Hi, y'all! Found this site a while back, but I procrastenated about registering. Thought I would introduce myself by way of a story. Oh.. I live in Rupert (between Twin Falls and American Falls. Pop: 6400)
When I first moved to Idaho, back in the start of the eighties, it was all too common to see people driving around with shotguns and rifles tacked up in their trucks. Farmers would come to town with their pistols strapped to their legs. It turned no heads. Caused no commotion. Was the accepted mode of everyday attire. Of course, you didn't need to lock your cars or trucks back then. Heck, you didn't need to lock your house up when you left it for a bit.
No one was bothered. Thefts of property were rare. Burglaries even rarer.
Slowly, as more and more people moved in from other more restrictive states; as the gangs moved in with them; as the druggies became more of a problem; this lifestyle began to come apart. Too, we had young men join our Police Force. Some, not all, came from other areas that were much more restrictive, as far as guns go. These younger LEO's brought their restricted ideas with them.
I watched the neighborhood, where I bought my house, change from mostly older white folk (with a few of us "youngsters," peppered here and there), turn into Mexico North. As the older citizens died off and their "kids" didn't want the old houses, the hispanics would buy them up and move in. For some reason, this intimidated the few younger whites who remained. They sold their houses and moved out. It was immigrants and migrants that bought them up also.... Till I found that I was one of the very few whites that still lived in the area.
Many of these folk were migrants from the Central Valley of California. With them, they brought their families. Among these families were young bucks who thought they had to make some sort of social statement... Like "we own this turf."
That didn't set well with me or most of my immediate neighbors. That was when my wife and I started carrying openly, as we went about our daily routines in our yard. Some of the local kids, thought it was fun to raid other peoples gardens. Or paint graffiti on outbuildings facing the alleys. Most of them decided that they didn't want to mess with crazy white folk that walked around with guns on their hips.
So pretty soon we could be found, out and around town, with our guns strapped on. Didn't seem to bother anyone... At least no one ever commented on this. Not the stores, not the gas stations, not even the banks. But the wannabe gangsters were beginning to take over our part of the town. That's when I started noticing that my immediate neighbors began wearing their guns. It soon got to the point where the presence of the city police was everywhere in our neighborhood. Shootings started occurring, as one gang invaded another's turf. Almost always at some big fiesta.
With the increasing gang activity, you know it just had to happen. Came one day, when my wife and I were working in the front yard, we saw a bunch of guys walking up the street, a couple of blocks away, picking up small rocks and throwing them at parked cars as they moved towards my block. Well, we stood out towards the street, making sure the thugs could see us. I looked around and noticed that all my neighbors were standing out by their yards. All of them were armed. Pistols, shotguns and rifles. We looked at each other and smiled, then watched as the thugs came closer. They came to the intersection that led to our street and saw us. They dropped their rocks and decided to walk in another direction.
We ended up doing this about three more times that year. Never been bothered by these cretins since. Our other neighbors down the street saw what happened and they began to do the same thing. Now, we hardly ever see these thugs. Oh, they make their presence known from time to time, but so do we. No trouble. They've got guns, we know this. But so do we, and you know? They don't seem to want to be the first to throw lead. Suits me just fine.
I may be the only Anglo left in the area, where we live, but I get treated with the same dignity and respect that I show my neighbors. We all watch each others houses. We all make it a point of telling each other when we will be gone for more than a few hours.
In other parts of our town, the thugs walk about like they own the place. Maybe they do. They paint graffiti on many of the buildings and fences facing the alleys. But not here. Not in our neighborhood. Most, if not all of us are armed and we're not afraid to show these punks, we mean to protect what is ours. All of us go to the stores and gas stations and banks, armed. Openly carrying and it bothers no one.
Oh to be sure, every once in a while, someone is hassled about their guns. It's usually by some young LEO who didn't grow up in rural Idaho and therefore is not familiar with our laws. It's also taken care of real quick. The older officers make sure they get educated...
One day, a couple of years ago, my son was home on leave. He had just bought a new 300 Weatherby and found a scope for it. He walked over to the town square where our gun dealer has his shop and purchased the scope and had Dave, the owner, bore sight it. Then he walked back home. Seems that as he was crossing the square, some young transplant saw him and his shouldered rifle. This must have given her a case of the vapors, as she called the police to report a "man with a gun." Well the young officer called Dave at the Trading Post, because the lady said the "gun guy" came from there. The officer wanted to know if a young man had just left there with a rifle. Dave replied that, "yes a client had just left. What was the problem?" The officer said that he "was walking through town with it on his shoulder." Dave says, "And so, what's the problem?" The officer says, "He's Got A Gun!" Dave asked the young officer if the man was threatening anyone? Was he pointing the rifle at anything? No? Then what's the problem? Dave says that he proceeded to inform the officer of the rights of Idahoans. Dave knows the laws. Not only is he an FFL holder, he's a retired Idaho State Policeman.
Over the years, I've taken many of my neighbors out to our range and taught them proper handling and safety. Today, when I go to the range, I'll inevitably get asked by someone what I'm shooting today, and more often than not, take someone with me.
A visibly armed society is a polite society.
We seldom have city cops come around our neighborhood any more. Those people that belong to gangs, just don't seem to want to cause any trouble... At least not here. We still have many fiestas during the summer weekends, but no more shootings. We still get a little gang activity, but they know better than to do more than just walk through the neighborhood.
I guess what I'm trying to show, is that the loss of open carry occurs because it simply goes out of favor as a society evolves. First it occurs in the major metropolitan areas and spreads out as urbanites spread to suburbia and the rural environs.
And just the reverse needs to happen, in order to bring it back. It was easier here, because it was "out of favor" for only a short period of time. Oh to be sure, it is still not as commonplace as I would like to see it, but it is happening. Despite the fact that it "scares" the bliss ninnies here (yes, we have them... too many, if you were to ask me!).
For those of you that live in states that actually have laws against common folk being armed, it will take a concerted effort. But it can be done.
Of course, their is still the question of, "Should it be done?" Some people will tell you that by openly carrying, you are inviting trouble. You are making yourself a target, afterall, any bad guys will see you're carrying and shoot you first. And so on and so forth. There may be some truth to what these people say (even though it is a false assumption, here, in rural Idaho).
But I tend to think, that those bad guys would generally leave you alone, most especially if there are more than one of you. The risks to them are too great, when confronted by more than just one person with a visible gun. Consider that the police can walk around, armed, and for the most part, they are safe. Why wouldn't the same hold for citizens? In theory, it should.
Yet still, it comes back to what some folks are trying to say... That the will of the public is what determines normality. Here in Idaho, I have the unadorned right to carry openly, should I so desire. Brandishing laws cannot be used to curtail that right, even if it scares someone.
Having said that, if I were to go from where I live to Boise, Pocatello, Idaho Falls or Coeur d'Alene, I would probably find myself facing down the cops. They don't like it. It's just not done. And many of the younger guys just don't know the law or our history. I have done this in Boise, only to be asked, politely, to conceal it, if I have a license (and they know I do, as they check my DL, which my CWP is connected to), so as not to scare the "sheep." Depends upon what I'm actually doing as to whether or not I can or will comply.
I always open carry when I'm in Blaine County (Hailey/Sun Valley), however. I will admit I do this to spite the bliss ninnies there. It's a mean streak I let loose. Actually, it's quite satisfying. These are the same people who on the one hand, helped to stamp out camping, fishing and hunting to a large extent, on the upper reaches of the Big Wood River. All so that they could enjoy the beauty of the natural forests and all those wonderfull creatures that inhabit it... Now that the Brown Bears have come back, they are complaining how dangerous it is becoming! HAH! The mountain lions are coming back also, they are just naturally more stealthy than those big lumbering bears. At any rate, I've gotten into many a fine discussion with the police there. Guns, rigs, shooting, hunting and the attitude of the transplants towards the locals.
But then again, this is Idaho and by and large, we're pretty cavalier about guns in general everywhere outside of our "big cities." Carry 'em if ya got 'em, especially in Sun Valley!...
I wrote the above piece a couple of years ago when, on another board we were discussing open carry and I got all kinds of negative flack about the idea. Good to see that there is a place to rationally discuss the benefits of OC.
Yes, I have our CWP, and I do CC if the occasion warrents it. Plus it's just plain nice to not go through the NICS every time I by a gun.
Oh, my wife carries a SP101 in .357, while I usually carry my Vaquero in .44. I have a Kel-Tec P11 concealed as my BUG.
To answer an unasked question... I handload all of our ammo, whether for self defense or for our camping/hunting loads. I respect Mas Ayoob's opinions, but I don't have to agree with them.