Stories Cover Story
They Carry Guns
By Rosa Jurjevics
| Published Wednesday, July 15, 2009
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It’s a beautiful day in Pacific Beach as Nate approaches the bronze pelican statue on the boardwalk. He’s slight and blond, spectacled and clad in jeans and an army-green T-shirt. He squints. The sun’s so bright overhead that he is prompted to spray a fine mist of sunblock over his fair skin to stave off a burn.
I’ve never met Nate before, but I know it’s him (a) because I’ve seen his picture and (b) due to the handgun that sits on a holster against his hip. I’m about to get up from where I’m sitting and introduce myself when someone else beats me to the punch. A scraggly-looking beachgoer, a man of indeterminable age because he is so weather-beaten, approaches.
“What’s that for, bro?” he asks, pointing in the direction of Nate’s gun, a Taurus Tracker .44 Magnum revolver.
Before Nate can answer, the man continues.
“There are surfers at the beach looking to party, and you show up with that? That’s not right. Love life! Be mellow!”
This is when I walk up and introduce myself. The beachgoer looks at me for a moment with wild blue eyes, then looks back at Nate, as Nate is beginning to explain what he will have to reiterate time and time again to concerned and/or interested parties: he is open carrying.
The term “open carrying” refers to one who is in possession of a holstered, unloaded
firearm on his or her person, displayed in plain view. Nate begins to explain the legalities of this to the beachgoer when Sean approaches, video camera in tow. In shades, a green shirt with double-breast pockets, green cargo pants, and a Sig Sauer P229 holstered on his hip, Sean looks not unlike a police officer.
The beachgoer does a double take.
“Another one!” he exclaims, as Sean greets us warmly.
The beachgoer, incredulous, excuses himself — with one final stare — to go “get baked.”