The last entry here, on “in your face” open carry versus concealed carry or discreet open carry, caught interest with a three-digit comment count.  I also raised some new issues I hadn’t discussed here previously.

Basic truth, folks: economic rhetoric has never fed the hungry, and Second Amendment rhetoric has never armed the helpless.

The gains the gun owners’ civil rights movement have made can be attributed to decades of legal scholarship, working within the system, and reforming anti-gun laws which largely trace back to anti-black bias in the antebellum and Reconstruction-era south, anti-immigrant bias in the industrialized north, and culture war at multiple levels.

Gun-banners will never convert most who read this blog, and we who support a responsibly armed citizenry will never win over the Pelosis and Bloombergs of the world. The battleground lies with the vast majority of people who are in the middle on this polarized issue.  I am old enough to remember when Massachusetts and California each held a referendum on whether possession of handguns should be banned in their states.  Neither state had a majority of gun owners in the voting pool, but in each case our side won the referendum, because “the people on the fence” didn’t want to go that far.

Doing things that alarm those people in the middle will do nothing to help the pro-gun side.  Fear is the key ingredient that creates hatred.  Doing things that put the general public in fear will cause more people to hate us, and anyone who seriously thinks flaunting rifles around schools in cities and suburbs will somehow acclimate the public to an acceptance of armed citizens is simply delusional.

Please, don’t compare the heavily armed guy who video-records himself confronting police to Rosa Parks on a segregated bus. Ms. Parks did not put anyone in fear of their lives. Don’t tell me that “a right not exercised is a right denied,” when we’ve seen confrontational open carry result in stricter laws in California, and hamper the responsible open carry movement in Texas much more recently.

This blog post, like the most recent one, grew from a fellow prancing around a school with a visible rifle and handgun.  Even gun experts will tell you that handguns are carried holstered, in case they’re needed for a life-threatening emergency, while long guns are traditionally carried only when their immediate use is anticipated. For us, that’s hunting, response to an already identified emergency (think “Rodney King riots”), or a target shooting range.  To the general public, that image instantly calls to mind Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Newtown.  When an otherwise obviously smart and articulate poster says the officer confronting such a person with hand on service pistol is the one being provocative, I can only say “Wow…just…wow.”

Some open carry advocates hope for test cases to go to courts and validate their cause. I wouldn’t be betting on that outcome. When someone’s behavior is sufficiently frightening that the school in question goes to lockdown, I don’t expect the courts to say that’s just fine.  Depending on the jurisdiction, the mood of the court, and the mood of the prosecution, some of the cards on the table may include “disturbing the peace,” “trespass after warning,” and “going armed to the terror of the public.”

But, the people who want to traipse around schools with visible military rifles and camcorders will have had their fifteen minutes of YouTube “fame.”

On this discussion thread, a poster by the username of “usagi” said it better than I: “Open carry of long guns to advocate for 2A rights is exactly the same as blowing smoke directly in people’s faces for smoker’s rights.”


  1. WOW… very patient cops. The open carry “thugs” who don’t realize OC is meant primarily for holstered handguns (and in tasteful clothing) on special occasions do more harm to our cause than anything else. We’ve done so well in the past few years racking up legislative victories, all it takes is one a$$ clown like this to cause major setback in public opinion.

    For me, the element of surprise is paramount, therefore CARRY CONCEALED. I find that if I’m wearing khaki pants and untucked button up shirt my full size Kimber stays concealed 90% of the time. The unfortunate 10% is usually when sliding into a restaurant booth, getting out of my car, or other “transition” time. As I present a professional appearance it has never been a problem. Speaking as one who does sub-teaching in California, The only place to legally carry a gun in “School Zones” is locked in trunk or in DEEP Concealment holster w/ valid CCW. Didn’t mean to run long, just my $.02 YMMV.

  2. “…with visible military rifles and camcorders…”

    Mr. Ayoob, you disappoint me by acquiescing to the Anti’s vernacular. No-one in the video had a “military rifle” except perhaps the police.

  3. The general public being afraid of seeing anyone open carrying a firearm comes largely from people being ignorant of firearm laws in the first place. The police should inform people as to what those laws are though either mass paper pamplets or town hall meetings . That way when dispatch gets a call about someone open carrying in a lawful manner the dispatcher can also inform the caller that its legal to open carry and there is no need to freak out and call 911 unless the person is pointing the firearm at others. Having a rifle slung over your back and a pistol holstered on your side should not scare anyone . The liberal media is conditioning people to fear a gun regardless of it being carried in a lawful manner or not.
    If someone can only open carry by law then the public need’s to be informed of the law’s. Police have more important things to do than stop and waste 20 minutes on someone who’s lawfully carrying. Now I do agree if you have the option to conceal carry you should do that with a pistol vs open carry .

  4. Mas, thank you for saying this. As a woman who was raised anti-gun and only came to understand and appreciate (love) guns later in life, I can attest that fear is exactly the reason most people vote anti-gun (and many, I would even say a majority of those people are women.) They fear guns for several reasons. 1. They have no direct knowledge or experience with them. 2. They associate them only with cops and with criminals (because of Hollywood and the media.) 3. They believe further misrepresentations of statistics by said media, and because they themselves were raised that way, the misconceptions become self-reinforcing over the generations. 4. Highly visible gun-proponents behave in frightening (to their eyes) ways. NRA “spokesmen” like Ted Nugent do none of us any favors when they scare the hell out of anyone who isn’t familiar with gun culture. Ditto with guys open carrying in Target, not to mention those overweight guys in camo pretending it’s the zombie apocalypse already, video taping their “training” in the woods and 5. (and most importantly) none of their friends have taken them to the range yet, to show them how FUN it is to shoot. That last thing? That’s what every single one of us should be advocating: make learning about and shooting a gun fun, NOT intimidating (quit trying to show off) and make the newbie feel SAFE. As someone mentioned before, this bravado crap needs to stop – it’s actually hurting the cause. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it will win hearts and minds. Yes the “liberal media” is conditioning people to think badly of guns – but that’s exactly the point: their state of mind is the problem. Open carry only exacerbates that state of mind and scares them further.

  5. “Some open carry advocates hope for test cases to go to courts and validate their cause. I wouldn’t be betting on that outcome. When someone’s behavior is sufficiently frightening that the school in question goes to lockdown, I don’t expect the courts to say that’s just fine. Depending on the jurisdiction, the mood of the court, and the mood of the prosecution, some of the cards on the table may include “disturbing the peace,” “trespass after warning,” and “going armed to the terror of the public.”

    This court must not have gotten your memo, Mas:

  6. Remasculated, I’m fair game, but I don’t allow posters to troll other posters here, so your other two posts attacking another participant in the commentary will not be appearing here.

  7. I have to say that being a officer as well is that Ayoob is so full of himself that he even believes the crap he talks about. No police officer will ask someone if his weapon has reloads in a self defense situation unless the suspect was shot with a 12 gauge loaded with broken razor blades. I carry reloads in my weapons and no attorney can argue and win over what type of ammo was used in a self defense situation. Follow the law and don`t believe those self centered know -it-all`s.

  8. Wow, David…looks as if you’ve swallowed so much internet Kool-Aid that it’s causing foam to appear at your mouth.

    I’ve seen the cases you want to believe don’t exist. Research is good. You should try it.

  9. I couldn’t agree more. I have followed your writings for years and, have lived long enough to see your opinion change on a couple of subjects over a lifetime and respect you even more because of it. That’s what a thinking person does, as their experience broadens, their opinions alter because now, it’s an informed or more informed opinion. These jackasses running around, trying to provoke a response are possibly the greatest threat to the expansion/retention of our firearms rights. Do you think that anti gun activists might be orchestrating some of this? I know most of it is just human stupidity but, some of it?

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