Carl of the Open Carry Movement; Don’t Be Carl

February 27, 2016  
Categories: Op-Eds

Dammit, Carl. You had one job. Just one job. Why are you rolling condition red and condition 1 at the Burger King?

It is not a matter of if, but when. With the rise of open carry, particularly of the AR and AK style of weapons, it’s only a matter of time before a negligent discharge does someone serious harm. It’s just a matter of statistics and probability. When you increase the number of those weapons out and about, it will happen.

Believe it or not, NDs even happen among trained military and LEO personnel (actually, considering the audience reading this, most of you will believe because you’ve seen it).  I can think of two NDs I saw in the Marines. Thankfully, one took place in a clearing barrel and the other in the Al Kut courthouse.

Someone is going to win that lottery here in open carry states. I’m here today give you a few tips so you don’t become the one, the only, the infamous, Carl of the Open Carry Movement.

Dress for Success

Now personally, I’m not that big of a fan of open carry. I didn’t say I think it should be illegal. I understand the premise of removing any barriers to our constitutional right to firearms and I know there are some places where open carry (vs. concealed) is your only option.

Even within the gun loving world though you find a pretty healthy debate between concealed and open carry. I like bourbon, you like scotch, but we all love whiskey so it’s cool.

I do however feel the need to divert for a moment and insist that if you choose to open carry a rifle, don’t look like a douche while you do it.

If you look like you just crawled out of your mother’s basement after binging all night on World of Warcraft, you can’t carry an AK-47 with you to the mall. I’m not sure that’s in the open carry statues or not, but I hope so. Granted, there is no appearance requirement to exercise a constitutional right, but if you really cared about said constitutional right you would treat it with more respect and dress better than some window-licker on a late night trip to Walmart to purchase another “wolf howling at the moon” shirt.

If I were to put on the Hadji man dress I bought when I was in Iraq, let my beard grow out and show up at the mall with an AK-47 to exercise my constitutional right, you would take notice now wouldn’t you? Appearance matters. If you insist it doesn’t, you’re not being intellectually honest. If you lack the ability to exude the professionalism we all hope is at the end of that weapon, then just don’t do it. If all your range time is spent increasing your kill/death ratio on Call of Duty, stay home. You can still serve your vital constitutional role from your mom’s basement. If we need you to keep the public safe, we’ll send you a text or something.

Moving on.

Open Carry

No Premature Discharge

You can make the case that a holstered sidearm in full control, on your body, should always have a round in the chamber. It is your primary method of response for the type of up-close and quick threats you are more likely to encounter. But if you insist that the rifle slung across your back in a carry fashion needs a round in the chamber, I’m going to call your bluff a little. It doesn’t matter how many times you watch that YouTube video and practice unslinging that rifle around your back in the mirror asking the reflection if it feels lucky. I doubt you’re going to accurately put rounds on target when the pucker factor hits a high 10.

In fact, since the time you actually need to do so will, for most of society, be the first time they ever heard the snap and crack of a bullet go by, I would actually prefer you take the few seconds to chamber a round and assess the situation before you start throwing down rounds downrange. After all, those rounds could rendezvous with my head. You know those high berms that are always behind your pretty zombie targets at the range? They are there for a reason, people.

Worse even than the collateral damage (often acceptable in war, certainly not here in America while I’m shopping at Target), is the negligent discharge. It is going to happen and if you are being silly about the threat level you face, it will happen to you first. If you stroll up in a tough neighborhood and you want to walk around at the tactical ready with a round in the chamber, whatever. Be my guest. But if you’re shopping for scented candles at Target…give me a break, brother. Having a round in the chamber of an AK that is slung over your back is ridiculous. Again, I don’t want most of you responding quickly with these weapons. I want you to think and assess the situation before you do anything stupid. As for most combat veterans, they are going to do the exact same thing before they start throwing down rounds. Think about that before you accuse me of being elitist.

Open carry

Stupid open carry

Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People

After all, that is one of the mantras of those of us who love the 2nd Amendment. But that doesn’t eliminate the risk Carl incurs when he acts like a dumbass.

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people and stupid people kill people too. Untrained people kill people. Call of Duty wannabes kill people.

Don’t be one of the people who kills people when it’s not morally and legally right to kill people. This whole article is really just a plea that you know your skill level and urge you to assess any situation where you think you might have to start pulling the trigger. Oh, and yeah, don’t dress like a douche.

I’m not going to open carry. It’s not my cup of tea. I’d rather be the armed guy no one knew about who gets to yell Yippie ki yay Mfer to Hans Gruber.

But I can’t stop you from drinking scotch just because I like bourbon. This is America.

Open carry open bottle with a gun

There’s a time and a place for pulling the trigger and going loud. Use good judgment.

Open carry is here, but it might not always be. I promise you, it won’t take too many douches like Carl to screw that up. Just a few unintended rounds in public will threaten 2A liberties far more than an Obama executive action double stamped by Hilary Clinton.

Don’t be Carl. No one likes Carl. If you don’t know who the Carl in the room is, you might want to look in the mirror. It might be you, brother. Learn the phrase, “Hey mom, I’m going to open carry my AK, how do I look?” For 99% of you, your day will be as good as an Ice Cube song because, like him, you won’t have to use your AK today.

How about we keep that round out of the chamber until you really need it.

Semper Fi, and Semper Fi one more time. Love your country, but think critically and question authority. Lady Liberty wants her panties back.

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Jeff Edwards

Jeff Edwards

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  1. Fred Woodbridge

    Australia does not have a Bill of Rights. That’s why one mad man’s actions could lead to nationwide confiscation. We do, and though a thousand mad men do mad, bad thing, our rights may not be infringed.

    That put to rest, what a refreshing article: a citizen who does not insult & pour bils all over his fellow gun owners merely for their mode of carry, but urges intelligent restraint. Well done.

  2. C.Rogers

    I don’t really agree with the admonitions on what someone should wear. I have a closet full of BDU pants in assorted colors because the price/durability ratio is extremely favorable. But, I ain’t going to Walgreen’s with a rifle either.

    I just don’t understand the “take your rifle shopping” mindset.

  3. 2hotel9

    Yep. The anti-2A crowd is absolutely waiting for accidents to exploit in their jihad against, well, everything. They already gleefully dance on the dead bodies of children for political gain, so don’t show us your shocked face when they do it again. Still. Look at their duplicitous back stabbing concerning free speech.

    Bottom line, train, exercise caution, be aware. Oh, and don’t vote for people who hate you, that is a good part of how we got into this situation to begin with.

  4. Sean Arronge

    Nothing is more communist than thinking that “Some one can ruin it for everybody” I could read no further.

    • Mad Duo Chris

      The one thing more communist than that is to do something stupid that you know will lead to a restriction of other people’s rights.

    • Wilson

      Maybe the reason he thinks that is because it’s true…

      On the topic of gun control, just look at the Port Arthur Massacre. One developmentally challenged individual, Martin Bryant, went nuts and caused Australia to adopt the “National Firearms Programme Implementation Act 1996”.

      One guy acting badly caused 18.61 million people (at the time) to lose their gun rights.

      If you don’t think several states would act to curtail OC of rifles once some idiot had an ND and blew some six year old’s head off at Burger King, you’re dreaming.

    • Simon Mitchell

      Mate, I came to the US from Australia. One moron resulted in 750,000 of us being disarmed.

  5. Wilson

    Great article.

    Often people don’t seem to think about/know what they’re doing with a rifle. You can find threads on gun sites where people ask the most basic questions, questions that make it clear they haven’t owned the thing very long and obviously didn’t bother to read the manual for it. The silver lining I guess is that they’re trying to find out now. This gets into the whole discussion about the responsibility that comes with rights, but I won’t get into that.

    One of the things that people don’t seem to think about when carrying a rifle in condition 1 is that it’s actually easier than most people think to catch the safety on your clothing/kit and knock it to the off position. I’m not saying it happens all the time but it does happen. I know this because it’s happened to me.

    I imagine this is part of why when people have an ND many of them swear up and down that the safety was on. IMHO, in 1/3rd of these cases the safety probably was on… right up until it wasn’t.

  6. Mad Duo Chris

    By the way, one OCer already had a public ND while “guarding” a recruiting station..

    “A police report said 28-year-old Christopher Reed was holding the rifle outside the recruiting station near the River Valley Mall in Lancaster, Ohio, about 40 miles southeast of Columbus, at about noon when someone asked to look at the weapon. While Reed was clearing the ammunition from the rifle, he accidentally fired a shot into the pavement.”

  7. Mad Duo Chris


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