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Thread: Open Carry in Whatcom County

  1. #1
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    So, I haven't OC'ed here yet, but I just talked to a cop in Bellingham (a starbucks) and this is basically how it went down:

    ME: I was reading RCW 9 and 16 the other day and had some questions so I emailed the DoL and they told me that it was legal to openly carry in WA.

    Cop: Open Carry? What's that?

    M: Openly carry a handgun, like on your hip, w/o a CPL. This was news to me, so I was wondering what your response would be if, say you walked into a starbucks and someone was wearing a handgun on their hip, just minding their own business.

    C: oh, you're going to get a talking to, possibly some force (he says as he touches the butt of his Glock). I'm gonna want to make sure that you aren't touching the gun, that you aren't crazy or something.

    M: So, in a sense, I could beat the rap, but not the ride? I'll still get hauled downtown.

    C: No, (rolls eyes). You won't get arrested. I mean it's legal but normal people don't do that. I mean, you don't see people walking around with compound bows down the street or walking around with a sword out. Perfectly legal to do that, but it's just not something normal people do. You openly carry a handgun in Bellingham and you will get contacted by the police and there will be a report written up.

    M: Thank you officer that's all I wanted to know.

    That whole, "Normal people don't do that" thing kinda bugs me (to put it lightly).

  2. #2
    Campaign Veteran Dutch Uncle's Avatar
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    "Normal people" wouldn't vote for Hillary Clinton, but last I checked, you wouldn't get lectured by the cops for threatening to do so.

  3. #3
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    Here's what "normal" means according to dictionary.com:

    "adj. - Conforming with, adhering to, or constituting a norm, standard, pattern, level, or type; typical: normal room temperature; one's normal weight; normal diplomatic relations.

    n. - The usual or expected state, form, amount, or degree."

    If more nice normal people start open routinely carrying now and then, open carry will be viewed as normal or at least potentially normal. That's what has happened as open carry has spread across the US over the past few years.

    Had you been open carrying while chatting to the LEO in starbucks sipping a latte, and he noticed your carry after first encountering a normal person, he might not have said squat.

    Overall though, the conversation shows that the LEO knows that open carry is legal.

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    Mike wrote:
    Overall though, the conversation shows that the LEO knows that open carry is legal.
    That's what I got out of it too. Now I just gotta gather the stones and do it a few times. I hear it gets easier after a while.

    Well, I guess that is the price of being free.

    Zack

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    It does get easier with time, and every once in a while something happens to really makeit worth it.I've struck up some truly wonderful conversations that started because of the gun on my hip. I won't be intimidated into stopping anytime soon. I hope you can give it a try, and I hope it goes well for you.

    The poster above suggested that it is different if they notice a normal person first, and the gun second. This is VERY true. I am often conscious of how I stand and where my arms are, so that the gun is not visible to the person that I am approaching head-on. After the person has talked with me and everything has gone "normally," they don't seem to mind the gun. I find that I get more funny looks when I'm doing something that can't be clearly identified as normal. As a"man with a gun,on the phone in the shelving aisle", I might be planning something evil. When that same observer overhears that I'm talking to my wife about which color of shelf would go best in the family room, suddenly I'm a normal guy again. It's all taken in context, so make the context a good one.

    Good Luck.

    --Sandy (WA)

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    One suggestion to make it easier for those who are just starting: The best way to appear "normal", i.e. harmless, is to carry when you are accompanied by your wife, girlfriend, children, etc. Even a certified anti-gun hysteric will get paralyzing cognitive dissonance upon seeing you with a gun on your hip and a smiling young daughter by your side. Works like a charm.

  7. #7
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    Yet another example of a LEO that knows the law, but will harass you anyway just becausehe don't like the fact that you are exercising your rights.

  8. #8
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    WooHoo.

    I OC'ed today in WA. Had it IWB at 4:30. It was kinda a wussy run. All I did was move some boxes from my old place to my knew place, but it does involve moving things on main street. So when I was getting stuff from my trunk, everyone (who has paying attention) could see as they drove past. I think once when I was getting to my trunk from my driver's side the guy driving past saw, because when I turned to get into the trunk he was totally staring at me. I smiled and waved and he returned both. One thing I noticed was that it made me hyper sensitive of my surroundings. I noticed everything that I normally would have been oblivious to, like the two cops just across the street who were going in and out of a building and the guy on the cell phone 25 feet from my car. These are things I would have 'seen' but not noticed, if you get my drift.

    All in all it was very educational.

    I went to work after that so I obviously am not carrying now, but I was stoked. Freedom really is a muscle you have to get used to exercising.

    My nervousness was huge at the beginning and after a while it started to diminish.

    Anyways. I just thought I would share with y'all.

    Zack

    P.S. I think the final impetus for me to do it was that I was lying in my bed and I thought to myself how cool it would be if my kids (gotta find a girl first, but that doesn't keep me from getting ahead of myself ) had the freedom to open carry and it wouldn't seem like a taboo. If they can just be free to be left alone. And then I realized that if I want that to happen, I gotta start working on it now. It's up to me (and you) to make it normal.

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    Congrats Zack! It's great that you OC'd even after you got a"lecture" from the LEO. Heck, I say make him stop you everytime he sees until he gets sick of it. BTW, I know Bellingham (been there twice in the past year) and I'd be hesitant to carry there as it seems very, very liberal and gun unfriendly to me. Although, the gun unfriendly part is really just speculation on my part as I did not attemp to carry while there. Good for you for having the cohones to do it.

    At any rate, Congratulations on your successful OC! Keep doing it.

  10. #10
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    Congrats Zack. It is a wonderful feeling isn't it. I am Glad that you are starting to OCing.

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