I don’t like to open carry. I have heard enough bad stories and believe that causing panic in the streets is not a great way to go about any part of my business. Sometimes I get lazy though. Last Friday was an example of this that very quickly turned into a good story about open carry.
My place of employment, West Coast Armory, is located in Bellevue, WA just an exit away from the Bellevue Collection, a collection of stores frequented by those with far too much money to waste. I had to run down to said “Collection” (I always called a collection of stores a mall but apparently I was wrong) during my lunch break Friday because I had managed to completely and utterly destroy my beloved iPhone and this location served as home to the only Apple Store I knew of. I spent the whole drive over there trying to decide if I really wanted to take my gun off and just leave it in my car, finally I said “screw it, it’s legal and I don’t want to leave my gun.” Plus, my new holster is a preproduction model that is a bit difficult to get off and on my belt. Laziness won.
I canvassed the front of the mall for any “No weapons/firearms/cool people” signs, not seeing any I went inside. I was pretty much ignored the whole way to the Apple Store but then I went in, checked in for my appointment and went to check email and facebook and otherwise do things my friends would label “work” if we were sitting in a restaurant taking bets on how much of a workaholic an internet quiz will call me. This meant that my gun side was turned straight toward the guy with the iPad standing in the middle of the store looking important.
He just looked at me and said: “I just moved up here, is West Coast Armory a gun range in the area?” That’s right – by the end of my extremely nerve racking foray the entire Apple Store was discussing my gun range, two guys had asked me about ARs and another about leagues. As the right person with the right attitude in the right setting I managed to take open carry and turn it into advertising for West Coast Armory.
Plus, they gave me a free iPhone and that was pretty rad too.
I have a treatise I’ve got to write up regarding OC and being a good ambassador and whatnot, but your post here is pretty much exactly what *should* and *usually* happens with OC.
I’ll OC more than the average gun owner because I’m an activist. I’m also clean cut, a former Marine, well spoken, and not prone to screaming about my rights just because someone asks me to leave. So I hope, like you, I can do a good job of presenting gun owners as normal people.
As it stands, the chances of the OC bills passing here in Florida are looking really, really good. Doesn’t mean there won’t be some last second shenanigans that ruins it, but when it does… I’ll need some new holsters!
Remember that by definition, if it’s a story, it’s uncommon. Something that happens every day isn’t a story. Open carry enough, and one day you’ll come home, unstrap, and realize that you didn’t get any comments at all, and didn’t even think about the fact that you were open carrying. That’ll be a good day.
Way to represent!
Well done. Still more proof that a nice person with a gun makes guns nice. A jerk with a gun makes guns scary.
I need to start thinking about open carrying more often.
I think the fact that you are a woman was a contributing factor in their reaction; people tend to be less intimidated by a woman with a gun. For some reason despite only being 5’6″ I seem to give off this menacing/angry vibe and people tend to leave me alone most of the time. Their reactions might have been different had I been the one walking around the mall with a gun.
It’s great to hear a positive OC story, but all too often they end negatively because the OC crowd tends to attract chipped shouldered, quick tempered, foul tongued armed activist ambassadors of firearms ownership ; who seem to go out of their way to get in yelling matches with Sussie Suburbia over their rights.
Living in an OC state, the negative encounters are the norm not the exception. But, I’ve never read of a negative CC encounter.
Andy, I’ve been following as much OC stuff as I can as my group, Florida Carry, is actively pushing Open Carry bills here in my state. I’ve come to the conclusion that the people who OC and have nothing happen are by far the norm. Most don’t write about it much in the same way I rarely write about CC – what’s interesting to read when nothing happened?
Yes, you have the SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!!! group, but you have that kind of personality in pretty much *any* large enough group. A layman reading ARFCOM for ten minutes would decide that gun owners are crazy and should be committed.
We should ostracize those who give us a bad name, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying they aren’t there. I’ve seen them. I don’t think they help even in the slightest, but they’re the squeaky wheel and thus get the lion’s share of attention when it’s not deserved. Just like MOST gun owners are law abiding, decent people, we have our idiots. Shouldn’t let those idiots paint the entire gun movement, we shouldn’t let the few loudmouth OC’ers paint everyone else either.
Suit, shave, gun, and a smile. Not a fail-safe solution, sure, but it’s a start.
Or, now that I consider the identity of the author, I guess it’s decent attire, and decent appearance.
Never mind me.
Where do you get your suits tailored that you can OC in them…? 😉
(actually, I want an affordable tailor in the Puget Sound region whose work lets me carry concealed on the semi-annual occasions I wear a suit…)
Sounds like 99.9% of my contacts with non-carrying people here (Wisconsin, where it’s my only choice.) The most common response is: “It’s legal? Cool, I might have to start.”
Of course the fact that un-armed anti-gun nuts are willing to confront and harass legally carrying citizens shows how much they believe their own propaganda.
If I believed their bull I’d run screaming away from the person carrying, not go up to them solely to irritated and abuse them!
The fact that there isn’t a wave of anti-gun rights people turning up shot to death is proof of their lies in it’s self.
Way to go!
Been open carrying for a couple months up here in the shotgun in the libraries state, and no comments what so ever by anyone.
A lot of that has to do with the guys who were willing to go head to head with police departments and lobby the various PD’s to stand down when it comes to OC.
I call BS on the free iPhone, no way that happened. 🙂
They do it for most people the first time you break your phone I guess, they take the old one in for refurbishment and give you a new one.
We have here in Colorado Springs an Apple retailer / FFL. Nothing more surreal than walking in and being greeted with a “Hi, are you here for an Apple computer or a gun?”
Haha, there’s a store in a small town in NE WA where they do computer repairs and sell beer.
There is a place in Hampton Roads, VA called Albert’s Guns, Tobacco and Grocery.
A real ATF store, eh?
Technically speaking, the Bellevue Mall which houses the Apple store within the “collection” you speak of does not permit firearms. There is a very small-printed sign near all of the doors into the mall which state that you are not permitted to bring weapons of any kind into the mall. As someone who is very pro-gun, I also weigh that with my respect for property rights. I realize that the sign is very hard to see and is not obvious. I nearly missed it myself. I’m glad to see that they did not trespass you from the location and that you had a good interaction with individuals there. That said, please be careful when visiting there in the future.
Just to follow up, here’s a thread about Bellevue Collection properties and their policies.
Apparently they are OK with concealed carry now –or at least at the time of this thread.
Having perused the thread it looks like they are fairly inconsistent with the policy and are more concerned about Lincoln Center than Belle Square which actually makes sense to me given the different cultures of the two malls. Lincoln Center is more pubs/bars/restaurants than anything else.
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