2nd amendment tensions are high. It seems as if every other news report has the word "gun" or "shooting" splattered across its headlines and unfortunately, most of these stories leave a negative connotation, righteously or otherwise. Staying abreast of these situations and stories is important as a responsible gun owner, let me explain why.
Being aware of the current court of public opinion will provide you with important information that helps you protect yourself and your loved ones, and will even help form our thoughts and the ways that we act with and around our weapons.
For instance, while you are getting ready for your day putting your watch on your wrist, and your wallet in your pocket, you may wonder to yourself, "Should I conceal carry today or should I open carry?"
Let me be clear, there is no right or wrong answer to that question. With pros and cons to both, you must do what is most comfortable for you. However, it would be irresponsible to decide between the two with no consideration of the court of public opinion and how the political climate towards guns should be taken into account when deciding whether or not to, specifically, conceal vs. reveal.
One of the most recent and outlandish news stories you should be aware of, is a concealed carry holder being tackled in a Florida Walmart for...wait for it....having his legally owned weapon concealed on him (albeit obviously not well enough). Yet regardless of how well concealed his weapon was or was not, this is an important representation of the consideration we need to take when choosing whether or not to open or conceal carry.
This man was not "open carrying", he was not brandishing his weapon in any way shape or form. In fact, he had not even crossed the threshold of the store before he was assaulted, tackled and held to the floor because someone detected his gun and immediately assumed the worst.
So what does this mean for you? A conceal carry permit does not protect you from stupid.
Open carry laws do not protect you from ignorance. It is foolish to assume that everyone knows and thinks in a rational way about guns.
Ultimately the choice is yours whether or not to conceal or reveal, but make sure your choice is an educated one and that you are prepared for the possible consequence one way or another.
My goal is not to bad mouth one or the other form of carry. My goal is to help you make better decisions on a daily basis when it comes to your rights and protecting your loved ones.
To illustrate, let me offer you a conversion story. Several years ago, a young buck decided that he wanted to become a police officer. He was drawn to help people. He was drawn to protect. So for that he suffered blood, sweat, and tears for several months in order to become part of a brotherhood that few will experience. He became a police officer for one of the largest police departments in the southern states. Given a gun and a badge, he was ready to take on all the evil in the world. Because of his zeal, he was a hardcore open carry advocate. Polished badge placed right next to his city issue sidearm, he made sure he was packing everywhere he went - out loud.
When asked why he open carried he was ready. He had thought long and hard about what response he would give. "I'm specially trained. If there is a situation where bad guys need to shoot at someone, I want them shooting at someone who can defend himself and shoot back."
Noble, selfless, and stupid.
Though his intentions were good, his execution was bad. You see, what he imagined was a world where he was always at the top of his game. A world not like the one we live in today when evil can strike anytime and anywhere; where criminals are becoming more bold and more deadly.
In the real world you are not always on top of your game. Some days you may be tired, some days you may not focus or notice things that you should. But regardless of how you feel, with a gun on your hip the target on your back is always glowing strong. You simply cannot keep your head on a swivel at all times. Living in a constant state of paranoia is exhausting. And despite your how noble your goals may be, you're no good to your loved ones if you are dead.
Why risk the target? Why risk someone getting one up on you?
For myself, I learned the hard way. Surprise is your ally if you are the one surprising someone else.
For that reason I conceal carry, and I urge everyone who reads this to do the same. I have yet for someone to offer me a viable opinion as to why open carry is better, and I'm still open to the discussion. But until that time, my wheel gun and pocket holster are getting along just fine.
Be Prepared. Stay Vigilant. Remember that YOU are your first line of defense.