Well, I just hadmy firstin-depth conversation with someone on the other side of the fence since I have started open-carrying. I was walking around downtown Sandpoint with my wife, and we decided to walk down to the third street pier. There was a family swimming there already, and I nodded hi and walked to the end and sat down looking outover the lake. The father called over to me asking if I was a police officer or something similar. I replied to the contrary, stating that I just carried for the protection of me and mine.
We ended up having about around a 10 minute conversation. I won't recount all of it, but I was able to give my reasons for carrying, and he gave his reasons for not carrying. He did recognize that it was a legal right, but that in his opinion it was unwise. Note that he did say he has firearms at home, just that he doesn't like them carried in public. Some of his justifications included:
-It will escalate any situation directly from unpleaseantness to deadly force.
-It will set a bad example (specifically for his kids).
-That while I may have taken the time to think through my decision to carry, it will possibly push some punk over the edge to think, "well, if he can do it, then so can I!" and cause a less responsible person to go out with a gun unprepared for the consequences of his decision.
-That Sandpoint is a very safe place, and that there is no need to carry here.
-That it's the police's job to take care of any unpleasant situation, rather than mine.
-That the increased presence of guns in society will cause an increase in deadly incidents.
-That if there ever was a shooting, that the police might shoot the good guy, instead of the bad guy.
Note that he was fairly calm throughout the conversation, although somewhat exciteable. I was impressed that he even decided to talk with me about it, rather than just gathering his family and leaving. He ended up using just about every arguement that I have ever heard agains the carriage of firearms.
I won't go through all of my answers to his arguements, as we have heard them before on these forums. The one point that he did make that got me thinking hard was his question about whether it is responsible to set that example for those around me. While my answer was a definite YES, it did cause me to revisit my reasons for carrying. In my view, there are three main reasons whyone would open-carry.
-For the protection of self and others.
-For the education of those around about the legality and use of firearms.
-To cause a reaction.
In my opinion, if the reason for open carrying is to cause a reaction, either from the police or others around, then open carry is NOT justified. If the reason is strictly for protection, then there are places where open carry is completely justified, and other places where discretion says that concealed carry is the wiser option, for example, in church (my opinion) or a playground (also my opinion). The second reason is where my thoughts get a little bit more hazy. While there is nothing wrong with causing discussion, if you are carrying somewhere that you know the general bent is against firearms, then you are probably straying into the "cause a reaction" mindset, and it would once again be better to conceal, not because open carryis illegal, but because concealed carryis responsible. This has actually caused me to decide to finally go get my concealed carry permit here in Idaho, so that I have the option of concealing in a place that would maybe make those around me more nervous than normal.
So all in all, it was a very good conversation. While I respect his views, and he listened to mine, in the end we decided to agree to disagree. I still believe that it is my responsibility to take care of my own, and that not carrying would be bothirresponsible and in fact wrong.If he chooses to go a different route, I won't try to stop him, as long as he doesn't try to stop me. (Which he didn't)
He did make one further point, which is that if I do want to continue to open carry, that I should get to know the officers in the police and sherriff's departments, so that I don't make them nervous when they see me. I do think that this is a great idea, not so much to avoid making them nervous, but just to know them and make myself known. So maybe some ride-alongs are in my future.
Anyway, until next time....