Boomer Sooner

Jonathan McLeod

Jonathan McLeod is a writer living in Ottawa, Ontario. (That means Canada.) He spends too much time following local politics and writing about zoning issues. Follow him on Twitter.

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54 Responses

  1. Glyph says:

    I’m probably not who you are asking, because in general I think it’s better to have things in the open than concealed. But I’ll take a stab anyway.

    I think the argument is that the open wearing of a gun can be an implicit means of intimidation or threat on the part of the carrier; that other people will feel less free to say what they want or mean if the person they are conversing with is openly carrying a gun; that people opposed to guns will feel they are being threatened (even if only mildly, or politically) when they are in a space with those who are carrying one.Report

    • Jonathan McLeod in reply to Glyph says:

      Thanks, Glyph. That seems to make sense. And I guess if one is a strong supporter of gun control, defeating open carry laws is better than nothing.

      It’s an interesting thing to watch from my perspective. Canada doesn’t ban guns, but our laws are much more restrictive. I see debates about Open Carry laws so far on the margin of gun control (as I know it), that I can’t get worked up about it one way or another.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

        I guess I can understand the whole ‘discomfort’ with having guns in plain view thing too in another sense – for my job, I lived & worked for a brief time in Frankfurt, just after they had (unrelatedly) decriminalized simple possession of all drugs. In the public parks, it was not uncommon to see junkies shooting up in broad daylight, making no effort at concealment.

        Now, I personally favor drug decriminalization if not outright legalization myself, but I did not particularly enjoy seeing this. I would prefer it be kept out of sight (of course, if you require it be kept out of sight, you get situations like in NYC where the cops make ppl turn out their pockets, THEN bust them for having drugs ‘in plain sight’).

        I’m not exactly equating drugs and guns – but I guess I am saying it is possible to be OK with an object or act itself, and yet still desire it be largely kept out of public view.Report

    • Plinko in reply to Glyph says:

      I prefer conceal-carry to open for similar reasons to Glyph, but I say that as a mild supporter of gun rights who really isn’t particularly interested in carrying one.Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Glyph says:

      In a place where the majority do not carry, I prefer concealed (why single yourself out).

      I personally fail to understand why a cop with a gun, a baton, a blackjack, a taser , mace/pepper spray, a knife, and the legal cover to maim you or shoot you dead with little risk of suffering more than a 2 week paid vacation (with his name kept out of the press) is not intimidating, but the civilian with a gun who will likely face a grueling legal & public ordeal should he shoot you is somehow intimidating.Report

      • Personally, I’m always a little wary of cops. It’s not even about the weapons; it’s the legal cover (and the fact that most of them are bigger and stronger than I am). I guess, though, I imagine a narrower spectrum of behaviour from cops (pretty bad to pretty law abiding) than I do from the average citizen (totally bad to totally law abiding). Maybe it’s this range that makes open carry more intimidating.

        I’m kind of thinking aloud right now, so I reserve the right to backtrack on all that.Report

        • Glyph in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

          I am always wary of cops. I am personally aware of too much behavior that is at best d**kish and at worst criminal and dangerous. And that’s not even considering the well-known ‘Rodney King’-type cases I am aware of via media sources. There are times when I think ‘Training Day’ is actually a ‘training film’.

          I don’t trust cops.Report

          • Jonathan McLeod in reply to Glyph says:

            Yeah. I watched cops abuse a guy once (who, admittedly, appeared to be driving drunk or high). It was pretty wretched.Report

            • Glyph in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

              2 anecdotes, one personally witnessed, one secondhand from reliable sources.

              Secondhand – in college, a girl I know (we started dating shortly after this story takes place) had a boyfriend who was driving back to his school from ours, on a rural stretch of two-lane highway. A state trooper came flying (probably 90+ MPH) up behind him and attempted to pass, but was going so fast he did not quite make it and clipped the boyfriend’s rear left bumper as he was coming around.

              Luckily, neither car went totally out of control (this could have been really bad at the speed the trooper was going, even the boyfriend was going highway speed, probably somewhere in the 55-70 MPH range). Sheer luck one or both of them weren’t killed, or the cars totalled.

              The punchline? The state trooper cited the boyfriend for ‘backing up on a highway’. This was the official cause of the accident.

              The one I witnessed – friend of mine and I at a Ramones show back in the day. Show gets over, we get outside, friend realizes he must’ve dropped his keys inside while ‘dancing’. Asks the bouncer if he can go back in the venue & check the floor, gets the OK. The rest of us wait outside.

              He’s checking the floor, a cop tells him he has to clear out.

              He explains to the cop that he is looking for his keys, that the bouncer gave him the OK, but the cop grabs him. Friend lets loose with some cursing (he’s got a mouth), and that’s when the baton comes out; my friend (skinny little punk kid, no physical menace) falls to the floor to escape the blows (this action was, of course, the source of the ‘resisting arrest’ charge).

              His back was black and blue when we bailed him out.

              He eventually became a lawyer and got the arrest record expunged.

              I don’t trust cops.Report

  2. Morat20 says:

    Speaking for myself, well…

    I’m from Texas. Half my family owns guns. I’m familar, personally familiar, with a large number of folks with a concealed carry license. I know them very well, and I know who would love to carry openly and I’ve a pretty good idea why.

    To me, it ain’t the guns — it’s the people. Half the people I know who have, or want to have, a concealed carry license seem to wander around expecting/hoping/dreading they’ll ‘have to defend themselves’.

    I wouldn’t call them ‘trigger-happy’ so much as ‘trigger hopeful’.

    The open carry guys, well — it seems half sports car (“Check out the size of my gun, ladies!”) and half security blanket with a sizeable dash of “Yeah, start some trouble, I’ll finish it!” posturing.

    It’s not all of them. Maybe not even half of them. But it’s enough to make me uncomfortable, and to suspect neither open nor concealed carry will fix problems — at least not more than it causes.Report

  3. I’m really not sure what I think about open carry. In fact, this is the first I’ve heard of it as an actual policy. But here’s one possible danger:

    An open carry law might be an invitation for the arms bearer to get mugged. I can imagine a certain class of gun owner who needs the gun to feel confident, who carries it openly, and but who also is a bit insecure about using it. I can imagine a criminal seeing a person like that, going up to him, and simply taking the gun and using it in the robbery.

    This is actually a modified version of one reason why I personally don’t own firearms (I think I’ve said this before on this blog….so I apologize if I sound like a broken record*): if I tried to use one to defend myself, I’m fairly confident that the attacker will simply grab it from me.

    *Records were primitive devices used in the 1900s to store sound, usually in the form of musical entertainment, but also to records comic renderings as well as other tasks for which sound is a necessary component.Report

    • Kim in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

      Bo-ring. If you’re using a gun, why aren’t you using it at range?? it’s a ranged weapon for a reason.
      Use a knife up close — better psyops. Or fire if it’s handy.Report

      • bookdragon in reply to Kim says:

        Exactly. Close in I can pull and use a knife faster than most average joes could draw and use their guns (esp. with the sort of holster Mad Rocket Scientist describes). Of course, if he’s reaching, it would be even better to grab and lock his arm before he draws. Then taking the gun is easy.Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

      This happens from time to time. Of course, a victim may just as easily disarm a criminal (this happens as well, often enough to show up nicely in search results).

      Also, depends on the holster. Most modern holsters have some kind of retention feature, which varies a lot, so a criminal is unlikely to lift a weapon from a person very easily (i.e. there will be a physical struggle of some sort).Report

  4. Brandon Berg says:

    I’m guessing that anti-gun activists are inclined to oppose any liberalization of gun laws.

    By the way, does McLeod rhyme with “loud?”Report

  5. Mike Dwyer says:

    Kentucky is an open-carry state. I carry my gun that way in exactly three scenarios:

    – at the gun show (unloaded, per admission rules)
    – at the gun range (loaded)
    – when fishing in remote areas (loaded)

    I could open carry at McDonalds tomorrow but I feel like it’s disrespectful to the people around me.Report

    • Jonathan in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      Those three scenarios make sense.Report

    • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      I find it ironic that gun shows of all places don’t want people carrying loaded weapons around.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        I find such irksome as well for one very big reason – most accidental discharges of a firearm are the result of people handling a loaded firearm unnecessarily. If I go to the gun show with a loaded firearm on my hip, and they make me unload at the door, I have to remove my gun from the holster and mess with it. Guns rarely go off in the holster, the often go off in the hands.

        Better to just require that all loaded personal firearms remain in their holsters (no drawing to show it off, etc.).Report

        • I guess it depends on why you are carrying. Most of the people that carry at shows (myself included) are doing so to invite offers or curiosity from other attendees and vendors. I carry mine because I’ve been trying to find cheap, spare magazines for it for years with no luck. It makes it easier to get it out and ask vendors. Also, because it’s dicontinued I get a lot of offers for it. That’s enjoyable.Report

      • This was before I was born, but one of my father’s guns went off at a gun show once. He was a vendor and had a couple tables there, and apparently one gun still had a bullet in it, and somehow it went off. According to this story, no one was hurt, but he had to leave after it happened.

        I have no idea if that’s a true story, but my mom told it to me and it’s probably mostly true.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:


      Why do you consider it disrespectful?Report

      • Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:


        For the same reason I don’t think it’s polite to drive around with a deer strapped to the roof of my truck. Modern sensabilities. Cviliians haven’t carried openly in public in over 100 years. If I need a gun, that’s what my CCW is for. The only pain is the extra expense of the license.Report

  6. bookdragon says:

    My reaction is mixed.

    On one hand, a concealed gun is more of a threat because you aren’t necessarily aware that a given person is armed. A very observant or trained person can often tell, but who wants to spend that much effort analyzing everyone around them all the time (esp. if you’re herding kids in the mall)?

    On the other hand, someone carrying openly who isn’t doing it as part of their job (police, security) strikes me as potentially looking, or hoping, for trouble. That sort of attitude strikes me as more likely to cause problems if there is trouble. Secondarily, there is the ‘Gee, Mister, is that real gun?’ aspect where some guy trying to be cool lets a kid handle a loaded weapon. (Don’t tell me it would never happen. I’ve seen way too many people mishandle weapons after bragging that they learned how to handle them from the time they were little and way too many people who ought to know better leave loaded weapons where their kids can find and play with them).Report

    • So a law against open carry can be an extra guard against irresponsible gun ownership? That’s an interesting take. I wonder, though, if it might work the other way, as well. If you have a heavily armed society (I’m stressing the ‘if’, I’m not making a judgement of the U.S.), open carry laws might lead to a greater society-wide understanding of guns, and maybe more responsibility.

      I don’t know, of course, I’m just kind of riffing off your thought.Report

  7. Jeff No-Last-Name says:

    I’m a 2nd Amendment literalist (the original Black Panthers were allowed guns, individuals are not), so I don’t think concealed OR openly displayed guns should be carried. I’ll be over to Brandon’s house on Monday…Report

  8. James Hanley says:

    I’m a 2nd Amendment literalist

    Respectfully, given the way the 2nd Amdt is written, I’m not sure that could truly be a meaningful statement by anyone, regardless of what interpretation followed.Report

  9. Kolohe says:

    I am in favor of open carry and concealed carry, but I am also in favor of private property owners making whatever rules they see fit between complete allowance or completely prohibition. I am also ok with the duly consisted authority over public property to make similar rules, except when the commons is a right of way.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Kolohe says:

      To make sure I understand you…
      – Individuals can make whatever rules they want on their property. They can seek the assistance of the government to enforce these (e.g., I don’t want anyone bringing a gun into my restaurant; if someone does so and refuses to leave, I can call the police).
      – A “duly consisted authority” can decide that guns are forbidden in public schools and on playgrounds but allowable in state parks.
      – This “duly consisted authority” would have no authority over roadways, sidewalks, and other such areas.

      Do I have that right? I think I could get on board with that. The only potential area for problem I would see is when a ‘right of way’ takes on another purpose, e.g., a street fair. I could see the DCA having a reasonable case to put in place restrictions in such areas.Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Kolohe says:

      I’m fine with that, with one addition: If you ban weapons on your property, you accept responsibility for the safety of your guests.Report

      • Doesn’t that requirement of responsibility for the safety of one’s guests exist regardless, with appropriate modifications for what the property owner could reasonably be expected to foresee, etc.?Report

        • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

          Not sure? How many lawsuits by the victims of spree killers are there against the locations where the killing happened because the location banned personal weapons?

          What I’m saying (hypothetically) is if the mall bans weapons, then the mall is assuming the responsibility for everyone’s safety, so they need to have security check points to check for weapons & armed security guards to respond to potential violence within the secure zone.

          If they aren’t willing to employ at least that level of security, if all they want to do is put up a sign & be able to ask armed people to leave, then it’s a pointless exercise that any person who carries concealed will violate with ease (and many do without even realizing it because they don’t see the signs at the door). Also, asking those who go armed to leave their arms in the car is a great way to make it easy for thieves to steal guns (cars being notoriously easy to break into).

          In contrast, my county courthouse has lots of armed deputies about it, has security checkpoints at the door, and I can freely check my weapons (gun & pocket knife) at the security checkpoint – no muss, no fuss. I get a claim ticket, the items go into a secure locker, I get them back when I leave.Report