Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Fishing for Trouble

 

 

I’m about to make a significant number of my fellow firearms enthusiasts upset. But to mitigate the effect, at least somewhat, let me say what I believe. I believe the only reason to strip someone of their right to own a firearm is a felony conviction involving violence. There is a huge difference between someone who is 18 and writes a bad check for $500 and someone who is 18 and sticks a gun in a shopkeeper’s face. I believe there should be a mechanism to restore firearms rights that would be fully funded by Congress (the current statute permits restoration by the ATF, but a Democrat-controlled and Republican-compliant Congress has refused to fund it). I believe that every state should be a constitutional carry state, and that concealed carry should be a right, not a privilege. 

That is not the way it is, however. Yet some states that restrict concealed carry unnecessarily, allow open carry. I can understand, in those states, why a person might choose to open carry. But, if you have a concealed carry permit, carrying openly just is not smart. It may be your right, but it’s not wise to exercise it. You have the right to kick a hornet’s nest. But it’s not smart.

I’m not arguing your right to do it. I think you should have the right to do it. I’m appealing to your sense of personal responsibility.

The gun-control alarmists and their sycophant media have created a culture of fear around anyone who carries a weapon. Would anyone have believed ten years ago that a coffee shop would refuse to allow a police officer, on duty, to carry their firearm into their place of business? It has happened, and with the “defund the police” nonsense, it will happen more often as retailers eager for the “woke” dollar virtue signal. I would argue that no one who is not actively breaking the law, or has a warrant out for their arrest, has anything to fear from the police. And even those who are actively breaking the law or have a warrant have nothing to fear if they submit to arrest without resistance. But the media have certainly given us all a bucket-load of false narratives (“hands up, don’t shoot”) to convince the person not paying attention that everyone with a gun is a wild-eyed beast out for the glory of the kill. As responsible gun owners we have an obligation – I would even say a duty – to our fellow gun owners to defeat that narrative. But we cannot do that when people who should know better assert their rights solely for click/likes on social media.

The video shown here is worth your time if you disagree. In Florida, open carry is forbidden generally. However, it is allowed when a person is hunting, fishing or camping. In this video the person with the camera is open carrying an AR-type pistol. For those of you who may not know what that is, it is a rifle receiver with a very short barrel (8 – 12 inches) and a “pistol brace” that can be attached to the arm that’s firing the weapon. The pistol configuration avoids the problem with a short-barreled rifle (which is forbidden without a tax stamp and a years-long permitting process), but it looks like you’re carrying a rifle when it’s slung around your neck, as was done in this video.

You’ve no doubt seen the videos featuring the “First Amendment Auditors” who go places like sheriff’s stations and courthouses and film the back entrances, walking around until a law enforcement officer asks what they’re doing. Absent a sign, or a trespass warning, they have every right to do it. Yet, ask yourself, what valid concerns the police might have in having their sally port photographed. Might this permit someone planning on freeing a prisoner (or shooting one) certain advantages? Many of these situations can be fixed with appropriate ordinances and signage, and should be if there is a concern. The “auditors” however, are not really auditing. What they’re doing is provoking an arrest so that they can later claim their civil rights were violated and bring a lawsuit against the offending police jurisdiction. That’s why these things are always filmed.

So too our open carrier here. He filmed his interaction. Let’s unpack what he did.

He went to an area in Florida where there is a public fishing area armed with a weapon that was openly carried. He had a statutory right to do this, but doing so in Florida is not bright for several reasons.

Many years ago, I worked in Florida. I now live there. In West Palm Beach, where I was, about half of the population was over 60 and most of it came from New York City. New Yorkers are not like the rest of us. Sorry, no offense to those in the state, but the city-dwellers are just not like the rest of us. They are so indoctrinated by their left-leaning politicians that they cannot imagine anyone exercising a right to carry a firearm. Witness, for example, the Palm Beach County commissioner banning the sale of guns and ammunition during the Coronavirus outbreak. One supposes he was afraid people would start shooting the virus?

I left West Palm due to an incident at a grocery store. I had picked up the last two Kiwi fruit in the store. My wife at that time (now my ex-wife for reasons that will become apparent) was making a fruit salad. As I walked over to get a cantaloupe, an elderly lady reached into my cart and took my Kiwi fruit.

I don’t like Kiwis. I never have. I can tolerate them, but if I had to walk across the street to eat one I wouldn’t. To me, it was no big deal. But because of the encroachment I say “Hey, those are mine!”

“So,” the woman with a heavy New York accent said, “you haven’t bought ‘em yet!”

At this point Broom Hilda swooped in, forcefully replevined the fruit from the octogenarian, and told her if she took anything else from our car she’d break both her hands. It occurred to me that when you are living in a place where people have to threaten fisticuffs with the elderly that maybe you shouldn’t live there any longer. And, later, I came to the same revelation about Broom Hilda.

So, the first reason is that there are just too many people from the northeast that populate Florida and that think guns are “icky.” They claim to be scared of them, and their first instinct is to call 911 and make a man-with-a-gun call. Which brings us to the second reason.

Have you been paying attention lately? People have been killing police officers. Even with vests, helmets, and protective gear, people have been shooting and stabbing our officers on a weekly basis. As a result, some police officers (not a majority) have adopted the shoot-first-apologize-to-the-heirs-later approach to dealing with armed suspects, no matter who that armed suspect is. And, please, that’s not a knock on the police. If I saw someone with an openly-carried rifle, my first reaction would be to put my hand on my carry pistol and prepare for action. You can’t tell the difference between an open carry activist/agitator and an Antifa scumbag from 50 meters. I think it best to err on the side of caution.

The men in the video were lucky. They were greeted by professional officers who made an appropriate felony stop, validated that they were statutorily permitted to open carry because they was fishing, and after appealing to reason and responsibility, (to no effect, by the way) let them go. Both had GoPro cameras, both were filming. Both refused to permit the police request to take their weapons. Both forcefully asserted their rights. Were they looking for a settlement like this one?

But what effect did their actions have?

Do you think they made allies out of the police, or do you think they made them angry? Do you think, at the end of the day, they advanced the cause of gun rights by doing what they did? And what of the next Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, or Santino William Legan? What message might they take away from this?

Now, consider this situation. Instead of professional law enforcement, what if these guys had gotten a rookie cop fresh from the academy and unfamiliar with the open carry while fishing statute? What if the cop sensed the pair’s frequent hand movements as a sign of aggression and fired weapons? Would the assertion of their rights been worth the loss of their lives? Would the event have made them martyrs, or Darwin Award winners? At the end of the day, would they have advanced their goal of “normalizing” open carry? The answer, of course, is no. They would have set it back, perhaps by a large measure.

The last reason I oppose open carry is this. Openly carrying a firearm surrenders your advantage in a hostile situation. Most people have terrible situational awareness. They don’t pay attention to what’s going on around them. They are busy getting a Diet Coke out of the cooler, and they don’t notice the two guys come in to the store in hoodies, when it’s 95 degrees in July. But those guys, who are looking to steal, and are armed, certainly see him. To them, he’s either a nice way to add to their illegal firearms collection, or, more likely, someone to be dealt with quickly and fatally so as to avoid being interrupted. Imagine reaching into the convenience store cooler for a soda and the last thing you know being shot in the back by someone you never saw?

My position: carrying openly is like wearing a shirt that says “SHOOT ME FIRST!” It tells the bad guys you’re a threat, and it surrenders the tactical advantage to the bad guys. 

I fully support a person exercising their constitutional rights. It doesn’t bother me that Westboro Baptist Church says horrible things and protests funerals, because if you prohibit that it becomes a slippery slope, and already YouTube has cracked down on firearms videos. Additional editorial suppression of firearms is sure to come if we don’t allow people we disagree with to speak freely as well.

But I do not believe that agitating for the right to open carry while fishing (which is clearly meant for rural, not urban areas, even though the statute doesn’t say that) is smart and advances the agenda. People need to think, and act, responsibly. That’s especially true when they’re carrying a firearm, and are therefore representing all of us who do.

Published in Guns
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 21 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Tex929rr Coolidge

    Open Carry is a convenience; in Texas it means if your handgun was accidentally exposed you were not violating the law. In general it’s tactically unsound. I only open carry when walking the dogs or out and about on my property. And when I walk the dogs we are actually adjacent to my property the entire time.

    Those second amendment auditors are just d-bags. They have come to my rural county a few times and left when deputies ignored them. I’ve stated this before, but during the legislature session when open carry was passed here, open carry advocates were so obnoxious that they almost caused the legislature to kill the bill. 

    Kind of strange here – you have to have a license to carry (previously a concealed carry permit) to carry openly.

    • #1
    • August 3, 2020, at 9:25 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  2. Henry Racette Contributor

    Great post. I also think open carry is, for normal people, a tactically poorer choice than concealed carry. And I broadly agree with your pragmatism — that not everything we can do is something that we should do, something that will further our goals.

     

    • #2
    • August 3, 2020, at 9:26 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor

    I will never open carry. As you suggest, being a female, 5’2″ and 110 pounds is just begging for trouble. 

    • #3
    • August 3, 2020, at 9:54 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. Stad Thatcher

    Tex929rr (View Comment):
    Open Carry is a convenience; in Texas it means if your handgun was accidentally exposed you were not violating the law. In general it’s tactically unsound. I only open carry when walking the dogs or out and about on my property. And when I walk the dogs we are actually adjacent to my property the entire time.

    I agree with this and the poster. Openly carrying a firearm is not wise for the reasons Mr. DeWitt cites. However, having it legal protects you when on your own property, and prevents an anti-gun DA from charging you with a violation if your concealment is not perfect.

    • #4
    • August 3, 2020, at 9:58 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  5. Anthony L. DeWitt Coolidge
    Anthony L. DeWitt

    Stad (View Comment):

    Tex929rr (View Comment):
    Open Carry is a convenience; in Texas it means if your handgun was accidentally exposed you were not violating the law. In general it’s tactically unsound. I only open carry when walking the dogs or out and about on my property. And when I walk the dogs we are actually adjacent to my property the entire time.

    I agree with this and the poster. Openly carrying a firearm is not wise for the reasons Mr. DeWitt cites. However, having it legal protects you when on your own property, and prevents an anti-gun DA from charging you with a violation if your concealment is not perfect.

    @stad several years ago a Florida deputy got a bit aggressive with a guy with a valid permit. He asked him to reach back in his truck and get something is my recollection, and when he did, his shirt came up, and the deputy lost his mind, cuffed him, and had him charged because he displayed his weapon. Eventually cooler heads prevailed (because an attorney was involved) and the guy got his gun back. Since then the law has been amended to say that an unintentional display is not a problem. In spite of this I go to great lengths to conceal when in public. I’ve had paddle holsters slip off my hip, so I now use an appendix IWB exclusively. I just am VERY careful holstering.

    • #5
    • August 3, 2020, at 10:35 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  6. Tex929rr Coolidge

    When we were approving the policy for arming teachers in our school district we added a line to the effect that accidental display of a firearm did not violate the policy.

    • #6
    • August 3, 2020, at 10:41 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  7. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    I don’t open carry. It draws attention, scares some people, and is being openly provocative. Outside that I want open carry to be a right. When I conceal and I remove my gun from my belt hostler to get into a car. I do not want to go to jail because for 5 seconds my gun can be seen by immature mentally ill citizens. Carrying a gun is already getting to be like a blind person threading a needle of laws to keep out of jail. We need less gun laws, not more.

     

     

    • #7
    • August 3, 2020, at 12:24 PM PDT
    • 14 likes
  8. Headedwest Coolidge

    Open carry is the appropriate choice for hunting and fishing in the woods.

    • #8
    • August 3, 2020, at 8:29 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  9. Ammo.com Member

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    I don’t open carry. It draws attention, scares some people, and is being openly provocative. Outside that I want open carry to be a right. When I conceal and I remove my gun from my belt hostler to get into a car. I do not want to go to jail because for 5 seconds my gun can be seen by immature mentally ill citizens. Carrying a gun is already getting to be like a blind person threading a needle of laws to keep out of jail. We need less gun laws, not more.

    Perfectly put. Doing away with open carry is a short ticket to giving anti-gunners a means to accuse anyone they suspect of concealing a firearm straight to jail. How are you going to prove you were only printing?

    • #9
    • August 3, 2020, at 10:25 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  10. OmegaPaladin Moderator

    I support open carry in another situation that people here have not addressed: civil unrest / potential unrest.

    If you are in a situation where there is the potential for looting or mob violence, but it is not going down yet, I want to be able to carry a rifle or shotgun slung across my back. This is a situation where I am expecting trouble, and the presence of a gun is a deterrent, like a security guard on duty. Rioters know a molotov will be answered with bullets. This also applies to situations like widespread blackouts or natural disasters. 

    If I was approaching someone as a police officer or emergency responder, I think open carry would not be a problem in a civil unrest situation. I can see the threat presented immediately.

    • #10
    • August 4, 2020, at 1:37 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. Stad Thatcher

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    Open carry is the appropriate choice for hunting and fishing in the woods.

    Great point. There are some critters in the woods that can eat ya . . .

    • #11
    • August 4, 2020, at 5:33 AM PDT
    • Like
  12. Stad Thatcher

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    I support open carry in another situation that people here have not addressed: civil unrest / potential unrest.

    If you are in a situation where there is the potential for looting or mob violence, but it is not going down yet, I want to be able to carry a rifle or shotgun slung across my back. This is a situation where I am expecting trouble, and the presence of a gun is a deterrent, like a security guard on duty. Rioters know a molotov will be answered with bullets. This also applies to situations like widespread blackouts or natural disasters.

    If I was approaching someone as a police officer or emergency responder, I think open carry would not be a problem in a civil unrest situation. I can see the threat presented immediately.

    This is a good point. It’s the reason uniformed police open carry (I think).

    • #12
    • August 4, 2020, at 5:35 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  13. The Reticulator Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    Open carry is the appropriate choice for hunting and fishing in the woods.

    Great point. There are some critters in the woods that can eat ya . . .

    One taste and they’d change their mind.

    • #13
    • August 4, 2020, at 6:36 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  14. Stad Thatcher

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    Open carry is the appropriate choice for hunting and fishing in the woods.

    Great point. There are some critters in the woods that can eat ya . . .

    One taste and they’d change their mind.

    Maybe, but that first bite from the beast can kill you before it realizes you taste like——–

    • #14
    • August 4, 2020, at 1:53 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. jmelvin Member

    I am one whose default method of carry has been unhidden for most of the past 15 years. I don’t carry this way to be a showoff (most people don’t even notice), but because it is broadly far more convenient and is broadly acceptable or at least well tolerated in most places I’ve lived and visited during this time. It has also opened up great opportunities for people to observe that average guys and gals carry guns (yes there are women who carry this way), see that I and many others generally don’t get hassled about it (except for the occasional obnoxious anti-gunner or concealed carry only type), and have the opportunity to discuss firearm and self defense laws. On two different occasions my observable sidearm (not drawn) seems to have made the difference between being left alone in very precarious situations and being attacked on the street and the person finding out too late for both of us that I am armed.

     I do support those who wish to carry hideout guns if they wish to (as I do sometimes if only as a backup), but they should recognize that it is not the constitutionally protected means of carry in many states and understand that historically the carrying of concealed weapons was uncouth and considered to be the means for those with intent to cause harm while deceiving those around them that they are defenseless. Thus states offer permits for what would otherwise be illegal.

    To each their own, but the post author would do well to recognize that many of us do not come from states where ones ability to carry in the normal unhidden manner has not been historically repressed (like Texas, Florida, South Carolina, New Jersey, New York, and Maryland) and there is nothing abnormal in many places about someone who simply has an unhidden sidearm on their person in the same manner one would have an unhidden knife, shoes, or cell phone. Are there jackasses who want to make a spectacle of themselves? Sure, but you get those amongst the hideout gun crowd too who don’t have a gun you can see, but everything else tells you they want to be seen as a gun toter. Let’s recognize each person can choose what suits them best and fight to guarantee the right of self defense for all those free to walk around.

    • #15
    • August 4, 2020, at 7:14 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  16. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy WeivodaJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    jmelvin (View Comment):
    I don’t carry this way to be a showoff (most people don’t even notice), but because it is broadly far more convenient and is broadly acceptable or at least well tolerated in most places I’ve lived and visited during this time.

    That’s a good point. Seeing someone with a pistol on their hip at a gas station in small town Idaho or Wyoming is less likely to cause a stir than in downtown Philadelphia.

    • #16
    • August 4, 2020, at 8:27 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. TBA Coolidge

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Great post. I also think open carry is, for normal people, a tactically poorer choice than concealed carry. And I broadly agree with your pragmatism — that not everything we can do is something that we should do, something that will further our goals.

     

    But the price of nobody doing it is that the government feels free to decide that nobody may. 

    • #17
    • August 5, 2020, at 7:03 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. TBA Coolidge

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    jmelvin (View Comment):
    I don’t carry this way to be a showoff (most people don’t even notice), but because it is broadly far more convenient and is broadly acceptable or at least well tolerated in most places I’ve lived and visited during this time.

    That’s a good point. Seeing someone with a pistol on their hip at a gas station in small town Idaho or Wyoming is less likely to cause a stir than in downtown Philadelphia.

    True. But a given person in Philadelphia is much more likely to be carrying a (illegally) concealed weapon. 

    • #18
    • August 5, 2020, at 7:05 PM PDT
    • Like
  19. Anthony L. DeWitt Coolidge
    Anthony L. DeWitt

    TBA (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Great post. I also think open carry is, for normal people, a tactically poorer choice than concealed carry. And I broadly agree with your pragmatism — that not everything we can do is something that we should do, something that will further our goals.

     

    But the price of nobody doing it is that the government feels free to decide that nobody may.

    @robtgilsdorf I think this is an excellent point.

    • #19
    • August 5, 2020, at 8:35 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. jmelvin Member

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    jmelvin (View Comment):
    I don’t carry this way to be a showoff (most people don’t even notice), but because it is broadly far more convenient and is broadly acceptable or at least well tolerated in most places I’ve lived and visited during this time.

    That’s a good point. Seeing someone with a pistol on their hip at a gas station in small town Idaho or Wyoming is less likely to cause a stir than in downtown Philadelphia.

    That may be true, however it broadly isn’t an issue in large cities either from my experience. I live in a smallish city currently but have lived in and regularly visited large ones with no issue and have friends and acquaintances in the large cities too who broadly have no issue either. Those who try to be provocateurs get attention as they dress and act for it, but many don’t even notice if you go about like any normal person.

    • #20
    • August 6, 2020, at 3:54 AM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  21. Headedwest Coolidge

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    That’s a good point. Seeing someone with a pistol on their hip at a gas station in small town Idaho or Wyoming is less likely to cause a stir than in downtown Philadelphia.

    Also no big deal in rural western Pennsylvania.

    • #21
    • August 6, 2020, at 7:11 AM PDT
    • 3 likes