Open carry vs. concealed carry

I’m not sure if we’ve ever had a discussion specifically on modes of carrying weapons. If we have, it’s been a while.

This discussion assumes that a fairly large number of people will carry and are carrying guns. With that assumption in mind, does the mode of carry make any difference to you?

The default assumption in most places, since the 1980s or so, is that concealed carry is the norm. Many discussions about guns have a strong component about making sure that people who carry concealed do so responsibly (although “responsibly” is defined in many different ways). But that was not always the case.

Open carry used to be the default assumption, at least in some areas. I’ve looked at about half the state constitutions so far, and this is what I’ve found.

Colorado Constitution, Article II, Section 13:
The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall be called in question; but nothing herein contained shall be construed to justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons.

Montana Constitution, Article II, Section 12:
The right of any person to keep or bear arms in defense of his own home, person, and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall not be called in question, but nothing herein contained shall be held to permit the carrying of concealed weapons.

Louisiana Constitution, Article I, Section 11:
The right of each citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged, but this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to prohibit the carrying of weapons concealed on the person.

Mississippi Constitution, Article 3, Section 12:
The right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, or property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall not be called in question, but the legislature may regulate or forbid carrying concealed weapons.

If anybody is interested in looking up their own state, this site has a list of many (but not all) of the state constitutions.

I carry a gun, concealed, most of the time. I live in Ohio, where open carry without a permit has been legal for ages, and where concealed carry permits have been available on a “shall issue” basis since 2004.

If I were to carry a gun openly in a holster on my belt, I don’t think it would alarm many people, they would probably assume I was a law enforcement officer, albeit an old one. I prefer to conceal anyway, for the small number of people who might be alarmed. The one exception for me is when I go on hikes in nearby state parks. I carry my pistol in an unconcealed holster on my belt when hiking.

Yes, if only because people who are carrying concealed weapons are generally indistinguishable from those that aren’t carrying at all. If I don’t know that they are carrying, then I will have no reason to pay them any attention.

To my mind, any one who is carrying openly is making a statement even if that is not their intention. Depending on the circumstances, that statement could be negative, positive, or neutral. But it’s a statement that other people don’t make.

I think people in favor of open carry are really only in favor of it if people who look like them do it. Everyone else is regarded with suspicion.

Are you implying that the people n favor of open carry are racist, or something else? What do you mean by “people who look like them”?

I have a concealed carry permit (kansas) and IMHO people who open carry are nutters and give gun owners a bad name. Whenever I see someone open carrying, it makes me uncomfortable.I can’t imagine what it does to someone scared of guns in the first place.

In my experience some of the most vocal gun rights/gun people are also not the type of person I want to be using a weapon in a public situation. There are some that scare the crap out of me at the range. There is a lot of crossover between those people and the open carry types.

I grew up on a ranch and with a hunting grandfather. Guns were a tool, not a status symbol or object of worship or whatever else they have become in todays gun world. Along those lines, I also don’t get the fear of a gun in itself.

I have a CCP, but I do not carry a firearm.

Given that most people are uncomfortable around people who openly carry guns, and given that people who openly carry guns are (obviously) doing it intentionally, people who openly carry guns are at least rude, and at worst, assholes.

I am a gun person. I have had a carry permit for a long time, 1986 I think. I thought I was up on gun laws here but I just recently learned that Indiana is an open carry state and apparently has been all along. The reason I never knew that is because people (other than law enforcement) just never really did it. It has just been within the last year or so that I’ve noticed a very few people open carrying. That indicates to me that the vast majority of people here prefer concealed carry. Trust me when I say that my state is one of the most gun friendly states in the union and many, many people carry regularly or have guns in their vehicle.
As for myself, with very rare exceptions, I don’t carry. I did when I first got my permit but it got old fast, it’s really a pain in the ass. About a year ago I carried a lot for about two weeks because I just got a new gun and a new leather holster and like shoes, leather holsters need to be broken in to fit comfortably. Once that was accomplished I went back to only carrying when I walk across the road to my shooting range.
The good thing about knowing that my state is open carry is that when I’m concealed carrying I don’t have to worry about my jacket blowing back, or shirt riding up allowing a glimpse of my rig. Even though I live in such a second amendment friendly place, I’m sure there are people around here that would feel the need to report that to the police. The police are not going to respond to that here unless there is additional reason to think that someone carrying is a danger.

There are people who openly carry their pistols because it is more physically comfortable than carrying concealed. Not every civilian with a pistol on their belt is doing so to make a point.

What is hard to understand about what I said? “People who look like them” is perfectly clear if you take it at 100% face value. Obviously it’s not a literal statement, but my meaning is hardly obscure.

Yes; I prefer concealed carry. I will admit that rarely have I been around people doing open carry but the few times I have, I have had a certain discomfort level. And I know firearms, shooters, and have a CWP myself; I am not uncomfortable around guns. Imagine how someone without my experience feels? Manners, IMHO, say keep it to yourself and keep it covered.

What I think when I see someone openly carrying a pistol, whether they are tall, white, white-haired men like me or not, is that they are law enforcement officers.

It’s still rude.

I’m trying to understand if you are implying that people who are in favor of open carry are racists. Are you?

If I’m a 5’2" Indian woman dressed in traditional garb who is in favor of open carry, do you think that I am only in favor of it when it is done by other 5’2" Indian women? Is it based on height, gender, ethnicity, manner of dress? I’m not clear on what you are saying - all of those things could fit your description of “looks like them” but I’m guessing you have a particular meaning which I’m trying to suss out.

I think it’s more situational. It can be rude, but it depends on what the cultural norms of the area, and the activity are.

‘Activity’, as I read the OP, means just being out in public; going to the mall or Wal-Mart, or wherever. Cultural norms vary, but I don’t think the vast majority of people expect to see someone openly carrying a firearm while picking the kids up from school or buying new clothes. I think most people would be made uncomfortable or will be frightened. Given that people will be made uncomfortable or frightened, and knowing that openly carrying a firearm will have that effect and doing it anyway is rude.

Not necessarily. They could just be insular, with small-minded opinions about who looks suspicious and who doesn’t.

Imagine a small, tight-knit community where everyone knows each other…or at least feels like they do. I imagine most people in this community wouldn’t mind Billy Bob Joe et al. carrying a rifle around town, because they don’t see BBJ as an unknown threat. He’s “one of them”.

If a visitor to this community turns up with a gun on his hip, then it’s likely the story will be different. Especially if no one in town looks anything like this visitor. Maybe they’re a different race, a different ethnicity, a different nationality. Maybe their head is shaved funny or maybe they have a beard that is a little too bushy. Maybe they have tats on their arm. Whatever. Them carrying around a gun in probably going to come across differently; it is unlikely to be seen as a value-neutral display as it would if BBJ did it.

Certainly. But where I live, the default response would be “police officer,” followed by “weirdo anti-government type,” followed by “wannabe cowboy.” Of course, we don’t have open carry so that obviously colors things.

Ok, so the options on the table thus far is racists, or insular people with small minded opinions. Is that about right?

That’s fine, and a judgment call I think. What you are describing is somewhat analogous to the heckler’s veto. At some point those that are acquiescing to other people’s unreasonable discomfort are not the ones being rude.

Except in modern, civilized society, it is not unreasonable for people to feel discomfort or fear at the sight of a firearm being carried by someone who is not actively on duty as a law enforcement officer or military person.

People carrying openly know that they are making people uncomfortable or frightened. Most of them are making a statement of some sort (as opposed to it being ‘more comfortable’, as someone suggested). This is like a guy wearing cutoffs and a stained T-shirt to a wedding or a funeral and letting rip a very loud, very pungent fart and saying, ‘Hey, they’re the ones who are uncomfortable with people who dress differently from them, and who have some hang-up about perfectly natural bodily functions! They’re the ones being rude!’

Carrying a weapon requires responsibility, and part of that responsibility is not scaring people. If you want to carry, get a permit and keep the gun out of sight. It’s not boorish like carrying openly, and it’s much better in a tactical situation.

Isn’t part of the problem so to speak that in some places you can get a conceal carry permit…but IFFF you accidentally “show” your weapon you can land in legal deep shit?

I don’t carry, but if I did hell if I am going to risk a legal shit storm because Random Schmoo shits his pants when he see’s my gun when I bend over to get some frozen pizza in the freezer in Winn Dixie.