Why Open Carry in California?
Hello fellow gun rights advocates.
For my first post on USA Carry, it seems that I must explain my activism and advocacy of open carry in California.
In my search for freedom and knowledge, I asked around to those people who I thought would know about whether exposed carry was legal in California. Many, including law enforcement and "CCW" instructors, said it was illegal, yet could not cite a specific prohibition. There isnt one. There is however, a labyrinth of restrictions and exemptions which when navigated, allow a person to exercise the most basic human right- that of armed self-defense.
Having carried concealed under the privledge of a license since the mid 1990's, I was no newcomer to being armed. The appeal of being able to exercise the right, unadulterated by the permission of a public servant, has and continues to be a very satisfying pursuit. It was in 2006, after consulting with a local attorney, that I began carrying a firearm exposed in a belt holster. In retrospect this attorney's understanding of the issue was about an inch deep, but they did confirm my understanding of the penal code. An exposed firearm carried in a belt holster is not concealed and not a violation of the law. A firearm without ammunition in a position to fire, is not in most instances a "loaded weapon" and therefore not a violation of the law.
I carrried at regular intervals for about a year before I had any police interaction. I was detained for about ten minutes by city police officers who confirmed that the method I was carrying my firearm was indeed legal, albeit uncommon. This anecdote seemed to reassure others in the burgeoning open carry community and others imitated this method of carry with varying results. So far, I am aware of about 10 similar police interactions with open carry advocates in California, none of which has resulted in a conviction of any crime. As a result of this form of activism there have been no fewer than seven memos both from departmental and organizational sources detailing for law enforcement the lawfulness of exposed carry.
The movement continues to advance and the likelhood that open carry will be used a powerful tool to push authorities for shall issue LTC is growing. Given that Californians are on the cusp of securing the 2nd as a right, we will require some means to exercise it- Since "CCW"/LTC is a revocable privledge, then open carry must be the unrestrained right.
Why would anyone carry an unloaded weapon?
To comply with the law. Given the choice, I would prefer a loaded weapon- but better to have an unloaded weapon with magazines or speed loaders at hand than to be completely defenseless. I have practiced my presentation and loading- In about 4-5 seconds I am ready for bear.
To be the deterent. Even with an unloaded weapon, there is an effect on human behavior that cannot be obtained by carrying concealed. By carrying a semi-auto with an empty magazine in the well, the illusion is sufficient that any self-doubting criminal would rather run away that confront someone who by all appearances posesses lethal force.
To voice my dissent. There are no good gun prohibitions and by carrying my weapon I am protesting the laws that abridge my right to armed self-defense and legislators who would have me dependent upon police who have no obligation to protect me.
To be an ambassador for gun owners. By being a visiable gun owner, I dispel the myth that only police and criminals carry guns for protection. Average people own and carry guns- they go shopping for groceries, eat at restaurants, go to the movies, read books in the park, or shop for shoes in the mall. Their firearm is a tool, an accessory for their safety and the safety of their family, nothing more.
To advance the second amendment. By putting feet to my beliefs, others will follow to restore the rights we have allowed to be eroded by tyrants and traitors.