Lot's of CC v OC skirmishing here lately. However, that is not why I post this.
I read it today and thought it was a good read and worth sharing... Enjoy
PS: I didn't write it.
OPEN CARRY VS. CONCEALED CARRY
Written By: Garry E. Harvey
Contributing Editors: OpenCarry.org Members
The purpose of this paper is to examine the two competing points of view within the handgun carry community and consider each one for its merits, both good and bad, from a common sense and logical point of view.
"AN ARMED SOCIETY IS A POLITE SOCIETY"
Weapons and firearms in particular have been personified by many in recent decades as being evil and able to impart that evil into anyone who chooses to wield the weapon. In the anti-gun community the only ones who appear to be immune from the gun's evil are those acting under the authority of government. It has been engrained into the minds of millions that ordinary citizens cannot and should not be trusted with the ability to use firearms for protection much less carry them into the public. Anyone who advocates such action is labeled evil, dangerous, or a vigilante. This line of thinking appears to be slowing eroding away as evidenced by the fall of the once prominent and powerful anti-gun lobby. The number of people choosing to carry a weapon for self protection has been growing steadily since the first laws were enacted. The cry of anarchy and blood running in the streets by the anti-gun lobby has proven false. As this has become more and more apparent, no thinks to the main stream media, the average citizen is beginning to change their minds over the issue. Criminals in an armed society know that their actions may garner them instant peril of death should they choose the wrong victim. That old saying still proves to be as true as it ever was, "An armed society is a polite society."
Carrying a pistol has been a part of my daily routine for going on four years. During that time I've taken almost every opportunity to speak with people from each end of the spectrum regarding the issue. Before I ever received my permit I remember part of a conversation I had with a party advocate for the Al Gore campaign in early 2000. Among the issues I posed to her during our conversation was that of Mr. Gore's support of gun control measures. She scoffed at me and snobbishly remarked that we didn't live in the Wild West. At the time I was not as well versed in the issue as I am now and really had no response although with her status I would have had more luck convincing a fence post otherwise. Over the next seven years I made it a point to broach the topic every chance I had with whoever I thought might have an interesting opinion on the matter. I researched the writing of the founding fathers and their predecessors with fervor. I studied the history of gun-control in America from the civil war forward, the rise of anti-gun organizations and those pro-gun organizations who rose in opposition to defend the constitution. Having made my decision as to which side I was on I was surprised at the sometimes hateful opposition to carrying a firearm openly by members of the pro-gun rights community. It is for this reason I have undertaken to write this for everyone within that community. Before I delve into specifics let me state firstly that how one chooses to carry their weapon is their own choice and should not be subjected to harassment from others who disagree with that choice. My purpose is not to hold one method above the other but rather detail the benefits of both and leave it to the reader to decide for his or herself which they prefer.
THE ELEMENT OF SURPRISE
The most prominent reason given by proponents of carrying concealed is the element of surprise. There are many hypothetical situations which have been posed to prove this point but they all boil down to the CRIMINAL not being aware of the ARMED CITIZEN as anymore of a threat than the UNARMED CITIZEN. The result is that the ARMED CITIZEN may reserve the option to use deadly force until the situation is favorable or not, should the threat cease.
What are the negatives associated with this logic and why is not perfect in all situations? Well, one must first assume they will not be the sole primary target but rather a third party or in a group setting. The element of surprise is quickly rendered null once you are at knife or gunpoint with nothing to distract your attacker. Assuming the attacker becomes distracted sufficiently enough to attempt a weapon draw the victim must consider the risk and added time needed to draw from a concealed location. If all factors are not in the victims favor then the attacker is likely to win as his weapon was already in the ready position.
Another reason given for favoring concealed carry is the fear or perceived risk of the weapon being taken by the CRIMINAL. In one of two versions the CRIMINAL takes the weapon after it has been drawn from the holster and pointed at him. This is commonly shown in movies where the CRIMINAL takes the gun as the ARMED CITIZEN is too afraid to shoot. Unless the attacker is suicidal or the firearm is incapable of firing for some reason, expect to see this situation stay in the movies. The second of the two concerns the CRIMINAL successfully taking the weapon from the holster before the ARMED CITIZEN can react. This has happened to police officers and so it could happen to the ARMED CITIZEN as well but consider this following difference. In all but a minority of cases, the CRIMINAL took the officer's weapon once being confronted by the officer or while being placed under arrest. The act was one of desperation as the reward of escape outweighed the risk of taking the weapon from the officer. Assuming the weapon is properly holstered in a professional manner, the ARMED CITIZEN would only pose a threat to the CRIMINAL within a self-defense situation; the risk to the CRIMINAL would be overwhelming in attempting to steal the weapon as this act would trigger the self defense reaction from the ARMED CITIZEN.
Another less logical reason for not carrying openly is that one does not want to appear to be "looking for trouble." This line of thought seems to have evolved from the anti-gun accusation that everyone who carries a weapon is looking for a fight. The illogical hypothetical given for example tends to go as follows. The CRIMINAL sees the ARMED CITIZEN carrying a weapon and for no logical reason chooses to confront the ARMED CITIZEN and instigate a fight which inevitably ends with the CRIMINAL winning. Upon close scrutiny the reason and the hypothetical posed do not match up. First, why would the CRIMINAL want to fight an armed opponent for no reason? The CRIMINAL would have to lack any kind of judgment, have no fear of death and believe he is the fastest shooter on earth, not to mention invincible to bullets. Finally, how exactly is the ARMED CITIZEN the one "looking for trouble" when the CRIMINAL prompted the confrontation? Was it not the CRIMINAL "looking for trouble" by targeting the ARMED CITIZEN and pushing him into a self defense situation? This line of thinking is similar to accusing a rape victim of wanting to be raped because she was supposedly dressed provocatively.
Although there are other reasons I've been given for carrying concealed the ones discussed have been some of the most prevalent, of the three only two hold some historical basis for concern but the last one falls apart upon a logical evaluation. The real reason for concealment has less to do with a tactical advantage I think and more to do with a social advantage. If the ARMED CITIZEN thinks he would be better served in a temporary social environment to have his weapon concealed then by all means do. An example might be that you're shopping at a local mall owned and operated by big city politically correct hacks that are obviously anti-gun. If you know they'll ask you to leave their property should they become aware of you exercising your rights, it would be understandable to conceal it from their view; that is if you have to shop there. Maybe you're going to church and you don't want to draw attention from the preacher and his sermon. Bottom line, you should conceal when you think it is reasonable and serves a nobler purpose, not because someone pressured you.
THE CASE FOR OPEN CARRY
BEWARE OF DOG/GUN
A sign, be it text, picture, or symbol, is something visual which communicates a clear message to the observer. The observer can choose to disregard the sign but nonetheless they are forced to consider the message before proceeding. Examples of signs conveying an important message would be "BEWARE OF DOG", "NO SMOKING", "EMERGENCY EXIT", or the more ominous "DEADLY FORCE AUTHORIZED". Each sign aids the observer in any potential decision making. Of course, the observer may choose to ignore the warning but this choice will be made based on whether the potential reward outweighs the risk.
The case for open carry is simple. I would submit that in much the same way that a sign works, when the ARMED CITIZEN carries his weapon in the open it communicates a clear message to any observer. To an observer who has no intention of causing harm or using illegal force the sign should be meaningless. However, when the CRIMINAL observes this same sign he must reconsider whether the potential reward outweighs the risk. Where the risk was simply being caught or having to physically overpower the UNARMED CITIZEN it now suddenly rises to potentially enduring great pain and death when confronting the ARMED CITIZEN. Do insane or even desperate CRIMINALS exist who would disregard such an obvious sign and follow through with an attack? As with any possibility the answer is YES but even though they exist their actions do not support the opposing view that open carry should be avoided. They can still be potentially stopped by the ARMED CITIZEN once he becomes aware of the CRIMINALS intent to present a lethal threat.
With regard to the element of surprise discussed earlier, open carry actually supersedes the need for surprise. If carrying openly causes the CRIMINAL to avoid you and those around you as his victims then the need for surprise is negated. Your display of an ability to employ deadly force has avoided the confrontation before it even began, avoided the threat to your life and having to actually use your weapon. As the CRIMINAL moves on to easier prey you will likely never be aware it even happened.
THE REAL PROBLEM WITH OPEN CARRY
What is the real reason some shy from open carry? I believe it to be fear; the anxiety of having to confront someone hostile to their choice to carry a weapon for personal defense. As a pro-carry activist I welcome it but I can understand where a large section of armed citizens do not. Are their times when it is expedient to conceal your sidearm, defiantly? Should you feel ashamed to carry it openly, NO! Hundreds of thousands of people have fought state after state to pass legislation to restore that right which was once only granted at the behest of local law enforcement.
Anti-gun hacks claim to have a right to "feel safe." This non-existent right has been twisted from the right to "be secure in one's person and effects" a right I exercise whenever I carry my weapon. The anti-gun crowd has the twisted perception that the weapon and not the criminal is the threat. They will and have called the police to harass the ARMED CITIZEN; I advise you show your permit and carry on. They may card you as many times as they wish as I long as you know you are legal nothing they do should stop you from carrying openly.
We, the pro-carry citizens, have to stop criticizing each other. We have to stop playing footsy with the politically correct crowd and stick together. Public opinion can be swayed in our favor if we as law abiding citizens can show through open carry that we are safe, caring individuals whose only want is to be able to defend our family and ourselves from needless victimization. Ben Franklin said it best when he explained that "the very fame of our strength and readiness would be a means of discouraging our enemies; for tis a wise and true saying that one sword often keeps the other in the scabbard. The way to secure peace is to be prepared for war. Those who are on the guard and appear ready to receive their adversaries are in much less danger of attack than the secure, the supine, and the negligent."
2007, Garry Harvey. This document may be reproduced with the condition that it be kept in it's entirity and cited accordingly.