This month I’m going to weigh in on a topic that’s hotly contested by both proponents and opponents, open versus concealed carry.
Full disclosure: I am a resident of Arizona, where open carry is allowed. Additionally, although available for those who want one, a concealed weapon permit is available, but not required, for concealed carry.
Proponents of open carry—carrying a firearm that is not concealed—point out that they should not have to obtain a permit to exercise their Second Amendment rights. I am in full agreement.
Proponents have also stated that seeing a firearm may dissuade a possible mass shooter. Perhaps, but there is really no way to prove a negative. But I will allow that absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence. In other words, an openly carried firearm may have discouraged an active shooter but we have no way of knowing, since the event did not take place (though there has been at least one high-profile public shooting in Arizona where people carrying were present).
The main reason I am in favor of concealed carry is simple—it provides you with a tactical advantage. Reversing the active shooter scenario above, what if a potential murderer sees your smoke pole and decides his first target should be you so that he can carry out his nefarious plan without your interference?
If you are carrying concealed in a convenience store—colloquially known as a stop ‘n’ rob—and a robbery team enters, you have the options of doing nothing and being a good witness or, if you must, using deadly physical force to protect yourself and others.
If carrying openly—as in the case with the active shooter scenario—you may be the first target.
Another reason I prefer concealed carry is that the vast majority of holsters worn by private citizens are, at best, Level I security holsters. Couple this with the fact that only a handful of instructors teach weapon retention and the chances of a gun snatch go up.
Finally, the mainstream media portrays gun owners as crazy people who are just waiting for the chance to shoot someone. Although nothing could be further from the truth (as if the media cares about truth anymore), carrying openly frightens many people. Why contribute to the stereotype?
To sum it up, I agree that any laws—including laws against open carry—that restrict your Second Amendment rights are a bad thing. Tactically, however, I believe concealed carry is the way to go.
Until next time, stay low and watch your back.