Open carry and the Texas movement.
I live in a state that licenses the loaded carry of handguns. This state is Oklahoma, which is very close to the state of Texas where we are now seeing the Open carry movement issue come about. Texas is a licensed conceal carry only state and it goes tot he extent of even the act of printing is a violation of law but you can open carry long guns or antique pistols but is it a good idea to do so? In my opinion the answer is, "Not in the way it is currently being done."
I am Pro Second Amendment, the NFA SUCKS, and while I choose to open carry when I am legally allowed to I also understand the reason why conceal carry in some area's is better. I am still pretty new to the firearms discussion, while I grew up in a rural state most of that time was in a decent sized city. I was around a few long guns that were used for hunting only and at the time believed like many children that handguns were for the police to protect people. As I got older I knew guns existed and I purchased a .22lr for target practice. I was married to someone at the time who pretty much hated guns and the .22 didn't last long. At around the age of 30 I was remarried and living in Oklahoma City the place wasn't the greatest so I went to a local chain store and purchased an 870 clone with an 18.5 inch barrel. I started helping a friend who had a very large building that had been purchased and had some problems with break ins with tools being stolen and other things being vandalized. For a few months I stayed in my small RV with my wife inside of the building and kept my 870 with me but it soon became apparent that with minimal lighting a flashlight and a shotgun were not a good mix so my first handgun was purchased a M&P .40 Full size with no external safety. About three weeks later a teenager snuck into the building after climbing up some scaffolding and my wife spotted him, the M&P was a complete extension of my body and the easiest way I can explain it was even though I had little training it was an extension of myself. The teenager was caught and learned a lesson that day as did I though they were extremely different. He learned to stay out of that building as did his "friends" who ran across the street when they heard yelling and I learned I LOVED my pistol. I know have a few other firearms including another M&P in .45 as well as my self assembled AR15.
Now with that all said I also understand that some people are hoplophobic they plain don't want to be around armed citizens. And I believe that my rights come right up to the point where another person's rights begin. It's a simple explanation of how I look at things. I have the constitutional right to free speech and I am choosing to exercise that right all the time, but I do not have the right to use my right to prevent someone else from using the same right. It's a kind of ying yang approach to things. I have the right to own and bear arms and other people also have the right to choose not to but do I have the right to force them to see and/or be around them. The answer is no. . . now I know that I do open carry and you can then take that to the point of because I open carry that I am forcing them to see my firearm. The thing is that the way I choose to carry isn't the obvious here it is hanging out there for everyone to see in the middle of my chest look at me. My weapon is on my side in a BlackHawk SERPA CQC holster and just the other day I was speaking with a young lady at the ammo cases in a large department store who informed me that the store would soon be carrying firearms. She made the comment she doesn't really like them and I laughed slightly and she gave me a puzzled look. My forearm rests right across the grip of my weapon and I moved my arm and said "You've never noticed, have you?" She looked and actually saw what she had not seen in the multiple meetings before. It required me speaking and drawing attention to the fact that I was armed and this is the way it should be for most people. . . there are always a few observant people who will automatically see and often times these are people who carry themselves but going into an urban area on top of a private business and screaming as loudly as possible "Look at me I have a gun." just isn't the greatest idea in the world in my book.
It would be much better suited to invite the media or the public for a sit down and talk about the subject that you are wanting to progress. Get involved with the politicians who are writing the laws and work to make sure those politicians are educated on the good that can come out of the ability. Most people I talk with choose concealed carry for one reason or another most often that they feel a criminal will be more apt to try and disarm them or will specifically target them if they see the weapon. The way I see it and have heard is that when a criminal sees an armed target they would rather move on rather than risk a confrontation. In fact I was in Phoenix, AZ while visiting my daughter in law and had contact with an officer while walking my dog. He told me a story about a group of men who were found armed in a car in the parking lot of a 24 hour restaurant. One of the men had went inside to "look around" and saw a group of people who were eating and open carrying. He went outside to his buddies and they decided to wait until the men left before entering to commit a robbery. While I don't want to see any business robbed or any people subject to that type of violence I also don't want to be part of the violence myself. Luckily in this situation the people carrying did act as a deterrent and a police officer noted a group sitting in a car waiting and decided to check things out.
If those people in Texas want to carry rifles openly and spread their message at the very least they could speak with the business manager or owner before holding their demonstration going into a national chain store or restaurant to force the issue is changing policy on a national level and it has a tendency to almost literally shoot firearm owners in the foot. You can see this with the recent happenings with Chilli's and Sonic as well as in the past with the "thank you StarBucks" mission as those places have now said either please don't open carry or simply please don't carry in our restaurants. The same type of thing has also happened with those mom's who demand some action targeting Staples and recently in Tulsa, OK where the group was asked to leave after making issues about other patron's who were politely carrying. Most store's, ESPECIALLY the big chains do not want to alienate anyone so the easiest way to do so is no matter what your personal opinion is be it regarding to firearms, sexual preference, race, gender, nationality or even religion is to simply have no policy other than to accept everything and follow applicable state laws. This can be seen all the time like when the "MOMS" began to aim at Target over their non policy regarding firearms.
And even though I prefer to open carry there are times when I am respectful about it, if I am going into a restaurant where there are many children especially young children I will often pull my shirt over my firearm to be respectful of them and their parents. I also stop to help other people when they are having car problems even if its just to make sure they are ok. It's much easier to win people over with kindness and caring than hate and contempt no matter the situation.
Stay safe out there, America. The crazies are always out on the prowl.