Open Carry in Public Places: Thoughts and Experience

After I got off of work, I walked over to our local grocery store to pick up some items for dinner. As I was walking around I noticed a man with a shoulder holster. Once I realized what it was, I took a peak at his side and saw a gun tucked underneath his arm. I then looked up to see him giving me a weird look, smiled and walked away. I thought more about this as I was finishing up shopping for the items on my list. If I would have seen this man even 6 months ago, I probably would have FREAKED out. Honestly, I probably would have felt a pit in my stomach, left my items on a shelf and left. So I thought, why did I react differently this time? I was interested to know what type of pistol he had and was fascinated by the fact that he was openly carrying it in a grocery store (holstered obviously, not LITERALLY carrying it just in case I needed to clarify). Well, I can answer this in one word: Education. I have consistently educated myself on proper gun handling and safety. I did not see this guy as a threat to me BECAUSE his gun was properly holstered. People FEAR guns which is why they feel the need to control ownership by implementing gun carry laws. In most cases, people fear what they don’t understand, which is why my reaction was different than if this same exact situation happened to me in the recent past. I no longer fear them because I understand them. 

I have heard many arguments against open and concealed carry. Here is one I think we’ve all heard: “How am I supposed to know the difference between a law-abiding citizen carrying his/her gun and a mass shooter?” There are many different ways, one being the example I mentioned above. If you see a customer walking in with his/her gun holstered, they aren’t breaking any rules (unless otherwise stated by the business) and most likely aren’t there to hurt anyone. Now, if someone walks in, finger on the trigger and a crazy look on their face, well you may just have a problem. But can you see the difference here? Am I saying that no mass murderer EVER will have his/her gun holstered? No, BUT I am saying that it is highly unlikely. 

Next, I wonder why people are against open carry. People get REALLY freaked by seeing a gun, even if it is holstered. My question is, wouldn’t you anti-gun people rather SEE someone’s gun? I would think you would be more freaked out by not knowing if someone has one or not. But I guess ignorance is bliss.

Anyways, enough with my little rant of the day. I wish I would have gotten a picture with this guy to show people that gun owners who are practicing proper gun safety and holstering are not the people you should be concerned with, BUT I didn’t want to seem more like I creeper than I already had by eyeing his weapon. Whoops..

What are your thoughts?

8 thoughts on “Open Carry in Public Places: Thoughts and Experience

  1. For myself I would feel safer with a concealed handgun. Why give the bad guys any more information than you have to before you have to?

    Also I think open carry in a lot of places, thinking more rural places, could be ok and it would definitely be a good thing to educate more people to understand that because a civilian is carrying a gun that’s doesn’t automatically make them a threat.

    Today I think most uniformed police officers who must open carry also use some type of retention holster that makes it more difficult for another person to grab their gun out of their holster (which with many holsters that are not of that type a fairly easy thing to do).

    If we were to decide on where we should place more emphasis I think it would be to get more people to go through the necessary steps to get a concealed carry permit and carry.



    • Thank you for the comment! I am all for concealed carry and hope to get my license with my husband once he is done with the safety course. It’s just interesting to me that people against guns seem to complain more about open carry than concealed because “they can’t tell who a gunman/shooter is”. I try to put myself in their shoes to see how they’re thinking and possibly explain things in a way they would understand, but I just end up getting confused and go back to my own shoes 😉

  2. I try to put myself in their shoes to see how they’re thinking and possibly explain things in a way they would understand, but I just end up getting confused and go back to my own shoes


    I believe you can’t understand because you are trying to look at the idea from a perspective foreign to the antis; someone not willing to cede their safety to the whims of a criminal.

    I don’t understand the concept of being against Open Carry either but I think I have a grasp on it. See it isn’t the person, it isn’t the actions, it is the belief that anyone who would do such a thing (Open Carry – Concealed Carry) could and probably will shoot someone with it. Much of this belief, in my opinion, is simple projection because that is what the ANTI would do. Look at the number of times someone against guns calls for gun owners to be shot. Look at the number of times someone against guns stated they would get so mad they would shoot some one if they carried.
    It seems that they can not imagine someone carrying a firearm and being reluctant to use it.

    “How am I supposed to know the difference between a law-abiding citizen carrying his/her gun and a mass shooter?” There are many different ways, one being the example I mentioned above.

    Ask any anti how they are supposed to know the woman walking down the street isn’t a prostitute or teacher who is molesting one of her students (seems to be happening a lot lately based on the news). Ask any anti how they know the man walking down the street isn’t a rapist or child abuser.
    Or the person driving next to them isn’t a drunk driver or someone who will run them off the road.

    They accept those risks every day but “guns are different”.

    Personally, I would prefer to have the option to Open Carry; here in North Texas it gets a tad bit warm some days (2012 saw 75 days of 100 degrees or higher) and my asthma would be less affected if I didn’t have to wear heavier cover garments. I agree with the idea that if you can see a firearm that it seems more honest. Historically concealing a weapon has been the tactic of the criminal.

    Bob S.

    • I hear you! I lived in the Houston area for a couple of years and having to bulk up on clothing to conceal a gun would be torture. Now that I am up North, it seems a little more manageable. Although, I live very close to DC and have to pay attention to where I am (even when I am driving) at all times because of the gun laws for DC and Maryland. I have also had to really study the laws for my own area. Cops are EXTREMELY rude here and stopped a friend of mine for open carry (even though it is legal here in VA). It seemed that even the cop was suspicious even though my friend was not behaving poorly in any way. His gun was holstered in his belt and not concealed, yet the cop was asking ridiculous questions about a permit and registration. My friend handled himself very well in terms of stating the laws. The cop called for back-up which eventually led to other cops analyzing the situation and sending us on our way. All in all, I thought it was unnecessary. It’s the same approach the antis have- they think that because someone has a gun that you can see, that you must be planning some mass shooting.

  3. i”m glad you are becoming more comfortable with the means of self-defense. 🙂 & I expect the person Open Carrying has had plenty of others give them “odd looks “, too, & wouldn’t mind if you said something like “nice holster,” or “have a good day”. I find that there seems to be a sort of “knowing nod” & quiet smile, or half-smile, that is exchanged between people who know- or sense – that the other is, or might be, carrying. When you see someone with a shirt out over their jeans but everything about them is “tucked away & squared up”…when someone is sitting where they can see the doors & access at least one place of cover… things like that; they don’t prove a person is carrying, but they can be a quiet clue to others who also live like that. It was pounded into our heads during our local CCP class, that we have a responsibility to not only practice, handle our guns safely and abide by laws & restrictions, but we also have ethical responsibilities — to protect those who need protection & can’t do it themselves, but even more to be aware. Being alert & aware of what’s going on is a MUST. It is NOT an option. A huge part of being safe is preventing trouble. To prevent trouble, one must be aware of it forming. Staying alert means cultivating awareness of your surroundings That includes a lot of things such as knowing who is nearby & if they seem to pose a threat or not. I’m thinking he probably saw you before you saw him, &that he didn’t view you as a threat.

    me – I got a handgun just to have something to do with my husband; he was “into guns” long before we married. But I was astonished at how it changed my view of myself & the world in general, once I had my permit to carry. Suddenly, the world was not such a scary place. Suddenly I was no longer a toothless old hound, I had dentures & they had pointy teeth!!! And I relaxed. I really wonder how many frightened, liberal, anti-gun folks would relax & cheer up if they tried that ….. so when you get your permit you may find your attitude changing. I was astounded at how relaxed I became. Not dreamy, not unaware — I became much more highly aware of my surroundings. But I relaxed. I hadn’t even been aware I carried that much tension inside me. Have fun with it! & be safe, sister.

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