Quite a few people have taken umbrage at the 10 Steps for Successful Open Carry post I wrote last week; while many of the upset persons are the typical sort who just read enough to get offended, there are a few that have raised a point I believe is critical to address, and indeed I’ve touched on before.
In the post, I recommend that if you’re going to OC, you should “dress like a grown-up”, which is slang for dress nicely. Wear clean clothes, no flip-flops, a shirt with a collar, comb your hair and trim your beard. Ideally, you want to look like Bob from accounting. The reason for this is because whether or not you like, when you OC you are representing all gun owners. This is something that many OC advocates don’t understand, because they’re inside the movement. When you’re a part of a sub-culture, it’s very difficult to recognize how outsiders perceive you. For example, car enthusiasts. I prefer muscle cars, specifically the Dodge/Mopar line of cars, both classic and modern. There are car enthusiasts who prefer Italian super-cars, Ford muscle cars, etc etc. The variations are endless. To people not part of that sub-culture, they’re all just “car guys”.
The same is true of the gun culture – just because as an OC advocate you believe you’re only representing yourself, that’s just not true. When you’re out OC’ing, you’re representing all gun owners simply by the fact that you are very clearly a gun owner as evidenced by the gun that you’re openly carrying.
This is why we hit on attitude and appearance. You may think I’m elitist, but I don’t want a public representative of gun owners to be a sloppy-looking dude that goes around causing a scene with the cops. I just don’t.
No one is saying that OC should be illegal; in fact Open Carry should be legal in all 50 states. But until it is, if you are going to Open Carry, remember that you’re not just representing yourself out there. You’re an ambassador for all gun rights every time you OC, and it benefits us all if you’re a good ambassador. If you’re uncomfortable with that responsibility, maybe Open Carry isn’t for you.