Today, July 4, 2010, I open carried for the sixth time in my neighborhood in Ladera Ranch. Unlike my previous five open carries during my run for central committee, brief walks with my dog and relatively few neighbors on street (see story and pictures), today I lingered for OVER AN HOUR around a Fourth of July block party with 40 or 50 people, lots of kids, water slide, etc. There was zero evidence of any public fear. No one called the police. I passed out brochures and had a few conversations with people. Most were unaware open carry is legal (or of the current attempt to ban it), yet still there was no panic (nor should there be any panic over a gun properly holstered).
Even firearms enthusiasts are not well-informed about this right. At a meeting over the weekend I met a firearms enthusiast who thought "unloaded open carry" meant you could not have any ammo in your possession, not realizing it is ok to have ammo on you. A lot of people give "Why would you carry an unloaded gun?" as an argument against open carry, and I'm starting to wonder how many of them realize you can still carry loaded magazines. To say that a gun which can be loaded in a second or two is useless is a completely unreasonable thing to say, especially when the visible deterrent can completely avoid an attack, sending the criminal on his way to pick an easier target.
Then there is what I've labeled the "Let Them Eat Cake" argument which says LOADED carry is better. Well, yeah but we can't do that in public and we can't get licenses to carry concealed.
It's been said we should avoid open carry because it will scare people. I have to disagree with that based on my own experience with open carry. There is just no evidence of people panicking over open carry.
An individual should be free to decide whether to carry openly or concealed based on the circumstances, and with millions of concealed weapon permits issued in forty shall-issue states, and even many in this state, it's high time we quit forcing adult Americans to play this game of "Let's pretend."