This debatable topic is one that is often asked of people who carry openly or believe in open carry. Having a gun in plain view may seem frightening to other people because it seems threatening. People know that the person open carrying has a gun and can use it if he or she wants. That’s what scares people. The other concern is what if someone walks by, steals the gun, and uses it to harm people. Yes, this has happened.
However, the other side of the debate carries a lot of weight. When someone open carries, it warns others around that there better not be any issues that would cause that person to use it. For example, it may deter someone who is thinking of robbing a bank because the person behind him is open carrying. It may keep someone from confronting another person, in fear the person would retaliate with the gun.
Open carry can also help people feel more comfortable. This may be a contradiction from the opening of this blog, but it is true of some people. Instead of seeing the gun has a threat, some people see it as protection. When they see that a person is open carrying, they feel as though if anything were to happen, that person will be a good citizen and take care of it. What a great relief that can be, especially in this day when there are random shootings in just about any public location.
People say that open carry gives you quicker access to your handgun than concealed carry, so in that sense, open carry may be safer and better for self-defense. Although, properly trained people with good equipment can get to their guns pretty fast. Open carry can also be said to help non-gun owners get used to the idea that there are guns in public, because with concealed carry, there are sometimes a lot of guns around but people can’t see them so they don’t know.
Concealed carry can be said to prevent criminal activity because criminals don’t know who around may be armed or not. Those who carry concealed tend to be more focused on being discreet, while those who open carry may be more focused on their right to carry so they want people to know.
Open carry may be the most comfortable option, because there are many people who can not or don’t want to spend money on holsters and other gear. There are a lot of poorly designed items out there. Open carry will also likely lead to more contacts with law enforcement, as your gun is visible in plain sight to everyone.
So, is open carry a concern to public safety? It’s only a concern when the person carrying is seeking to do harm to others. Since people who want to harm others often do it anyway – concealed or open – there’s not much that people can really do to prevent that. However, a good citizen who is carrying may be able to step into action and take care of that person before anyone is harmed. As we can see with this situation, open carry has the potential to do much more good than harm, since people who want to cause harm will do it no matter what.
Bottom line, concealed carry may be the better option. Other than physical comfort, there’s a lot more mental and social and political baggage that goes along with open carry. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you’re trained. Proper training is the number 1 way to prevent accidents.