Guns

Open Carry of Weapons May Spread to More States

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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.

NEXT: $800 Billion or $1.7 Trillion?

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  1. There will be no small measure of Federal infringement coming our way. We can’t have an armed populace, “Change!” is afoot.

  2. Good. I’ve always been a fan of open carry.

  3. Good. Hopefully this can get on the ballot as an amendment in Texas.

  4. Just the thing to go with those record ammo sales.

  5. Now we just need talking chimps and zeppelins….

  6. ..at least now you can shoot the swats after they kill your puppy…

  7. We have both here in La. I opt for the open carry myself as I have desire to be fingerprinted and file all the paperwork and pay all the fees to carry concealed. Just strap that pistol to you hip and away you go. People might give you looks but no one gives you any shit!

    Why pay the government to do something you already have a right to in most non-communist states? Besides having it on the outside is much more comfortable than concealing it. I know people that had to also buy new clothes just to conceal their pistol they could be carrying openly.

    When it is 95 degress outside with 90% humidity the last thing you want is to worry about your gun being well hidden under long clothes.

    Again just like all other gun issues. The honest law abiding citizens with guns are not an issue and the criminals will carry them anyway they want permit or not. 1,000,000,000 people can walk by me and so long as none of them threatens me or my family or those around me not a one of them has to fear me at all. This idea we will all start shooting each other is ridiculous.

  8. edit- no desire to be…

  9. I’m not sure I believe this…I remember being told during firearms training that a CC permit holder must exercise extreme care to keep his or her weapon concealed until it needed to be used. Even if the wind blew your coat open, exposing a holstered handgun underneath, you could be charged with brandishment.

  10. Truly “God made all men, but Sam Colt made them equal”

    …meanwhile in the People’s Republic of Italy PM Berlusconi proposes 30.000 troops on the streets to fight against a wave of rapes…..

    clear cut difference between fascist instincts and american individualism…

  11. Even if the wind blew your coat open, exposing a holstered handgun underneath, you could be charged with brandishment.

    Depends on the state. I know Texas has no such law.

    I’ve always found it deliciously ironic that in Texas it is completely and totally legal to walk around with a rifle or shotgun, but carrying a pistol without a CHL will get you arrested.

  12. Here’s hoping that when it passes Oklahoma can get an even lower score than dead last in the Brady Campaign’s state rankings for gun control laws!

    http://www.stategunlaws.org/

  13. Shotguns and rifles are hard to conceal (unless you employ cutting-edge and technically illegal hack saw technology).

    Open carry gives people on the street or in open-to-the-public establishments the option of treating you as armed, perhaps even not letting you in to their property. That’s one reason why it’s less dangerous than unrestricted concealed carry.

  14. Tulpa,

    Where do you live?

    Open carry is very clearly okay in KY. However, cops in Louisville, Lexington and Covington harass open carriers in defiance of the law.

  15. Great google street view open carry pic

  16. edit- no desire to be…

    Thanks. For a second there, I was about to burst brain cells trying to figure out the first.

    Open carry is very clearly okay in KY. However, cops in Louisville, Lexington and Covington harass open carriers in defiance of the law.

    As in Virginia. VCDL is constantly publicizing incidents of police ignorance or misconduct.

  17. As in Virginia. VCDL is constantly publicizing incidents of police ignorance or misconduct.

    In general, it’s frightening how many cops know nothing about the laws they’re supposed to be enforcing.

  18. Hopefully this can get on the ballot as an amendment in Texas.

    We don’t need an amendment, just a change in state law. I haven’t seen a bill so far, and the last day to file this session is March 13. I’m logging the Texas gun bills (14 so far) on the Texas Concealed Handgun Association site at http://www.txchia.org/legistex09.htm.

    I have a CHL, so I prefer to carry concealed. Open carry is just starting to gather momentum in Texas, so I think it’s more likely to get serious attention in the next session, in 2011. I expect the high-priority bills this year will concern employer parking lots and concealed carry on college campuses.

    I remember being told during firearms training that a CC permit holder must exercise extreme care to keep his or her weapon concealed until it needed to be used. Even if the wind blew your coat open, exposing a holstered handgun underneath, you could be charged with brandishment.

    Depends on state law. Texas has no open carry. The standard for concealed carry is intentional failure to conceal. Your coat blowing open isn’t an offense. OTOH telling someone you’re carrying is.

    However, cops in Louisville, Lexington and Covington harass open carriers in defiance of the law.

    A lot of the original concealed carry laws were passed during Reconstruction. Law enforcement of the time could use officer discretion to harass someone with the wrong skin tone, provided everyone had to carry openly.

    In general, it’s frightening how many cops know nothing about the laws they’re supposed to be enforcing.

    What’s frightening is that there are too many laws for cops to keep track of them. Or anyone else.

  19. robc, I’m in Santorum country, PA. Maybe the law only applies when the weapon goes from concealed to unconcealed, not when it’s unconcealed all along.

  20. Stating that only six states prohibit open carry probably isn’t representative of reality.

    Open carry isn’t technically prohibited by any statute in Massachusetts, but I can guarantee you will end up with your ass in jail and charged with something if you try it here.

  21. “Open carry is very clearly okay in KY. However, cops in Louisville, Lexington and Covington harass open carriers in defiance of the law.”

    Louisville cops are the biggest dicks on the face of the earth, but I don’t think I have been harassed, nor have I ever heard of anyone being harassed for it. And even if it does piss them off, they can’t do anything since open-carry in KY is legal, even without a permit.

  22. Well, in California you can carry an handgun or rifle openly, but it must be unloaded almost everywhere in the state, except in hunting areas. So, there really is not a way to carry an effective firearm openly.

    Also, any officer can stop you to check that the firearm is unloaded. If it found to be loaded, you are guilty of a felony, and you will be arrested.

    The intent of firearms laws in California is to ensure that everyone except LEOs and CCW holders are disarmed in public.

  23. One other thing I would like to mention: CCW permits are virtually impossible to obtain in urban areas in California. In Santa Clara County, where I live, there are less than 300. Estimates vary because it is difficult to get reliable statistics.

    While California law says that a PD or Sheriff “may issue” a CCW permit, most urban departments have a policy of never issuing CCW permits for any reason.

    So, to those of you traveling to California with your firearms, beware: most of what you can do legally in your home states will get you an extended vacation in state prison here.

    I would seriously think about leaving your firearms at home, especially handguns. If you must bring them, be sure to read this book:

    “How to Own a Gun and Stay Out of Jail”

    Just a word to the wise.

  24. What was said above about California is true of Maryland as well. Maryland is actually worse. They technically have CCW (open carry is illegal) but unless you’ve been attacked several times, almost killed, and it’s been documented you’ve got no chance at getting your permit application approved.

    Now if you’re politically connected in MD? Then you might be able to get a permit.

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  26. I live in South Carolina. I would like to see open carry of handguns. I believe it keeps people honest.

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