To OC or Not to OC?

To OC or Not to OC?Few discussions spark the debate that Open Carry, or OC, does.

Many states allow open carry with restrictions that vary by state, and sometimes at lower municipal levels. Those who are in favor claim it can be a deterrent to crime, a reinforcement of our 2nd Amendment rights, and that it gives one quicker access to their firearm. Plus, if you have a really fancy gun or holster rig, it is your chance to show it off.

On the other side, some believe it can cause a criminal act to escalate faster because they see the gun and are more likely to shoot first. Another argument is that it frightens some people, there are some folks out there who fear guns to the point of being irrational. Many claim that they can draw from concealment as fast as many are able to from open carry, and they have the element of surprise.

For me, I have carried concealed for many years. I have the choice, and I opted not to open carry. I open carried for the first time recently due to an odd set of circumstances that made concealed carry impractical. Now, I do have a beautiful, custom made, tooled leather on the belt holster, and I used it that day. I even got several compliments on it, but I felt almost like I had a neon sign over my head that read “ARMED” in flashing letters. That’s me. I have friends who open carry, and don’t think anything of it, they are quite comfortable.

Everyone has their own reasons to OC or not to OC. If you are fortunate enough to live in an area where you have one, or both, options, be grateful and be smart. If you carry open be prepared with an intelligent response to someone who sincerely wants to know why. If you choose not to OC, remember, Concealed means Concealed. It is like “On or Off”, “0 or 1”. No half way, partially concealed, under a cover garment but peaking out or printing like a soggy newspaper.

Be smart and be safe.

Lynne Finch-Charlesworth

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