Stay classy, Open Carry guys

When Todd published his “Thanks, Idiots” post regarding the Starbucks/OC kerfluffle, I read it and agreed with pretty much everything he said. Last night, I went back and read it again, including the incredible 350+ comment thread. Right now, there’s a lively debate going between several commenters and some anti-gun guy, but that’s not what I wanted to talk about. Here instead are several comments that were posted on Todd’s blog:

Either your for the second amendment or your not! Free men don’t ask for permission to carry and I don’t believe in giving up some of my rights so that I can conceal carry! Those of you that don’t support everyone’s right to carry however they want to might as well be kissing Obama’s ass! Either stand up or sit down and shut up while real men fight for our rights!

Here’s another:

as a founding member and VP of Open Carry Texas don’t worry… I have plenty of pics of me floating around…

Do you not understand rights or freedoms???? You think you are a freeman hiding your gun with a state mandated “license” that “allows” you to be sneaky???? While I can OC my AR without any such restrictions??

And yet another:

When I go on an open carry walk, that is my intent, to show my resolve and to give others hope that they can stand with me.

All of that kerfluffle ended when commenter #2 got so butthurt that he started making homophobic slurs. Not cool. This of course brings me around to the point today, which is not directed at the sort of people making comments like the ones above, but rather at the Robb Allen‘s of the world. See, Robb is an open carry activist. He’s also smart, socially adept, and even sometimes wears pants (for new readers, that is an old, old, in-joke). The point is that Robb is everything an Open Carry activist should be, which is primarily “not a dick”; with bonus points for intelligence and articulation.

So then, I have to ask Robb and the guys like him this: What the hell is wrong with the rest of the OC movement? I used to think that most OC advocate were guys like Robb, and not the toolboxes you see who saddle up the GSG-5 and go for a troll-stroll to bait local LEOs so they can post on their youtube account about how the “man” was harassing them. I don’t anymore. Either guys like Robb are the minority of the OC movement, or the toolboxes are such a loud majority that they’ve successfully drowned out everyone else to the point that reasonable, intelligent discussion on Open Carry as an activism tactic is nearly impossible. It took the post Starbucks fallout of internet chest-thumping and the madness that ensued over at Pistol-Training for me to finally come to this conclusion.

Is that it then? Because if Robb and those like him are really outnumbered, or even outshouted, Open Carry as a movement is dead.


  1. Having a view from the inside, I would say that people like Mr. Allen are just being out shouted by the vocals. It also depends on where you live too. Such things are on display across the internet, and not just with OC.

  2. I’ve always found that, no matter what your belief, there’s someone who agrees with you who you wish didn’t. These militant open carriers are exactly like that. They get so caught up in their own mindset and self-righteousness that they completely miss the fact that they come across as belligerent jerks, leading those they’re trying to ‘educate’ to be educated that gun owners are…belligerent jerks. Sort of like Westboro church*…what if the only contact someone had with Christians or Baptists was that group? What conclusions would they draw from that encounter, or observing one of those encounters?

    *Not certain on referencing Westboro…has that become the equivalent of bringing Hitler into an argument yet?

  3. I think calling the whole movement dead is a bit much. I open carry often and don’t try to stand out for attention. I’ve actually only had like 3 people ever say anything to me about it and 2 of the people were positive. The fact is the toolboxs that you hate are right. They have the constitution on their side so no matter how much you or I hate them they aren’t wrong. So saying they should stop is like saying a 1st amendment activist that’s a dick should stop talking. It completely defeats what we all claim to want. So what should happen is all the normal people carrying guns concealed should quit being weird about it and open carry. Then the majority of people open carrying won’t be the toolboxes but the normal Robb style people. It’s the only way!

  4. I think it’s time to redefine some terms so we can separate the wheat from the chaff.

    Most states that are shall-issue also allow open carry either on the same permit or permitless (Texas and Florida being big exceptions). In those states it really isn’t CC/OC anymore, it is just “carry. You start the day with your jacket on (nominal CC), but “printing” and “flashing” aren’t legal terms anymore so you don’t have to really care about concealment, and if it gets warm you just take the jacket off, (nominal OC). It’s a seamless continuum.

    That’s our goal, to normalize the basic idea of having a pistol with you for defense. “Normalizing” OC can only be effectively accomplished by having normal people, dressed normally, carrying their normal pistols to the normal places they go to do the normal things they’d do there anyway. Thus Robb’s carrying while fishing, they are normal folks peaceably fishing in public while carrying, demonstrating in a non-threatening and obtrusive way that the law keeping them from doing so on the way home from fishing, while shopping for groceries or getting gas, is ludicrous.

    The minute you start carrying something you wouldn’t actually carry, in places you wouldn’t normally go, wearing clothes you don’t ordinarily wear, to do something you don’t normally do, particularly if you alert the media or anyone else, you are no longer “normalizing” OC and thus probably need to reexamine your goals.

    You are an attention-whore, not an effective activist.

    Since they stopped enforcing the laws requiring men to take their muskets to church it has not been “normal” in this country to carry a long gun on your person for defense. Sure, you might have one on your horse or in your wagon (nowadays in your car), but if you were a normal citizen it stayed there while you went about your daily business (“the Rifleman” and Mal from Silvarado excepted).

    We are not talking about carrying a rifle to the dump to plink rats, or to the range, or taking your shotgun to school to have on hand to hunt on the way home, as that is expressly not what the OC idiot activists are actually aiming for. Note they drive to their events, get out of the car to attention whore at port arms for a while somewhere you couldn’t shoot your long gun if you wanted to, and then drive home.

    The days of any of the actual activities you could do, which used to provide the “normal” context to carry an -unloaded- long gun with you on your way to do them, like those listed above, are over in most modern suburbias, we can’t “normalize” carry for non-existant activities. Even if re-normalizing those activities were the true goal of the activists they are starting from the wrong direction and stupidly besides.

    Anyway, it is a false analogy and intellectually dishonest for the long gun OC attention-whores to try to hide from justified criticism under the skirts of effective OC activists by claiming all OC activism is morally the same.

    1. “if you alert the media or anyone else, you are no longer “normalizing” OC and thus probably need to reexamine your goals.

      You are an attention-whore, not an effective activist.”

      But if you *are* just going about your business and the police show up, as they often do, then you are in the same situation of appearing like an attention-whore or worse.

      I don’t usually OC, outside of my farm because I have no reason to nor desire to ‘stand out’. I have once or twice when I’m coming from a range and needed to grab some milk etc. and didn’t bother to lock my gun in the box, choosing instead to just leave it holstered. As you said, normal person going about normal business,but day to day I conceal carry in public.

      OTOH, it does seem to me that the anti’s and old city/county laws (before state preemption) actually caused OC to go out of favor and become unusual. So how do you get that back? When I was a kid (yeah.. damn long time ago) you could take your own .22 to the county fair and use it at the .22 arcade. You just had to buy their ammo. No one gave a second glance to a kid walking in the gate of the fairgrounds carrying a .22 rifle. Now, that would cause a SWAT response.

      Perhaps the way to start is by organizing OC events where the political message is made, but with full notification of any local authorities and attended by “normal” speaking and acting folks. (I admit I don’t know how you restrict it to rational gun people…) If you do that on a regular basis, like every wednesday, then it would quickly become a non-event and achieve the education goal without provoking a police response. That way, if the news does cover it, they might publish something the first time, but by the 5th time it’s no longer newsworthy, it OLD news, which I think is the actual goal. Also by the 5th time, the police no longer find it novel, and they will all know the law if anyone calls reporting people with guns.. Again, I think that is the actual goal..

      To conclude, I think there is a way to get OC normalized again, as it should be, in a civil and polite way.

      1. But there aren’t .22 ranges at the county fair anymore, so that context is gone and given health codes and liability they realistically aren’t coming back.

        We have to be precise, if the goal is to re-normalize the activity of “kids -transporting- -unloaded-.22s to the fair to shoot at the fair’s .22 plinking arcades” we first need to get the arcades back, and only then work on the stuff that follows.

        And, in any event, -none- of the oft-cited traditions of “transporting- -unloaded- rifles to go do “X”” contexts that we have lost have -anything- to do with the very modern and recent “OC of loaded long guns on-body for possible self-defense” nonsense.

        That simply hasn’t ever really been a thing in the US in urban or suburban areas, ever.

        1. “But there aren’t .22 ranges at the county fair anymore, so that context is gone and given health codes and liability they realistically aren’t coming back.”

          Totally agree, and I wasn’t suggesting it should come back. I was just thinking back about how far we’ve come in my lifetime from people not noticing a kid to now.. It was a rural county fair too, so your point about that not being urban is also dead on. Country folks have always looked at guns differently than urban folks.

          I think the people OCing long guns are just being stupid and indeed attention whores. I can’t think of any reason in an urban setting that would justify OC of a long gun. I live in a university town. The time between someone going downtown with a long gun OC and the police having them face down on the ground would be 1-2 minutes tops and I’d be loathe to criticize them for doing that first and finding out what was up second.

  5. The problem the “NO LAW CAN RESTRICT MY FREEDOM!” people have is that they do not, in fact, do anything whatsoever that is illegal under the current system in their jurisdiction. That’s why the idiots comparing themselves to Rosa Parks are, well, idiots. She did something *illegal*, she actually risked her well-being, to make a political statement.

    Walking into the Smithsonian with an AK47 over your shoulder, that’s fighting the system.

    Carrying it to a coffee house in a state that says it’s legal, annoying the other customers and intimidating people until they stop shopping there isn’t fighting the system. It’s just being an asshole.

  6. “All of that kerfluffle ended when commenter #2 got so butthurt that he started making homophobic slurs.”

    Okay I have to take issue with this sentence. Your criticizing the guy for throwing out homophobic slurs, which is good, but in the same sentence you accuse him of being “butthurt” which is pretty homophobic. Your basically saying his standing in the argument is analogous to a gay rape.

  7. The problem is that the loud ones make the news and make the blog posts. The OC’ers who go about their business like they usually do don’t make headlines. Nobody hears about them. But the ones who walk into a library with a mossberg get so much attention that you’d think that’s the only people who OC.

    Seriously though – imagine if people’s only experience to gun owners was by reading When Obi Wan said there was no greater hive of scum and villainy, it was because he didn’t have a tablet and wi-fi on the Millennium Falcon.

    Now, would you think arcom represents gun owners? The represent *some*, true, but not all. Same thing with the OC loudmouths.

  8. We need to not drive a wedge inbetween outselves based on the type of carry we choose. If we divide we fall, its about gun rights not concealed carry rights or open carry rights its about the 2nd Amendment. Check out colinnoirs new video, he sums it up right as always.

  9. The movement isn’t dead, it’s embarrassed over having been pantsed by the passing herd of brightly-clad, painted, bike-horn-tooting clowns.

  10. One thing that annoys me is when the ones OC’in a rifle pretend that it is anything BUT political activism.
    Really? You tote that rifle everywhere you go? And your boss or customers don’t mind?
    But from a practical aspect, what do you do with the dang heavy thing while you’re working? Do you really expect me to believe that you sling your Century while sitting at your cube, typeing away? Or doing any of a hundred physical jobs, a mechanic crawling under a car for instance? Logically, long gun OC rapidly becomes off body carry, which becomes a safety nightmare.
    Which is an advantage to carrying a pistol. With a proper holster, the pistol is secured to the user.

  11. If the UN treaty is enforced by LEO or the Feds…and you open carry ….what with NDAA and patriot act…If you are stopped may just disappear… now the question is ..what good does it do to open carry , bring attention to yourself, maybe disappear without even a Lexington response……Soon many will be placed in a very ugly position..on both sides of this question……. they have crossed the Rubicon…no turning back now…so….Semper Fi

    1. If the UN treaty is enforced by LEO or the Feds…and you open carry ….what with NDAA and patriot act…

      What the hell are you talking about?

  12. The thing is, Caleb, that from the outside? That douchebag doesn’t just represent Robb; he represents you and me and Todd, too.

    Non gun-owners don’t grok any OC/CC schisms; they just see “gun owners acting like toolbags”.

  13. There’s another point, that I haven’t seen anyone bring up as yet (although I didn’t read the full 350+ posts to Todd’s original story). When someone performs this kind of arrogant, idiotic look-at-me act, IT SCARES PEOPLE.

    The civilians don’t have the ability to differentiate between types of gun nuts; they don’t care and shouldn’t have to care about the internal politics and differences of opinion we have. They see a guy carrying a shotgun in a coffee shop, where the civilian’s spouse and kids are trying to enjoy their drinks – and just for a second, makes them think that their family may be starring in the next shooting on the news.

    Scared people make bad laws. The Patriot Act is all the proof we need of that in this generation.

    And that’s not even the point, although it’s reason enough to get up and ask the jackass why he’s carrying around a weapon designed for the trench warfare of France, 1916.

    The point is that we don’t do this to scare people. We do this to feel safe, and maybe so others can be just a little safer as well. There’s a difference between carrying your personal weapon discreetly-but-not-concealed, and carrying the biggest and scariest looking thing you have for the shock value. If you can’t see that, then you’re hurting the credibility and the aims we all share.

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