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    Default Open carry and what you should know before you do it

    ****Please, if you think you have a better thread link to expand on any subject touched here, please post it and I will check it out and add it****
    So, you have been thinking about OC(Open Carry), and now you think you are ready......

    In this Commonwealth, OC is an unlegislated right. Well, everywhere except Philadelphia, where you need to be Licenced to Carry Firearms in order to carry Concealed or Openly. There are many reasons to choose OC as a carry method, not the least of which is, "Because I can.". If this describes you, please, feel free, but know that there are possible consequences that you really should be prepared for. The choice to prepare is yours. If you choose to prepare, then follow along. I am going to present all the OC knowledge I can in this thread, to help prepare you for the experience. I will be giving general information and advice( I do so from my own research and personal experience- IN NO WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM, DO I CLAIM TO BE A LAWYER OR THAT THIS INFORMATION AND ADVICE WILL KEEP YOU OUT OF JAIL), and will include links for you to dig deeper. The main points to cover, as far as I am concerned, are Equipment, Training, Awareness, Knowledge, and Interactions.

    ***A quick word on OC'ing under the age of 21***
    It is perfectly legal to OC once you have turned 18, as long as you are not an otherwise prohibited person. There are problems that will arise from doing so, that you need to address before you do it, though. The most common is because you are not old enough to possess a LTCF, you may not get in any vehicle, including a bus or taxi, except for a very few, very specific exceptions. These include, but are not limited to, if you are going directly to, or coming directly from a place where you will be, or have been, engaged in target practice, if you have unloaded the firearm and separated the ammunition[6106(b)(4)], and it appears you may be covered if the vehicle you are operating is registered to you, your spouse, or your parent, and your spouse, or parent, owns the firearm and has a LTCF[6106(b)(13)](I would say that using this to drive somewhere to OC is a no-go, as the firearm could not have been loaned to you without a LTCF, and it is obviously not yours by transfer, if it belongs to someone else.). YOU MAY NOT JUST DECIDE TO GO OC, UNLOAD THE FIREARM FOR YOUR RIDE TO WHERE YOU ARE GOING(like to the grocery store), AND THEN LOAD UP AND OC WHEN YOU GET THERE, again, except for a very few, very specific instances which are excepted. PLEASE read the statutes and thoroughly understand how they apply to your situation, before going and finding yourself arrested. If you are unsure, ask someone who knows for sure.

    It is your right to just pick up your firearm, strap it on, and go off about your business OC'ing, if you so desire. BUT, I would suggest you learn all you can before doing so. Start with suggested equipment:
    1.) A good retention holster. .
    2.) A voice recorder. .
    3.) This flyer. Print off a few, carry them with you, and make sure you understand the content. This is one of the best resources you will find. It has good case law references and a wealth of information. LEARN IT, KNOW IT, LIVE IT!
    4.) Your LTCF. While a LTCF is not needed to OC anywhere but Philadelphia normally, the convenience of having one is huge. It allows you to be in possession of your firearm in a vehicle, it allows you to carry during a declared state of emergency, it allows you to carry in a Gun Free School Zone, and God forbid your clothing should accidentally cover your firearm while OC'ing, you're covered.
    5.) The 2009 MPOETC update pages that relate to OC. Print this and ALWAYS carry it with you when you OC. As lil'dobe pointed out in another thread, it is pretty hard for a cop to tell you it is illegal to OC when his own training manual is put under his nose. Reserve the Gun rights flyers for curious people.(Thanks lil'dobe!) Another suggestion is to remember that if a cop asks where you got this from, you should say it was obtained from the PSP's Right to Know unit. It is the truth and sounds better than, "Duh, I got it off the internets...".(Again, thanks dobe )
    Practice with both 1 and 2 until you are comfortable with their operation. Read and understand 3..thoroughly.

    This leads right into Training:
    1.) Professional training classes dealing with firearm carry are always suggested. The more you train, the better.
    2.) OC specific Retention training is strongly suggested. This should, at the very least, consist of Retention drills. While I personally don't believe a gun grab is a very likely scenario for a non-LEO Open Carrier, THE POSSIBILITY DOES INDEED EXIST, and the consequences of not preparing to defend against one can be drastic. Basic Retention training can be as simple as making sure you have an unloaded pistol, and having someone come try to sneak up and take it out of the holster. If you are involved in any type of self defense class or martial arts training, simply asking the instructor to go over some techniques could pay enormous dividends. If you are around the Pittsburgh area, check this thread and contact the principles for further info on any classes that may be upcoming. (I have seen nothing but praise for this class.) Part of that training is going to touch on Situational Awareness.. (Here is a link to the PGH area classes)

    Awareness:
    1.) Whether, or not, you are carrying a firearm, it is a great idea to be aware of your surrounding.
    2.) Open Carrying a firearm is an activity that fairly screams for you to be extra aware of your surroundings. While in the grocery store, you are stretching up to grab the last can of beans, totally intent on what you are doing, when the six year old of the lady gawking at your Desert Eagle reaches up to touch the shiny gun because his mother never taught him to respect others personal space. Awkward situation, no? Dangerous? Well, yeah. Maybe the kid has no shot at activating the firearm, but if a six year old could reach out and grab it with you unaware until it happens, who else could do so? Always be aware of your firearm, and your surroundings.

    Knowledge:
    1.) If you are going to carry a firearm, OC, CC, whatever, KNOW THE LAWS THAT APPLY. DO RESEARCH HERE. Even if you search the forums and come up empty, ask about what you are looking for and someone here will help you. There are more than a few people here who have been OC'ing for quite a while, who know the answer to just about anything you can think to ask...USE THIS RESOURCE!
    2.)SEE #1!
    3.) It bears repeating, you have the right to OC, whether you follow these suggestions or not, but please, PLEASE do not go out and OC, get into trouble and then come looking for help after the fact, expecting to be treated with kid gloves, especially if you should have known what to do before hand. If you do your homework, accept the risks and responsibilities, then you will find almost unlimited help here if you have a problem.
    Some threads that should be required reading for OC'ers:
    http://forum.pafoa.org/open-carry-14...ity-5-9-a.html
    http://forum.pafoa.org/concealed-ope...nsylvania.html
    http://forum.pafoa.org/concealed-ope...heres-why.html
    http://forum.pafoa.org/concealed-ope...ou-can-cc.html (post #9 has a few other links)
    http://forum.pafoa.org/open-carry-14...-why-i-oc.html
    There are probably a hundred OC related threads here... While the OCB thread is way long, there is a wealth of information starting on page 15..
    OASN~ While this applies to carry in general, for OC'ers it should be way up on the list- RESPECT PRIVATE PROPERTY POLICIES. There seems to be story after story of people OC'ing on private property, getting asked to leave, and then getting indignant about being asked to leave. Private property owners get to make the rules on their property, within the scope of the law. They have every right to tell you you may not be there because you have a gun. Malls seem to be a big issue. I will say this here on the chance that this is the one place someone who wants to OC will look before they do it.... Almost every mall has a no weapons policy. Oc'ing there will get you escorted off the premises almost 100% of the time. It serves no purpose, unless you have a fetish where you enjoy being told to leave someplace. Please don't OC at the mall.


    Interactions:
    Many people OC everyday with no problems, but there is always the possibility that you will have an encounter, just because someone can see your firearm.
    Know the laws. Know your rights. Be comfortable in that knowledge. Be prepared to deal with police, curious people, and hostile people.
    Police:
    All police officers in Pa., must undergo annual training updates. This year, OC is specifically addressed. The specific info is here
    The fact of the matter is that just Openly Carrying a firearm, in a holster, absent some indication of criminal activity, is NOT a valid reason for a police officer to stop you, detain you, arrest you, demand ID, or take possession of your firearm. Whether they will, or not, seems to depend on the officer. If they do, no matter how nice, polite, endearing, or childhood friend like, they seem, you would do well to say nothing other than, "Am I being detained? Am I free to go? I do not consent to any of this.". If they demand that you follow their instructions, comply with them exactly. When you consent to things during a police encounter, you very likely waive your rights. Just don't do it. Watch these don't talk to police part1 part2 BUSTED...
    ***I would like to preface this next advice with a link to an interesting thread of a police officer's POV of an encounter where the OC'er followed this advice to the letter, without even giving the officer a chance to explain why he approached him. I strongly suggest you read at least the first post***
    1.) If you carry a voice recorder, immediately start it as soon as you are aware of a police presence.
    2.) If the police approach you, DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FIREARM.
    3.) Everyone will react to a police encounter differently, but you really should be firm about exercising your rights. Do not let them bully you into waiving those rights. Remember that if you were not doing anything illegal, then the police have no right to demand, or take, anything from you. Do not volunteer anything.
    Some good stuff here. Explain that what you are doing is completely legal, and show them the MPOETC update that you should be carrying a copy of.
    4.) It would be advisable to know a firearm rights attorney's information.
    Some examples of police encounters:
    Annoying
    .
    Bad
    .
    Good
    .

    Curious people:
    If you OC as part of your daily activities, you are bound to encounter at least one person who is genuinely curious about why you are carrying a gun out for God and the world to see. While OC ambassadorship is not for everyone, it helps the cause to be friendly when someone approaches you asking about your firearm. This is a great reason to carry copies of the Gun Rights Flyer with you. If you are going to engage people in a conversation about Pa. Gun rights, please, please be knowledgeable on the subject. Don't pass along any information that you are not sure of, and direct them to this site or Paopencarry.org, for more information. Invite them to do more research on their own. Acting like you know what you are talking about, and perpetuating firearm myths, does about as much damage to our cause as illegal activity does, IMO.
    1.) Try to be polite.
    2.) Know what you are talking about. If you don't know something, say so and direct them to where they can find out.
    3.) If you have a flyer, give it out.
    Some examples of encounters with curious people:
    Good
    .
    Annoying
    .
    Bad
    .

    Hostile people:
    You may well also have encounters with people who, for whatever reason, feel that you are the Devil for carrying Openly. Again, while OC ambassadorship is not for everyone, try to be polite. Remember that if you act aggressively toward someone like this, the fact that you have a firearm may work against you. My general advice for non-LEO encounters is to just be yourself. I am not going to preach about turning the other cheek if some asswipe comes up and interrupts your anniversary dinner to tell you that you are a jerk for carrying like that, all I ask is that you remember, for your own good, that if you become a raving lunatic, it is probably not going to turn out well for you when the inevitable "Man with a gun having a fight" call gets answered. This ties in with situational awareness. Know where you are, what your surroundings are, and act accordingly. I have found that anything you do to respond to people like this, will be a complete waste of time, as anyone who is willing to be publicly uncivil toward someone carrying a firearm openly, is not very likely to be swayed by logic.
    1.) Try to be polite.
    2.) If you must engage in a pissing contest with someone like this, try to do so in a calm, dry tone.
    3.) Do not, under any unnecessary circumstance, reach for or imply that you will use, your firearm.
    4.) Try complaining about them to the management of wherever you might be at the time. Turn the tables on these guys for once
    5.) Just ignoring them is probably best.
    Some examples of encounters with hostile people: (I don't know of any that were other then bad, off the top of my head, if you do, post the link and why)
    Bad
    .

    Case law links
    Hawkins
    Ortiz



    ******************Again, if someone sees a glaring omission, please point it out and I will be happy to include it****************
    Last edited by headcase; October 26th, 2010 at 08:34 PM. Reason: ADDED LINK TO JUNE RETENTION CLASS

    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty
    than to those attending too small a degree of it."~Thomas Jefferson, 1791
    Hobson fundraiser Remember SFN Read before you Open Carry

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Open carry and what you should know before you do it

    Reserved for space

    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty
    than to those attending too small a degree of it."~Thomas Jefferson, 1791
    Hobson fundraiser Remember SFN Read before you Open Carry

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Open carry and what you should know before you do it

    May I also add that situational awareness is a MUST with any carry. But *I* feel especially so in the case of Open Carry.

    People can plainly see that you are carrying a firearm. And in most cases it is a deterrent in and of itself, however it can also be a downside in that a Bad Guy who is intent on robbing/mugging/or hurting you in whatever way is aware of the fact.

    The fact that if you are attacked or accosted they know WHERE your firearm is, and the fact that if they are willing to attempt something with the knowledge you are armed means they may be as well and will not hesitate to incapacitate you more quickly than a BG who may have been unaware you are armed. (Due to the surprise often associated with pulling a weapon from a concealed location)

    So as other members have stated before.

    1. A good retention holster.

    2. Drawing, target acquisition, and shooting from the draw, reholstering, are all things that should be practiced regularly to keep those skills sharp.

    3. Be aware of your surroundings and those around you at all times.

    4. And guard that gun on your hip with your life, have scenarios you train for, eg. attempted disarmament by BG's. ect. The last thing you want is to be shot with your own firearm.

    That's all I have to add, my two cents.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Open carry and what you should know before you do it

    Great post! lots of good info! Reminds me to do some refreshing!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Open carry and what you should know before you do it

    OK, I think that is all I've got for now. Let me know if I missed something..

    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty
    than to those attending too small a degree of it."~Thomas Jefferson, 1791
    Hobson fundraiser Remember SFN Read before you Open Carry

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Open carry and what you should know before you do it

    Quote Originally Posted by headcase View Post
    OK, I think that is all I've got for now. Let me know if I missed something..
    Great read to prep myself for voting today. I have a feeling theres going to be an MWAG call today.

    ETA: Someone sticky this please, also I can't give rep :/
    Quote Originally Posted by headcase View Post
    let them eventually bring the FBI to kill my wife and son over fucking chickens....

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Open carry and what you should know before you do it

    Great post...I plan on endeavoring to OC shortly, and it nice to have such a concise, informative, centralized thread on this topic.

    Rep sent.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Open carry and what you should know before you do it

    I don't OC much... But dam good write up!
    "R.I.P. Meleanie Hain (SFN) & 1861 " ΑΣΦ

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Open carry and what you should know before you do it

    I've mentioned this in the thread where that flyer is posted, but nobody has seemed to notice it. The link for Commonwealth v. Hawkins no longer works on the flyer.
    I am not a lawyer and nothing I say should be construed as legal advice.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Open carry and what you should know before you do it

    HC, this is a powerful start to what will surely become an outstanding thread. I see you have already edited it from late last night. It just keeps getting better.

    Bravo!


    damn broke rep button.
    I owe you one.




    ETA: w00t! 500, now I am thuper!
    While many claim to support the right, precious few support the practice.

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