Open Carry vs Concealed Carry
I prefer to Open Carry because EVERY study shows that criminals will avoid armed persons. I also Open Carry because it often generates positive constructive discussions wherever I go, which advances our mission to promote our 2nd Amendment rights and naturalize the presence of guns in our communities.
45 states allow Open Carry and every day, 10’s of thousands of Open Carriers are repelling bad guys across this nation and rarely if ever do you hear of those Open Carriers having to shoot anyone because criminals don’t attack citizens they know are armed.
I do not Open Carry where it is illegal or where my situational awareness is impaired, like movie theaters or concerts where there is continual close contact with other participants, and where seating is tight such as amphitheaters, sporting events, race tracks.
I would not Open Carry In high crime areas. A lion would not walk into a den of hyenas and I would never Open Carry in the high crime neighborhoods of Chicago, New Orleans, Detroit or Washington DC. I never want to challenge a criminal’s area of dominion; that task is for law enforcement officers.
Yielding to wisdom and prudence dictates whether I Open or Conceal Carry.
However, I am always uncomfortable Carrying Concealed because it presents to the criminal that I am unarmed, weak and vulnerable; attractive to the predator.
There is no deterrent value to my carrying concealed. I am just another gazelle in the eyes of the hyenas. My probability of being a victim of a crime is totally unchanged when I have a gun hidden beneath my shirt.
My Open Carrying gives the criminal the opportunity to make a well informed decision; an opportunity not provided by me when I Carry Concealed.
Robbers, rapists or carjackers might be dumb and opportunistic, but they all have the instinct for self preservation. Outside of his den, a hyena will not attack a lion. To the bad guy, Open Carry portrays you as the lion with very sharp teeth that the hyena wants to steer clear of.
I don’t want to be the victim who fought back and won. I don’t want to kill anyone. That is why I Open Carry. My goal is never to be a victim in the 1st place. I want to watch the 6 O’clock news and not be the topic of the news.
When I leave my home whether I’m Open or Concealed carrying, some of my primary goals are:
• To go about my tasks peaceably
• To not be a victim of any crime
• To avoid shooting anyone – ever – when possible
In a Concealed Carry state, the bad guys always have to be wary, their situational awareness is more highly motivated than yours so the likelihood of you getting the drop on them is slim. They weigh the odds and proceed and watch for those who might be Concealed Carrying.
Ask yourself this, if you are the target, when the bad guy’s attack you, will you have time to draw from your concealed position, maybe, but probably not.
ALL OF THE STUDIES show that criminals avoid armed people – so – do you want to appear armed or appear unarmed as Concealed Carriers do?
Remember, just like you, I don’t want to be a victim and I don’t want to shoot anyone, ever, if I don’t have to. And, not becoming a victim is exponentially more probable if I Open Carry by making it clear and obvious that I am armed.
When the bad guy sees something that can quickly and painfully change or terminate his life, his sense of self preservation tells him to move on.
It is a fact, Open Carriers create a circle of deterrence.
If you are a jogger or bicyclists on the greenway, and you are seen carrying by a bad guy, you not only protected yourself and those around you, you probably protected that path from that bad guy ever attacking anyone there because he will associate that path as dangerous to him.
Not only do we create a deterrent circle around ourselves, but around every person who is within that circle, within that restaurant or within that store. That circle of deterrence has a ripple effect on the bad guys too because they warn their buddies about those locations.
It is important to realize that violent crime does not begin at the moment a bad guy confronts you with a weapon.
Crime and violence take time to develop and there are five distinct stages: intent, interview, positioning, attack and reaction. The first three are most severely affected by those who Open Carry:
1. Intent, which develops when the criminal observes easy prey.
2. Interview , when he verifies the area is free of danger and creates plan.
3. Positioning, when he sets up for the attack.
If a bad guy sees an Open Carrier in any of the first three stages, in all probability, he will abort and find a weaker target unless it’s a drug crazed or mentally ill person.
Concealed Carry presumes it is better to wait until the opponent has drawn his gun in the attack stage and then try to “fix” the situation. It is foolish to think that it is better to stop a crime in the fourth stage than to prevent it in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd stage.
Concealed Carry has no effect in the first 3 stages, but if an Open Carrier is seen by the bad guy in any of the first 3 stages, the crime is probably deterred.
Some critics of Open Carry claim that an Open Carrier will be the first one to be shot when a robber walks into a 7-11. There is no evidence that this has ever occurred; this is a red herring.
When a robber sees an Open Carrier, they change their plans. In most cases, he is not prepared to commit murder or jeopardize his life when all he wanted to do was to get some cash. Self preservation demands that he abort and find a less risky victim.
Another common criticism of Open Carry is that the firearm itself will be the target of theft, prompting a criminal attack simply to get your gun away from you. With only one exception in 2010 when an OCer failed to heed prudence and OC’d in a high crime area, there is no evidence that an Open Carrier has ever been targeted just to rob him of his gun; another red herring.
Very often someone critical of Open Carry will cite some example of a uniformed police officer whose gun was taken by a violent criminal and yes, that does happen, but more than likely it occurred either because the officer was targeted merely for being a police officer, not for his gun. Most often, when guns are taken from police officers, it occurs when they are struggling to restrain a criminal.
As to how the general public responds to Open Carry, 99% of the responses I’ve received have been positive and the other 1% were not negative, just skeptically inquisitive. This is the common experience with every Open Carrier who treats Open Carry as a personal responsibility to win the hearts and minds of those who are indecisive about the issue or slightly leaning in the other direction.
There are some who are just afraid of guns for a variety of personal reasons; however, fear is overcome by natural exposure in everyday situations. Fear diminishes when firearms are carried in a responsible and peaceable way by the average citizen and the fearful will recognize that their fear was based on emotion and not fact.
Open Carry is a very effectual way of helping people overcome fear of guns if done wisely with prudence. Arizonans don’t look twice at Open Carriers in their state and they are a great example of people becoming accustomed to guns and accepting them as a natural part of their society.
A common complaint is that Open Carry makes some people uncomfortable. Liberty trumps comfort and censuring freedom is the beginning of oppression, which leads to persecution.
Abraham Lincoln said, “Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as a heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors.”
The Open Carried gun is “Assault Prevention Insurance” and most people will eventually become comfortable with it when they realize that they are safer because of its practice.
There are some people I’ve spoken with who claim to want to have the tactical advantage of surprise.
Why would anyone want to try to fight their way out of a bad situation, jeopardizing themselves and anyone with them when the bad situation can be avoided entirely by Open Carrying?
Let me tell you, if anyone is going to be surprised, it is you.
The likelihood of you surprising a bad guy is very slim and the likelihood of the bad guy getting the drop on you is practically guaranteed.
You seldom know that you are going to be a victim until you are face to face with someone pointing a gun at you.
You will have no time to quick draw or do anything but comply with the bad guy’s demands.
Surprise as a defensive tactic is often based on unrealistic or ill thought out scenarios.
I’ve had 6 guns and a knife pulled on me when I was a process server and not in any of those incidents could I have defended myself.
Most criminals don’t draw their weapon until you are too close to do anything other than comply.
The simple truth is that while surprise is a superior tactical maneuver, it is exclusively an offensive action not a defensive one. Defensive surprise is no more than damage control, and a last ditch effort to fight your way back out of a dangerous situation.
If you shoot anyone - ever - you lose! Why?
• You too could be shot, maimed or killed.
• You will almost always lose financially, paying for defense lawyers and/or civil suits. You don’t want to be another George Zimmerman who has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars defending himself.
• Shooting someone or seeing them shot stays with you forever –
you never forget blood, guts & death. My time in Vietnam and on the LAPD has shown me that you remember every single dead or bloody body.
Surprising an attacker with a gun invites a gun fight. Quite frankly... I'd prefer the bad guy be "surprised" to see my openly carried gun and decide not to attack.
We want everyone to feel safe and comforted by our presence when we Open Carry, so dress nice, smile at everyone, be courteous and if questioned about your gun, be prepared with responses that are friendly and educational, i.e., “My family loves me and they want me to come home safely to them every night.”
Tailor your responses to your situation and personality but always remember that your goal is to win the hearts and minds of the persons you are talking to and anyone listening on the periphery. Never be angry or confrontational. Every Open Carrier should an ambassador for the 2nd Amendment!
The truth is that each day thousands of citizens in this nation Open Carry. They represent hundreds of thousands of man hours of peaceable, friendly, patriotic Open Carrying conducted continually in all but five states.
Open Carry is a right, and it is lawfully exercised everyday by responsible gun owners. Remember this; “A right not practiced will be lost.”
Although I Open Carry as a deterrent and self defense, equally, if not a more important reason for me is to naturalize the presence of guns in our community and promote our rights under the 2nd Amendment.
Concealed Carrying does little to promote the 2nd Amendment when you are in public unless you start the conversation. OC almost always encourages pro-gun discussions.
Other than Boston in the 1770’s there has never been a time in this nation’s history when we have been confronted with so many in the government who want to take our guns. They are continually positioning themselves to limit or destroy our inalienable rights and Open Carry is a visible wall of resistance to them.
Open Carry sends a message to ant-gun elected officials and all of the anti-gun media and anti-gun groups that most Americans are patriotic pro-gun; pro-constitution and pro- 2nd Amendment – and our rights will not be infringed.
Open Carry is a symbol of freedom;
It is the American Flag.
It is kryptonite to the bad guys.
It is the first responder.
It is the bold, beautiful face of the 2nd Amendment.
Tony Snesko, Founder
Idaho Carry, Open & Concealed
Some of the points in this paper were contributed by Mainsail and fellow proponents of OC.