(Originally Published in March)
Texas just got one step closer to joining the 13 other states in which Open Carry is Legal (with permit) with the Texas Senate Republicans passing the measure 20-11 in a straight party vote. Read that story HERE.
As a PROUD Texan, I know many of you out there would have expected more from me on this subject up until now, with all of the excitement and hype in the TX RKBA community, plus seeing how I am and will always be, a passionate supporter of Concealed Carry and 2nd Amendment Rights as whole. And in that regard, Yes, I am happy that my fellow Texans are exercising their right to have Open Carry. I think that every state in the Union should have a bill like this passed, giving citizens the choice to carry either openly or concealed. And the way things are looking, with only five states that outright prohibit open carry, it will not be long before that happens (except in the United Socialist State of Kalifornia of course). See a Map of How Open Carry Laws Pan Out HERE.
But as for my personal opinion concerning Open Carry, this post from a couple years ago pretty much sums up how I still feel on the subject. But seeing that OC is most likely soon to be LAW here in TX, I felt the need to re-iterate a few points for your reading pleasure…here we go (again).
Now I know this is likely to be a hot button topic on Self-Defense Forums for some time to come, and people are entitled to their opinion, just like with the age-old debate of what is the best handgun caliber for self-defense, 9mm or .45? But as with all debates like these, don’t waste too much time with them, because after all, what makes more sense to the practical CO; Sitting around on some armchair warrior forum arguing or getting out on the range and training? I think you know the answer. I will say however, that when a discussion or debate like this, brings more attention to certain training issues (like weapon retention for example), then that is a constructive thing and a valuable training tool for the CO.
OK, so I decided not to repeat my reasons verbatim from the last post and just come up with one, very lengthy, SINGULAR reason why I DO NOT favor Open Carry for the CO:
- The CO, when they carry a weapon openly, either a long arm or sidearm, loses the benefit of both anonymity and tactical surprise.
Automatically, when you walk around with a gun visible, you get marked, a target gets painted on your back, so to speak, by those criminal elements in society. Now Peace Officers, who wear a uniform, a bullet proof vest and a badge, invite this attention for a reason. Partly because the law states they have too and secondly because their mere presence in uniform DETERS crime. As a citizens, we have no LEGAL mandate to deter crime (some may have a moral or ethical one; not the same thing), nor do we have any mandate that requires we identify ourselves as being armed.The law is set (with concealed carry statutes) where a citizens anonymity is protected while armed (as long as the citizen does their part). The only reason he or she would have to break that anonymity is under certain circumstances with Law Enforcement or obviously, when he or she has to use their firearm legally in self-defense. So consequently, when this anonymity is lost, the citizen also loses the “tactical initiative of surprise” in a self-defense situation.
Watch any video footage of an armed confrontation on YouTube, either where the citizen is carrying a concealed weapon and has to use it or vice versa, where an attacker is pulling a gun on an armed citizen. The defining moment in the confrontation, is ultimately the moment when the person carrying the concealed weapon presents the firearm. Nine times out of ten what happens, depending on circumstance and distance, is the OTHER person tries to either “foul the draw” or outright take the gun away from the person. Why? because the other person has “seen” the weapon. Now with Concealed Carry, you can control this “moment” (the moment of presentation) and also train for it (not telegraphing your intent). With Open Carry, your adversary knows you are armed from the beginning; in poker terms, you have “tipped your hand” before the fight has even begun!
There is a very old saying in Law Enforcement Training: There will ALWAYS be one loaded weapon at every situation you will ever encounter: YOURS! This is why WEAPON RETENTION training is stressed so heavily throughout a LEO career. The FBI’s 2013 UCR on LEO Killed in the Line of Duty prove this fact, showing that out of the 27 officers killed in the line of duty in 2013, only 2 were killed with their OWN firearms. It appears weapon retention training works.
So, that’s the LE side, now let’s look at the CIVILIAN side. Other than the state mandated 8 hour course, civilians are not required to take any advanced training courses that would teach subjects such as weapon retention. This is not to say that some CO’s (like myself) don’t pursue advanced training, because some do. However, it is not a requirement by the State, nor should it be IMO (we will cover that later). That being said, since we have proven that when a person carries a weapon openly, they lose the tactical initiative of surprise and can no longer remain anonymous, why would the CO want to “buck the odds” and carry openly and not concealed? I mean when we put away the mall-ninja fairy tales that carrying a gun openly somehow “intimidates” criminals, does not LOGIC always dictate to stack the odds in our favor so we can go home at the end of the altercation and not the morgue?
Here are my replies to some FAQ’s that have come up regarding Open Carry:
- What about the state mandating MORE advanced training for License Holders?
Yeah, the Libs in the Texas Senate already tried to “soft-soap” the bill with these kinds of things, (both with Concealed and Open Carry) and IMO, it was and is still, a bad ideal for many reasons: One, out of pure principle alone, it is never a acceptable to make citizens jump through more hoops than necessary just to exercise their second amendment rights, and two, the Citizen should have the choice how they want to carry his or her firearm and it should be the CITIZENS, NOT THE STATE’S JOB, to train appropriately for however they wish to carry. The citizen is taking the RISK to carry the weapon, therefore, they should take the RESPONSIBILITY to learn how to use and PROTECT it (Weapon Retention) accordingly.
- Why not just mandate Retention Holsters as a requirement for Open Carry? Wouldn’t that make it safer overall?
Mandating certain equipment to try to make something “safer” or “appear safer” at least, is a bureaucratic tactic the government has used for decades. In this case, it is more of an issue of APPEARANCE. Kind of like the debate that LEO’s who wore 1911’s on their hip “cocked and locked” made some people feel “unsafe”. Then as it is now, there is a fundamental misunderstanding in this society of the EXTREME importance of TRAINING when it comes to do with anything related to firearms. As I am fond of saying, in order for self-defense training to work, there must always be a stronger emphasis on SOFTWARE rather than HARDWARE or, to say it another way: It is TRAINING, not the TOOL that save lives.
Stay Alert, Stay Armed, Hold on to your Guns (Literally and Figuratively) and Stay Dangerous!!!