will weigh the risks vs. the gains; is his current desperation for money/drugs/booze/gold grille greater than the gamble that one of those people might be carrying a gun? If he decides to play the odds, which helped along with surprise tip the scale in his favor, he will attack. Will his attack allow enough time for me to draw my concealed firearm to affect a defense? Maybe, but then again, maybe not.

    Remember, I donít want to be a victim and I donít want to shoot anyone. So how do I realize both goals; or how do I make them inclusive? I can do that through open carry. By making it clear and obvious that I am armed, that I have teeth, I tip the risk scale to the point that the criminalís gains are far outweighed by the risk. There is no ambiguity when the thug is doing his risk assessment, thereís something right there in plain sight that can quickly and painfully change or terminate his life. You may not think his life has much value, but as I mentioned before, he has the same sense of self preservation as any other living creature and to him itís every bit as valuable as yours is to you. It would be foolish to ignore this indisputable fact when you develop your overall tactical strategy.

    First One To Be Shot:

    There are some who criticize open carry and claim it will make you more of a target or Ďthe first one shotí when a robber walks into the 7-11, despite the absolute lack of credible evidence that this has ever happened. If the robber walks in and sees that youíre armed, his whole plan has encountered an unexpected variable. In bank robberies where he might expect to see an armed guard he will have already factored that possibility into his plan, but only for the armed guard, not for open or concealed carry citizens. No robber robs a bank without at least a rudimentary plan. Nevertheless, being present for a bank robbery is an extremely remote possibility for most of us regardless of our preferred method of handgun carry. Back in the 7-11, if he sees someone is armed he is forced to either significantly alter the plan or abort it outright. Robbing is an inherently apprehensive occupation, and one that doesnít respond well to instant modifications. He is not prepared to commit murder when he only planned for larceny. He knows that a petty robbery will not garner the intense police manhunt a murder would. He doesnít know if youíre an armed citizen or a police officer and isnít going to take the time to figure it out. Either way, if someone in the 7-11 is unexpectedly armed, how many others might be similarly adorned and where might they be? Does this armed individual have a partner who is likewise armed behind him in the parking lot, someone who is watching right now? Self preservation compels him to abort the plan for one that is less risky. So we see that the logic matches the history; open carriers are not the first ones shot because it doesnít make any sense that they would be.

    Surprise:

    Probably the most common condemnation of open carry comes from the armchair tacticians who believe itís better to have the element of surprise in a criminal encounter. Although this was touched on in the previous paragraph about deterrence, Iíll expand on it specifically here because there are some important truths you need to consider before you lean too heavily on this false support. Surprise as a defensive tactic is based on unrealistic or ill-thought out scenarios. The circumstance where several street toughs surround and taunt you for a while like in some Charles Bronson movie is not realistic; the mugger wants to get in and out as fast as possible. In most cases you will have only seconds to realize whatís happening, make a decision, and react. Imagine youíre walking along the sidewalk when two gangsta looking teenagers suddenly appear at the corner coming in the opposite direction. You have only seconds to react if their intent was to victimize you. Do you draw your concealed firearm now or wait until thereís an actual visible threat? If they are just on their way to church and you pull a gun on them, you are the criminal and you may forever lose your firearms rights for such a foolish action. If you donít draw and they pull a knife or pistol when theyíre just a couple steps away, your only options are draw (if you think you can) or comply. Imagine staring at the shiny blade of a knife being held by a very nervous and violent mugger, three inches from your or your wifeís throat and having to decide whether or not you have time to draw from concealment. The element of surprise may not do you any good; in fact the only surprising thing that might happen is that your concealed carry pistol gets taken along with your wallet. The thug will later get a good chuckle with his buddies about how you brought a gun to a knife fight. The simple truth is that while surprise is a monumentally superior tactical maneuver, it is exclusively an offensive action, not a defensive one. I am not aware of any army that teaches using surprise as a defense against attack. No squad of soldiers goes on patrol with their weapons hidden so that they can Ďsurpriseí the enemy should they walk into an ambush.

    It Will Get Stolen:

    Another common criticism of open carry is that the firearm itself will be the target of theft, prompting as criminal to attack simply to get the gun from you. Like the previous example of being the first one shot in a robbery, above, this is despite the fact that there is no credible evidence it happens. It also blindly ignores the more obvious fact that anything you possess can make you the target of a crime, be it a car, a watch, or even a female companion (girlfriend, wife, or daughter). Crooks commonly steal for only two reasons; to get something you have that they want, or to get something that you have so they can sell it and buy something they want. There are no Robins in the hood trying to help the poor by stealing from the rich. I donít claim it could never happen; just that itís so remote a possibility that it doesnít warrant drastic alterations to your self defense strategies. If you believe otherwise, leave your watch, sunglasses, jewelry, and cell phone at home, hop into your Pinto wagon, and head out to do your thing.

    It Scares People:

    One other statement against open carry I hear is that it damages public perception of firearms owners, or that by carrying openly we are not being good ambassadors to the public. While there are some people who have a genuine fear of firearms, due either to some horrible past experience or anti-gun indoctrination, the majority of people are either indifferent to them or quite fascinated by them. Iíve never kept track of the dozens of fellow citizens Iíve encountered who have marveled at the idea of open carry, but I do know exactly how many have expressed displeasure at it; one. People are scared of many things for many reasons; however, pretending those things do not exist only perpetuates the fear. Someone who is disturbed by open carry is going to be every bit as disturbed by concealed carry. The only effective way to overcome a fear is to come to the intellectual realization that the phobia is based on emotion and not on fact. By being a firsthand witness that a firearm was carried responsibly and peaceably, and wasnít being carried in the commission of a crime, one discovers their fear is not fact based, but emotional. Thus, open carry can be a very effectual way of helping to overcome the emotionally based fear of the firearm. After all, youíd be much more likely to believe in ghosts if you saw one rather than if you listened to a ghost story around a campfire. We give much more credibility to the things we experience than we do to the things we hear. The bottom line is that this argument is made by people who donít or havenít carried openly; those of us who do so on a regular basis have an entirely different experience.

    Iím Not Comfortable Carrying Openly:

    This is really the only reasonable argument against open carry for an individual. We all have a comfort zone for any aspect of our lives and we prefer to stay within that comfort zone. We all agree that itís better to be armed and never need the firearm than it is to need it and not have it. There is a point where concealing your firearm becomes so problematic, due to conditions like temperature or comfort, that some choose to either leave it behind or carry in such a way that it would be difficult or impossible to draw it quickly. If it takes me five or six seconds to draw my firearm from deep concealment and I had sufficient time before hand to do so, I would prefer to use that five or six seconds to avoid the entire encounter. Iím glad we have concealed carry laws in most of the states; it empowers and protects not only us but the general public through the offset deterrent effect. Some of us, however, choose the more direct deterrent effect of open carry. The combination of the two makes the criminalís job that much more risky, that much more dangerous, and that much more uncertain.



    While concealed carry is a nice option to have, some may need to rethink their oppositions to OC. The first to be shot and "surprise" theories are almost laughable. Both have their due place and uses.

  2. #2
    Regular Member rushcreek2's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    An exceptionally well articulated presentation of the positives of OC. I hope that you will have the opportunity to present your perspective on open carry in Texas when the Texas CHL enhancement bill is considered during the upcoming legislative session.

    Just as carrying a handgun in the public square equates somewhat to the operation of an automobile - 0penly carrying a.handgun in the public square equates to operation of a motorcycle. A (sane) person wouldn't operate a motorcycle on cruise-control. One's posture and presentation while operating a motorcycle is essential to survival. Physical abilities are a critical component of safety on a bike.

    Again - I really like your presentation.
    Last edited by rushcreek2; 12-06-2012 at 06:37 PM.
    "Extremism ALWAYS brings about its own destruction " ( Sir Edmund Burke)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harleyman007 View Post
    Not mine, but I thought it was worth reposting.
    It is worth reposting. It's also worth attribution. Linky?

  4. #4
    Regular Member rushcreek2's Avatar
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    The Texas CHL enhancement bill - yet to be filed - would merely repeal TPC subsections to Section 46.035 (a), and (h) relating to the criminal offense of intentional failure to conceal by a licensee .
    "Extremism ALWAYS brings about its own destruction " ( Sir Edmund Burke)

    Jim Sherwood

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    Regular Member Curmudgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KBCraig View Post
    It is worth reposting. It's also worth attribution. Linky?

    Indeed...

    http://www.usacarry.com/forums/open-...-argument.html

    While many claim to support the right to keep and bear arms, precious few support the practice.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rushcreek2 View Post
    The Texas CHL enhancement bill - yet to be filed - would merely repeal TPC subsections to Section 46.035 (a), and (h) relating to the criminal offense of intentional failure to conceal by a licensee .
    There are too many democrats in Austin.

    I refuse to pay into the state of Texas just so they'll admit to my 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.

    Baby steps my ass (but I predict it ain't gonna matter for much longer anyway with the way this country is headed).

  7. #7
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    The Open Carry Argument

    I have no problem with open carry but I would choose to conceal because....well because that's what I feel comfortable with. It would have the benefit of making an accidental showing no big deal. Some cops in Texas would think it no big deal if your shirt blew up and your pistol briefly unconcealed, but in some places the cops out would crucify you. I would like to see open carry passed in Texas.

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