Not the most well-known fact about gun laws, especially among folks who get unduly nervous when they see it, but open holstered carry of legally owned weapons is perfectly legal in most states. And USA Today reports it might be spreading to some of the few holdouts:
Texas, South Carolina, Oklahoma and Arkansas — are considering legislation that would allow people to carry handguns openly in a holster.
These generally Second Amendment-friendly states are among the last six holdouts against open carrying of guns. Openly carrying handguns is legal in most states, even those that ban concealed firearms. New York and Florida also bar openly carrying handguns.
The four other states that ban so-called open carry "are extremely gun-friendly. They understand the individual-rights aspect. Yet for whatever reason, the carry laws in these states are restrictive," says John Pierce, a co-founder of OpenCarry.org, which promotes gun rights.
Most states have strict laws governing concealed weapons. Illinois and Wisconsin ban carrying them entirely, according to the National Rifle Association. Concealing a weapon "was seen in the early days of our nation as something of an unwholesome act. People would bear arms openly," Pierce says.
Opencarry.org has many more details on the legal status of open carry and other sorts of weapon carrying rights and restrictions.
My new book Gun Control on Trial has many more details about many other things regarding guns and the law, particularly the story of last year's Second Amendment-affirming Heller case.