Monday, February 18, 2013

Answering questions re: Thoughts on concealed carry II: pimpin' aint easy

Bob asked several good questions on Thoughts on concealed carry II where my answers started taking up quite a bit of space in the comments on that post, so rather than have a huge block of text there, I decided to answer them as another post because it made more sense, and there's a chance that a third reader of my blog will see it and hopefully it'll be useful. So, here's my answers. Bear in mind, these are my thoughts, and its a way, not the way. YMMV.

What I'm wondering is why do you feel the person Open Carrying was 'drawing unneeded attention'? Bear in mind, I was speaking of an incident in TN. In that state, open carry is only legal with a permit; the very same permit that allows concealed carry. Because of that, open carry in TN is VERY rare. Its almost an invitation to get FI'd (Field Interviewed) and perhaps detained in handcuffs by Clarksville PD. In a state where open carry is common, it's not a big deal. In a state where its not, open carry, when one could be carrying concealed, is opening oneself up to be harassed. Its a case of "just because you can doesn't mean you should". That's not to say that's going to happen, but the possibility is certainly there, and a lot more likely than if one is doing a decent job of concealed carry.

I actually was FI'd once while I was carrying concealed. The alarm at the shop had gone off, so I went to reset it. The alarm company called the Police to respond, who showed up as I was locking up the building again. I explained who I was, what caused the alarm, and that I'd reset it. The responding officer verified who I was, because he and the other officer that responded were probably the only guys in the area that I didn't know yet, or at least didn't know who I was. The whole time while he was calling in my information. I kept my hands in front of me, fingertip to fingertip, looking a lot like a very tall Spock. I gave him my license, but neglected to give him my permit at the same time, which I should have. He didn't ask, I didn't tell because he didn't ask, and the whole situation went down with no drama at all. Same would have happened if I had given him my CCDW license, because I was where I was supposed to be, doing what I was supposed to do. Carrying means being even more vigilant than the average person to be within the law.

I understand some people feel that Open Carry puts a target on your back but isn't it just as likely that Open Carry means people will leave them alone going for the easier target?
Who's the easier target? The guy who's carrying concealed and you can't tell, or the guy who you know has a gun? What if there's three of 'em and they see this particular guy doesn't have his head on a swivel (I've seen it a lot from people carrying, both open carry and concealed). Doesn't that make him the easy mark now? There's really nothing beyond supposition that says it's any kind of deterrent. Lots of very experienced members of the law enforcement community have as many examples where it was no deterrent at all as when it might have been. It falls under the "facts not in evidence" heading. Many of the people I see open carrying are carrying non-duty quality firearms in cheap holsters, which generally means they haven't invested in getting trained, either, and aren't invested in their protection in any other way. Carrying a gun isn't the Ark of the Covenant, it's just another tool in the force escalation continuum.

Second, why would you assume someone carrying "might" be breaking the law?
Again, bear in mind where the incident in question happened: in a military town on the border of two states with fairly different laws concerning the carriage of defensive weapons. Chances are good, based on nearly ten year's experience working with the military community, that this person in question was ignorant of the law. That store isn't all that far inside TN, and what's legal a couple miles down the road isn't legal there. If he doesn't have a permit from a state with reciprocity, carrying a gun open or concealed is illegal. If he does, why open carry, which I stated before is very rare in TN, when he can carry concealed? Again, just because you can doesn't mean you should.

Would you assume someone walking down the street with a child might be abducting the child?
Maybe. That would be totally situation dependent. Circumstances surrounding would determine whether something in need of investigation would be required, and there are several ways to handle that if it is. I have a lot of local PD officer's cell numbers saved in my phone. If there's something worth investigating, they can get a unit sent to check it out, with probable cause.
Or someone with a camera might be taking cihld pron (deliberate misspelling) ? I appreciate that; thanks. Again, it would be a totality of the circumstances that would determine that. It's a matter of developing the situational awareness to be able to see what's what. That takes practice, and I learned it a couple ways: first, nearly 25 years in retail, and several more years in the service sector. Second, I made it a point to watch people and observe without being observed. I learned that by walking around and taking a seat at malls, parks, amusement parks, sporting events, and like that. It takes effort, but it pays off.

Remember, with rights come responsibility, and just because the state issues you a permit after completing the class on the law regarding carrying, doesn't mean you're now an expert on carrying. You become expert through practice and repetition.

I find that sentiment to be at odds with the impression I'm getting of Open Carry.
How could he become an expert without practice or repetition? There is no other way. There's information to be had from experienced and expert people, and I'm blessed to have much better sources to get information from than most everyone else, but it is out there if diligent searching is undertaken. What is generally found is that expert and experienced people have a lot of agreement in what they do. Add to that practice that involves careful observation and examination of what one is doing, and eventually expertise is gained. That's equipment choice, situational awareness, and other tools to use in personal defense; all that stuff matters and has to be examined. Some people just stuff a gun in a holster and go about their daily lives in blissful ignorance of what's going on around them, just like they did before they get their permit. The ones that become expert in it treat it like any other field of endeavor and become students of it, get trained to do it. What I was getting at is that the class teaches the law regarding carry, not the logistics and all the ins and outs of actually carrying every day. But, if the option to carry concealed is there, why open carry? Doesn't make sense.

Thanks for the questions, Bob. Hope that helps explain where I'm coming from. As always, YMMV.


Bob S. said...


Thanks for the additional information. I see where you are coming from but don't necessarily agree with your analysis.

I would like to address two comments you made

If he does, why open carry, which I stated before is very rare in TN, when he can carry concealed? Again, just because you can doesn't mean you should.

But, if the option to carry concealed is there, why open carry? Doesn't make sense.

There is an aspect of normalization that may be in play here. You say, rightfully, that Open Carry isn't common. Well, how do you make it more common without educating the public that is it legal, Showing the people that it is legal and showing them that 'average people' can do it without causing alarm.

I get the impression from your posts that NO one, not a single person you observed expressed alarm in your presence. Right?

Your points about the legality of Open Carrying not being known is a big factor in actually Openly Carrying. A right left unused is a right abandoned.

Secondly, and this is coming from a personal experience; there are valid medical reasons for Open Carry.
I wish we had it in Texas. We have sweltering, scorching heat here many months out of the year. As an Asthmatic, adding a layer of clothing for cover aggravates my condition greatly.

I Open Carry on my property (legal in Texas) in the hopes of getting my neighbors used to the sight of someone carrying. It isn't much but it is what I can do. Having people like this guy out in public helps because he shows people that what is to be feared is the person behaving badly, not the gun.

And medical isn't the only reason to Open Carry. My son and daughter in law are parents; 3 grandchildren I love dearly. Often all three grandkids are out and about with the parents or grand parents. The kids can be a handful. Doesn't it make more sense to have less steps, less hassle in getting to your firearm in such cases?

Given that he was checking out with 'a large order' isn't it possible his family was with him? Maybe waiting in the car.

Last point I would like to make is just exactly how much expertise is required to carry a firearm?

I'm not talking about knowledge of the law. Just like motor vehicles if you take on the task you should know the law but in reality how much training, experience, skill development is actually required to safely carry a firearm in public?

I can't imagine all the permit holders in Tennessee or Texas have hundreds of hours of training or class time learning. Yet as in most cases; very few break the law, very few have accidents or injuries.

Haji said...

We're going to have to agree to disagree, because neither of us is going to change the other's mind. To answer your question, "how much training, experience, skill development is actually required to safely carry a firearm in public?" Enough to be able to draw from concealment and put an aimed shot to the A zone of the target in less than 3 seconds at 10 yards. Most of the really good shooters I know can do it in two or less.

Bob S. said...


I find that I asked one question and you answered a different one.

The question you answered was "what proficiency does a person using a firearm have to have?"

Would you agree that most people who carry a firearm will never even pull it on another person?

And that out of those that do draw, few will ever have to fire?

Now, don't get me wrong. I think if a person carries a firearm they should be proficient in its use.

BUT that is a completely separate requirement from what it takes to simply carry it.

Does that make sense? You talked about knowing the laws, situational awareness, etc as if it took years of training to achieve. I'm pointing out, Open Carry or Concealed, it really doesn't take that long to become proficient.

I probably won't change your mind about this. I find that those who advocate against Open Carry often don't want to change their mind. Sorry to be blunt but that is my experience.

What I'm trying to achieve is get the reasons why some would open carry out there, to discuss it. I know if Texas had it, I would Open Carry probably as much as Concealed. One of the main reasons is simple - I want people to see a normal person going about normal tasks armed.

Haji said...

To get good at carrying? Full time for about a month for someone who hasn't been around guns a long time. For a mature shooter, that's about how long it takes to quit acting like there's a gun on your hip and to learn what works and what doesn't. Immature shooters sometimes never learn that.

Joe and Jill Blow and their screaming rug rats don't need to know I'm carrying, and professional criminals will look for someone who's an easier mark than I am; I make it really hard for people to sneak up on me. That was the case before I carried anything at all, then when I open carried, and through to concealed carry. Where its common it seems to work OK, where its not it makes people concerned when they don't need to be, so I don't advocate it and never will. However, carrying a weapon of any kind is just one part of the continuum.

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