Open Carry: There Are No More Excuses For It

chris hernandez state farm
February 12, 2016  
Categories: Op-Eds

Open Carry -a divisive subject if we’ve ever come across one. In today’s op-ed, Hernandez weighs in. We know not everyone will agree (not all of us agree on any given subject unless it’s about terrorists being shot in the face) and by all means, you’re allowed to express your dissent. Just try not to needlessly inject too much invective. We welcome discussion, skepticism and outright disagreement. Just don’t be a dick about it.  Mad Duo

Grunts: Invective

Last July, a man walked into an Austin, Texas hotel lobby with a rifle. Someone called the police. At that point, he was a law-abiding open carrier. Two minutes later the police received another call. The man had killed an innocent taxi driver.

I know what OC advocates are thinking: “It’s terrible that someone called the police on a citizen lawfully exercising his 2nd Amendment rights. They had no reason to call the police until he started shooting.”

open carry. Austin shooting scene. Photo credit

Austin shooting scene. Photo credit

This past Halloween, an innocent citizen exercised his 2nd Amendment rights by openly carrying an AR-15 down a quiet street and into a building in Colorado Springs (he also had a gasoline can). This wasn’t normal in Colorado Springs; OCing a rifle has never been a normal act in American society. We don’t have a tradition of walking around the neighborhood, mall, supermarket or school with a long gun. We arm up in times of crisis, and in some rural areas people carry rifles for specific reasons, but we don’t walk around with rifles “just because”.

The open carrier in Colorado Springs caught peoples’ attention. Someone called the police. A dispatcher explained that OC is legal in Colorado, and if the man was simply exercising his OC rights nothing could be done. However, since he had walked into a building with the rifle and a gas can, maybe he was committing a burglary. She assigned the call to patrol, but at a low priority; the worry was about a possible burglary, not about the openly-carried rifle.

Other, higher-priority calls were dispatched first. From a strictly legal standpoint, that makes sense; the man wasn’t breaking any laws. OC activists, I’m sure, would bristle at the suggestion that police should have been sent at all. Those activists have long maintained that a law-abiding citizen legally carrying a rifle presents no threat whatsoever to the public.

Ten minutes later, the person who originally called 911 called back. The innocent OCer had killed a bicyclist who happened to ride into the area. The open carrier then walked half a mile down the street and killed a woman on the front porch of a house. Another woman opened the door to see what was going on. The man killed her too. Police arrived minutes later and shot the man.

But until he actually started shooting people, he was a law-abiding open carrier.

Colorado Springs shooting scene

Colorado Springs shooting scene

A few months ago a domestic terrorist killed three people, including a police officer, in an attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic. We don’t have many details of how the attack played out, but we do know the man had a rifle. I have to assume that at some point the man walked through a public area with his rifle before he started shooting.

OCers might argue that nobody should call the police on a man with a rifle walking toward a Planned Parenthood clinic, because until he raises his weapon and shoots at someone he’s no threat. Well, I call bullshit on that.

Officer Garrett Swasey, killed in the Planned Parenthood attack

Officer Garrett Swasey, killed in the Planned Parenthood attack

Most 2nd Amendment advocates oppose “exercising our rights” in a way intended to scare the public. Many see rifle OC as unnecessary, provocative, self-defeating, confrontational, and just stupid. I and some other 2A advocates react to rifle OC with disgust, because it creates enemies and convinces the undecided that all gun owners are dangerous lunatics. I see a logical contradiction inherent to rifle OC and its practitioners: “Rifle OC isn’t a threat at all” versus “rifle OC is a message to the government that we can fight back”. Open Carry lunacy is the hallmark of gun-rights extremists, and within the gun right community OC activists are widely disliked (and insulted, and mocked, and caricatured).

Washington State Open Carry rally

Washington State OC rally

Now that we live in an age of terrorism, this isn’t just a matter of poor taste. We have multiple organizations, including ISIS, planning, encouraging and celebrating mass shooting attacks. 130 innocent people slaughtered in Paris prove what an organized mass shooting attack can do.

In light of this threat, do OCers still advocate carrying a rifle in public as a form of protest?

There is such thing as a peaceful OC rally where gun owners safely carry rifles slung across their backs. Then there are belligerent OCers walking around with rifles up front in combat-ready holds. There was the Arizona doctor who walked into an airport with an AR-15 to make a point (that point being, “even doctors can be total morons who do ridiculously stupid things”). Another brave OCer carried an AR-15, with a hundred-round drum no less, into an airport to drop off his daughter. Those OCers carry just to get a reaction, then yell “help help, I’m being repressed!” when they get the police response they wanted. They carry in a way that allows them to immediately shoot someone and then argue that the way they carry poses no threat.

But those of us with training can go from this:

open carry

to putting rounds on target:

open carry MAR-M-4-Carbine

in less than a second. The fact that OCers appear to not know this just proves they’re untrained in addition to having bad judgment.

open carry timthumb

OCing a rifle in a combat-ready hold is no different than carrying a pistol out of the holster. It’s no different than holding an axe over your head, ready to swing. It’s a threat of imminent use. OCers can’t argue they’re brave anti-government warriors showing their willingness to shoot it out with police, then say walking around with a rifle is harmless.

"Support open axe carry! What, are you afraid of an inanimate object?"

“Support open axe carry! What, are you afraid of an inanimate object?”

So let’s call it what it is.

Rifle OC is fucking stupid. It’s not done to keep the peace, it’s done to get attention and create confrontations. And those of us with actual training and experience, especially those of us who carry concealed pistols to defend ourselves, our families and innocent people around us, have to react when we see someone carrying a rifle ready to engage in public. For those of us with a sworn duty to protect the public, OC creates even more problems. This isn’t about police overreaction; after aaallll the mass shootings we’ve had in America, and after the horrors of the Paris attack, any police officer who ignores Random Guy Walking Down The Street With A Rifle is guilty of criminal negligence.

So cut it out, open carriers. OC a pistol if you must (that’s not such a good idea either, but relatively speaking it’s the difference between gonorrhea and syphilis). But leave the rifles at home. Rifle OC doesn’t show us freedom-hating cops that the citizens are armed and capable of resisting tyranny; we already know that. We’re usually criticized for acting like everyone’s armed, not like nobody’s armed. You and your rifle don’t do anything except make yourselves look like self-centered assholes.

Now that we’ve seen, over and over, what kind of damage a murderer with a rifle can cause, we sane 2A advocates have a responsibility. If we want to maintain 2nd Amendment freedoms for ourselves, children and grandchildren, we need to oppose the mindless stupidity personified by OC activism. Scaring the public with rifles isn’t exactly the best way to show why we citizens should own ARs and AKs. The Founding Fathers recognized the right to bear arms for a reason: they didn’t want American citizens to fight tyranny with pitchforks against cannon, as so often happened in Europe. It’s safe to say they didn’t want a bunch of untrained dipshits swaggering around town showing the world they could massacre everyone around if they feel like it.

So next time some OC activist/anti-tyranny warrior thinks he’s defending freedom by waving an AK in your family’s face, those of us who support the 2A and have brains should tell them that fellow innocent open carriers have already committed murders. We should point out the feelings of rapturous joy that mass shootings bring to our sworn enemies. And then we should tell those brave open carriers to quit being such idiots and put their rifles away.

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Chris Hernandez

Chris Hernandez

About the Author

Chris Hernandez may just be the crustiest member of the eeeee-LITE writin' team here at Breach-Bang-Clear. He is a veteran of both the Marine Corps and the Army National Guard who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also a veteran police officer of two decades who spent a long (and eye-opening) deployment as part of a UN police mission in Kosovo. He is the author of White Flags & Dropped Rifles - the Real Truth About Working With the French Army and The Military Within the Military as well as the modern military fiction novels Line in the Valley, Proof of Our Resolve and Safe From the War. When he isn't groaning about a change in the weather and snacking on Osteo Bi-Flex he writes on his own blog. You can find his author page here on Tactical 16.


  1. Shorty Lickens

    Its interesting to me a year after this article there was a very serious and deadly open carry incident in America.
    A bunch of nazis and klansmen decided to open carry in Charlottesville and the end result was one fatality & 19 serious injuries. Interestingly, no shots were fired.
    It was the act of open carry by obvious nutjobs that created a tense and ultimately deadly situation. Which further supports the argument open carry just causes problems and does not act as a deterrent.

  2. Mark W

    I see a lot of little sniveling children ranting here, Chris and OCer’s both included.

    While I may piss a lot of you off on both sides, I will say this; Chris, get a better education in literature and writing bro. Your writing needs a lot of work to express the points that you are attempting to make; it just comes out wrong, because of how you word it.

    To the OCer’s condemning and insulting Chris, pull your heads out of your asses and stop making assumptions based on what was NOT SAID by Chris.

    Chris: From a historical perspective, OC of long guns was a fairly normal part of society, in many parts of the country, until about 85 years ago, so Chris, you are very wrong. And OC carry of long guns becoming the norm again COULD be a great benefit to society now… TRAINING, TRAINING, TRAINING, but it’ll never happen for most.

    OCer’s insulting Chris with rabid veracity: How appropriate do you think it is for someone to openly walk around with an AR or AK, high capacity magazine equipped and round chambered? Many “trained” persons in both military and law enforcements couldn’t hit what the broad side of a barn under the stress and pressure of a firefight, BECAUSE they don’t actually train to do so. The soldier jockeying a desk isn’t a gunfighter, the average patrol officer or police investigator isn’t a gunfighter, and NEITHER ARE YOU!!! Do you really feel it’s appropriate for a person with only basic firearms training to carry a high capacity battle rifle clone, that they will most likely use in a SHTF situation, without regard to anything more than self preservation (remember, spray and pray is common in combat zones while moving toward cover); remember, when the OCer with an AR is in a SHTF situation, you who are capable of eliminating the same threat will most likely become a target as well, due to his lack of training and inability to assess friend from foe in a moment of fear, all they see is you with a ‘gun’.

    If you all stop shit talking long enough, perhaps intelligence could have an opportunity to take over, and a suggestion on how to have a higher concentration of OCer’s with long guns getting the necessary training, to benefit society in safe protective manner, could be thought of.

    And for the record; I both conceal and OC, depending upon circumstances, and have nothing against either, but know for a fact that untrained people doing either are a danger to themselves and others, especially when SHTF.

    • Mad Duo Chris


      To be fair, I did originally try to address this issue in a moderate, friendly tone. However, even though I had written extensively on the importance of the 2A and armed citizenry, I still got the “YOU’RE AFRAID OF GUNS AND YOU HATE AMERICA!” response. I came to the conclusion that OC extremists are no different than any other kind of extremist; if you’re not 100% in agreement with them, they consider you 100% on the other side. So I gave up trying to address it peacefully. Reasonable debate doesn’t work on extremists, and I’m not trying to convince them of anything. I’m trying to show the undecided that not all gun owners think it’s cool to walk into Chipotle with an SKS to buy a burrito.

      As far as OCing a rifle being normal in America, I stated it was done for a specific purpose in specific situations. My exact quote (in addition to saying OC wasn’t normal in American society) was, ‘We don’t have a tradition of walking around the neighborhood, mall, supermarket or school with a long gun. We arm up in times of crisis, and in some rural areas people carry rifles for specific reasons, but we don’t walk around with rifles ‘just because’.” I understand that may have been too broad of a statement, but I also haven’t seen the actual historical data showing people normally carried rifles for daily activities.

      Thanks for being a voice of moderation.

      • Mark W

        It’s sad that I even had to make an attempt at being a voice of moderation. I have to agree with both sides to a degree, because I can prove both sides wrong in much of what was stated, yet also emotionally correct in much of it as well. However unlike the majority of the people why commented, I was able to read between the lines of what you were saying, and what I’d like to point out to everyone, is I don’t think you were condemning OC or were referring to OCer’s as extremists, but rather making a point about USE OF FORCE ADVOCATE EXTREMISTS, who place no thought on the possibility of collateral damage, but only on the ability to engage in immediate use of force.The average OCer where I live is barely noticed, even if they are carrying a long gun, but those who are looking for an excuse to use it make sure it’s seen in an at ready manner for intimidation purposes; unless you are anticipating an imminent fight, carrying at the ready is nothing more than brandishing, intimidates those that as a carrier (in general) that you should take the responsibility to protect, and invites trouble, as well as making you the first target for a psychopath.

  3. Boyd Kneeland

    Chris, What you call the “Washington state OC Rally” started out being organized by a diverse group of civil rights activists. It was not, initially, about OC.

    • Mad Duo Chris

      Understood. I think the fact that nobody knows anything about it other than “A bunch of open carriers acted like morons” shows how much damage OC extremism does to the overall 2A cause.

      Once people start walking around with rifles, especially if they’re carrying them in a combat-ready hold, all attention is pretty much on them. And it’s not positive attention.

  4. Burn

    A rifle that scares the public for no other reason then just being present is nothing but baseless emotion.

    Do the same people get scared when they see an officer with a gun. No because they are misinformed and taught that Police get all this “high speed training in handling weapons.”

    If you do not want to open carry fine I don’t care but let me carry what and where I want too… from a sling shot to a 20mm if I so choose.

    • Mad Duo Chris

      Okay. So is it wrong for cops to carry guns in public if they’re not trained? By that comment, I’d almost guess you’re arguing that people need training before they openly carry guns in public. But since OCers are the only gun owners who will argue that training is irrelevant, I’m sure you’d never say that.

      Since you should be able to carry anything at all in public, would it be cool to carry an axe over my head in Wal Mart?

      • Rule .308

        “A rifle that scares the public for no other reason then just being present is nothing but baseless emotion. “

        Yep. And sheep function primarily on emotion. It’s easy to frighten them; frightened sheep panic; panicked sheep pass stupid laws to make themselves feel better; stupid laws infringe on the rights of all of us, accomplish nothing of value and are generally a pain in the ass. If you could put aside a bit of your own emotion, you might be able to see a point of view other than your own.

        I never said that you could not OC whatever you want whenever you want and with whatever level of training you may or may not have. You’re the captain of your own ship and the master of your own destiny. Have a nice day.

    • John Muir

      If I see a police officer carrying an AR or shotgun at the ready in public i get scared, yes. it means I am somewhere where sh!t is about to hit the fan and all i want to do is remove myself from that area.

  5. Xenophon

    ” You can exercise your rights as long I agree with how you do it” standard elitist thinking not surprising from law enforcement.

    • Chris Hernandez

      1) I have not, ever, anywhere, advocated making OC illegal. It should be legal. Plenty of activities are stupid but legal, and should stay legal no matter how stupid.

      2) As an American citizen, I have every right to speak my opinion as guaranteed by the 1st Amendment.

      3) If you say “It’s wrong to criticize how people exercise their 2nd Amendment rights” while simultaneously criticizing the way people exercise their 1st Amendment rights, you’re a hypocrite.

    • Rule .308

      Has nothing to do with being former LE. Or being elitist. I haven’t said you couldn’t do whatever you want; what I have said is that what you do with OC, especially with a long gun is stupid and counterproductive and causes more problems than it solves in the cause of getting the sheep to understand and embrace the second amendment. Second, at least get enough training in weapon retention to be able to maintain control of your weapon, long or short, against hostile takeaways.

      Like I said in the beginning of my first post, most minds, yours included, are locked and safety wired. So… Don’t bother with the LEO elitist BS. We have different opinions on a subject about which we are both passionate: the 2nd Amendment. Benjamin Franklin once said words to the effect that we should all hang together or we shall surely hang separately. Still applies.

  6. Rule .308

    I have to agree with Chris 100%. That said, the rest of my opinion will probably change no one’s mind; judging from the previous comments, minds are all pretty well locked and safety wired. I am a retired LEO, former infantry officer an an affiliate trainer with a nationally known defensive firearms training company. I am a very strong advocate of carrying a firearm (concealed) every day and am a life member of the NRA. I have put my life, my time and my money where my mouth is.

    My primary objection to OC (of rifles or handguns) is that they become targets in and of themselves. Sheep are scared and call LE to come and save them. The LE response takes slim resources and stretches them even further to deal with dipshits like the one in the video. What did he prove other than the fact that he’s a self-centered, attention seeking asshole? Nothing. He just wasted the time of the officers assigned to that call. Great way to make the sheep and LEOs understand what a brave fighter you are for their rights… The fight you are going to win is that of enacting more and more restrictive laws. You are now the winner of the Blue Falcon award.

    The next objection I have to OC is the fact that most OCers have no training or experience in weapon retention and do not carry in holsters designed to facilitate retention. You are placing your firearm within reach of anyone who wants to make a grab. Unless you are trained (reading a book or two doesn’t count), practice regularly, at speed and with a partner and maintain situational awareness at all times you are OCing, you are just a walking gunstore for a bandit. You’ve made yourself a target. Well, you say, the cops carry openly, aren’t they targets, too? Yep. I was a target for 25 years. I had a radio, level III body armor, a baton, OC spray, ‘cuffs, practiced skill in defensive tactics with and without weapons and many other officers for back-up, if needed.

    Sheepdogs don’t circle the flock showing their teeth and growling at the sheep; they save that for the wolves. While you are certainly responsible for your own actions, I have to put up with the consequences of those actions. OC may be legal, as it should be, but it certainly is counterproductive at best and stupid at worst.

    • Mad Duo Chris

      I’ve had a couple of OCers argue that lack of training and experience makes no difference as to whether or not they should OC a rifle in public. Go figure.

      “I carry this rifle to defend myself against terrorism or tyranny! The fact that I don’t know how to use it doesn’t matter at all!”

  7. Kiluma

    All this article proved is that every individual is the sole responsible party when it comes to their security. While it is every individuals choice whether to carry, or not, it is absolutely nobody else’s responsibility to provide for you security.

    The only people that failed in the aforementioned scenarios are those people who didn’t take responsibility for their own security.

  8. WhiskeyPapa

    A shouldered or slung rifle has only 2 places: hunting and war. I have no problem with OC, but the weapon needs to be holstered. If you want to carry a rifle, fine. Put it in a scabbard. If that’s too inconvenient, you don’t need to be OC’ing a rifle. Want to OC a handgun? Put it in a holster (preferably with some retention). If you’re so stupid that someone comes up behind you and takes your weapon, stay home and don’t carry.

  9. Chris Hernandez

    When blacks were fighting Jim Crow, they weren’t free to exercise their rights. Open carriers, on the other hand, ARE free.

    When blacks sat down at “whites only” lunch counters, they were fighting legal discrimination and risking arrest. OCers aren’t doing anything nearly so brave (or brave at all).

    Gays demonstrated for the right to marry because it was illegal for them to marry. OCers aren’t demonstrating for a right they don’t have. They already have it.

    One problem I have with OC is that OC extremism makes it more, not less, likely that gun rights will be stripped. Walking into Chipotle with an SKS doesn’t convince the general public that gun owners are sane, rational, and nonthreatening. In the OC/extremist echo chamber OC is amazingly brave and accomplishes great things. In real life OC pushes companies to ban guns from their property (Target, Panera, Sonic, Costco, Goodyear, Waffle House, etc), convinces states to ban weapons from parts of the capitol (Washington State), and pushes lawmakers to install panic buttons after being threatened by OCers (Texas). OC isn’t “spreading gun freedom”, it’s creating anti-gun sentiment. Once enough of that sentiment exists, new gun laws get passed.

    Again, I’m not saying OC should be illegal. It shouldn’t. But I’m not going to support dumbasses doing dumbass things, just because they do them with a gun. Ultimately, you’re saying it makes sense for two dipshits to pose like children with an AR and SKS inside Chipotle. You’re wrong. It makes no practical, tactical or political sense to carry long guns around in a no- or extremely low-threat public environment. You OC heroes of freedom are going to freedom us straight to new gun control laws if you don’t stop doing dumb things with rifles in public.

    • Baker

      So to put it another way: Chris doesn’t think blacks should be banned from eating with white, but he doesn’t think they should ACTUALLY eat together, because that may lead to laws against blacks and whites sharing the same areas.

      • Chris Hernandez


        “If you’re against carrying an SKS into Chipotle, you’re racist!”

        Jesus Christ, dude. I’m saying “Don’t so stupid shit, even if that stupid shit is legal.” It’s not that hard to understand. There is nothing stupid about blacks mixing with whites. There IS something stupid about walking into Target with an AR-15 to buy Oreos.

        You people are going to create the very anti-gun legislation you claim to be against, because you think you’re anointed by god to do stupid shit with guns in the name of freedom. Criticize me all you want, but I’m not turning the undecided against gun owners. You are.

  10. Scott Evans

    We “should” be able to OC long guns in a “free” (which we are not any longer) society, but I “should” be taller and better looking. The REALITY is, the United States of America is no longer the land of the free and home of the brave. That ship has sailed. We have become the land of the fleeced and home of the slave. And there is no turning that back now. So instead of making a really bad situation worse by OC of long guns, let’s stem the tide as much as possible by not doing so any longer. It will never make our gun rights situation better, but will always make it worse.

  11. Unapologetic American


    Open Carry EVERYWHERE as a sign to terrorists that we are not afraid and that we are prepared to act in defense our lives and the lives of those in OUR communities.

    Open Carry EVERYWHERE, send a message to thugs and punks that their days of ruling OUR streets are over!

    Open Carry EVERYWHERE as a sign to the anti’s that we WILL NOT lay down OUR weapons and that we WILL exercise OUR rights under the 2nd Amendment.

    Open Carry EVERYWHERE and send a message to police that they are NOT the only ones allowed to carry firearms in public.

    Open Carry EVERYWHERE in order to make the general public “immune” to seeing firearms carried by patriotic, law-abiding Americans.

  12. Chip in Florida

    Meh…. you are entitled to your opinion but your opinion is still wrong.

    If you don’t like open carry, don’t do it.

    You not liking me doing it is your problem, not mine.

  13. Indiana Tom

    You know, when I was a kid, it really was not that unusual for people to have rifles and shotguns on their person or in their vehicle. Now, they were not in church with the Model 12 or at the grocery store with the Remington 700, but still it was not unusual to see people along a road, railroad track, or high school with a long gun.

    Would it make you “feel” better if the guy was an old farmer wearing OshKosh B’Gosh clothes and carrying an Ithaca 37 with a wood stock? You know the same gun used by Navy SEALS in Vietnam.

    I am sure with the elite military mentality expressed on this website that we are headed to be the United Soviet Socialist States Of Amerika.

    • Mad Duo Chris

      In high school we had a range in the basement. All freshmen had to learn rifle marksmanship.

      When I was growing up it wasn’t unusual to see pickup trucks with rifle racks in the windows. I had a rack in my jeep when I was in college, and often had rifles and/or shotguns in it when I was driving to a relative’s ranch.

      Neither of those are “open carry”. And they sure aren’t carrying a rifle in public in a combat ready hold.

      If a farmer is carrying a rifle for a reason (as I often encountered when I was working in small, rural towns), I have no criticism or complaint.

      Tell me how much sense it makes to carry an SKS into Chipotle, and how that somehow “defends freedom”. People who pretend OC somehow protects freedom are ignoring the restrictions on guns that have followed OC stupidity.

  14. Steve

    “Let’s not inject too much invective into the conversation…”

    But post an article written by a guy calling people fucking stupid and all sorts of other names.

    Got it.

    Go fuck yourself.

  15. Nunya

    Erm, only PIGS hate Second Amendment FREEDOM.

    • Tim

      Do you honestly support/believe that everyone is constitutioaonlly protected to walk around with firearms at the ready?

      With that being said when is the line drawn? High ready, shouldering the firearm?

      If a perfect stranger in a non firearms related location (I.e mall, restaurant) is walking towards me with a loaded pistol in their hand that is a 100% JUSTIFIABLE threat to me. Why is doing the same with a loaded rifle at the ready any different?

  16. Lopez Horatio Awesomepants

    Without getting in to the whole constitutional this and bill of rights that, here’s my take on OC, CC, etc.

    I’m articulate but I’m also an asshole, so some folks think I’m an inarticulate asshole; however, I organize my thoughts on the matter as follows:

    1) If you choose to OC in public places, please, please get some training on how to keep someone from taking your shit away. Trust me – it’s easier than you think. I know this because I’m trained to well, take your shit away. Some common sense on where / when to carry that smoke stick is also warranted. Big time.

    2) If you choose to OC (an in some cases CC), spend a little money on a good retention holster, and then train on how to use it. See item one above.

    3) Open carrying a rifle in the ready position, walking in to a restaurant, is a really good way to get your ass shot – and the person who does it will have a multitude of fantastic arguments with which to convince a jury of their peers why they killed you in the face, thereby causing you to die until you were dead, and people to refer to you as that dumbass who’s common sense sucked balls. Hard.

    4) Open carrying a rifle in cougar or bear country (insert whatever dangerous wild animal stomping ground here) can pass the sniff test and I’m good with it.

    5) I just have to re-emphasize that weapon retention training is just as much a responsibility as learning how to shoot.

    6) Dont get me started on the difference between carrying a gun that you have shot before, and learning how to fight WITH that gun. There is a difference. If you find yourself scratching your head at this statement then you really need to find some quality training…..And quit carrying your rifle in to Chipotle.

    7) In an ideal society, people would see that rifle or pistol as just something else you have – like your phone or purse or whatever. They would understand perfectly that guns are merely a tool, and that the likelihood of all evil rests squarely on the shoulders of the person responsible for making the decision to carry out said evil… Big fucking however: people are NOT like that, and it’s just common courtesy for you to behave in a way so I don’t have to try to make my daughter understand that even though it is your right, you really shouldn’t try to wade through the checkout line at the dollar store with an AR15 hanging on your body.

    8) I agree with this blog post for this simple reason: I get it that the author is trying to ask folks to just use some common fucking sense. The problem out there is not what gun rights we have or THAT open carrying happens – it’s just people. People. With a capital fucking P. Just imagine all the goodness out there that would still be there if People didn’t fuck it up.

    9) So, Chipotle or the mall or whatever = bad form. Out in the back country with things that put you NOT at the top of the food chain = understandable. Being a dumbass to make a point might make you feel better but in the long run it’s gonna bite you in your open carrying, non retention skill having ass.

    10) Open carry is a right. I believe that. But it is up to us to show we can still have a little common sense before other people decide for us what their version of common sense is.

    • Michmike

      Well I feel you have lived up to your name Mr. AwesomePants as your comments were on the mark.

      I have said it before (I guess that means I am saying it yet again) but my feeling is that people who feel the need to OC a rifle are just trying to get attention and show off their mall Nina shit and perhaps have some really hot woman ask them for their number. Nothing says “ultimate bad ass” than some tool carrying their assault rifle around while he walks down the street because his bike is broken! I love the 2nd amendment so much so that I have a small shrine setup in a special room in my house but that does not mean that I feel the need to say fuck you to all those who may not believe as I do. I have the rights guaranteed by the 1st amendment but I do not feel the need to walk up and call you a fat, lazy bastard even if it is true. Seriously you really feel by walking into Chipolte with your rifle that you are going to make people say “now that is a man who knows his rights, gotta get to know him”. Nope it is going to make them even more extreme in their desire to take away your guns and to be honest if are so fucking stupid that you feel the best way to ensure your rights is to scare the fuck outta someone just looking to eat their burrito then maybe you are too fucking stupid to own a gun. There I said it! I love my guns but I understand there is a social contract of sorts and you just do not do such overtly provactive things. Have some common sense.

      I feel as if each time someone does this shit it makes it all the more likely that they will enact further restrictions. Maybe there can be a database of all the stupid fucks that carried their rifle to chuckie cheese. When it happens that they do restrict things then we can go to the house and into their parents basement of these douche bags and slap them around for being so very stupid.

      Exercise some common sense and think about how your actions will be viewed!

  17. Douglas Holloway

    Chris, there’s no reason to be condescending in your little rants.On a side note: As far as LGOC goes at political rallies, I feel it is FAR better to carry in front AND have control over the LG (low ready if you will) then to have the LG slung over one’s back with NO real control over said LG.

    • Mad Duo Chris


      I get your point. But understand what I’ve encountered since I spoke out, even courteously, against OC. The response has been 1/10th reasonable disagreement and 90% “You hate ‘Merica!” One guy on a gun forum even said I’d be executed as a traitor when the revolution comes. The pro-LGOC crowd has presented ridiculously contradictory arguments, going from “OCing a rifle makes perfect sense” to “Of course it’s stupid to OC a rifle, we do it show how dumb it is to allow rifle OC but not pistol OC.” I also see arguments ranging from “It’s not threatening at all” to “We do it to make sure the government knows we can fight back.”

      And I completely disagree with your reasoning about LGOC up front. If your only two options are “carry it in a way that doesn’t allow control” or “carry it combat ready”, don’t carry it. Security concerns don’t justify me carrying a pistol out of the holster. If I can’t safely carry my pistol without putting it in both hands out of the holster, in a public low-threat area, I shouldn’t carry it at all.

  18. Jim

    I support open carry of rifles and hand guns. Do I open carry at home, on my own land? Yes. Do I concealed carry everywhere it is legal? The answer is yes. Would I open carry a rifle – depends on the situation and surroundings. We had a guy here in Atlanta drop his daughter off at the airport inside the building open carrying his AR. His right to do so, and was not illegal. The issue is that in the society that we live in, it freaked a few people out. He was mad because the cops came up to him and requested information from him and asked why he was OC in the airport. He may not have been carrying in the low ready position, but he had it loaded and slung in front of him. The police didn’t arrest him, but followed him through the airport. This also made guy angry. He felt the cops were infringing on his rights. Were the cops infringing on his rights? I do not believe they were. The local law enforcement could have immediately slapped him into cuffs and arrested him (which could turn out to be a violation of his rights), instead they didn’t. They let him walk around getting the attention he craved. What if the guy suddenly crouched down and looked like he was going to attack, when in reality he was crouched down getting ready to tie his shoe and just moved the gun out of the way? One of those officers would have had to make a split second decision where the lives of every one in the immediate area could be in danger. Should the officer shoot the guy with the rifle? What if he doesn’t and the guy shoots the officer? My point I am not so eloquently trying to make, is that just because you have a right to do something, does not mean you should do it. Lets take a look at the photo above where the “gentleman” is walking through the door of what I believe is a state capital building for less than two seconds. Here come a man through the door with a trench type long coat on, carrying a weapon with a 30 round mag in the weapon, his firing hand on the weapon, finger just above the trigger. Did you notice if the safety was on? Is there a round in the chamber? Was the dust cover open? What is strapped to his left leg? How fast can you answer those questions and determine if he was a threat or not? There is a time and a place to exercise your rights. Do you really want to be the guy who accidentally gets shot because you were exercising your OC rifle right, because a guy who was also legally carrying felt threatened by something stupid you said or did. While this comment sounds like I don’t support open carry, I actually do support it and believe that it has a time and a place it should occur. If you are OC or CC and an officer walks up to you and starts asking questions, do you have to answer the questions? Legally you do not. If you don’t answer or start acting belligerent because the cop is “harassing” you, you give the officers a reason to question your legality of carrying that weapon – which can go down hill fast and end up with you dead. Is that what you want for your wife and children? Do you want to be a martyr for gun rights? Instead of questioning the officer’s reason for looking at you and questioning you, be responsible. Be polite. Don’t make the officer believe you are a possible threat. Chances are, someone uneducated about gun rights saw a glimpse of your firearm and was uncomfortable. My preferred way to carry is to CC my pistol, which I will use to get back to my vehicle or home, to retrieve my rifle if it is needed.

    Be brave, be vigilant, be smart, be polite.

  19. Tierlieb

    First, a medical side note: If your choice is only between syphilis and gonorrhoea, it should be rather easy, chose the latter. So that was not a good rhetoric choice, I’m afraid.

    Second: I am pretty sure we who know about guns would agree rather quickly, if we stopped playing stupid.

    By playing stupid I mean stopping to use broad statements, generalisations and straw men.

    If this article was about how open carrying a rifle to make a political statement is a bad idea, this could have been way more civil (then again, I know, this is BBC, not Chris’ home blog).

    I personally don’t mind people having a rifle slung over their shoulder at all, anywhere, but get rather scared meeting people carrying combat ready. Especially if they look incompetent doing it, which is what I have seen from most protests. But these are my personal tastes and there are probably bigger issues at play:

    Sergio and Dale both pointed out why OC rifle carry started in Texas and that it fulfilled its purpose. Hell, the stupidity of that issue even made it into books (like Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon) and if that argument reached the left, then yes, it worked!

    Michael Z. Williamson made a rather interesting observation that this “in your face” way seems rather typically American (which I, as another guy not born in the US, would agree with), so maybe there is more value to provocation that generally assumed.

    So I think the debate should be a nuanced one about specifics when what is helpful and when not. That should be easy, if we all behaved ourselves a bit.

    An example of not behaving: Using the argument of people committing crimes while being assumed to just open-carriers. As PavePusher and Geoff have pointed out the same thing applies crimes carried out by what could be assumed concealed-carriers. Or, to use an example closer to home (both mine geographically and Chris’ as police officer), condemning police (or the benefit of doubt granted to those wearing one) because the Utoya murderer wore a police uniform.

    So if you want to get results, let’s find out when OC carry is okay.

    * Start with a person in orange hunting camo coming into a gas station somewhere rural with their bolt action rifle slung over their shoulder.

    * Look at people carrying empty guns slung on a political march to some capitol or other.

    * Compare people with plate carriers and loaded AR-15s at the Bundy ranch or whatever the recent one was called

    * And end with someone having an AK at low ready walking through whichever major city allows it.

    * As a bonus, what about wearing a turban and shouting Allahu Akbar doing one of the aboive – is that a case of “breathing while black” or more of a “do stupid things, win stupid prices”?

  20. Nick J

    I agree whole heartedly that there is no place for the open carrying of long guns in a well populated, peaceful, highly urbanized environment. Rural sparsely populated places tend to have a bit more leeway in my view because of the different social dynamic involved. I think in urbanized areas where there is a threat be it civil unrest or threat of terrorism, there is a place for long gun open carry by private citizens as a deterrent show of force. Specifically, I refer to those who protected homes and businesses in cities where there was rioting and looting going on. With no threat to speak of I see urban long gun open carriers as mostly confrontational idiots who help fuel the campaign of fear antigunners are running.

    Conversely, pistol open carriers who use holsters I am not alarmed by. I was stationed in Virginia during my military service and my married platoon mates lived offbase. Obviously a married E1-3 even with a well off family doesn’t live in the nicest of neighborhoods. Since it was a pain in the ass to obtain a Va ccw at the time, we took advantage of the state’s open carry laws.

    I am lucky enough to now have a permit with recopricity in most adjoining states and the training to carry concealed. Still, when I was a cop, they didn’t teach concealed carry in the academy. Much of my training and muscle memory defaulted to having an open carried pistol on my hip, thigh or plate carrier both in uniform and out. I think the argument can be made that due to personal preference, training/ experience levels and difficulty obtaining a ccw permits in some places, open carrying a pistol is a farcry from open carrying a rifle.

    Most people I have met, assume that a pistol open carrier is security or law enforcement. Whether that is a good thing or not is debatable. Still having a semi automatic pistol open carried on your hip while, dressing acceptably and presenting oneself professionally tends to assage fears amongst tge general public.

  21. Steve K

    We used to open carry all the time in this country. As the “progressives” have gained more power, we have become more and more a wimp country. I don’t agree with open carrying a rifle but a handgun? No Problem. Liberals need to grow up but that’s so hard fot hem as they are so afraid of everyhting.

  22. Mad Duo Chris

    I’ll assume all you OC warriors open carry your rifles everywhere, every day. Since, you know, it’s so vital to freedom that you do so.

    • hillbillly

      It might not look like it but I think we are all on the same page. OC is not a problem and CC is not a problem. The problem is disrespectful, unsafe and untrained idiots.(Driving cars\carrying guns\working as LEOs\politicians\teaching our kids\managing our money!)

      • Mad Duo Chris

        I can reasonably accept that. 🙂

  23. PavePusher

    Replace every instance of “open carry” and “open carrier” above, with “concealed carry” and “concealed carrier”, and see how moronic that sounds.

  24. PavePusher

    “Excuse for it”?

    Constitutional Rights do not require fucking camouflage.

    That’s the only excuse anyone needs, ever.

  25. PavePusher

    Jesus Christ on a rubber crutch, you sound just like the fuckin’ Anti-Gun fuckwits.

  26. Fred Woodbridge

    “So next time some OC activist/anti-tyranny warrior thinks he’s defending freedom by waving an AK in your family’s face, those of us who support the 2A and have brains should tell them that fellow innocent open carriers have already committed murders.”

    What an amazing argument! “Since others have broken the law, you shouldn’t do what those others were doing just before they broke the law.”

    Boy, am I glad you’re not in Congress. Your grasp of consequential thinking is flawed beyond belief.

  27. Michael Z. Williamson

    It’s perfectly valid for the same reason it’s perfectly valid for two gays to suck face in a public park.To drive home to people that we do have a right to do it.I personally don’t, and I understand why people object.But the in-your-face-with-my-rights attitude is common throughout American history, and should be.

  28. Russ

    Part of the argument for open carry is for people who expose the weapon unintentionally. They can be charged for the display of the firearm. This is the reason most of the laws were passed for open carry. However its become a political hot button. Fuck tards running around with an AR slung over their shoulder at Chipotle comes to mind. We don’t need this kind of publicity. I myself would be keeping a close eye on a dude OC a long gun in a crowded area. It makes no damn sense.

  29. Wilson

    Generally speaking I agree with this article.

    Wandering around with a rifle in a low ready position is a really, really stupid and discourteous thing to do. When I see people doing that it makes me think I might want to get the rifle out of my trunk just in case (I happen to live in Colorado these days so I’m familiar with the issue in Colo Springs).

    That said, I can’t get on board with the idea that OC is necessarily a bad thing when done correctly. The snobish behavior of CCers saying “This way is superior no matter what!” kind of gets on my nerves.

    There’s pros and cons to both. Anyone who’s honest will tell you that and let you decide what matters more to you.

    • Mad Duo Chris

      I can agree with *some* of your comment. You’re right, there is a time and place for OC. However, that time and place is limited, especially in urban centers.

      My only contention is with “Anyone who’s honest will tell you that and let you decide what matters more to you”. I don’t think that’s exactly right. Yes, everyone who carries has to make their own decision how to do so, but if someone is making a really bad tactical decision about carrying, and they’re making that decision due to lack of knowledge or inexperience, it’s more than just “what matters more to them”.

      When I was riding a motorcycle, I’d occasionally meet people who wanted to buy their first bike and were looking at either the fastest crotch rocket or heaviest Harley on the market. I think I would have been wrong to just say, “Well, whatever you want.” A new rider shouldn’t start on a Hayabusa, because until they’re experienced they’re likely to get themselves killed. Same with carrying a weapon. If someone says they want to OC a Hi-Point in a SOB open-top Uncle Mike’s nylon holster, they’re making bad tactical decisions that make them more, not less, likely to become a crime victim.

      Understood that you said “when done correctly”; when OC is done correctly and not to make a point, it can be unobtrusive and effective. My problem isn’t so much with that kind of OCer (even though I generally consider OC to be disadvantageous), it’s with people who carry in a stupid way to make a point.

      Thanks for your comment, and your insight.

      • Wilson

        I’m not suggesting that there are not fucktards out there who abuse the shit out of OC.

        I’m merely saying that the blanket statement that CC is superior to OC is not necessarily correct and the fact that in many places the government permissions slip that is a CC license prices a lot of people out of being able to carry.

        I see a lot of people talking about the “tactical” advantages of CC (especially YouTube stars with a few years of “military experience” in the reserves or National Guard). Try explaining those tactical advantages to a hungry Mountain Lion.

        Be real. There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods of carry and which outweighs which should be left to the individual and their circumstances.

        • Mad Duo Chris

          I agree, environment and conditions dictate manner of carry. I’ve never argued against OCing *if it’s done for practically and tactically sound reasons*. That type of carry has never been an issue, as evidenced by the lack of uproar in places like Arizona and Vermont where OC has been accepted for years (or decades). The problems with OC started when the aforementioned fucktards started doing it to prove a point. With that alleged “point” came a veritable human wave assault of untrained and inexperienced idiots carrying in stupid ways for stupid reasons.

          Basically, my stance is “If you’re carrying a gun for some reason other than to defend yourself, your family and other innocent people, you’re probably doing it wrong.” I don’t criticize anyone for OCing in mountain lion country, and again, I don’t think it should be illegal. But I don’t see any mountain lions in Chipotle.

          • Wilson


            Mad [Duo] respect for you comment and you OP!

            When it comes to your comment of ” “If you’re carrying a gun for some reason other than to defend yourself, your family and other innocent people, you’re probably doing it wrong.” I would add ONE thing: animals that are pets or farm animals.

            If someone wants to use a chest rig and sling to take out animals that might prey on their free range cattle more power to them.

            A final point: you might not see “Mountain Lions” in Chipotle, but I’ve seen plenty of “cougars”…. god knows what it take to put those ladies down! A ‘cock gun” perhaps?

  30. Dale

    smh…. This is what happens when you open your mouth without knowing the facts.

    Most of this rifle OC, and most of the pictures you used, were from Texas. Where it’s been illegal to OC a handgun since right after the Civil War, for some pretty shady reasons if you’d bother to do the research. But it was still legal to OC a rifle. We (2A advocates) had petitioned the legislature for (literally) over a decade to make OC legal. For better or worse, our legislature meets only once every two years (takes them longer to screw stuff up, or fix it). The last two sessions, OC bills had been presented, had majority support in the house and senate, only to be killed in committees controlled by Fudds. We decided that was enough and that if they wouldn’t give us BACK our rights, we’d show them how stupid it was not to, and force the issue. Before we started doing this, we did our research and found out that most folks didn’t know you could OC a rifle, but not a handgun. They also thought it was stupid that folks couldn’t OC a handgun if they wanted. We started holding rallies and walks, in which we’d OC rifles. The media picked up the story, more Texas folks started to find out the facts, found out how several bills had already been killed without even getting a vote, and support grew. Support grew to the point that the legislature didn’t have a choice and passed the OC bill. We still have to PAY one of the highest fees in the nation to exercise our right to carry a firearm, but we’re working on that next. All because we acted stupid and started carrying rifles. So, we were forced to resort to the stupidity of OCing rifles because a select few of our legislators wouldn’t allow a vote on it. And I agree, OCing a rifle is dumb and I haven’t OC’d one since the bill passed. Nor have I OC’d my handgun. But it’s not summer yet here either. So, in this case, it was warranted and needed to force a vote on a 2A issue. Please do a little research next time before you shoot your mouth of.

    BTW, since the bill passed have you seen any more rifles being OC’d in Texas?

    • Mad Duo Chris

      OC stupidity also got Constitutional Carry killed. Your OC victory only means CHL holders can now OC, which almost nobody is doing, because in most cases it doesn’t make practical or tactical sense.

      I haven’t seen anyone OC a rifle since the Texas OC law was passed. I actually hadn’t seen it for a while before the law was passed, partly because those fucking idiots in OCTC created such a backlash against themselves they quit walking into Chipotle with rifles. But as you said, OC extremists aren’t done and won’t be done until CC is passed. That’s partly because people like Kory Watkins have misdemeanor convictions and can’t get an LTC.

      • Darryl Hadfield

        Ah, yes, OC stupidity also got CC killed.

        … like in Kansas and Maine.

      • Dale

        Ha! Constitutional carry was never going to even get out of committee. No matter what. Yes, OCTC made some poor choices, but it had nothing to do with CC not having a prayer. You’re correct about that being next on the list, but it’s a slim chance with the folks in charge.

        I’m guessing you aren’t from Texas. Or at least not clued in on the local goings-on. As a work around to the CC bill being killed in committee, Rep Stickland tried to add it as an amendment. The House leadership said it wasn’t RELEVANT to the OC bill and wouldn’t even allow a vote on CC. Yet they allowed a vote on an amendment pertaining to swords. Straight running BS. It was due to RINOs being scared of being forced to take a vote against CC. Texas is NOT as gun friendly as people think. And we have a serious problem with entrenched republicans that aren’t really republicans. For example, the Texas Speaker of the House, David Dewhurst, came to power with only 8 republican votes, and a unanimous democrat support. But that’s just one example of the crap were dealing with. Between Kory Watkins and RINOs, we’ve got a battle on our hands.

      • Jared

        This is another TX problem. TX is the third most restrictive state on issuing licenses in regards to misdemeanor disqualifiers.

        Some states issue a license by mandate if you can lawfully possess a firearm.

        According to the law (

        Texas holds LTC holders to a HIGHER standard for criminal history than they do for being TCOLE certified.

        Due to this, there are some TX LEO’s who have received a DUI or other disqualifying conviction but can still be a cop and carry in more places than an LTC holder.

        So by Texas law, as illustrated with the pdf link I posted, TX’d LEO’s are legally held to a much lower standard for criminal convictions than LTC holders. And that’s a shame.

  31. Mad Duo Chris

    I don’t know where anyone read one single line in my essay that advocated making OC illegal. It should be legal even though it’s stupid. Plenty of legal things are stupid, and plenty of stupid things are legal. It’s legal to cover your face in gang tattoos. It’s just stupid. It’s legal to nail your nutsack to your bedroom wall. It’s just stupid.

    OC is stupid. It creates 2A enemies. It pushes businesses that weren’t anti-gun to adopt anti-gun policies. It pushes local governments to add, not remove, gun control laws. There’s a reason so many 2A advocates accuse OCers of working for the other side: that reason is, OC does damage to the overall 2A cause.

    All these “What part of ‘shall not be infringed’ don’t you understand? ‘Murica!” commenters can keep OCing. I haven’t – ever, anywhere – called for making it illegal. But it’s impractical, illogical, self-defeating, and stupid. And I’ll continue to exercise my 1A right to criticize OC. If all you OC warriors truly believe in freedom, you’ll accept my right to call you out for your stupid actions.

    • Baker

      So you’re basically saying that it shouldn’t be illegal but no one should do I it?

      Like saying no to a police officer asking to search you? It shouldn’t be illegal to tell an officer “No, I do not consent to be searched.” But everyone should just consent to all requests?

      You can have your rights, but you shouldn’t exercise them. Spoken like a true statist.

      • Mad Duo Chris

        “So you’re basically saying that it shouldn’t be illegal but no one should do I it?”

        Yes. Do YOU do everything that’s legal? Is your face covered in gang tattoos? Have you nailed your nutsack to your bedroom wall lately? Have you walked through a black neighborhood in a Klan hood?

        No? Those things are legal, bro. Are you saying you shouldn’t do them, even though they’re legal?

        Or do you think some things are legal, but just stupid?

        • Baker

          I mentioned nothing that would physically harm myself or others. Nor offend anyone other than someone wanting to ignore my rights. You sound a few steps away from anti-gun groups that want to take away guns from those who don’t work for the government. They think guns are unacceptable in polite society (face full of gang tats). They think just having guns can cause harm to anyone (nailed scrotum). And they think everyone should act towards an individual with a gun they way a black neighborhood would act towards someone dressed in a klans outfit, or at least call 911 and have the police execute the OC’er.

          I noticed you ignored my ACTUAL EXAMPLES.

          • Mad Duo Chris

            Sorry, your persecution complex/bunker mentality doesn’t mean anyone who disagrees with you is an enemy of the 2A. I’ve written many pieces about the importance of the 2A as a means to resist tyranny and defend oneself and one’s family; some of those essays were published here on BBC. I oppose OC (and ridicule it) BECAUSE I believe guns belong in polite society. And every time some dumbass OC extremist walks into Chipotle with an SKS, or walks into the Washington State Capitol building with an AR pistol in a combat-ready hold, or carries an AR with a 100-round drum into an airport, they increase the chances more gun control laws will be passed, which then remove guns from polite society.

            I’ve carried a gun every day for over twenty years. I’ve taught (gasp!) non-cops and non-soldiers to shoot. I’ve helped people choose carry guns. I’ve referred them to CHL classes. I’ve explained facts and factors that come into play when they’re armed in polite society. I’ve been reviewing CHL holsters marketed toward non-LE carriers. I’ve been writing about the importance of armed citizens for years, since right after the Sandy Hook shooting. I’ve done all this because I believe an armed populace is not just legally permissible, but crucial to safety and freedom.

            Know what’s not crucial to safety and freedom? Being an idiot with a gun. Untrained, unsafe morons carrying AKs into Chili’s aren’t doing it because Chili’s is dangerous. They’re doing it to prove a point. And if they were suddenly presented with a lethal threat, most of them don’t have the skills necessary to safely employ their weapons around the public. I’ve seen multiple OCers argue that lack of training doesn’t matter; how stupid is that? Some OCers even admit OCing a rifle is stupid, and say they’re doing it to show how ridiculous it is to ban pistol OC will allowing rifle OC.

            Did you see this comment, from an OCer?: “And I agree, OCing a rifle is dumb and I haven’t OC’d one since the bill passed. ” Yeah bro, even the OC advocate in this discussion says it’s stupid.

            No matter how hard you try to paint this as “Chris Hernandez wants to ban guns!”, you’re wrong. I don’t even want to ban the OC stupidity that you so cherish. I just want the larger public to know that being a 2A advocate doesn’t mean supporting idiots like Kory Watkins, doesn’t mean I think anyone should walk into Chipotle with an SKS, and doesn’t mean I’ll defend someone doing something stupid just because they’re doing it with a gun.

        • Jared

          Chris, you didn’t consider one critical component. Texas violates the rights of people between 18-20 as they are generally ineligible for a LTC in TX as they are under 21.

          When I lived in New England, I didn’t notice anyone OC’ing a rifle, but Maine and New Hamphsire issue licenses at 18, and Vermont allows for carry at the age of 15 without a permit.

          Until TX stops licensing a right and denying that right to people under 21, bearing long arms is the only access to 2A rights in public that Texas “allows”.

    • Fred Woodbridge

      Exercising your 1A right to criticize OC using illogic, high rhetoric and invective is dumb, stupid, and impractical. You should stop doing it.

  32. thorn

    I agree about the stupidity of OCing a rifle in urban areas. I don’t open carry ANYTHING except when as a part of my job… and then it’s in a uniform and lvl 3 retention holster. But the argument that there have been cases where people carrying rifles ended up killing people can be used for any type of carry, and I don’t think it should be made illegal.

  33. Geoff

    Although I would never Open Carry, I have to point out that the argument that “At that point, he was a law-abiding open carrier” and “But until he actually started shooting people, he was a law-abiding open carrier” can also be used to argue against concealed carry.

    e.g. Tyrone McBloodCrip walked into a convenience store and shot the clerk dead. Up until that point, he was a law-abiding concealed carrier (assuming he lived in Vermont, had no priors, was of age).

    Just saying.

    • Mad Duo Chris

      Do you have a link to a story of a legal concealed carrier/gang member walking into a convenience store and shooting the clerk?

      I get your point, but the examples I presented weren’t hypotheticals.

      • Fred Woodbridge

        Whether or not some occurrence is or isn’t hypothetical is immaterial to the point you’re making with those examples: someone who was carrying a weapon–openly or not, he was bearing arms is the point–decided to become a murderer, which is against the law. Since that is the case, you’re playing the same game as the anti-gunners who have used this exact same scenario to push for curtailing the bearing of ANY arms, whatever the mode of carry.

      • Fred Woodbridge

        This is one of the biggest chinks in your so-called argument: I notice you’re moving the goal posts, indulging in the No True Scotsman fallacy–legally concealed carrier/gang member. That’s not important. What is important is that someone was carrying concealed (your preferred form of carry) then went on to broke the law.

        Does this mean, by your standard, that concealed carry is stupid? Right, that’s what I thought.

  34. 2hotel9

    Yes, until you commit a crime you are not a criminal. That is just how it is.

    • Fred Woodbridge

      Precisely, and well said.

  35. Billy

    I think many folks have jumped on the OC band wagon because doing so is free of most (if any) legal constraints associated with concealed carry, such as a government issued permit.

    But, I concur, walking around with a long gun doesn’t make a lot of sense today regardless of setting.

    Heck, another form of open carry, in the late 60s, I use to go to high school with a Model 94 in the back window gun rack of my pick up truck. So did every able bodied male teen. It was a perfectly normal, everyday act, to carry a rifle in a gun rack of a pickup. Yet, doing so was not “in your face” as with the low ready crowd we see today exercising their right.

    And there-in lies the dilemma we face today, who and how we define OUR rights. No doubt, today, many of the Founders would not recognize the rights they set-forth in the Constitution. And not just 2A.

  36. Misanthrope

    Political v. tactical. And, lately, politics has been the playground for idjits.

  37. Michael Bane

    Very good article! I live in Colorado, which has (with the exception of Denver, which has Home Rule since it predates the creation of the state) been an open carry state forever. It is also a state where hunting is I believe the 2nd largest industry, just behind general tourism.. In a lot of rural areas of the state, hunting is quite literally the ONLY industry. So it’s not unusual to see people with rifles and shotguns openly carried (you should see bird season here!). I have carried a rifle slung on my back and not thought a thing about it. But a point I made in an interview is that I live out in the boonies,and if I see someone walking up my (long) driveway with an AR at low ready, we have an issue. An AR, or any rifle, at low ready is a preparation for an immediate response; an AR slung on your back probably means you want to borrow some ammunition from me (don’t laugh…it’s happened).

    While I am staunchly in favor of open carry, I am staunchly against stupidity, especially stupidity that hurts our cause. To me the great advantage of open carry is it does away with a lot of the “brandishing” nonsense like we saw in Florida when I lived there…accidentally show your concealed weapon, and you’re “brandishing,” committing a crime for which you can be arrested. If I go to Denver (which I avoid), I’m pretty buttoned up concealed carry-wise. In the real state of Colorado, throw a shirt over and OWB and call it concealed. Or don’t; it doesn’t matter. Our fight is hard enough without people on our side making it harder.

    Michael B

    • S. Patrick

      Just for all yalls information. As per Florida State Statute(790.053) on Open Carrying of Weapons… It is not a violation of this section for a person licensed to carry a concealed firearm as provided in s. 790.06(1), and who is lawfully carrying a firearm in a concealed manner, to briefly and openly display the firearm to the ordinary sight of another person, unless the firearm is intentionally displayed in an angry or threatening manner, not in necessary self-defense.

    • A.L.

      This comment makes more sense that the article. Thank you for the common sense and understanding that to lose open carry is the beginning of losing everything.

  38. Jeremy Stafford

    Chris, You’re on point.

    As 2A advocates we need to be getting a better message out. Like it or not, we are in a public relations battle.

  39. hillbillly

    Don’t be a fucktard! If you are equipped with one, use your brain. Carrying ANY weapon in a READY position is a criminal act, its called menacing. Any LEO or responsible armed citizen should certainly respond to this as a threatening and potentially deadly situation. If you are a gun owner it is your duty to be responsible, safe and respectable. Like it or not you represent all of us.

    • Ricky

      Check your legal advice, and consider that each state, and jurisdiction, will have differences in what is defined as a crime, the term used to describe it, and the degree or severity of said crime. Your comment suggests that you know more about the criminal code than you actually do. Here in the NM, showing someone a firearm in a suggestive manner is a crime termed “brandishing a firearm” and pointing a firearm at a person is considered “aggravated assault”, each with varying degrees depending on the totality of the circumstances. Further, open carry here is legal, the term “menacing” is an adjective or verb, depending on its use, and is not a crime. I won’t pretend to know all of the criminal codes and municipal ordinances in the country, and I submit that it would be in everyone’s best interests if they refrain from offering legal advice here, or perhaps at least cite your laws in context so that we may better understand your position.


      • hillbillly

        I am certainly not a lawyer! Taking legal advice from some hillbilly on the inter webs would be a huge mistake.

        S 120.13 Menacing in the first degree.

        A person is guilty of menacing in the first degree when he or she commits the crime of menacing in the second degree and has been previously convicted of the crime of menacing in the second degree within the preceding ten years.

        Menacing in the first degree is a class E felony.

        S 120.14 Menacing in the second degree.

        A person is guilty of menacing in the second degree when:

        He or she intentionally places or attempts to place another person in reasonable fear of physical injury, serious physical injury or death by displaying a deadly weapon, dangerous instrument or what appears to be a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or other firearm;


        He or she repeatedly follows a person or engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts over a period of time intentionally placing or attempting to place another person in reasonable fear of physical injury, serious physical injury or death; or

        He or she commits the crime of menacing in the third degree in violation of that part of a duly served order of protection, or such order which the defendant has actual knowledge of because he or she was present in court when such order was issued, pursuant to article eight of the family court act, section 530.12 of the criminal procedure law, or an order of protection issued by a court of competent jurisdiction in another state, territorial or tribal jurisdiction, which directed the respondent or defendant to stay away from the person or persons on whose behalf the order was issued.

        Menacing in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor.

        S 120.15 Menacing in the third degree.

        A person is guilty of menacing in the third degree when, by physical menace, he or she intentionally places or attempts to place another person in fear of death, imminent serious physical injury or physical injury.

        Menacing in the third degree is a class B misdemeanor.

      • hillbillly

        In reasonable FEAR. Wow that really leaves a lot up to interpretation right?

  40. Sergio

    If I remember correctly, rifle OC started in Texas. At the time pistol OC was illegal and rifle OC was not. The “activists ” wanted to show the absurdity between the two.

  41. S. Patrick

    Rights are not absolute. You have freedom of speech, but you don’t have the right to yell ‘FIRE’ in a crowded theatre. Your rights go only as far as they don’t infringe on mine and visa versa. That is how we coexist in a civil society. The right to bear arms is not absolute. You can’t expect to walk up to anyone while carrying a gun in your hands and think that they will not feel threatened.

    • W. Davidson

      “that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”

      Rights certainly are absolute.

      You have freedom of speech, not freedom from the consequences.

      You can yell ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater – but there will rightfully be repercussions.

      Rights are derived from natural law, not by permission of the government or the norms of civil society.

    • JD

      This argument is made too often and it’s a total fallacy. The actuality is that I have every right to yell “FIRE” in a crowded theater. If I yell fire, the police aren’t going to come drag me out of the theater and beat me until I shut up. However, along with the right to free speech, I also have the right to be responsible (and liable) for my actions. There is NO law that says you can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater, if you chose to do so you’d be cited with creating a public disturbance, creating an unsafe environment, or some other citation that is more about the results of your actions and not the action itself. All rights granted in the Constitution and Bill of Rights ARE absolute. Even though the right to bear arms may be absolute (just like my right to yell “fire”), an individual must be responsible not only for the weapon, when and where it may discharge, but also for conducting themselves in a manner that is least threatening. Many States self-defense laws are based more upon the perception of threat and not necessarily on being attacked. If you’re going to open carry, you need to be open, friendly, and affable. If you’re tense, anxious, and rude, you’re really asking to get yourself justifiably shot.

  42. David

    This is one of the best articles on open carry that I have ever read. It’s my humble opinion that concealed carry is the only viable option for normal day to day protection. Open carry, whether a rifle or a sidearm, makes you a target no matter how well intentioned you may be.

  43. Mad Duo Chris

    I sense I have offended Jesse Lambert.

    Considering that ISIS and other groups have conducted and inspired mass shooting attacks (and bombings, and knife attacks, etc), and continue to urge followers to conduct mass attacks, would you disagree that we’re living in an age of terrorism?

    I’m genuinely curious why you have an issue with that sentence.

    • Jesse Lambert

      I have an issue with that sentence because it implies that our rights are subject to infringement under adverse circumstances; and because it implies that the current times are exceptional in terms of violence targeted at Americans.

      It’s the sort of statement always made by people who are looking to rob us of our freedoms and involve the government more in our lives.

      If you’ve got a point to make, I think you can probably make it without using the overplayed terrorism card.

      • Mad Duo Chris

        Except that I didn’t advocate, anywhere or ever, making OC illegal. Many things are stupid but legal, OC is one of them.

        • Jesse Lambert

          Good for you and I appreciate the clarification.

          I still say that “Because Terrorism!” is a lousy way to justify most any position. Terrorist attacks on American soil are nothing new – they’re not even more frequent than they’ve always been.

          Openly carrying a rifle in an urban setting is stupid because it often freaks people out without providing a realistic advantage to anything. That’s plenty of reason not to do it without hitching your argument to the same wagon that’s led to such ridiculousness as the TSA.

          • Ricky


            Thank you for your perspective. I was preparing a response along the lines of your argument when I came across your posts. You presented the clarity and context that was unfortunately absent in this article and you did so in a concise manner. People die, it’s the one thing that we will all do. We take various actions to mitigate risk to ourselves and our loved ones, but the way that this was written was eerily similar to the position taken by those who suggest that we only need to surrender our free will and thought in order for the government to protect us. My perspective comes from 4 generations of law enforcement and military service. My mother, aunt, brother, and wife are cops as were my grandfather and uncles (in TX, no less). I’m a former Recon Marine SNCO and Federal Agent, so believe me when I say that I empathize with Chris’s perspective, I just don’t feel as though his approach was as professional or effective as it could have been without the logical fallacies.

        • Fred Woodbridge

          “Open Carry is stupid and legal.” You know you just called the Second Amendment stupid, right?

  44. Devil_Doc

    I was at that rally in Wa state when that picture was taken. There were about 100 protesters, and only about 10 had OC weapons. I pleaded with those people the night before not to OC as it would be a propaganda coup for the anti-2nd crowd, but they weren’t hearing it. I find it not a little ironic that the picture is now being used by pro-2nd groups as a warning for how NOT to behave. There’s a time and a place for OC of long guns in the context of protests, but those times are few and far between. We’re fighting a propaganda war for the votes of undecided, uniformed people who are going to form opinions (and vote) based on very limited information. One bit of information they get is that pro-2nd people are dead eyed trench coat wearing lunatics with ARs at the low ready, storming the state capital. The other is…what? They’re not going to remember that the same protest was filled 10-1 with with their neighbors who didn’t want anything other than to be left alone. When the time comes to vote, what are they going to remember?

    I think it’s also important to remember that we’re not fighting over guns here. I’m not pro-gun, i’m pro-liberty. This needs to be reframed as a civil rights battle, and not a battle to preserve bubbas right to play dress up with a live weapon. That is all.

  45. Jesse Lambert

    People who attention whore by open carrying rifles are, without a doubt, giant douches.

    People who use phrases like “Now that we live in an age of terrorism,” to justify their opinions are giant douches too though.

    • ThomasR

      I’ve OC’d a pistol for eight years here in New Mexico. Even down town Albuquerque. Not one problem with the police or the citizens.

      Your insults, derogatory comments and demeaning characterizations of those of us that OC’d pistols were much more the norm back then. Not as much now. Guess why? Because I, and others like me, ignored your fear based attacks, and we have “normalized” the OC of pistols.

      Now, with the same kind of attacks, using the exact same demeaning, derogatory and insulting comments about the OC of rifles, I’m seeing the need to start normalizing the OC of rifles.

      Your subconscious obeisance to the state by only allowing the “legitimate” OC of firearms by the agents of the state, is just that. You, as a not a citizen, but as a subject, do not see your self as an equal to the “only ones”. That is your problem, not mine. In fact, I will help you, and others like you, that have rejected your responsibility to be the visible first line of defense for our communities, by being on the “pointy end” in our fight to return to our rights and duties as being accepted as the true first line of defense of our liberties as Americans. I will do this by not only continuing to OC pistols, but by the OC of rifles as well.

      You can thank me in a few years.

      • Mad Duo Chris

        Oh, brother.

        Tell me how you’re going to “normalize” carrying an SKS into Chipotle to buy a burrito. Since rifle OC makes so much sense, send me a link to pictures of you OCing a rifle everywhere you go. Tell me how the picture of the two idiots “defending freedom” by posing like children in a restaurant somehow helped the 2nd Amendment. Or how the freedom fighter walking into the Washington State Capitol with his AR pistol in a combat hold was making things better for gun owners.

        One thing I can say for you guys, you’re absolutely convinced of the holiness of your cause.

  46. Frank Karl

    Well said, Chris.If I saw that fellow coming through the door with his finger in registration on a loaded rifle, I could only draw the conclusion that I need to take cover and/or exit the area. Getting access to my weapon would be a priority. It’s pretty easy to see how this could go down hill fast.If you want to make a statement about your willingness and preparation to resist tyranny from our government or foreign actors, take a shooting class yearly, participate in the shooting events, get your CCW, go to the range and offer to take a neighbor. In my mind, few things sent a message better than standing the bad weather or good working your basic skills.The problem is, they don’t get their 3 minutes of fame, do they?

    • Mad Duo Chris

      Understood about the violent killer part. I was trying to make the point that until he started shooting, the OC activist crowd would have insisted he was an innocent OCer who posed no threat to anyone.

      Thanks for your feedback.

      • Fred Woodbridge

        You can make this asinine comment about everyone who was doing ANYTHING legal before he broke the law.

        “He was driving along legally until he drove off the road and onto the sidewalk, killing innocent people.”

        You’re one of those jerkoffs who don’t like citizens showing their guns at all. Gonorrhea and syphilis, indeed.

        • Tony

          I agree with you. Advocates for a nanny state are part of what is wrong with this country. Out of millions of open carry encounters, anyone can find mentally ill people wanting to harm others. I reject the notion that we have to give up freedom for safety.

        • ThomasR

          Yep. Chris doesn’t just paint OC of rifles as “extreme”but he says OC of pistols are equivalent to different sexually transmitted diseases.

          I cam to this site from a link at This is the response I wrote at that site.

          ” A fairly abrasive way?

          “Open Carry lunacy is the hallmark of gun-rights extremists, and within the gun right community OC activists are widely disliked (and insulted, and mocked, and caricatured).”

          . I’ve said it before, what is the essential difference between when I have done private security with a badge and an OC gun and I am just, right and good: then I put my street clothes on, continuing to OC and now I am a “gun rights extremist” that should be “insulted, mocked and caricatured”?

          No, the only difference is as perceived by those that worship the state, like Chris, that accept that the only legitimate circumstance of a person for openly carrying the badge of “authority” that the gun represents, is only allowed by agents of the state.

          You see, the reason people like Chris and others that actively attack the citizens that OC, is because we are saying, by openly carrying that badge of a free person, that we have the same authority, and the same responsibility to be the first line of defense for our community. In the process, we are challenging the “authoritae” of the “only ones”, and that is something they cannot abide.

          Chris attacks so viciously, those of us that OC because we frighten him, we frighten him because we say, loud and proud, we are not just equal to you, but that in fact, as a public servant, you work for US.

          Yep, nothing like a worshiper of the state, like Chris, to have his Deity challenged, to feel absolute terror. And it shows.


          • Mad Duo Chris

            Yes, I’m terrified of people with guns. That’s why I’ve lived my entire adult life, and most of my childhood, around armed people.

            As usual, the OC crowd pretends this is about people fearing *them*. But tell me, how scared do you have to be to carry an SKS into Chipotle?

            Sorry bro, I’ve faced people who actually knew how to use guns. I’ve been shot at by actual scary people, who weren’t carrying rifles to prove a point.

            No, the issue isn’t that I scream “Eeek! A gun” when I see an open carrier. It’s that I realize said OCer probably has no training, no situational awareness, doesn’t even understand that he’s carrying in a combat-ready manner, and thinks he’s somehow “defending freedom” by carrying a rifle in a low- or no-threat environment.

            I was raised to respect the power of firearms. Part of that respect means not using guns for unnecessary displays or attention-getting. Even in Afghanistan, I didn’t carry a rifle everywhere on my firebase because it didn’t make sense. And no matter how much you OCers scream “FREEEEDOMMMM!”, you’re not showing any practical reason to carry your SKS into Chipotle.

            Again, I don’t say OC should be illegal. I say rifle OC is stupid, and pistol OC is often stupid. You guys go ahead and keep creating anti-gun sentiment by OCing into Target though. Then tell me that I’m actually the scared one, even though you’re the one who needs to carry a rifle to buy Oreos.

  47. Jim

    I whole heartedly agree that morons with rifles at the ready are not helping, and should expect to treated as the potential immediate threat that they are. However, calling a violent killer an “innocent open carrier” is both disingenuous and providing aid and comfort to the enemies of American rights.

    Yes, from an enforcement and personal defense standpoint it is extremely complicated responding to someone who appears to merely be walking around with a rifle but could open fire at any time. Yes, it is impossible to know the intent of a person who is not presently killing people, but could at any moment. The same could be said of anyone driving a car in public. The same could be said of a concealed carrier, you just can’t see the weapon they could potentially use to commit a crime.

    Fortunately, we do not have pre-crime YET. Until we do, everyone must be presumed innocent until proven otherwise. If not, we throw away most of the imperfect system our founders fought and died for.

    That presumption will occasionally result in innocent people dying. This is simply another reason why the people of this nation must take personal responsibility for being armed and prepared to defend themselves and those around them. It is not a reason to use the term “innocent open carrier” for someone who has since proven they are not innocent by commiting murder. While we were obligated to ASSUME their innocence prior to them opening fire. They are NOT innocent, and using that term for them gives our anti-constitutionalist friends yet another fraudulent example of a “legal open carrier” killing someone to point at.

    Nonetheless, to “that guy”: do stop carrying your damn rifle and assault rig at the ready in public. Please.

    • James

      Well said!! I do believe that carrying (open or concealed) should be reasonable for the situation. I think that open carry in normal day-to-day scenarios is unnecessary and a tactical disadvantage. However, I do believe that responsible, conscientious open carry of short and long guns provides a strategic advantage in regards to the defense and restoration of gun rights. The panic that seeing an open carried firearm causes is due to the irresponsible performance of government at every level. The “well regulated” term in the 2nd Amendment indicates that the government is responsible for ensuring that the lawful militia (the majority of the citizenry) is trained and capable. Having even a quarter of the populace able to respond in defense of country, intervention of forcible felonies, or aid in disaster scenarios would result in a marked decline of crime in our society. As a whole people would be less fearful and more capable of defending themselves and those around them when some lunatic began shooting people. Instead every level of government has propagated the same lie and convinced a majority of people that the government can solve societal problems and protect people.

      The ineptitude of many open carriers and the panic reaction of non-gunners is the result of an era of conditioning and indoctrination. The anti-gun narrative that anyone carrying could suddenly snap and kill everyone around them has been pushed for a long time. The ignorance of gun owners clamoring about their rights while ignoring their responsibilities has been similarly building to a competing crescendo. This conflict of misguided ideals has been over a century in the making and it will not be remedied overnight (short of catastrophic events).

      I commend the author for not recommending legislation to “correct” the irresponsible actions of otherwise we’ll-meaning people. As Thomas Paine pointed out, government’s role is to punish criminals, it is the job of society to set and enforce behavioral standards. Neither can do both justly. When the individual roles are consolidated into one power the result is………well, just look around.

      • CL

        Reasonable rules for guns–that is what our two US Senators and POTUS and wonderful Joe want….

  48. Rooster Pennington

    YES!! As a combat veteran and firearms instructor, it concerns me that so many folks are complete db’s on this subject. It concerns me even more that there is movement of the less-informed that open carry is a necessity. One of your pictures showed a db carrying at low ready position…why?

    It’s one thing to sling a rifle across your back, it’s another to carry your AK or AR like you’re on patrol out in public. Makes no sense and when they do, they are the threat that I’m focused on…

    • JESullivan

      I doubt the OC practitioner knows what “low ready” is… mostly they emulate ( monkey see monkey do) whatever looks cool on their favorite video game!! I tend to equate OC folks with guys who suffer Little Dick (LD) syndrome…they do outrageous things, drive BIG cars & LOUD trucks, get ass-kicked when drinking, ride a totally tricked HD .. you know! YES, after nearly 7 decades I still prefer weapons in the hands of well trained, responsible individuals and presented openly in appropriate venues ONLY. If these bozos wish to play that game, sign on the dotted line, volunteer 11B, take the oath and .. THEN, MONKEY SEE MONKEY DO.

  49. Galen Burgett

    Outstanding opinion piece. I also support the right to bear arms, but OC of rifles is not the way I do it and never will. Good on you Mr. Hernandez.

  50. Ira Goodstadt

    Perfectly said!!

    • Mad Duo Chris

      I’m not saying rifle OC has never happened in our history, I’m saying it’s never been something done in the course of daily activities in American society. It has been done in rural areas for practical reasons, and it was common in some old west towns with significant crime problems. But it hasn’t been done as a matter of course in peaceful society.

      Thanks for the feedback. 🙂

  51. Rev Matt

    Not to nitpick but “OCing a rifle has never been a normal act in American society.”

    Historically speaking, yes it has. Certainly not “modern” American society (which I’m thinking is what you’re speaking of) but definitely in colonial times. At least according to literature I’ve read in the past.

    Thanks for the article!

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