Open Carry vs Concealed Carry - a comprehensive response

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Open Carry vs Concealed Carry

I prefer to Open Carry because EVERY study shows that criminals will avoid armed persons. I also Open Carry because it often generates positive constructive discussions wherever I go, which advances our mission to promote our 2nd Amendment rights and naturalize the presence of guns in our communities.

45 states allow Open Carry and every day, 10’s of thousands of Open Carriers are repelling bad guys across this nation and rarely if ever do you hear of those Open Carriers having to shoot anyone because criminals don’t attack citizens they know are armed.

I do not Open Carry where it is illegal or where my situational awareness is impaired, like movie theaters or concerts where there is continual close contact with other participants, and where seating is tight such as amphitheaters, sporting events, race tracks.

I would not Open Carry In high crime areas. A lion would not walk into a den of hyenas and I would never Open Carry in the high crime neighborhoods of Chicago, New Orleans, Detroit or Washington DC. I never want to challenge a criminal’s area of dominion; that task is for law enforcement officers.

Yielding to wisdom and prudence dictates whether I Open or Conceal Carry.

However, I am always uncomfortable Carrying Concealed because it presents to the criminal that I am unarmed, weak and vulnerable; attractive to the predator.

There is no deterrent value to my carrying concealed. I am just another gazelle in the eyes of the hyenas. My probability of being a victim of a crime is totally unchanged when I have a gun hidden beneath my shirt.

My Open Carrying gives the criminal the opportunity to make a well informed decision; an opportunity not provided by me when I Carry Concealed.

Robbers, rapists or carjackers might be dumb and opportunistic, but they all have the instinct for self preservation. Outside of his den, a hyena will not attack a lion. To the bad guy, Open Carry portrays you as the lion with very sharp teeth that the hyena wants to steer clear of.

I don’t want to be the victim who fought back and won. I don’t want to kill anyone. That is why I Open Carry. My goal is never to be a victim in the 1st place. I want to watch the 6 O’clock news and not be the topic of the news.

When I leave my home whether I’m Open or Concealed carrying, some of my primary goals are:
• To go about my tasks peaceably
• To not be a victim of any crime
• To avoid shooting anyone – ever – when possible

In a Concealed Carry state, the bad guys always have to be wary, their situational awareness is more highly motivated than yours so the likelihood of you getting the drop on them is slim. They weigh the odds and proceed and watch for those who might be Concealed Carrying.

Ask yourself this, if you are the target, when the bad guy’s attack you, will you have time to draw from your concealed position, maybe, but probably not.

ALL OF THE STUDIES show that criminals avoid armed people – so – do you want to appear armed or appear unarmed as Concealed Carriers do?

Remember, just like you, I don’t want to be a victim and I don’t want to shoot anyone, ever, if I don’t have to. And, not becoming a victim is exponentially more probable if I Open Carry by making it clear and obvious that I am armed.

When the bad guy sees something that can quickly and painfully change or terminate his life, his sense of self preservation tells him to move on.

It is a fact, Open Carriers create a circle of deterrence.

If you are a jogger or bicyclists on the greenway, and you are seen carrying by a bad guy, you not only protected yourself and those around you, you probably protected that path from that bad guy ever attacking anyone there because he will associate that path as dangerous to him.

Not only do we create a deterrent circle around ourselves, but around every person who is within that circle, within that restaurant or within that store. That circle of deterrence has a ripple effect on the bad guys too because they warn their buddies about those locations.

It is important to realize that violent crime does not begin at the moment a bad guy confronts you with a weapon.

Crime and violence take time to develop and there are five distinct stages: intent, interview, positioning, attack and reaction. The first three are most severely affected by those who Open Carry:
1. Intent, which develops when the criminal observes easy prey.
2. Interview , when he verifies the area is free of danger and creates plan.
3. Positioning, when he sets up for the attack.

If a bad guy sees an Open Carrier in any of the first three stages, in all probability, he will abort and find a weaker target unless it’s a drug crazed or mentally ill person.
Concealed Carry presumes it is better to wait until the opponent has drawn his gun in the attack stage and then try to “fix” the situation. It is foolish to think that it is better to stop a crime in the fourth stage than to prevent it in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd stage.

Concealed Carry has no effect in the first 3 stages, but if an Open Carrier is seen by the bad guy in any of the first 3 stages, the crime is probably deterred.

Some critics of Open Carry claim that an Open Carrier will be the first one to be shot when a robber walks into a 7-11. There is no evidence that this has ever occurred; this is a red herring.

When a robber sees an Open Carrier, they change their plans. In most cases, he is not prepared to commit murder or jeopardize his life when all he wanted to do was to get some cash. Self preservation demands that he abort and find a less risky victim.

Another common criticism of Open Carry is that the firearm itself will be the target of theft, prompting a criminal attack simply to get your gun away from you. With only one exception in 2010 when an OCer failed to heed prudence and OC’d in a high crime area, there is no evidence that an Open Carrier has ever been targeted just to rob him of his gun; another red herring.

Very often someone critical of Open Carry will cite some example of a uniformed police officer whose gun was taken by a violent criminal and yes, that does happen, but more than likely it occurred either because the officer was targeted merely for being a police officer, not for his gun. Most often, when guns are taken from police officers, it occurs when they are struggling to restrain a criminal.

As to how the general public responds to Open Carry, 99% of the responses I’ve received have been positive and the other 1% were not negative, just skeptically inquisitive. This is the common experience with every Open Carrier who treats Open Carry as a personal responsibility to win the hearts and minds of those who are indecisive about the issue or slightly leaning in the other direction.

There are some who are just afraid of guns for a variety of personal reasons; however, fear is overcome by natural exposure in everyday situations. Fear diminishes when firearms are carried in a responsible and peaceable way by the average citizen and the fearful will recognize that their fear was based on emotion and not fact.

Open Carry is a very effectual way of helping people overcome fear of guns if done wisely with prudence. Arizonans don’t look twice at Open Carriers in their state and they are a great example of people becoming accustomed to guns and accepting them as a natural part of their society.

A common complaint is that Open Carry makes some people uncomfortable. Liberty trumps comfort and censuring freedom is the beginning of oppression, which leads to persecution.

Abraham Lincoln said, “Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as a heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors.”

The Open Carried gun is “Assault Prevention Insurance” and most people will eventually become comfortable with it when they realize that they are safer because of its practice.

There are some people I’ve spoken with who claim to want to have the tactical advantage of surprise.

Why would anyone want to try to fight their way out of a bad situation, jeopardizing themselves and anyone with them when the bad situation can be avoided entirely by Open Carrying?

Let me tell you, if anyone is going to be surprised, it is you.

The likelihood of you surprising a bad guy is very slim and the likelihood of the bad guy getting the drop on you is practically guaranteed.

You seldom know that you are going to be a victim until you are face to face with someone pointing a gun at you.

You will have no time to quick draw or do anything but comply with the bad guy’s demands.

Surprise as a defensive tactic is often based on unrealistic or ill thought out scenarios.

I’ve had 6 guns and a knife pulled on me when I was a process server and not in any of those incidents could I have defended myself.

Most criminals don’t draw their weapon until you are too close to do anything other than comply.

The simple truth is that while surprise is a superior tactical maneuver, it is exclusively an offensive action not a defensive one. Defensive surprise is no more than damage control, and a last ditch effort to fight your way back out of a dangerous situation.

If you shoot anyone - ever - you lose! Why?
• You too could be shot, maimed or killed.
• You will almost always lose financially, paying for defense lawyers and/or civil suits. You don’t want to be another George Zimmerman who has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars defending himself.
• Shooting someone or seeing them shot stays with you forever –
you never forget blood, guts & death. My time in Vietnam and on the LAPD has shown me that you remember every single dead or bloody body.

Surprising an attacker with a gun invites a gun fight. Quite frankly... I'd prefer the bad guy be "surprised" to see my openly carried gun and decide not to attack.

We want everyone to feel safe and comforted by our presence when we Open Carry, so dress nice, smile at everyone, be courteous and if questioned about your gun, be prepared with responses that are friendly and educational, i.e., “My family loves me and they want me to come home safely to them every night.”

Tailor your responses to your situation and personality but always remember that your goal is to win the hearts and minds of the persons you are talking to and anyone listening on the periphery. Never be angry or confrontational. Every Open Carrier should an ambassador for the 2nd Amendment!

The truth is that each day thousands of citizens in this nation Open Carry. They represent hundreds of thousands of man hours of peaceable, friendly, patriotic Open Carrying conducted continually in all but five states.

Open Carry is a right, and it is lawfully exercised everyday by responsible gun owners. Remember this; “A right not practiced will be lost.”

Although I Open Carry as a deterrent and self defense, equally, if not a more important reason for me is to naturalize the presence of guns in our community and promote our rights under the 2nd Amendment.

Concealed Carry does nothing to promote the 2nd Amendment.

Other than Boston in the 1770’s there has never been a time in this nation’s history when we have been confronted with so many in the government who want to take our guns. They are continually positioning themselves to limit or destroy our inalienable rights and Open Carry is a visible wall of resistance to them.

Open Carry sends a message to ant-gun elected officials and all of the anti-gun media and anti-gun groups that most Americans are patriotic pro-gun; pro-constitution and pro- 2nd Amendment – and our rights will not be infringed.

Open Carry is a symbol of freedom;

It is the American Flag.

It is kryptonite to the bad guys.

It is the first responder.

It is the bold, beautiful face of the 2nd Amendment.

Tony Snesko, Founder
Idaho Carry, Open & Concealed
[email protected]
(Some of the points in this paper were contributed by Mainsail and other proponents of Open Carry and firearm publications.)
 

I enjoyed your write-up on this and find it really well written. I personally do both depending on how I feel that day. I also look at how I am dressing that day too. When you open carry you need to be mindful of how you present yourself. I feel that how you portray yourself says a lot about all of us carriers and can put a bad taste about the subject in the general public.
 
I makes no sense to me to understand the deterrent value open carry has for avoiding criminal attacks... and then not open carry where the criminals are the thickest and the chances for those who are concealed carrying and look like victims being attacked are the highest.

Aside from that the OP has many exceptionally good points.
 
I makes no sense to me to understand the deterrent value open carry has for avoiding criminal attacks... and then not open carry where the criminals are the thickest and the chances for those who are concealed carrying and look like victims being attacked are the highest.

Aside from that the OP has many exceptionally good points.

I can understand it. In some areas it would be a status symbol for a group of gang members to attack the one lone guy with the gun to take it away from him. In that situation (and pretty much in that situation only), I can see the openly carried firearm presenting a desirable target rather than a deterrent (neglecting police officers on power trips that I will never cater to). With that being said, I can't imagine myself putting myself in such a location for any reason. However, every day ordinary life where I have a many, many times greater chance of encountering the criminal who is looking for a few easy dollars and credit cards from a wallet, it does not make any sense to not take advantage of deterrence when available. The chances of "getting shot first" during a crime is so minute, to use that as the deciding factor to hide my gun would by like wearing a steel helmet every day to keep from getting hit in the head by a flower pot thrown off a roof by a monkey.
 
Perhaps I should drive a Chevy to work and the Ford going out to dinner.

Method of carry is up to the individual. As with which firearm to carry, there is no blanket method that covers everyone. It's not rocket science, it's personal preference.
 
I can understand it. In some areas it would be a status symbol for a group of gang members to attack the one lone guy with the gun to take it away from him. In that situation (and pretty much in that situation only), I can see the openly carried firearm presenting a desirable target rather than a deterrent (neglecting police officers on power trips that I will never cater to). With that being said, I can't imagine myself putting myself in such a location for any reason. However, every day ordinary life where I have a many, many times greater chance of encountering the criminal who is looking for a few easy dollars and credit cards from a wallet, it does not make any sense to not take advantage of deterrence when available. The chances of "getting shot first" during a crime is so minute, to use that as the deciding factor to hide my gun would by like wearing a steel helmet every day to keep from getting hit in the head by a flower pot thrown off a roof by a monkey.
Some thoughts....

So there is a situation where open carry is not a deterrent and the carrier gets attacked.... yet if that person were carrying concealed would that mean that gang would not attack?

My problem with that is ... in the situation where a person is, for some strange reason, wandering around in the middle of no man's land with a gang looking them over it wouldn't matter if they were carrying openly or concealed... the gang would be considering attacking the one lone guy anyway.

And to my way of thinking there is another problem with the idea that open carry wouldn't have a deterrent effect on a gang but would actually cause an attack.... I wonder if there are any incidents where this has actually happened to an open carrier? I'm not asking you to prove it NavyLCDR.... just wondering if there are facts to support the oft thought idea that a gang would attack a open carrier just to get the gun but hiding the gun would somehow make a concealed carrier safer from a gang attack.

And I agree with you..... I can't imagine a set of circumstances that would put me wandering around in the middle of no man's land with a gang looking me over licking their chops whether I was carrying openly, concealed, or not carrying at all. It would make more sense for me to be somewhere normal and have a gang show up ... in which case I'd still be open carrying anyway.
 
So there is a situation where open carry is not a deterrent and the carrier gets attacked.... yet if that person were carrying concealed would that mean that gang would not attack?

Of course not. Contrary to belief that some hold, the concealed firearm is not a magic talisman that wards off criminals. Neither is the openly carried firearm, but there is certainly more chance that the criminal will be deterred by the known existence of a firearm rather than the mere possibility.

My problem with that is ... in the situation where a person is, for some strange reason, wandering around in the middle of no man's land with a gang looking them over it wouldn't matter if they were carrying openly or concealed... the gang would be considering attacking the one lone guy anyway.

100% agreed.

And to my way of thinking there is another problem with the idea that open carry wouldn't have a deterrent effect on a gang but would actually cause an attack.... I wonder if there are any incidents where this has actually happened to an open carrier? I'm not asking you to prove it NavyLCDR.... just wondering if there are facts to support the oft thought idea that a gang would attack a open carrier just to get the gun but hiding the gun would somehow make a concealed carrier safer from a gang attack.

I don't think a concealed firearm would make the person safer in the situation of a group of gang memebers attacking a lone person, or even two or three people together. But what I do think is that in the case of several gang members v. the lone person, the openly carried firearm is not going to have nearly the deterrent effect that it would have on the more routinely encountered criminal of opportunity working alone.

FBI ? 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment

"Typically firearms are acquired through illegal purchases; straw purchases via surrogates or middle-men, and thefts from individuals, vehicles, residences and commercial establishments. Gang members also target military and law enforcement officials, facilities, and vehicles to obtain weapons, ammunition, body armor, police gear, badges, uniforms, and official identification." However, you have made me realize that I am a total hypochrite on this point. As you have done here, I also challenge the "you'll be shot first in a crime" crowd to prove their theory (which they never can). In this case, I am only theorizing as well. There is no indication in real life, that I can find, that would suggest that Joe Civilian openly carrying a firearm would be more of a target to a group of gang members seeking status. I do not feel any increased danger in openly carrying my firearm in everyday life where I live. But I do feel it would increase risk to me if I were to walk down the street alone in the gang infested neighborhoods of Chicago, New York, or Detroit and that feeling has no basis in real life facts.

And I agree with you..... I can't imagine a set of circumstances that would put me wandering around in the middle of no man's land with a gang looking me over licking their chops whether I was carrying openly, concealed, or not carrying at all. It would make more sense for me to be somewhere normal and have a gang show up ... in which case I'd still be open carrying anyway.

Situational awareness and many other measures taken together to prevent a criminal attack will always far outweigh the presence of a gun, in my personal opinion.
 
*Yawn*

Carry the way you wish.... practice like your life depended on it (it does), and make sure you can draw quickly and accurately no matter how you carry.

This has been stated somewhere before, I feel. Maybe it's just deja vu.
 
NavyLCDR.... I have had much respect for you for a very long time and the honesty reflected in your last post (post #7) showed that respect is well placed.
 
I prefer CC simply because I feel that it gives me a tactical advantage and I do not want the attention that comes with open carry, but that's just me. If someone else wants to open carry that's his or her business, I have no problem with it.
 
I prefer CC simply because I feel that it gives me a tactical advantage
Just curious, what is the tactical advantage to wait until an attack is underway and you then have to "fix" the situation and jeopardize the lives of everyone in the area when the shooting starts? Do you shove your kids and wife behind something and start shooting? If you know that most criminals scope out the place before robbing it, wouldn't it be better for the protection of your wife and kids for the BG to see your gun and change his plans? To say that you want the tactical advantage means that you want to get into a dangerous gun fight rather than deter it. As for the OCer getting shot first, it doesn't happen. There is no record of that ever happening.
 
I open carry because I want the tactical advantage.

Sent from my HTCONE using USA Carry mobile app
I agree! I also prefer open carry because, unlike concealed carry's "tactical element of surprise" where you have to wait to be attacked before the bad guy is "surprised" to see you have a gun, I prefer open carry's "tactical element of surprise" of a side arm right where the bad guy can see my gun up front and deter him from attacking in the first place.... that way I don't have to deal with the bad guy in any way at all because he decided to wait and attack someone who looked as though they are unarmed and easy prey. You know... a concealed carrier for instance.
 
Not that I'd deliberately place myself in any of the worst urban neighborhoods in the country, but should I find myself in one, for some odd reason, you bet that I'd walk down the street like I fricken owned it, with every weapon I had in the complete open. If you walk amongst the wolves, then you damn well better be a wolf, too. (And then, as soon as you can...get the hell outta there.) FWIW, I pretty much OC all the time.
 
After living on Capitol Hill, 2 blocks from the "hood", you would get away with OC 1 or 2 times, but the very young teens who need to prove themselves to get in a gang, will ambush you. I had four cameras on my house and gun shots were heard every few nights. People were always wanting to view my cameras to see if they could find bad guys doing bad things. The teens are actually robbing people on the Washington Mall where there are police on every corner and then the BG's disappear into the subway system. No, never OC on their territory unless you really are looking for a gunfight, and either way, you lose, your life or your finances as you defend yourself in criminal and/or civil court.
 
There is an intermediate step between those two: I think you are supposed to retrieve your gun from concealment and loudly exclaim, "SURPRISE!".

If I have to draw my gun for any reason, I've already lost and I'm fighting for my life and those around me. No thanks, I’ve had enough of that in Nam and LAPD. I want the BG's to see my gun and find a safer victim, that is why I OC. Preemption is better than shooting and possibly dying - or - spend the rest of my life paying legal bills for the almost guaranteed civil suit. OCers don't shoot BG's, they make them change their plans. I'll leave the shooting the guys with the badges; the government pays their legal bills if the shooting is justified.
 
If I have to draw my gun for any reason, I've already lost and I'm fighting for my life and those around me. No thanks, I’ve had enough of that in Nam and LAPD. I want the BG's to see my gun and find a safer victim, that is why I OC. Preemption is better than shooting and possibly dying - or - spend the rest of my life paying legal bills for the almost guaranteed civil suit. OCers don't shoot BG's, they make them change their plans. I'll leave the shooting the guys with the badges; the government pays their legal bills if the shooting is justified.
I really like the part of your post I put in bold. May I use that (or small variations of it) in the future?

Oh... and the forum only lets me "like" your post once so consider my one "like" to be multiplied by 1000...
 
Tony, this is by far the best article I've ever read on the subject. Thanks for posting. I'm going to link to this thread when I am writing to legislators to get Open Carry in Texas. Thanks again; good job.
 
Nice article.

The only problem I have with OC, is that it is illegal in Northwest AR, with other parts of the state enlightened, that allow it, due to LEOs (and PAs) interpretation of an obviously controversial piece of legislation recently passed. The Arkansas State Police will arrest anyone OC'ing in any part of the state. Counties and local LEOs are more forgiving, in other areas. There is no consensus, hence the turmoil.

Here, open carry is like a box of chocolates, you never know what part of the state will put you behind bars.

Someone from Arkansas Carry put-up a graphic where OC friendly areas are located. I hope more green gets on the map, quickly.
 

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