SANDCREEK wrote:I agree that for the open carry movement to really work, we at the forefront who choose to open carry for the "activism" aspect of it, really need to conduct ourselves as law-abiding, upstanding citizens. While it is certainly within your rights to carry a handgun dressed like a slob with ripped jeans, shredded Anthrax t-shirt and mohawk (using a random extreme here), you should be aware of the image you are giving to the rest of the open carry movement.I have borrowed the gist of this from the observations & thoughts shared by an active dutymilitary policeman on aUSCCA forum post.I don't think he will mind my sharing it on this forum. This brief observation puts the "Why OC ?" question in a nutshell. (I paraphrase) - If our anti-gun/anti-2A opponents have gotten out their false message that open carry is "illegal" (when it is not), and we opt NOT to OC - BECAUSE it might cause some inconvenience to us when someone reports our open carry to the police -have we not allowed our RKBA to be stifled by an obstructive, small, venomous minority ? Either we can't carry ( CC or OC) because it is "illegal", or because people "think" it (primarily OC) is (or should be) illegal. Now, my own thoughts - When we do OC, in a restuarant for example, - we need to comport ourselves in a manner that does NOTHING to create the appearance of wreckless behavior, lack of sobriety, or careless disregard for the "peace" of others. This means situational awareness that other people are observing our behavior. The fringe "antis" are in the minority. There's little to stop them from creating a "911 moment" - other than a scolding by LEO's for improper use of 911 system.The vast majority of people we impact in public are probably indifferent about OC, or curious - and may be willing to accept OC as a common respectable practice that will benefit public safety for all. Myself , if the "ambient temperature" begins to get uncomfortable I may excuse myself, or excercise the CC option - to diffuse the tension. Kind of like getting used to the water - gradual exposure reduces the "shock" factor. We don't want to alienate potential allies in the OC movement by making a " common sense " case for OC to be prohibited. This transition back into an accepted OC environment will have to be gentle, tactful, and patient.
Aco-workerof mine used to open carry around Eugene several years ago. If confronted by a store clerk, he'd get extremely vocal & belligerant, hollering " It's my ******* RIGHT to carry a gun, and if THIS STORE DOESN'T WANT MY BUSINESS because I'm exercising my right, they don't need my ******* MONEY!" and walk out (so the story was he told me, I wasn't there). I believe this sort of behavior detracts heavily on the point of the open carry movement, which is not JUST that "a right unexercised is a right lost", but that "good people carry guns too!"
I would also suggest to people when confronted by LEOs: Is it really worth it to try to flex all of your rights at once? While it certainly is within your rights while open carrying to not give any photo identification or answer questions when confronted by an officer, or to ask the question "am I being detained?" What kind of image is this giving to the officer about the open carry movement?
If a cop unfamiliar with why anyone would open carry approaches youoverly-cautiousand gets a bunch of lip and opposition right off the bat, do you think he's then going to be open to you explaining why you're open carrying, or correcting his ignorance of the law? How do you think he'll deal with the NEXT open-carry advocate he meets?
I plan on being co-operative and polite to the police as much as I can, up to a point. If I'm open carrying and confronted by a LEO,I will start my voice recorder (cell phone), and I plan to hand over my license (or when I get it, my CHL) when asked. I plan to answer their relavant questions politely and respectfully, and if I can manage to get a rapport going with the officer, I may discuss the movement with him. Maybe try and clarify my understanding of the law with him, by showing him the Statutes and seeinghow HE interpretsthem (rather than just telling him he's got it wrong).
If I encounter an officer who just FLAT OUT has it all wrong and wants to be a total jerk, then I will start flexing my other rights by remaining silent, except for verbally refusing to consent to any searches, verbally refusing to consent to being disarmed, only providing name, DOB and address, etc. This is my worst case defense and something I'll avoid doing if I can. Since I'll also have my voice recorder going, this will also help me if anything has to go to court or I choose to file a lawsuit.
For a good example of how NOT being a jerk to Law Enforcement worked wonders for the cause, listen to this episode of the "Saturday Afternoon Shootout" on youtube, and Jerry's run in with local and state cops in Michigan:
I agree we need to be tactful and patient, like Jerryin the video.I feel that once we can get LEOs and the rest the public used to seeing more people carrying their firearms out in the open, THEN we can make sure they understand and comply with the law on our other rights too. Hopefully by that point we won't need to.