The Open Carry Experience Part 6: Hearts and minds (and laserbeams)

You know what the most common argument I hear from pro Open Carry people? “We’re desensitize and educating the public!” Then last night, someone send this image to me in a tweet:


Desensitizing and educating the public? With Mike “Kill the ATF” Vanderboegh (or however the hell you spell it) there? Yeah sure, pull the other one pal, it’s got bells on it. You know what’s frustrating about all of this? There are GOOD examples of open carry out there. Look at Virginia, where they had a stupid law that prohibited CCW in restaurants. The VCDL went out, OC’d in restaurants, most importantly were not cocks about it, and got the law changed. That’s a win. Or look at Robb Allen and Florida Carry – their OC law is so screwed up that it’s only legal to OC while fishing or some nonsense like that. So what are they doing? Trying to get the law changed and not being dicks about it.

Then you have these guys in Open Carry Texas. It’s like no matter how many times they grab the live wire, they just keep going back to do it again. You want to prove that you’re not in this for the attention? Don’t hold big stupid rallies with no political point. Do something useful, like meet with your state representatives and ask them what kind of support they need from you to get open carry of handguns passed in Texas.

I would like to point out that is what they say their stated goal is: to get open carry of handguns legalized in Texas. It’s currently against the law, which likely comes as a shock to most people since they assume “Texas = Wild West and guns everywhere”, but the fact is that it’s illegal. So Open Carry ClownShow has decided the best route to legalization is to…carry rifles. How does that make any kind of sense?

Open carry should be legal in every state. Concealed carry should be legal in every state. In a perfect world, as long as you’re not a convicted felon, you should be able to carry your legally concealed gun in all 50 states as easily as you’d drive a car. But you can’t, and so we work within the system to change the laws.

Tell me exactly how getting a professional agitator and shit-talker like Mike V is going to help your cause? If you’re really interested in “education” why not do some PSAs on local cable? Or put up a booth at the local fair or something?

Tam says it best: “There’s a difference between carrying a gun, and carrying a gun at people.”

I still don’t like OC as a primary carry method. But if you are going to OC, just carry your gun. Don’t make your day revolve around the act of OC, and don’t define your political identity in terms of obeying the law in an annoying fashion. If Open Carry Texas was really serious about affecting political change, they’d knock off all this attention whoring BS and go sit down with their legislators.


  1. This particular group is especially dangerous. I would refer everyone to for more information on the founder, CJ Grisham. According to Mr. Yon, who has documentary proof, SSgt. Grisham has some serious issues. Every story has two sides, but I tend to believe Mr. Yon.

  2. Some people could describe me as an Open Carry “activist”, because when I OC it is partly as a political statement, but I tend to do it in the same manner that VCDL did to get the Virginia law changed. When I OC, I just go about my day (with a handful of exceptions, such as when I attended a VCDL protest at my alma mater). Where it becomes a political statement is the combination of two things:

    1) The simple purpose of normalizing carry in general, and
    2) An occasional conversation starter with curious strangers.

    With that latter part, I don’t go seeking out such conversations, but I don’t shy away from them when they occur. As part of that, I remain up-to-date on my state’s firearm laws (as we all should anyways), and find ways to explain them in simple, declarative sentences. For me, that has led to many positive experiences, ranging from comments like “I like the piece!” or “You don’t see that everyday!” to an Obama campaign worker asking serious questions about the effectiveness of guns for self defense. When someone asks, I try to be the best representative of gun owners that I can be. At all other times, I simply try to be myself. (It especially helps put people at ease when I am out shopping with one of my children along. For some reason, they don’t seem to think that a man with a gun on his hip is as much a threat when he’s got a toddler with him.)

  3. I recently discovered your blog and love what you have to say. It’s well thought out and brings intelligence to our argument. Thank you for that.

  4. I get what they’re trying to say, I think, it’s legal to open-carry a rifle, but a M&P or 1911 visibly strapped to your hip is illegal? It’s utterly nonsensical. The way they’re doing it though just isn’t good.

  5. I think the title of the event sums the group up nicely:

    “Big Spring Meet and Great”

    on the first day of summer – not the sharpest tools in the box.

  6. Ah, Niccolo, I see you’re trolling over here as well. . .

    1. The way Florida law (and, I believe Texas law as well) works is that if you have a permit to carry concealed, and your cover garment blows open, you CAN be charged with illegally carrying an gun openly. That’s asinine.

    2. Self defense is a core portion of the Second Amendment. You shouldn’t have to beg the government for a permission slip to practice the core componant of an enumerated right. Period. OC in pretty much EVERY state of the Union is perfectly legal without such a permission slip. Places like Texas, Florida, and California are the extreme outliers of radical laws in this respect, NOT the moderate norm. (And it’s been that way for a LONG time. OC had ALWAYS been legal in most states, even states that either didn’t have ANY form of CCW issue for citizens or those who restricted it so much that it was a priviledge of teh rich and well connected only.)

    3. We DO NOT let states decide they may routinely enforce the extremist anti-civil rights position, ESPECIALLY when dealing with explicitly enumerated rights. States cannot just ignore rights expressly protected by the US Constitution. Hell, we don’t permit states to enforce prohibitions on rights that are only derived from other rights — Loving v. Virginia, the Roe v. Wade, Lawrence v. Texas, etc.

  7. Texas recently updated the CHL laws to make ‘flashing’ or ‘printing’ legal, unless done in a threatening manner.

    I want OC for Texas. I do not think these guys are helping. Frankly, they’re doing more harm than good for our cause.

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