Put That Thing Away!

One goal of the "open carry" movement, The New York Times notes, is to encourage liberalization of concealed carry laws. California, for instance, is one of nine states where concealed carry permits are issued at the discretion of local officials, which often means that only the politically connected receive permission to discreetly pack heat. But California law (PDF) allows you to openly carry an unloaded gun without a permit, provided you are outside of designated "gun-free" zones. Hence the holstered coffee drinkers letting it all hang out at Starbucks:

"It is a discriminatory issue in California," said Paul Higgins, 43, a software engineer who runs a Web forum called CaliforniaOpenCarry.org. "If you are politically connected, if you're rich, if you're a politician, if you're a celebrity, you get a permit. Otherwise, you don't."

Mr. Higgins said the meet-ups [of gun toters] were not meant to be confrontational. The hope, he said, is that if other restaurant or cafe patrons are uncomfortable with guns being displayed so conspicuously, pressure will increase on lawmakers to consider changing the law so that weapons can be carried more discreetly.

Public attitudes on this issue seem to have changed dramatically since the 19th century, when carrying a concealed weapon was often banned as a sneaky, disreputable practice conducive to crime. Today, by contrast, it's the open carrying of weapons that is deemed alarming. In addition to avoiding that effect, hidden guns have the advantage of deterring criminals who can't be sure who is armed and who isn't.

Yet in D.C. v. Heller, the 2008 decision vindicating Second Amendment rights, the Supreme Court noted that "the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues." The majority therefore deemed such bans "presumptively lawful." The Second Amendment lawsuit that I discussed in my column last week, challenging the District of Columbia's blanket ban on carrying handguns, argues that legislators may require people to conceal their guns or to bear them openly but cannot constitutionally ban all carrying in public. 

Beyond the legal and practical issues, of course, there is the question of whether open carry activists are helping or hurting the cause of gun rights by popping up in coffee shops and restaurants with weapons on their waists. Respectable, law-abiding people carrying guns openly in public places could help normalize gun ownership and armed self-defense among people who are unfamiliar with both. The experience of a Walnut Hill, California, pizzeria owner who decided to welcome gun carriers is consistent with that hope:

"Frankly, I wasn't sure how I would feel in that type of situation, and it really turned out to be a total nonissue," Ms. Grunner said.

"The families were great," she said. "These were very gracious people." The fact that customers wore sidearms, she said, "just faded into the background."

Then again, the sight of people with pistols on their hips could serve to confirm prejudices about gun owners among people who believe they fetishize their weapons and seek to project a macho image. The goal of encouraging support for liberalized concealed carry policies depends to some extent on normalization yet at the same time assumes open gun toting will make people uneasy. I'm not sure people can be simultaneously reassured and alarmed.

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  • ||

    Guns are evil, self-aware agents of mayhem, and may at any time leap out of their places of concealment and devastate a community. You can pretend a gun is an inanimate object, no more capable than a hammer, or a stapler, of murdering a child under its own power, but you're wrong.

  • The Gobbler||

    Stay away from the brown acid.

  • ||

    “Fuzzy Gun” by James Jackson

    http://bighollywood.breitbart......y-Gun1.jpg

  • ||

    Well Brooks, we see you havent had your med's to control your mental illness yet today of a Fetish (belief that inanimate objects have supernatural powers and function on there own accord) or your schizophrenia (inanimate objects can speak, communicate, coerce and influence a person to commit violence just by being in proximity to a person).

    Seek help as you are clearly demented.

  • ||

    idiot

  • ||

    I never feel weird when I see a cop with a gun even though, y'know, they're just normal people and some have perverse temptations to abuse their power.

    Moreover, even though I know that any passing motorist could easily kill me with their two-ton steel vehicle of death, I live my life unafraid.

    (Ladies: please regard my giant balls)

  • ||

    That's funny. The police are the onse that scare me.

  • ||

    I spent much of the last in year in southern Mexico on the Yucatan. The cops down there ride dual sport bikes in pairs, one of 'em always straps an Uzi and the other always carrys what I believe is an M16.

    It's definitely a weird feeling when you're standing in line at the convenience store and somebody gets in line behind you with an M 16, even if it is a cop.

    I suspect there are really good reasons why cops in the U.S. haven't started carrying that kind of firepower. Some of it has to do with the liability issue, I'm sure--what department wants to be on the hook for every shot their officers' fire if they're firing an Uzi? ...but I think it has to do with public perception too--it's the same issue as open carry. Americans don't want to see it.

    Images are really important to us. They change our minds. It's easier to sell the drug war as a kinder, gentle sort of thing when the cops aren't all carrying M16s, I'm sure.

  • Paul||

    It's definitely a weird feeling when you're standing in line at the convenience store and somebody gets in line behind you with an M 16, even if it is a cop.

    In Seattle, when you ride the Ferry, you have four M-60's pointed at you.

    It's a scared-shitless new world out there.

  • ||

    The cops here are being outfitted with them as we speak. Even got the full autos no less. Probably won't walk around with them but they have them already. For mean dogs and such ya know.

  • PabloKoh||

    They carry selective fire M-16 chambered for 9mm. Next time look at the cute skinny magazines. It is eyebrow raising seeing them roll up Itzaes with submachine guns, but more disturbing I wonder if the cops have graduated high school or not.

  • ||

    “Then again, the sight of people with pistols on their hips could serve to confirm prejudices about gun owners among people who believe they fetishize their weapons and seek to project a macho image.”

    I know plenty of women in South Florida who are heterosexual, like to wear high heels and short skirts and proudly carry (concealed, of course) handguns.

  • Butts Wagner||

    Is this a transexual joke?

  • Butts Wagner||

    You assholes, I was funnier than anything else on this day.

  • ||

    "The hope, he said, is that if other restaurant or cafe patrons are uncomfortable with guns being displayed so conspicuously, pressure will increase on lawmakers to consider changing the law so that weapons can be carried more discreetly."

    I don't believe it when he says they didn't meant to be confrontational, since he knows it makes people feel uncomfortable.

    But there really is something to this.

    Brandishing a gun is a crime--guns scare people. Strong arm robbery is a crime too, and it's a lot more effective with a gun legally displayed on your belt, I'm sure.

    If I'm a cashier and someone demands cash from the register, I'm not sure how much of a difference it makes if the guy pulls his gun out and points it at me or if he's wearing a gun on his belt. ...I mean, it makes a difference having a gun pointed at you, but I'm not sure the average 7-11 clerk isn't gonna hand over the cash either way.

    And I don't see how having the ammo visible changes that equation either.

    California law really is stupid this way. It doesn't do what they want it to do--it's like the lawmakers thought that open carry would make people feel safer, but that's stupid.

    That's just on Bonanza!

  • ||

    Open carry is legal, strong arm robbery is a crime. Are the people carrying also committing robberies ? If they aren't, then your point escapes me.

  • ||

    The point is that they're making it practically impossible to get a permit in most of California but allowing open carry (under certain conditions) seemingly under the belief that the general public will feel safer seeing a gun on someone's hip--that it's the concealed guns that scare people...

    But in reality, people--quite obviously--aren't nearly as afraid of someone with a weapon they can't see as they are of someone they can see is carrying a gun. In a lot of states, even if you have a concealed carry permit, you have to be especially careful not to accidentally let anyone see it--or you can get in big trouble for brandishing for that very reason.

    People get freaked out seeing someone carry a gun. Half the movie theater could be carrying concealed and no one cares--a guy walks in with a gun on his hip, and someone runs and calls the cops. So if California is really worried about scaring people, it should make it easier for people to carry concealed. That's all.

    If I'm working the register at your neighborhood liquor store, it's the guys who walk in with their guns on their belts that I'm worried about--not the guns I can't see.

  • WTF||

    To the contrary, I am concerned about the guns I can't see - but only those carried by the thugs and criminals who carry the guns illegally or for the purpose and intent of carrying out their criminal activities.

    Gang bangers, muggers, robbers, etc. don't typically carry their guns in a nice holster openly on their belts. They'll tuck it in a pocket or waistband and purposely keep it hidden.

    Responsible concealed carry by law-abiding citizens I have no problem with whatsoever. But some of those guns I can't see are why I sometimes carry myself.

  • Byron||

    This just makes you irrational and/or ignorant. The right to personal protection is the issue here, not 'people's feelings'.

  • ||

    Actually, I've lived in neighborhoods where I heard shots and screams almost every night.

    Being concerned about people walking into a gas station with a gun already at the ready in those neighborhoods, that isn't irrational or ignorant.

    And like I said, people do strong arm robberies all the time--without the use of any gun. Why wouldn't having a legal gun on your belt make strong arm robberies all the more effective?

    I'm sorry, if I'm arguing a non-point with someone who thinks that all fear of guns is irrational, even if they're on the belts of people who mean to do you harm, then there's no reason to continue this...

    ...but just for the record, I'm against the Drug War, but I also realize that cocaine and heroin really are bad for people, and although gun ownership might be a net positive for society, and most everyone should be free to carry one, some people do use them to commit crimes.

  • Byron||

    What in the world makes you think it would make a bit of difference to an armed robber whether he could legally have a gun on his belt? The robber is willing to break the law and gets to pick the time and place he does so. Why would it be of any advantage for him to carry his gun visibly? Your prejudices and fear are killing your critical thinking here.

  • ||

    ""If I'm working the register at your neighborhood liquor store, it's the guys who walk in with their guns on their belts that I'm worried about--not the guns I can't see."""

    The last time I was in Arkansas, the liquor store clerks were the ones with the gun on their hip.

    Guns do solve some problems. That's why the anti-gun crowd wants one available via 911.

  • ||

    Yeah, I can see that. And if you don't want to do business in those liquor stores, I'm sure you don't have to...

    But if I'm running a liquor store on the ugly side of Inglewood (in LA), and someone walks in with a gun on his belt, there's nothing ignorant or irrational about either pulling your own gun first or calling the cops.

    For goodness' sake.

  • ||

    ""there's nothing ignorant or irrational about either pulling your own gun first or calling the cops.""

    I guess you fail to realize that it is you escalating the situation because you are assualting the customer, not the other way around.

  • ||

    Back in the early '90s, at the hospital where I worked in LA, there were three business on the corners of that intersection, and within a year of each other, all three of those business owners were killed in armed robberies.

    You must live in a really nice place, where people generally don't shoot store owners just because they think they can get away with it, but when Korean lady who shot that girl that was shoplifting, in the trial that, in part, set off the Rodney King riots? I suspect she'd been robbed before. ...probably plenty of times.

    It is not irrational to assume that armed people coming into your place of business mean you harm everywhere in the United States. It's quite rational to assume they do mean you harm in lots of places, actually...

    That's another reason why people don't open carry--everywhere you go, somebody's gonna call the cops. You'd probably get less of a hassle driving around without license plates. Why would anyone want to subject themselves (or other people) to that if they could just legally carry concealed?

    Do you guys even understand what this guy is saying?

    "Mr. Higgins said the meet-ups [of gun toters] were not meant to be confrontational. The hope, he said, is that if other restaurant or cafe patrons are uncomfortable with guns being displayed so conspicuously, pressure will increase on lawmakers to consider changing the law so that weapons can be carried more discreetly."

    They know good and well that they're going to get the cops called on them, and they're counting on a big public reaction to build pressure for the State of California to smarten up and stop being so elitist about its concealed carry permits...

    From what I can tell, the only people who seem to think that it's strange for people to call the cops when they see someone with a gun walk into their store are people in this thread...

    Open carry is a stupid thing to do according to everybody I know that carries--there certainly isn't any reason to open carry in a shall issue state. And if supporting the Second Amendment means I gotta pretend stupid behavior is smart...well that's ridiculous, it doesn't mean that.

    But, seriously, people who open carry in a place where concealed carry is an option available to anyone--they're like the Phelps people who protest at the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq. They may have to right to free speech--but that doesn't mean they aren't a bunch jackholes for doin' it!

    That kind of behavior, I guess, extends to other amendments too! Just because you have Second Amendment rights, doesn't mean you have to scare the hell out of everybody. It's one thing if you're trying to make a point about how stupid the laws in California are--but is there any good reason for someone to open carry otherwise?

    I mean...unless you deal in rare coins or something? ; )

  • ||

    I do suppose you will claim the justice system is irrational when you are charged for exibiting a deadly weapon with intent to assault.

  • Paul||

    But if I'm running a liquor store on the ugly side of Inglewood (in LA), and someone walks in with a gun on his belt, there's nothing ignorant or irrational about either pulling your own gun first or calling the cops.

    Wouldn't it be smarter to pull a gun on everyone who's carrying a concealed weapon?

  • Byron||

    But if I'm running a liquor store on the ugly side of Inglewood (in LA), and someone walks in with a gun on his belt, there's nothing ignorant or irrational about either pulling your own gun first or calling the cops.


    Actually, it would be ignorant, irrational, criminal, and incredibly stupid. As the context of this conversation assumes legal open carry, I guess you don't care about the dozen other customers who probably came into your liquor store carrying concealed, some illegally. The armed robber who intends you as a target isn't going to advertise it by wearing his gun on his belt. He's going to do all he can to maintain the element of surprise, which will mean carrying concealed illegally.

  • WTF||

    Openly carrying a firearm in a holster on your belt is not "brandishing." Merely having a gun visible does not constitute the crime of brandishing, no matter how much it "bothers" wimpy gun-fearing types.

  • ||

    Our legal right to carry (and own) a firearm often depends on wimpy gun-fearing types. ...maybe it shouldn't be that way, but that's the way it is.

    If carrying concealed helps assuage their fears, then the State of California should figure it out and give the people what they want.

    ...and what they want is people who are carrying to keep it concealed.

    The gun laws in California are stupid as they are.

  • ||

    ""...and what they want is people who are carrying to keep it concealed.""

    Including cops?

  • ||

    You're right of course, I hadn't really thought about that...

    Cops do carry concealed when they're in plain clothes, and for obvious reasons.

  • ||

    Humor me, what obvious reason?

  • ||

    So they won't be mistaken for criminals.

  • ||

    Usually, only people who fear government have a problem with cops wearing a gun openly. I don't know any anti-gun person, and I know many, who are offended by an officer sidearm.

  • Cliff||

    Our legal right to carry (and own) a firearm often depends on wimpy gun-fearing types is guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

    FIFY

  • ||

    And what good has that been for the last several decades in cities like New York, Washington DC and Los Angeles?

    Wake up, guys. It's like you're arguing with the voices in your heads.

    There's the rights you have as a human being given to you by God, there are the rights you're afforded in the Constitution and then there are the rights the politicians will let you have...

    It's the latter we're talking about now--isn't it? ...about how the idiots in Sacramento and at the county level and their backwards, outdated assumptions about what people are afraid of and how that makes them do stupid things like make it okay to open carry (which scares the hell out of people) and makes it not okay to carry concealed (which is what most rational people who want to carry guns want to do anyway, and is what the 'fraidy cats would rather we did too)?

    Go have a debate with your imaginary friends about whether people have a right to carry--'cause I don't think you can find anybody around here that doesn't already believe that.

  • Byron||

    There's the rights you have as a human being given to you by God


    FTFY. Your imaginary friend didn't give anyone anything.

    there are the rights you're afforded in the Constitution


    You don't seem to understand the function of the Constitution. It did not grant rights. It placed restrictions on the government.

    and then there are the rights the politicians will let you have...


    And this is the root of the problem - politicians who feel it is within their purview to allocate rights which naturally belong to the People.

  • ||

    You must be very accustomed to talking to people who disagree with you. ...it's almost like you don't know how to talk to people who do agree with you. Maybe you make up disagreements, maybe that's how you communicate?

    I dunno.

    But do you see all those trees over there?

    That's called a "forest".

  • Family Pet||

    I only disagree with the stupid shit you've said. The rest is fine.

  • ||

    People should comment on things they know something about and you obviously dont. Barndishing refers to the act of pulling a firearm without need and cause and displaying it out of the holster, waving it about in both a physically and verbally threatening fashion. Not to mention in California, the open carry weapons arent loaded.

    So such unsubstantiated fears and inferrence that people who are legally carrying openly are more inclined to commit a crime is just FUBAR (Fxxxed Up Beyond All Recognition) stupid and you have no proof to support this inference or accusatory position.

    Lets see, people who love children have a high likely hood to be a teacher, therefore all people who are teachers and love children will automatically be predispositioned to commit an act of pedophilia right?

    Carrying a firearm in public oh so often ends up getting that person rousted by the police as they check the persons carrying legal status "in the interest of THE FANTASY of public safety of course",ROTFLMFAO! Yeah, the majority of criminals dont know this and will openly carry as the police wont ever, ever check them, ROTFLMFAO!

    Of course we so no fear mongering tactics and rhetoric by the minroity of people and organizations as a form of intimidation either.

    You people who are so afraid and untrusting sure seem to put a lot of faith and trust in the government for protection when they have ruled ten seperate times in the US Supreme Court they arent liable for the individuals safety, best, response times are four minutes, average 15-20 minutes.

    You seem to feel being prepared in case of emergency is idiotic.

    Therefore all of you scared people need to stop paying for life, health, car, homeowners insurance as such planning and preparedness is idiotic.

    You can all go to your local schools and municiplaties and identify all those 100's of thousands of dollars in safety , emergency, and disaster preparations as some one who does so is apparently stupid and fearfull right?

    Unsubstantiated fear of an inanimate object is not healthy, please go seek mental help rather than projecting your fears upon everyone else as frankly, you dont have the authority r right to do so!

  • ||

    Probably an individual would never be simultaneously reassured and alarmed by the same thing, but it is entirely normal for some members of a grup to be alarmed and others reassured.

  • ||

    Theoretically, I mean. I never join grups myself. Groups, yes.

  • Not grubs? Because you||

    would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member."

  • ||

    It's OK, you were just having a Star Trek flashback.

  • WTF||

    HA! I had the exact same thought.

    "Bonk bonk on the head!"

    "Tell `em Jim, tell `em Jim, tell `em Jim!"

    Can't trust those grups...

  • ||

    I am alarmed by people being more comfortable being helpless than being capable. I am reassured by responsible citizens.

  • ||

    I don't see anybody defending Higgins. They're discussing the issue itself; whether these things you claim about Higgins are true or not, it is an irrelevent ad hominem argument.

  • ||

    You fool! The only thing that matters is the libertarians in his head that Chapman is arguing with.

    Man, those guys are venal idiots.

  • ||

    I would never defend Higgins. The way he nagged and harassed Magnum was a travesty.

  • ||

    And Liza Doolittle! Don't forget Liza Doolittle! (Or... was that Iggins?)

  • ||

    I don't know if what you're saying is true, but I don't see anyone defending this guy personally. It's about the issue, this guy's personal history, regardless of whether what you say is true, is completely beside the point.

    People should generally have the legal right to open carry or not regardless.

  • ||

    No, Paul Higgins was a short lived goon for the Maple Leafs in the early eighties.
    I think he may have had more penalty minutes than playing time.

  • robc||

    In 25 career games, he racked up 152 penalty minutes. hockey-reference.com doesnt have minutes on the ice, but only 6 total goals (by both teams) were scored during his ice time.

  • ||

    And good thing he wasn't armed for those 25 games or people would have been dropping faster than when Matt Cooke is on the ice...badumdum...I'll be here all week, try the veal.

  • WTF||

    And you're absolutely sure and have confirmed that the Paul Higgins you've checked out is the same Paul Higgins, right?

  • Kreel Sarloo||

    If this Paul Higgins has been in and out of mental institutions his whole life and is on the sex offender's register, he is forbidden by federal law from possessing a firearm.

    If your allegations are true I suggest you report the facts and evidence to the US Attorney in that district so that federal charges can be brought.

    On the other hand it seems quite likely you're full of shit and/or there's a completely different person with that name.

    Convicted felons frequently get firearms but they rarely flaunt the fact by starting a public blog about it.

  • ||

    That's what I was thinking.

    I mean, they had cops all over some of these guys. I mean, if background checks aren't about stopping people who've been in and out of mental institutions and people who've been convicted of a felony and put on the sex offender list..from possessing a gun? Then what the hell are the background checks for?

    Although I wouldn't put it past the anti-gun rights people to smear somebody like this. ...again, not that it matters. I wouldn't change my mind about being against bailing out GM, just 'casue somebody on the sex offender list was against bailing out GM too...

    But how somebody like that could posses a gun and go out and do something provocative like open carry--basically asking for someone to call the cops (which you know people are gonna do)...and then you know the cops are gonna come check you and your gun--that just doesn't add up as to why someone on a sex offender list would participate in something like that.

    Color me skeptical.

  • Kreel Sarloo||

    I find it interesting that guys like this who drop by to make these kind of allegations, hardly ever come back to cite any kind of evidence after they've been questioned.

    We shall see.

    I wonder how many people have the same name as someone on a sex offender registry. I wouldn't doubt that there's quite a few.

  • Cliff||

    What I find it interesting guys like Tony who drop by to make these kind of allegations and keep coming back and coming back over and over again never to cite any kind of evidence after they've been questioned

  • Solanum||

    Gotta agree with Chap. Higgins is a POS. Always getting up into Magnum's business, and intimidating him with Zeus and Apollo. Limey Prick.

  • ||

    But he pretty much gives him the Ferrari all the time. That has to count for something.

  • Paul||

    Who's Paul Higgins?

  • Paul Higgins||

    The name Paul is quite a common one. In fact there are millions of us with the name, perhaps tens of millions worldwide. And I frequently encounter others (online) named Paul Higgins.

  • Paul Higgins||

    I am not a regular reader/poster here. I came because I was made away of my name being dragged through the internet muck.

    The comments by Peter Chapman about me are false, and they are libel, and I encourage whatever moderators may exist for this site please take corrective action.

    His statements against me are pure fabrication. It is quite shocking to me the extent a person will go to try and discredit an argument that he does not like. All I can think is it must be an adolescent who does not understand the seriousness of libelous lies.

    And given that everything he said about me is completely false, it disproves any other arguments he may make.

  • Jeff P||

    Armed people who haven't had their caffeine yet, what could go wrong?

  • bmp1701||

    They could pass out and accidentally discharge the gun into their own ass/crotch?

  • Plaxico Burress ||

    Hey!

  • prolefeed||

    More courteous service from one's barista is a bad thing?

  • Byron||

    Yeah, because if I'm a little edgy before that first cup of coffee, someone's getting shot! Happens two or three times a week.

    Was this just an ignorant stereotype speaking or a simple humor FAIL?

  • Paul||

    Armed people who haven't had their caffeine yet, what could go wrong?

    What did go wrong?

  • Jordan||

    Yet in D.C. v. Heller, the 2008 decision vindicating Second Amendment rights, the Supreme Court noted that "the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues."

    In other words, precedent > liberty. We're screwed.

  • ||

    ""In other words, precedent > liberty. We're screwed.""

    I view it as SCOTUS saying uninfringeable gun rights can be infringed.

    Heller wasn't much of a pro-gun ruling.

  • ||

    I'm dying to see how the Court squares a ban with carrying a weapon at all with the language of the 2A.

    They will, I'm sure, but I'm curious to see the contortions they go through to get there.

  • guy in the back row||

    I'm afraid of beggars, can we make laws so they are concealed?

  • ||

    You jest, but I genuinely don't like panhandlers. Who knows when one of them takes a lunge at me?

    I'd be happy in a world that permitted both open and concealed carry and also disallowed people panhandling on the street. (Homeless shelters, psychiatric commitment, etc. are better if they refuse to keep to themselves...)

  • Zeb||

    No, we should lock everyone up (except me) so I can feel safe walking down the street.

  • or||

    Just get yourself locked up if you want to feel safe.. in a nice room with pads on the walls and a niiiice jacket, just for you.

  • Michael||

    Are you sure you're at the right place?

  • The Gobbler||

    I had a panhandler come up to me asking for a quarter. I responded with, Why would you even ask me that?" It so confused him that he apologized and walked away.

  • ||

    Clowns too. And mimes. shudder...

  • ||

    Its funny - that Keep Guns Out sign works whether you are protesting open carry, or encouraging it.

  • ||

    You morons are falling into a very serious trap by defending this guy without finding out the true story.

    Ummm, what?

    And, as we all know, if somebody somewhere is likely to shoot someone, everybody everywhere should be forbidden from owning or carrying guns.

  • ||

    Except authority figures that believe shooting you is part of their job. Very few argues to take their guns.

  • Family Pet||

    I do!

  • ||

    "Put That Thing Away!"
    "letting it all hang out"
    I believe the fresh air is good for it, and sure, some women are intimidated, but some are thrilled. We're made in God's image, and we should not be ashamed of any part of our body.
    O! Oh O... your talking about guns......
    Well, I'll just be going...

  • ||

    I live in a fairly liberal area (northern VA) and these people, at least, have a strange way of looking at life (including guns). They've argued to me--completely seriously--that they have a "right" to live their lives without giving any thought to safety. That's what government is for! They should just be able, they feel, to float around with no awareness of what is going on around them.

    So, for guns, this means they hold a very simplistic view: anybody (other than a government person) carrying a gun is a criminal/crazy. They like the idea of the police being able to simply arrest anybody they find with a gun; the idea of citizens carrying guns legally muddies the concept. To them this creates chaos, something they're just not equipped to deal with.

    Then of course you've got the hard-core antigunners. Part of their strategy is to transform gun owners into social pariahs, similar in the way that tobacco users have been marginalized.

  • T||

    You've just covered some of the many reasons why I left that area to live in Texas. Nice to see nothing has changed.

  • ||

    You could point to these politically heated demonstrations where people are armed, angry words are flying back and forth, and no one gets shot. As in the picture above.

  • ||

    Yeah, I do that all the time. But we're not dealing with logical thought processes, but rather with ill-formed and ill-defined feelings. Facts tend to bounce off of such things.

  • mark||

    I think the a priori assumption among these people is that the American dream is firmly grounded in the social safety net provided by the American government, without which our country would be hopelessly destitute. In fact, they assume, the role of government is to bring about utopia. Thus, because guns would not exist in a utopia, they must be banned in real life.

    Other assumptions: government = good, cops = protectors, liberal politicians = nannies (and that's a good thing), criminals = unrehabilitated social misfits, and self defense = a bad idea. Just call the cops.

  • ||

    Try sending your friends a large Fedex package with marijuana inside. See how safe they feel after the SWAT team comes in and kills their dogs.

  • feisty penguin||

    Northern VA is its own liberal enclave. In spite of the NOVA yuppie/hipster crowd, the pro-gun people in VA are well-organized and tenacious about chipping away stupid gun laws. You should have seen the VCDL turnout last legislative session...

  • billhilly||

    I'd prefer open carry to concealed cause it's more comfortable and I could carry a bigger gun as opposed to the mouse gun I usually carry concealed.

  • ||

    I actually prefer concealed, though what you say about mouse guns is true. I like the fact that no one--including criminals--knows if I have a piece or not.

  • Brett||

    I agree. I've also always feared the open carry types will do more harm (to gun laws) than good, although I guess it could perhaps result in more lenient concealed carry laws. I live in TX where I have it pretty good, and I carry concealed all the time, so I never sign the open carry petitions. As pro gun as I am, I just feel that concealed carry sufficient, even if it means I have to carry a smaller gun and be concerned about printing, etc.

  • ||

    ""I like the fact that no one--including criminals--knows if I have a piece or not.""

    I like that too. If concealed is allowed then criminals have to worry if their target has one or not. That helps those you do carry and those who do not, because the criminals can't tell the difference. Otherwise, just rob the ones not carrying a gun.

  • ||

    I carry .45s--usually a Glock Model 30--without much trouble. If I can't carry that I go to a Model 36 with its single-stack magazine.

  • peachy||

    The Glock 30 is a fine gun - comfortable recoil, nice size. If I didn't live in Chicago it'd be at the top of my list.

  • Brett||

    I've got one and like it, but it's too bulky to carry in the summer here in TX. It prints too easily on my frame.

  • Byron||

    I carry a Glock 30 or Glock 23 (.40 cal) concealed without any problem. I've never open carried, but I don't think I'd carry any bigger pistol if I did.

  • prolefeed||

    Beyond the legal and practical issues, of course, there is the question of whether open carry activists are helping or hurting the cause of gun rights by popping up in coffee shops and restaurants with weapons on their waists.

    Collectivist thinking. If you openly carry, you are helping your individual right to openly carry by exercising that right.

    What's next under that logic, Jacob? "Let's help the cause of preserving our First Amendment right to free speech by not speaking freely, since exercising that right would make people who want to ban that right more inclined to push for legislation enacting such a ban?"

    Or, how about let's have Jacob stop smoking pot, because him exercising his right as a free person to ingest whatever substances he wants to makes nannystatists uncomfortable and decreases the likelihood they will allow marijuana legalization?

  • nobody||

    Off-topic, but so ridiculous.

    PA State Troopers raid Philly bars for unlicensed beers. Why is this city so dumb?

  • nobody||

  • BakedPenguin||

    Watch out - someone pointed out that that site had a .pdf trojan hack on it earlier.

  • prolefeed||

    But in reality, people--quite obviously--aren't nearly as afraid of someone with a weapon they can't see as they are of someone they can see is carrying a gun.

    Not obvious at all. If I'm in a public place full of people openly packing heat, I'm not at all worried about some mass murderer killing me and a bunch of defenseless people.

  • ||

    Man, the level of detail was lacking in this article. Bigtime. Reason usually does better. From the top:

    1) Yes, the Heller decision said that limits on concealed carry was probably OK. However, on doing so it cited to footnote 9 which contained positive references to a bunch of 19th century cases:

    ---
    9 See Bliss v. Commonwealth, 2 Litt. 90, 91–92 (Ky. 1822); State v.
    Reid, 1 Ala. 612, 616–617 (1840); State v. Schoultz, 25 Mo. 128, 155
    (1857); see also Simpson v. State, 5 Yer. 356, 360 (Tenn. 1833) (inter-
    preting similar provision with “common defence” purpose); State v.
    Huntly, 25 N. C. 418, 422–423 (1843) (same); cf. Nunn v. State, 1 Ga.
    243, 250–251 (1846) (construing Second Amendment); State v. Chan-
    dler, 5 La. Ann. 489, 489–490 (1850) (same).
    ---

    All of 'em say the same thing. Here's the version in Nunn:

    ---
    We are of the opinion, then, that so far as the act of 1837 seeks to suppress the practice of carrying certain weapons secretly, that it is valid, inasmuch as it does not deprive the citizen of his natural right of self-defence, or of his constitutional right to keep and bear arms. But that so much of it, as contains a prohibition against bearing arms openly, is in conflict with the Constitution, and void; and that, as the defendant has been indicted and convicted for carrying a pistol, without charging that it was done in a concealed manner, under that portion of the statute which entirely forbids its use, the judgment of the court below must be reversed, and the proceeding quashed.
    ---

    All the rest say the same thing: bans on concealed carry are OK so long as open carry of loaded defensive arms is legal. When the Heller court cited SEVEN cases all saying the same thing, that's what detectives refer to as a "clue".

    2) Now let's talk about California. What Cali requires is UNLOADED open carry which is the dumbest thing imaginable, in fact it's only safe in groups otherwise you might as well call it the "Let's Arm Criminals Act Of 1968" or whenever this idiocy went down. It will also fail big in court if the gunnies in McDonald win, because in Heller the right to defense could not be satisfied with unloaded guns in the home. Never mind it's just terrible public policy (and apparently unique in the nation?). California also has a truly stenchful history of top law enforcement brass selling the permits for either campaign contributions or outright cash-in-hand bribes. Take a look at this actual police report wherein a crony confesses to this stuff while drunk:

    http://www.ninehundred.net/~equalccw/colafrancescopapers.pdf

    Much more recently Sheriff Carona of Orange County California was sentenced in federal court on corruption charges. While the "selling permits for a grand a pop" charge was dropped as part of the plea, the actual dollar amount was in the original indictment. Not long prior, Sheriff Baxter Dunn of San Joaquin County Cali was arrested on real estate fraud along with one of his partners in the scam. Arresting FBI agents closing in on the crony were greatly displeased when he shot at said agents with his Dunn-permitted carry gun. And I can show you a whole lot more...Sheriff Baca the LA Scientologist giving permits out to his fellow Rondroids hasn't gone over real well, nor his giving 20 permits to top campaign contributors forming an "executive reserves unit" that was disbanded in disgrace after suffering a 10% felony arrest rate. (Jay Leno and Steven Segal were apparently both smart enough to avoid this "honor" like the plague after being invited in...like most Rondroids, Sheriff Baca is "starstruck" by the Hollywood elite.)

    So basically the Cali situation is boiling over with pure rage and desperation. Plus they know what happened in Ohio.

    3) In 2003 Ohio gunnies were suing for CCW permits. They got to the Ohio Supremes and "lost" in the Klein case. But it was the best "loss" we've ever had - because just like the Heller footnote 9 cases, the Ohio Supremes said "well we can ban concealed carry because everybody knows open carry is legal, right?"

    Which caused the gunnies to grin like maniacs and the various corrupt mayors and police chiefs to turn white as sheets. In one throwaway line the usual practice of jailing open carriers for "disturbing the peace" went out the window. Within days happy, peaceful and heavily armed troops of gunnies marched laps around the various state and local government capitols, and within a year literally annoyed their way into a livable concealed carry permit system...without actually making open carry illegal, just...not very common due to cultural issues.

    The point is, when you combine Heller, a win in McDonald and the success of the Ohio open carry marches...depending on just what McDonald says we could see thousands of happy and strapped gunnies clogging up Times Square, walking pickets past Mayor Daley's house saying "nyaaa-nyaaa!", the Pink Pistols contingent in San Francisco in drag with tastefully matching holsters, God knows what else. It'll be hilarious until reasonable rules on concealed carry settle out of the peaceful chaos.

  • Spoonman||

    This was informative. Thanks.

  • huh||

    tl;dr

    cool story bro

  • Sean Dougherty||

    I blogged about this last week - http://tinyurl.com/yefshl3.

    It isn't fun to be campaigning against a civil rights issue. The Brady Campaign's spokesperson comes off like Bull Connor in the AP coverage.

  • Paul||

    Beyond the legal and practical issues, of course, there is the question of whether open carry activists are helping or hurting the cause of gun rights by popping up in coffee shops and restaurants with weapons on their waists.

    I would estimate neither hurting nor helping. If you don't like guns, seeing people pack them in your favorite coffee shop doesn't make you like them.

    If you already like them, then seeing people pack them in your favorite coffee shop just let's you know that you're in the safest coffee shop in town.

    I mean, Nicole Brodeur, in the Seattle Times took one step forward, two steps back in her attempt to understand this whole "gun ownership thing" (one imagines her holding the 'gun issue' with her thumb and forefinger out in front of her at arms-length, turning it slowly while considering to either toss it aside like a piece of roadkill, or maybe just gently setting it down).

    In the end, she declared:

    I believe most gun owners have those same good intentions, but they get lost on the rest of us when they're mixed with mockery and mochas.

    Show a little reverence for the rights that you have. Then maybe I'll think you deserve them.[emphasis mine]

    Yeah, my right to carry a firearm does not rest on your personal approval, Ms. Brodeur, anymore than your right to freedom of the press rests on my approval of your editorials. See how this rights thing works?

  • Paul||

  • Joette||

    I had a CCW in Indiana, but never bothered to get one in FL when we moved because it required a fairly substantial commitment of time and financial resources that I couldn't afford at the time. Having just checked that open carry is strictly prohibited in FL, perhaps it's time for me to get a new CCW license.

  • ||

    The bottom line is that if the gun carrier is a law abiding citizen they can walk past 10000000000000000000 people and so long as no one threatens their lives of the lives of those around them they would never even know people we carrying if not for seeing the gun.

    Open carry without a loaded gun? What is the point of that? If someone is going to break the law using a gun whether it is concealed or openly carried it is still a crime they are committing. Most criminals would not wear a gun visibly I assure you.

  • Paul||

    Open carry without a loaded gun? What is the point of that?

    The point of that is to generate victims. A law-abiding person open carrying with an unloaded weapon is now a target for gun theft. Any thug can now knock him to the ground and take his gun from him.

  • Brett||

    It's one of the stupidest laws I have ever heard. When I heard about it, I asked my wife (who is from Cali and has spent most of her life there) "they just mean the gun can't have ammo in it, and the ammo has to be somewhere else on your person, right"?, trying to make sense of this law. I still cannot believe the law is what it is. Then again, it's Cali!

  • ||

    Shall issue states like Texas and Florida aren't quite as great as they are portrayed to be. While it's true that concealed carry permits are relatively easy to obtain, the rules against open carry are so strict that unintentionally revealing the tiniest bit of the weapon can get you thrown in jail. Opening your jacket to fetch a wallet and allowing a glimpse? Guilty!

    Then there's the matter of how stupid you'd look (and how uncomfortable!) wearing a jacket in the middle of a TX or FL summer so you can carry concealed. In fact, you'd be advertising the fact you had a weapon. Open carry is so much more practical.

    There have been cases where somebody carries their gun from the house to a car parked on the street, and cops arrest them for open carry. While open carry is legal both on your own property and in your car, the 5 seconds you spent openly carrying on the sidewalk was a crime.

    This kind of BS is why you shouldn't ignore open-carry petitions.

  • IceTrey||

    I think everyone is missing the most important point of the Cali law. It allows you openly carry an UNLOADED gun! If the shit goes down what are you going to do with it, throw it at the guy? Maybe ask politely that they don't blow your brains out while you load your gun so you can shoot at them? People are upset that the customers are armed but they are no more armed than if they were carrying a hammer.

  • C-Dog||

    I respect what they're doing, but the law is absolutely retarded. You're safer carrying a machete and a hell of a lot less likely to get harassed by the cops every 3 minutes.

  • ||

    Takes about five seconds to go from unloaded to loaded.

    How protected would you be if you took those same five seconds to cower and pray that the person coming towards you won't hurt you or your kids.

  • IceTrey||

    Five seconds is too long if the bad guy sees your gun and shoots you first.

  • ||

    To quote from a scene from Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon:

    It is an oddity of the law in many jurisdictions that, while carrying (say) a concealed one shot .22 derringer requires a license, openly carrying (e.g.) a big game rifle is perfectly legal. Concealed weapons are outlawed or at least heavily regulated, and unconcealed ones are not. So a lot of Secret Admirers who tend to be gun nuts have taken to going around conspicuously armed as a way of pointing out the absurdity of those rules. Their point is this: who gives a shit about concealed weapons anyway, since they are only useful for defending oneself against assaults by petty criminals, which almost never happens? The real reason the Constitution provides for the right to bear arms is defending oneself against oppressive governments, and when it comes to that, your handgun is close to useless. So (according to these guys) if you are going to assert your right to keep and bear arms you should do it openly, by packing something really big.

  • ||

    "the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues." The majority therefore deemed such bans "presumptively lawful."

    All that statement proves is that we had CORRUPT courts/judges back then too! It in no way justifies the continued infringement of a fundamental, human right to defend their "unalienable right to life" which preexisted the formation of the U.S. and our Constitution.

  • ||

    When people can legally carry a gun, I prefer that they do it openly, so I can know quickly that I don't want to hang around.

    I'm astounded that so many posters live such harum-scarum gun-oriented lives. I think I'm lucky, having never felt a need to be armed since I turned in my rifle in France at the end of WWII.

  • ||

    In addition to avoiding that effect, hidden guns have the advantage of deterring criminals who can't be sure who is armed and who isn't.

    Ah, jeez. You year this claim made, over and over and over and ... and you hope that just once the writer would offer some evidence instead of a pure unadorned assertion. Or even an anecdote or two? But no......

  • ||

    Oops, "You year" should of course be "You HEAR". (And why isn't my name displaying?)

  • ||

    To better understand the Second Amendment to the United States
    Constitution it is helpful to consider how almost every reasonable
    person would interpret this amendment if it did not involve something
    which is considered controversial or politically incorrect by some and
    idolized by others. Arms in the possession of ordinary citizens meet
    both criteria. Let's, for the sake of argument, suppose that the
    Second Amendment dealt with books, not arms or weapons, and read like
    this: "A well educated electorate, being necessary to the maintenance
    of a free State, the right of the people to own and read books, shall
    not be infringed." Does anyone really believe that liberals would
    claim that only people who were eligible to vote should be allowed to
    buy and read books? Or that a person should have to have voted in the
    last election before the government would permit him or her to buy a
    book? Would the importation of books be banned if they did not meet
    an "educational purpose" test? Would some States limit citizens to
    buying "one book a month"? Would inflammatory "assault books" be
    banned in California?

  • John||

    If you feel that guns are evil and you are so uneducated that you must refer to them as "things" then you might want to look for another country to live. This is America. You need to do a little research to discover the role that those "things" played in providing you with the freedoms you enjoy. Think. Try it, you might like it.

  • William||

    John is right. Maybe those crazed liberals who are so afraid of guns should take the time to learn something about them. Take a gun-safety course. Maybe they'd discover that there's no reason to be afraid. Personally, I'd feel safer in a Coffee shop or a Walmart if 90% of the customers were carrying a gun. Gun owners are typically intelligent and responsible. Responsibility being something that they learned at an early age. Gun owners are NOT what the liberal media wants you think. You've been brain-washed folks. Think it through.

  • Paul Higgins||

    I am not a regular reader/poster here. I came because I was made away of my name being dragged through the internet muck.

    The comments by Peter Chapman about me are false, and they are libel, and I encourage whatever moderators may exist for this site please take corrective action.

    His statements against me are pure fabrication. It is quite shocking to me the extent a person will go to try and discredit an argument that he does not like. All I can think is it must be an adolescent who does not understand the seriousness of libelous lies.

    And given that everything he said about me is completely false, it disproves any other arguments he may make.

  • Peter Chapman||

    My name is Peter Chapman

    Paul Higgins, please stop harassing me via email saying that I've written libelous comments and how I must make a public apology.

    I've never seen this website before.

    Has it occured to you that perhaps someone used a different name because they were posting libelous comments?

    Additionally, there is more than one Peter Chapman in the world. One example is the Peter Chapman that met a 17 year old fat girl via facebook and murdered her. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/t.....054518.ece

    Have a nice day.

  • Paul Higgins||

    Peter,

    Reason has deleted the offending post, so you if you are in fact telling the truth you would not know that the Peter Chapman that posted here linked to your site with his user name, exactly as you have done, so that is how I found your email address.

    Perhaps the troll in question wanted to attack you for whatever your opinions are as well.

  • Carlos W. Ritz||

    I don't know who Peter Chapman is but there is definitely a sex offender called Paul Higgins...
    http://www.dartfordtimes.com/c.....mid=WeED04 Nov 2009 17:03:28:243

    However, this is likely a different dude as the sex offender guy is British!

    Nevertheless, sounds more like mistaken identity than libel.

  • Carlos W. Ritz||

    not sure if that link worked- this is the article

    Boys' molester is back in jail after 20 years

    04 November 2009

    A FORMER scout leader jailed 20 years ago for assaulting 24 boys is behind bars again for sexually attacking the son of a family friend - who later committed suicide.

    On Monday Chelmsford Crown Court heard how Paul Higgins, formerly of Main Road, Longfield, committed attacks between 1985 and 1987 and then assaulted the 12-year-old son of work colleague Bill Cornell.

    The 59-year-old Roman Catholic pleaded guilty to assaulting Jonathon Cornell in Witham, Essex, and was jailed for 12 months.

    As Judge Anthony Goldstaub QC passed sentence, Jonathon's mother Rita, whispered 'thanks'.

    Higgins had been Akela of the 3rd Welling Jubilee Cub Pack for 11 years, when in September 1988, a boy reported he had been 'fondled' at camp, the court heard.

    Police took statements from 100 cubs and it was established that 24 eight to 12-year-olds had been assaulted.

    Higgins was jailed for 18 months at Maidstone Crown Court in September 1989 for 12 offences of indecent assault.

    Mr Cornell, who had a history of self-harming, was just 33 when he took his own life in September 2007.

    His mother Rita Cornell described him as sensitive, shy and lacking in self confidence.

    Judge Goldstaub told him: "Time doesn't wipe out the evil which is done or the need for punishment."

    He added: "What you did was wicked and horribly damaging. It had a bad effect on him. He went on to demonstrate psychological frailties into his adult years."

    The case was put together from medical records and statements after Mr Cornell died and Higgins was finally arrested last December.

    Higgins told his sister who persuaded him to tell his parents, which he did when he was 20.

    Janick Fielding, for the defence, said that his parents went to Higgins' bungalow in Longfield and beat him up, adding: "So revenge has already been taking on this man."

    Mitigating, Mr Fielding said matters had come to light years before and no police action was taken and that he had not re-offended since his 1989 jail term.

    Higgins will be on the sex offenders' register for five years.

  • ||

    It seems that Mr. Higgins owes Mr. Chapman an apology.

  • Paul Higgins||

    Arthur, how do you see that I owe anyone an apology? A poster named Peter Chapman posted some very horrible comments about me. I brought it to the attention of reason.com and to the email address associated with the poster. Reason.com deleted the post. The Peter associated with the post claims it was not him, and stated that he has never even visited this site. I did him the favor of then following up (via email) and showing him a dozen other posts by an impostor using not only his name but his blog URL.

  • sathi2000||

    I would feel in that type of situation, and it really turned out to be a total nonissue
    http://destinationsoftwareinc.com

  • شات مصرى||

    vere good

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