Tuesday, December 29th

Why I’m Against the Open-Carry Handgun Law

handgun

This Friday, January 1st 2016, the open carry law takes effect giving licensed gun owners freedom to wear their firearms in plain site. Up until now, the law allowed for concealed firearms, so the argument has been, wouldn’t you rather see who’s walking around with guns? 

Um, no. Not in the slightest. Without turning this into a discussion about political leanings and beliefs, guns don’t make me feel safe. They make me feel scared. And I feel that seeing someone walking around in public with a gun holstered to their body is going to be intimidating to those of us who are unarmed. Without even distinguishing between the good guys and bad guys, the very presence of firearms changes the setting. There are places where I expect to see guns, like when I get off an airplane in Mexico. But when I’m pushing my baby in a stroller around Town Lake, or having coffee with a friend, I’d prefer not to feel scared or intimidated.

And what is the point of open-carrying, if not to intimidate? I’ve seen some feedback from pro-gun folks who think it’s a bad idea because it could make the carrier a target. If the shit is going to go down, isn’t it wise to take out the person with the gun first? What exactly is the benefit to anyone to have firearms out in the open?

I only hope that the state’s almost million registered gun owners choose to keep their firearms hidden, or better yet, locked up at home. But I guess that remains to be seen. I hope that many companies exercise their right to ban open-carrying in their establishments, such as the following businesses have done:

  • Chili’s
  • Chipotle
  • HEB
  • Panera Bread
  • Randall’s
  • Sonic
  • Starbucks
  • Target
  • Whataburger
  • Whole Foods

I’m not trying to change anyone else’s views here or debate the Second Amendment. So if you’ve stumbled on this post and are looking for a fight in the comments section, I’m not interested. You aren’t going to change my mind about what makes me comfortable. But thoughtful discussion is welcome.

And yes, most states have some degree of open-carry laws in effect. For a quick explanation of permission vs. non-permissive states, you can find more information here.

6 Responses

  1. Emily says:

    Completely agreed. I don’t feel safe seeing a bunch of people walking around with firearms, especially given how lax the security measures are for those wanting to obtain them.

    I’m not someone who thinks that all guns/gun owners are bad. I grew up with guns in the house because my stepfather is from rural Washington and loves to hunt. The guns were kept in a 100% secure, locked safe that we were never, ever allowed to access. We were always taught that guns are not a toy and anyone who wants to use a gun someday needs a lot of serious training before they are allowed to touch one. Sadly, a lot of people in this country, including lawmakers, apparently weren’t raised in that same school of thought.

  2. Mary Helen says:

    I completely agree. I was raised in a house with guns and was taught to treat them as deadly, and that is exactly what they are. I don’t want to frolic in a public park alongside someone carrying a human-killing device. There is no way for me to feel safe walking around with people handling guns when I have no idea what their training, background, or intentions are. What’s more, I feel like brandishing deadly weapons automatically escalates normal human interactions into life or death situations. Going about your business in a public place should not feel like a life or death situation. We should all have the right to feel reasonably safe in public places and I feel that open-carry infringes on that considerably. Boo!

  3. I am completely with you on guns making people feel afraid rather than safe 🙁

  4. Lex says:

    I honestly don’t think more guns in the hands of untrained and in some cases unhinged or worse, unbalanced people is a good idea. While someone that passes a background check and can then buy a handgun legally doesn’t make them a good person to own and / or carry one.

    What needs to be done is make it amply clear that if a gun is seen on an individual and there is a gun ban on said premises outside and inside, that the police will be called, everything will be sorted out by and to the letter of the law. Everyone that chooses to carry should have to submit to a psych evaluation every 4 years. If they don’t pass, they don’t get to have firearms, they get confiscated. If they don’t have them yet, they will receive a black mark on their record for background checks, stating in bad standing; psychological / psychiatric reasons to prevent them from legally purchasing guns and can’t get a carry permit, which means by law they can’t carry a gun on their person at all.

    I’ve submitted myself to just such a psych exam voluntarily; I passed many years ago, as I need to carry for a job (not that I wanted to carry in the first place) but I wanted to show that I’m capable psychologically speaking that I knew right from wrong and that I would faithfully follow the law, let alone enforce it as such. It was for an armed security / protection corporation, for which I will leave nameless (I haven’t received clearance to use their name in my post, that’s why I won’t use it). Even, while I was off duty, I was still required to carry my sidearms (hot and spare; similar to a police officer), just in case I was called in for an emergency. Thankfully that never happened, I never had to discharge my sidearms while on or off duty either. We did have monthly training though, which I am thankful for, kept me on target, should I actually need to take someone down. It was to keep us from hesitating or freezing up if the situation went from bad to worse in an instant.

    The general public at large doesn’t get this type of training, check-ups on skill and mindset, which they should. It’s these untrained people in public that are carrying without a clearly defined reason to carry bothers me a great deal.

  5. Corrin says:

    1. Amen.
    2. While I stand behind the companies banning open carry, what are they going to do if someone disregards the ban? Send an unarmed store manager to tell that person with a gun to leave? That won’t escalate quickly at all.

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