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Thread: Open Carry Courage

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    I have Concealed Carried for a while now, and would like to do more open carry (for political and personal reasons). The issue I have is that I still find myself being worried that everyone is looking at me even while concealed. Is it just a matter of time and it becoming second nature or is this something that is likely to just nag me? The funny thing is that while I am in uniform I don't even think twice about carrying anything, even the big guns they are just part of me. Go figure.

    I really feel like a chicken sh%# for even admitting that, but I would love to know who those of you who have more experience feel.

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    Well, first, only do it where you are comfortable and the facts/circumstances support.

    In VA, it's required in restaurants due to the restaurant ban.

    In OH, it's required due to the car ban.

    In these two circumstances, you have no choice, and can modestly tell people who ask, "Hey, i'm just following the law, openc arry is required."

    To get over nervousness, start off by open carrying where you are most comfortable - your neighborhood grocery store, 7-11, favorite restaurant, to from your house to your mailbox, etc. I usually carry an object in my carry hand - car keys, coffee cup, etc - just makes seem more normal to give that hand somthing to do, and in the back of my mind, I feel that if anyone ever lied and said I touched my grip in a threatening manner, I will be able to testify that this is not possible as I was holding a ___ in my carry hand the entire time as any surveillance tape or witness will attest to.

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    Founder's Club Member Tess's Avatar
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    Y'know, I've been carrying openly for quite a while now - a year or so - mostly because concealed carry rigs for women are so limited. I always am self-conscious, but much less now than when I first started.

    I've yet to be met with anything but support, with the limited exception of one of Fredericksburg's finest at the gun show last weekend. (He seemed to think women shouldn't have guns, but I laughed it off as his ignorance.)

    You'd be surprised at how many people just flatly don't even notice!
    Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population. -Albert Einstein

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    I am sure that Tess has it right here, and a great many people just do not notice that one is open carrying. They do not expect to see it, ergo they fail to see it! Longwatch opines on this phenomenon in another thread, in a more scholarly way.

    Mike offers excellent advice, and I can only suggest that you start off with small steps, increasing the distance that you travel open carrying as you gradually gain in confidence. I gain much wicked amusement from the practice.

    No problems to date, here in Central Kentucky, just the occasional horrified look from a soccer mommy now and then, who maybe thinks that I am about to slaughter her defenceless progeny!I merely raise my hat, and pleasantly wish her a good day!

    BTW, may I extend a welcome to Tess, our lady packer, and may I commend her for doing what comparatively few ladies choose to do?

    Welcome to OCDO, Madam!

    TrueBrit.

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    Campaign Veteran Dutch Uncle's Avatar
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    No need to feel like "chicken sh#%" for the way you feel. I think anyone raised in this society is likely to feel self-conscious at first. As others have said, it gets easier as time goes by. Don't expect to ever feel totally complacent about the practice, however. If you get to the point where you completely forget you are carrying (open or concealed), you have become too blase. I think the term "condition white" should apply to people who are not cognizant of their surroundings OR their self defense status.

    In addition to the pointers offered above, I'd suggest making an effort to be well-dressed, pleasant in demeanor, and studiously polite. Also, consider the company you keep while OC'ing. The only time I ever got a comment was when I went to lunch with some of my shooting range buddies; never when I have been out with my wife or daughters.

    Remember, if someone questions your behavior, it is perfectly acceptable to say something like "My reasons are very personal, and I'd rather not get into it now, but what I'm doing is perfectly legal". You aren't obligated to get more specific with anyone, except perhaps with an LEO. You can educate others if they seem to be receptive, but I'd avoid getting into any argument with people of the leftist persuasion; its a waste of time, and can lead to complications.

    Welcome aboard!

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    Dutch Uncle wrote:

    Remember, if someone questions your behavior, it is perfectly acceptable to say something like "My reasons are very personal, and I'd rather not get into it now, but what I'm doing is perfectly legal". You aren't obligated to get more specific with anyone, except perhaps with an LEO. You can educate others if they seem to be receptive, but I'd avoid getting into any argument with people of the leftist persuasion; its a waste of time, and can lead to complications.
    What makes you think a LEO has an special power to force you to tell him anything at all regarding a lawful act?

    If you are not engaged in criminal activity or potential criminal activity, they should leave you alone if you do not wish to be bothered.

    I am not advising deliberately antagonizing them, or anyone else for that matter, but IMO we have swung way too far toward the side of deference to LE as opposed to asserting our various civil rights.



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    I have to agree with ilbob on this. SFC Stu

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    Hey guys - better to catch flies with honey than vineger - like it or not, the police leadership and unions are a big political force to recon with when you try to liberalize carry laws - be pleasant and cool without giving up your rights seems to be a good choice in my opinion.

    A lot of LEOs are not knowledgeable about gun laws - that does not mean that they are our enemies - as John will tell you, he get's a lot of questions as he open carriees all over the country - he treats every LEO encounter as an educational &lobbying opportunity.

    In PA like most states, you don't need a permit to open carry, but when asked for one - he says, well, I don't actually need one to open carry, but sure guys, here is my permit, I'm happy to show it to you, how are things today on patrol? etc.

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    Mike wrote:
    Hey guys - better to catch flies with honey than vineger - like it or not, the police leadership and unions are a big political force to recon with when you try to liberalize carry laws - be pleasant and cool without giving up your rights seems to be a good choice in my opinion.

    A lot of LEOs are not knowledgeable about gun laws - that does not mean that they are our enemies - as John will tell you, he get's a lot of questions as he open carriees all over the country - he treats every LEO encounter as an educational &lobbying opportunity.

    In PA like most states, you don't need a permit to open carry, but when asked for one - he says, well, I don't actually need one to open carry, but sure guys, here is my permit, I'm happy to show it to you, how are things today on patrol? etc.
    I am not advising deliberately antagonizing them, or anyone else for that matter, but IMO we have swung way too far toward the side of deference to LE as opposed to asserting our various civil rights.
    I concur that civility is a good idea, and an attempt to educate does not hurt. Your example is not too far off. Once you accept the idea that a permit to carry is an acceptable idea, than I think you have to also accept the idea that it is acceptable for an officer of the law to ask to see it and expect that you would produce it. After all, there is no other reason why thepermitwould be issued in the first place. Its not like it is going to be used to cash checks. It is used to identify people who are legally entitled to carry firearms. Unless you carry it around your neck, how can they see it unless you show it?

    Granted, if in the case you stated there is no requirement to actually have a LTC, then I think your solution to politely first point out it is not required is a good idea.

    I do not believe LEOs are the enemy either. For the most part they are the good guys. That does not mean we should automatically fail to assert our civil rights. i believe it is generally possible to make such assertions without being rude or antagonistic.

    I also agree you have to take the officer'spotential lack of knowledge about what the law is into consideration. After all, you should be reasonable if you expecthim to be reasonable in return. If they reasonably believe a LTC is required and you have one, I'd be inclined to show it.

    I think a lot of people believe LEOs have some vast knowledge of the law. the fact is that while they have some minimal schooling in it during the 3 months or so they are in training, it is typically not extensive. The fact is that in most cases they only have a vague idea about what the law really is. I doubt any cops carry a copy of the statutes of the state or the municipalities they police in. In many cases, copies of these actsmight weigh more than the cop. They learn the bare minimum and rely on the states attorney (prosecutors) for theserious legal work.

    Thats why discussing the law with them isgenerally useless. You can talk till you are blue in the face but out in the field with no resources to look at, and maybe with only a vague idea how to research it anyway, they are going to take action based on what they think is the law, and not what the law actually is. That is certainly understandable. There is no other practical alternative. And no attempt to educate them will work after the cuffs are snapped on. At that point they have made a decision and they will not back down even if they were to realize they are completely wrong.

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    Wow! Is there that much LEO interaction when OCing? It is starting to make me wonder how I will handle things. I don't go off the handle or anything (I couldn't have survived over 19 years in the military if I did) but I don't react well when pushed hard and I know I am in the right (which is why I am retiring):P. Do any of you carry anything that defines the law or do you think that would piss off the LEO, thinking that your belittling him or her? Thanks for all the response, this group is great so far.

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    cs9c1 wrote:
    Wow! Is there that much LEO interaction when OCing? It is starting to make me wonder how I will handle things. I don't go off the handle or anything (I couldn't have survived over 19 years in the military if I did) but I don't react well when pushed hard and I know I am in the right (which is why I am retiring):P. Do any of you carry anything that defines the law or do you think that would piss off the LEO, thinking that your belittling him or her? Thanks for all the response, this group is great so far.
    I have had virtually NO LEO interaction in all the time I have been open carrying in multiple states. Almost all of the experiences I have had were in TN where some LEOs were not aware that open carry was an option. In those cases, showing them the law always resulted in a quick resolution.

    What state do you live in?



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    Oops, I fixed the state thing. Virginia. Near Richmond.

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    i have recently jumped on the oc bandwagon and have had no problems as of yet. as mike stated earlier in this thread, when i am in a store or something i will usually try to occupy my strong hand, more so than anything to appease the public. if someone looks at me, sees my steyr, then sees my shooting hand is preoccupied, i figure they'll know i'm not about to reach for it and be a little more at ease. i was very apprehensive about oc'ing at first too, especially after hearing some of the stories, but after you start doing it, itdefinitely becomes more comfortable. especially when you meet others on the street in support. don't get me wrong, i think you will always have some sense of apprehensiveness, but it's more being tuned to your surroundings than anything. and i definitely find myself being a lot nicer when i'm oc'ing than when i'm concealed or not carrying at all. so for me it's better i think a lot of the stories you will hear are from a little while back, before people really started coming out and oc'ing and before the policebecome educated on the legality of it. it does still happen,but i've always felt that if i am in the right, and i know i'm right, and i know thelaw, then there's nothing anyone can do. if someone does want to harass me, be it an leo or just a frightened person, then i can educate and make them awareof the great 2a laws of this state (virginia). and if by some stretch of the law they do decide to arrest me or what not, it's not going to go that far, until i throw a lawsuit at them for an unlawful arrest (which i probably wouldn't do anyways). but i agree with everyone else though in saying that you should just carry in the places you feel comfortable at first, and as you carry more and more, you'll see how well it is actually taken her in va. i'm going to williamsburg this weekend fora full day at the range and i'll be oc'ing the whole way down. alright brothers, that's enough rambling from me. god bless and keep 2a alive!

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    Campaign Veteran Dutch Uncle's Avatar
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    What range near Williamsburg?

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    i believe it's in the state park, not sure exactly what it's called. it's definitely in bfe though. it's an outdoor rifle/pistol range. it's actually pretty nice. i'll be there with a couple of friends. if you would like more info and i can try to get some for you, but it's going to take a couple of emails so it might be a little bit.

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    Campaign Veteran Dutch Uncle's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure you're talking about the range in the Chickahominy Wildlife Mgmt. Area. It's a good range, especially considering its a state facility. I'll be at Lafayette Gun Club in Yorktown.

    Enjoy!

    P.S. I've never carried in W'burg, but I've read threads either here or a Packing.org that indicate it's not a problem. I've also read news accounts of tourists being robbed there, so its certainly not a bad idea.

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    i'm pretty sure you're right about the site. i've carried down there before and never had a problem, so i'm not too worried. safe shooting man.

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    Apropos the whole permit system: the Tennessean deal, where one needs a permit for concealed and open carry , sounds tempting. One produces ones magic talisman for the cop, and , in theory, problem solved!

    Being a crazy Brit, however, I would much prefer the Vermont deal!

    THEY dont need no steenkin' permits!

    Kentucky has it halfway right, in that no permit is needed to open carry. I believe that our KC3 group is looking into concealed carry without permits, working on the presumption of innocence theory, lack of intent etc. How this will go, hard to say.

    To be frank, the permit deal is just a money maker, really!

    A pre existing RIGHT has surely been taken, tweaked and SOLD BACK TO US!

    I could grudgingly accept that a permit is useful when out of state, but other than that ,it smacks of a hustle to me!

    One longs for the day when we have open carry in all fifty states, and NO STEENKIN" PERMITS!

    Sorry for the long winded rant,

    TrueBrit.

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    TrueBrit, you're absolutely right, as far as I'm concerned. It's just like we need permits to travel, buy smokes, whatever. We've come a long way in the wrong direction. I wonder if we'll ever be able to go back..

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    TrueBrit wrote:
    Kentucky has it halfway right, in that no permit is needed to open carry. I believe that our KC3 group is looking into concealed carry without permits, working on the presumption of innocence theory, lack of intent etc. How this will go, hard to say.
    If Kentucky got Alaska-style CC, it would definitely move up on my list of states where I could settle some day (not that it isn't already way up there).

    Of course, you still have that socialist neighbor to the north (Illinois). You think we could give them (or at least just Chicago) to Canada?

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    hlh wrote:
    I'm not new to guns, but I'm new to CC and OC. Just when I was beginning to get used to CC the WX turned warm and made CC much more difficult. This situation pushed my toward OC but I'm taking it slow, and when I'm uncomforatble with it I just lock it in the car safe.
    What kind of "car safe" do you have? I don't trust the glove box on my car, and the glove box on my wife's car doesn't even lock. Although I very rarely leave my pistol in a car unattended.

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    ilbob, Mike is talking about Pennsylvania. The body of law in PA is this:

    PA is an open carry state without an LTCF or other recognized permit only on foot (with the exception of the city of Philadelphia). If you open or conceal carry a handgun in your car you must have a license to carry issued by ANY state. This also applies to Philadelphia too.

    In the city of Philadelphia, you need a PA LTCF or other recognized LTCF from other state to open carry on foot (any state LTC rule applies in your car). City of Philadelphia, if it were it's own state seperate from PA, would be considered a "Licensed Open Carry" State with the manner of state law that applies to it.

    In Philadelphia, a law enforcement officer can ask to see your LTCF if you're open carrying on foot, the same with any law enforcement officer who sees you open carrying and you get into a car anywhere in the state (LTCF/recognized versus any state rule applies here). This is the same way in any "Licensed Open Carry" states, such as TN, GA, IA, MN, IN, UT. A LEO can ask to see your permit, and since most people do drive in PA if they own firearms, it is at least a legitimate request if you stated that you were driving.

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    When I first started carrying concealed, I felt like a 14 year old girl wearing a mini skirt in public for the first time. That lasted about two days, and now I feel naked without my weapon. I will be in Virginia for two weeks this month and intend to OC the entire time (at least when I am not in uniform and on Ft Lee). I would much prefer to carry open, BUT here in the fine state of Missouri, you take a hugh risk OCing since we are exposed to a myriad of city ordinances governing OC. It is complete BS. We have firearms preemption with the exception of OC.

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    Mike wrote:
    I usually carry an object in my carry hand - car keys, coffee cup, etc - just makes seem more normal to give that hand somthing to do, and in the back of my mind, I feel that if anyone ever lied and said I touched my grip in a threatening manner, I will be able to testify that this is not possible as I was holding a ___ in my carry hand the entire time as any surveillance tape or witness will attest to.
    For the purposes stated, this is a good idea, but another thing to consider is having your shooting hand ready if needed. In my Florida LE training (other states probably teach the same) I was taught to keep my hands ready to defend myself, whether to block a punch or to draw my sidearm. Maintain a natural posture, but keep your hands in front of you and above your waist. It feels a little awkward at first, but in time, it will feel natural. If it feels natural to you, it will appear natural to others. If your hands are otherwise occupied, or (God forbid) in your pockets, you lose valuable time in an attack. This is particularly important with OC, as there is no question whether you are armed or not. This has stuck with me, even though I never pursued a career in law enforcement. My $0.02.

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    Hi, jimwyant. I feel the some way about having the free hand. Carry yourself naturally, but be alert and ready. It will come naturally.

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