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Open Carry Lobbyists Shooting Themselves in the Foot
scales of justice
bonzerwolf
An "open carry"  measure passed easily in the Oklahoma State Senate and House and is headed for the Governor's desk. The law would  allow concealed firearms permit holders to carry firearms openly in public. Tulsa State Representative Dan Sullivan said he has a concealed-carry permit himself but voted no on the bill.

He said, "I really fail to see how open carry extends and creates a better policy for people that want to exercise their second amendment rights." Sullivan says he's concerned about the potential effect on businesses. "I can see people leaving if you allow people to come in and have open carry. I could see many patrons not wanting to go there," he said. 

The Governor has yet to say whether he will sign the bill into law.


As a Libertarian, I am for limited government.  But the Supreme Court has held that there is no "absolute" right to bear firearms. States may make reasonable laws in the public interest concerning the possession of firearms. 

I absolutely believe state legislatures have the right to pass "open carry" laws.  But I also believe that for the vast majority of people "open carry" is not a good way to to exercise your second amendment rights or protect yourself.  

One of the major problems with "open carry" is that businesses that don't prohibit concealed carry, may now prohibit both "open carry" and concealed carry.  Personally, I believe "must issue" concealed carry permits and state reciprocity is a more vital issue than "open carry".

Even among those of us who own firearms and champion their utility, the idea of using firearms to make political statements is distasteful and counterproductive.  Most of us understand that the media’s focus on the displayed weapons at Tea Parties tends to overwhelm any other message the participants are attempting to champion. 

My fear is that "open carry" will lead to restrictions on concealed carry, which I believe is the preferred carry method for 99.9% of those bearing firearms 99.9% of the time.

As much as I support the open carry movement in theory, I have a very hard time seeing open carry as anything other than a very bad idea. It is needlessly provocative (and I suspect in many instances, purposefully so), and potentially dangerous to our right to bear firearms.

As a law enforcement officer for over 32 years, the ONLY time I openly carried was in uniform.  Openly carrying in civilian attire (plain clothes) is not a good idea for law enforcement officers or civilians. "Open Carry" can cause many unnecessary and potentially dangerous problems. It also provides little if any benefit to the safety of the carrier or the public in my opinion.

You get to decide how to respond to an armed criminal if you are carry a concealed handgun.  You have the option of not acting at all if you decide that is in your best interest. If you "open carry" , you are at a tactical disadvantage, and are in essence committed by circumstance to act.

I am retired now and I carry a concealed firearm under the provisions of the Law Enforcement Safety Officers Act (LEOSA).  In Texas, both active and retired law enforcement officers are exempt from many of the restrictions on carrying a concealed firearms.  But the vast majority of citizens in Texas carry under the provision of the concealed firearms law, which already contains too many restrictions.

I believe lobbying to remove those restrictions should be the first priority of second amendment rights advocates rather than "open carry" legislation. I do not support open carry in Texas because I fear it could lead to further restrictions on concealed handgun license holders.

Rep. Pam Peterson, a Republican in the Oklahoma Legislature,  who has a concealed-carry permit, said she fears more businesses may ban guns if people can bring them in openly.  I fear that passionate "open carry" lobbies may end up winning the battle but losing the war for second amendment rights.

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