The Eclectic One

…Because labels are a poor substitute for thinking

Open-carry a thorny issue for gun owners

Posted by Bill Nance on November 25, 2008

My friend Jay G posted a link to an article on WBZ‘s (a Boston TV station) website about a woman who had her license to carry revoked by the local police after she legally open-carried her firearm to her son’s soccer game. (more on the incident and lawsuit here).

The license was reinstated, because it is perfectly legal to open-carry in Pennsylvania. (I’m not going to go into the damage claims for the lawsuit).

So the question is this: Even when it’s legal to open-carry, is it wise?

Now I have no problems at all with open-carry. Personally I’m of the mind that if we all did it, or most of us did, we’d have a lot safer world. I hasten to add that I equally support throwing the book at someone who abused their right.

But we live in the real world, not a perfect one. That world is one in which most people will freak out if they see a civilian carrying a pistol on their hip. It doesn’t matter if that fear is irrational. It exists. So they will call police, we will be hassled, and nothing will have changed. The people who call the cops will not have their opinions altered, they won’t be educated about firearms and their fears will remain.

The police will not likely start telling citizens who call them about someone carrying a gun: “That’s perfectly legal here Sir, so unless he’s brandishing it about, there’s no reason for us to investigate.” I wish they would, but you and I know they won’t.

So in places like the northeast, where gun ownership is low and people are afraid of guns, is open carry worth doing? Just because we can do a thing, doesn’t mean we should.

I’m not sure what I think at this point. I’m all in favor of the right. I’m just not sure that the benefit, if any, is worth all the down-sides.



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