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News Open and Concealed Carry: Firearms

  1. Feb 26, 2011 #1
    First, I'd like to ask (cannot demand) that this stay civil. This is born of a debate between another user and myself in PM, which is probaby better served as a thread. Second, if at all possible, I'd love to treat this as a universal issue, and not just a "USA" issue... in other words, this isn't a debate about the 2nd Ammendment.

    My intent in this OP, is to explore the advantages of each form of carrying a side-arm, one or the other, or a combination. There is no, "no guns" here, because in the context of this debate, the issue is purely: Concealed Carry, or Open Carry?... benfits?... drawbacks?

    Third, and finally, I sent the following as a reply to a PM, so if it seems oddly disjointed... it's half of a conversation which (both parties) hope can be carried on here, with company and other views. I should emphasize, this has been a friendly debate, and if at all possible I'd love to see that remain the case.

    OK... now, I'm generally against Open Carry (OC) for mostly practical reasons, but not always, and I'm just one person with limited experience. I also had to quit writing this before I finished, because the flexors in my left arm want to kill me. :rolleyes:

    Please forgive this, by definition, incomplete beginning to a thread.

    In a general sense, I find it very hard to believe that a criminal who doesn't specifically want to kill you, or one who isn't divorced from reality due to drugs or mental illness... is going to avoid an openly armed individual. I think there's also a tacit implication that is quite ancient: "I'm armed, and I know enough about these arms to bear them openly as a warning." In theory, this is very sound; clearly it's very effective for police the vast majority of times. I think we'd agree that a properly wielded firearm is one of the most effective force multipliers on earth that is available to civilians.

    The problem then, is that while you and I understand the tacit threat to a criminal of OC, criminals tend to be pretty dumb and massively short-sighted. Given that, lets take two points you've made:

    1.) CC = At least an added second to draw and acquire.
    2.) OC = Granny with a gun has a big "buzz off" sign in the form of a pistol.

    Here's the issue with that; most people who aren't naturally good with pistols and the Modern Method of shooting (MM) aren't going to go from "empty hands" to shooting at a target in a second. You can, and I

    might be able to, although I come from the "accuracy is god" camp, given that most shots miss in practice. I really am a strong believer in the Mozambique: two to the center of mass (chest ideally), ride the recoil and re-acquire, one to the head. I know of no better method to ensure that what you hit will not be doing anything to you.

    Still, I only practice that because of my nutty South African counselor when I was 12... so lots of target practice. Most people, including police it seems, are taught to empty their magazine and advance. If people want to OC, they need to back up the threat with skill, or the threat becomes a target: free gun.

    In the case of your being taken down in Las Vegas, consider: if I were a criminal and hell-bent on robbing, I'd wait for a vulnerable target. Your point is that a guy sporting a gun is about a HARD a target as you get next to a cop or national guardsman with assault rifle.

    Still, many crimes while rational in their motive are not so rational in their execution. For instance, I was robbed at "screwdriver" point.... well... attempted robbery anyway in Philadelphia as a college student. I can't imagine even an obviously desperate addict doing that had I been OC'ing; as it happened I had no gun or LTC in PA, which could have gone very badly for me.

    The thing is... what is your most valuable tool? Your gun?... or your training, and reactions to... your situational awareness? One is needed to properly use the other, unless OC is a nearly perfect deterrent.

    If I'm a crook, have a gun or even a cudgel, and I see a woman walking with a gun OC, but clearly unaware of her surroundings... I'm knocking her head in and taking that gun. For that criminal, it just became Christmas, and in casing that joint, they'll note: older lady, openly carrying a gun, alone, unaware.

    If they're wrong, that's one less criminal, and that has to be a VERY desperate, or very violent criminal, which is relatively rare (at least, that desperate and violent). Still, a rational response for a violent criminal in a world of guns, is pre-emptive action, and the irrational case is jumpy nerves and panic fire.

    Thus far, I'm trying to explore every advantage to OC that I can imagine, without relying on anecdote... even trusted anecdotes. The thing is, if everyone can openly carry, you don't change dynamics of training,

    or willingness to use that weapon. I believe that in practice, you may have failed to awaken in Nevada if you'd been armed. In essence, you remove the middle of the bell curve (violent, but non-lethal crime) leaving the outliers of nonviolent-cunning, and violent-stupid.

    In short, if your OC does NOT deter, then you open yourself to death or injury without warning compared to the more usual non-violent encounter. In a way, it removes part of your ability to control the escalation of an event, as the price for speed on the draw and deterrence.

    Now, to me the question is how to get the best of both worlds?

    OC carry zones on the federal level: You analyze crime stats for rape, violent robbery, A/B, Murder, and in those areas (parking lots, garages, all of Las Vegas :wink:) if you can CC, then you can OC; up to having

    your gun in hand, or a clip-on holster. You don't create tension for police, nor do you change the dynamics of public discourse... it's a scientific approach to high risk. In regions where violent crime exceeds X threshold, that's an OC state.

    This is not where I would choose to stop, but my left arm is telling me that I should, or hurt a LOT.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 26, 2011 #2
    I'm pretty much in agreement with the points you make in your post. The only real problem with open carry is that most people are unfamiliar with seeing a gun in public on anyone but a cop in most cities of my country. Coupled with their own unfamiliarity with firearms in general. They see a gun on a civilian, they think they see a crime or an imminent crime. An incorrect perception but unsettling and very real to them. It's legal to do in my state but I don't practice OC just for this reason.

    But, in the case of a natural disaster along the lines of Katrina or civil unrest along the lines of the LA riots, I think it is important to be able to OC without the authorities hassling you.

    There are many countries like the UK to where most people would absolutely abhor the idea of even owning a handgun in the first place. So it's hard to say how applicable this discussion would be to them.
  4. Feb 26, 2011 #3
    I think each people has the right to decide the fate of their nation, and sacrificing the capacity for violence on some scales has rewards... it also has restrictions.

    Good point about natural disasters, but it really goes back to educating the pubic and police. The only problem there is that guns have become mystical to those who hate them, and love them. It's the practical middle that recognizes they're simply tools to be used, or not on a case-by-case basis.

    With the politics of this (in the USA) being so entangled with interests and political parties, it's hard to get any signal through the noise, and that makes education VERY hard.

    In principle however, that's still not a knock on OC. Personally, I like the ability to have more influence to de-escalate, but that's based in my own life experiences, and hence CC. I have heard from others here of times when OC may have been a potentially life (or butt) saving move.
  5. Mar 8, 2011 #4
    Interesting discussion. I don't own or plan on using a gun in the future, but don't have any problem whatsoever with people owning guns for protection or sport shooting.
    I don't see OC as ever becoming widespread. Even though certain governments might consider sanctioning it, the requirements and restrictions will rule out most people.
    Wrt CC, a good friend of mine, also retired, just got his. Apparently it's much easier now to get LTC in Florida than it was, say, 35 years ago.
    I asked him why he felt the need to CC. He mentioned that occasionally he can't avoid riding his bicycle (he's an avid bicyclist and surfer) through some 'bad' neighborhoods to and from certain destinations, and that he would just feel safer knowing the gun is there.

    Afaik, there are pretty stict regulations associated with CC. Eg., just pulling the gun out can get you a few years in prison, and actually firing it can get you a lot more.

    Anyway, I think that law abiding and qualified individuals should be allowed to carry firearms, and that CC is preferable to OC.
  6. Mar 8, 2011 #5
    I agree (obviously), but I'd add, you're also correct about pulling out your gun. The crime is, "brandishment" and it's very much state by state... however, if you have a record... you're in deep dookie. Either way, you're almost certainly going to lose your license and NEVER get it back, along with community service and a big fat fine... best case scenario.
  7. Mar 8, 2011 #6

    Heh... this is nothing to do with OC/CC... but it makes a case for having a gun at home.
  8. Mar 9, 2011 #7


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    I believe that OC or CC should be up to the individual. One person might feel more comfortable concealing, another might feel more comfortable with open carry. Neither option should be dictated to the individual by anyone.

    I do think that OC removes the element of surprise though. If you OC and the bad guy still decides you are his target, he knows what to expect. If you CC, you might look like easy prey to the bad guy, until he discovers you don’t like being a victim and are fighting back.

    I would likely alternate between the two options depending on the circumstances, although if I did OC, I would always CC at the same time.
  9. Mar 11, 2011 #8
    There are pros and cons to both OC (open carry) and CC (concealed carry). I'll try to go over both.

    The visual deterrent alone can stop crime from happening. There have been several reports of various crimes that were prevented by the sight of the gun (so, near-crimes? not too sure what to call it exactly). With OC it is also easier to get your gun out if it's needed. And while it "can" be seen, that doesn't mean that the criminal actually saw it. This is especially true if a store is being robbed and you're not at the counter.

    Now some cons. You have to be even more vigilent about your surroundings then other people. If you aren't then you could find yourself unable to react to a situation where you're specifically targetted due to your inattentiveness. You could also be targetted simply because of the gun (this is very rare but does happen). Also while you might avoid the crime, the criminal might still find someone else to rob (though overall crime will still be down some due to would-be criminals changing their mind after seeing a gun).

    With this you don't have the visual deterrent, but you do gain something else; anonymity. That can help lower the overall crime in an area since the criminals aren't sure who has a gun (just see how overall crime has gone down in both D.C. and Chicago since the repeal of their anti-CC laws); but you yourself would be more likely to be a target of crime compared to OCing since the criminal didn't know you were the armed citizen. The anonymity also means that people who aren't used to guns being OCed won't question you (and this includes cops who don't actually know the laws or are just being bullies).

    And then the cons. With the weapon being concealed it takes longer to get out should you need it. In an emergency that could be the difference between life and death. There's also the 21 foot rule. And while this also applies to OC, it affects CC more. The rule is that an attacker can close roughly 21 feet of space before you can draw your weapon and properly sight on a target. It can be somewhat negated with proper training. You personally don't get the deterrent of the gun until you have to draw it. And while drawing the weapon can (and does) stop criminals, OCing could have stopped it before it ever started.

    Now some other things to look at when it comes to carrying. The first one being, what type of criminal are we dealing with? By nature most criminals are opportunistic and value self preservation. This means that if criminals see a gun they are more likely to go somewhere else. This also applies to if they know people in the area are concealed carrying. Now some people will say that this is simply redistributing where the crime is taking place, and that is partly true. But a lot of spontaneous criminals will also go "what was I thinking?" and flat out not commit their crime at all. Additionally if more people were to OC/CC then even the criminals who go somewhere else would have fewer potential targets.

    The next type of criminal would be criminal gangs. While rare in most places, these types of criminals are generally more desperate than the previous type of criminal and often have something to "prove." This means that a lone OCer could be targetted specifically because of the gun if they don't pay attention to their surroundings as the criminal both has less fear for the loss of their life and senses a potential opportunity. But as a whole even this type of crime would go down and be mostly confined to gang vs gang and people who deal with gangs because the members still value their life.

    Overly smart criminals and suicidal/psychotic criminals would be the last catagory I would make. These are a very small catagory of criminals but also the most dangerous. With the very smart/thought out criminals they can potentially neutralize gun carriers through various means (though you at least have a weapon to put up a resistance if the situation allowed; CC would be better here). With suicidal/psychotic criminals they don't care about their life at all which means that a gun isn't going to deter them; though it might stop them from hurting more people or anyone at all.

    The final thing that you would need to look at is type of people carrying weapons (both OC and CC). If the person is a complete idiot then them carrying could be a danger to theirself and anyone around them. However most law-abiding-citizens that carry have at least some training and know weapon basics. If carrying of either type is to become more widespread then the people carrying would also need to properly train with their weapons. And for that it is about harboring a proper atmosphere that values the importance of training. Assuming the population at large had the proper training and enough people were carrying I would say that OC would be the way to go. The reason being that most any potential criminal would walk into an area that they wanted to commit a crime in, SEE 5+ guns (so 5+ people who could potentially kill him and just plain ruin his plans), and not commit the crime. Also even if the criminal went into a place where it was just the clerk they would know that the person is likely armed and could injure/kill them. So unless they were committed to becoming a murderer off the bat they now have to worry about their own safety.

    But if the area doesn't have a lot of people who OC or you're just plain uncomfortable with OC, then it might be better to CC. This way you're still armed, the criminals know that there are armed civilians which reduces crime, but you don't directly highlight yourself. I don't think it would provide as much protection in most situations (again it depends on the type of criminal we're talking about; I'm talking about the most common type of criminal), but it also makes the carrier feel safer in that they're armed and don't think that they have a bullseye on their back.

    An interesting cite that I found (outside of various forums) on this subject is a place called guncite.com. It seems to try to stay pretty neutral in terms of gun control vs gun rights but it does have an interesting article that I'll post at the bottom. In the article it compares the "Wild West" to the more "civilized" east coast and even to today. Outside of homocide by willing combatants (so think duels and alcohol driven fights between two willing people; things that are illegal now) the wild west actually had less major crime and nearly non-exsistant lower crimes. The article also states specifically which towns it used for all comparisons and it talks about crime per capita as well (which would allow you to do fact checking if you didn't trust them). While I will let you draw your own conclusions should you read the article, to me it clearly shows how firearms in the hands of law abiding citizens who knew how to use them clearly lowered crime back then even if Holleywood would have us believe every street back then was the OK Corral. Here's the article

  10. Mar 11, 2011 #9
    I would tend to agree with you, and may I say, welcome to PF.
  11. Mar 12, 2011 #10


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    I used to work in a little town here where everybody had revolvers on their hip and some had shotguns on their back (Black bear protection)

    contrast that with lving on campus, where I have to check my guns into the cop shop.
  12. Mar 12, 2011 #11
    I'd rather you carry that gun, than check it at the "front desk".
  13. Mar 15, 2011 #12


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    These actually are cops that passed the test, though. Campus has it's own police station. Everybody's a drunk driver in Alaska. Or a domestic violence drunk. Or a friendly drunk. A really friendly drunk.
  14. Mar 15, 2011 #13

    This doesn't hold water. Having the ability to OC in addition to CC does not mean that everybody will carry on sight. There is no telling who has a fire arm in a place where both OC and CC are permitted. You can have statistical data on what % of the population prefer one way or the other, but that's all. You can't infer from this whatever an individual does carry or not. Only that there is a chance of x% that you stumble on somebody with a gun. So I don't see this in any way as significant contributor to lowering overall crime.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2011
  15. Mar 15, 2011 #14
    No matter how dumb and shortsighted one is, a potential threat against your own well being will cause fear. It is not insight and dumbness which operates here, it's fear for your own precious being.

    Just about everyone will choose as a victim somebody which is perceived as a low threat. A fire arm drastically changes this perception.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2011
  16. Mar 15, 2011 #15
    Here are your assumptions:

    1.) Insantiy.
    2.) This is physics forum (in fact, this is the P&WA sub-forum)
    3.) The views here represent an exterme.
    4.) You have some concept or say in what belongs in this forum, which you do not.

    I'll repeat, feel free to leave, feel free to express a counter-argument, but don't continue to rant and insult.
  17. Mar 15, 2011 #16
    y'all want a rational discussion? Well I'm a rational human, that's why I don't need no gun:

    1.) Insanity: Guns have one function - to kill other people. Killing people or submerging yourself in the culture of the tools of murder, raises questions of sanity. Group insanity is the hardest to percieve.
    2.) This is called physicsforum.com - that's pretty self-explanatory
    3.) See 1
    4.) I'm just expressing an opinion.
  18. Mar 15, 2011 #17
    Yes, guns are tools to kill or otherwise destroy. Your assumption that this leads to a culture of murder makes me question your objectivity and sincerity, but fair enough. Still, it's well off the mark for this thread, but if you'd like to make another, I'd be happy to participate. I'd add, it seems that "sanity" for you is a function of how much someone agrees with you.

    That's inane, read the guidelines.

    No, you're raving, there's a distinct difference. By the way, I'm not from or living in the south... you'll need to find a better crude insult.

    It's fine though, you're unable or unwilling to act in accordance with he guidelines of this site, and I'm more than happy to keep sending your posts on for examination.

    One more time, do you have anything to support your views, or is this just what you were taught as a child, and you haven't had an original thought since?
  19. Mar 15, 2011 #18
    Man, your analysis sucks. My point his this thread is about gun culture, it doesn't belong in a scientific discussion forum. It's an insult to rational pacifists.
  20. Mar 15, 2011 #19
    Then make your rational case in a thread you're free to make, or here if you must, and I'll respond. Diatribes and frankly railing against the rules of the site you just joined helps nothing. You're making a number of assumptions here, voiced and unvoiced... it seems like a shame that you're only fit or willing to flame, then leave.

    I personally prefer pacifism myself, but not to an extreme of allowing myself or those I care for to be harmed. I don't hunt, for the simple reason that I don't want to kill an animal. Others here have military service that informs their views, or other experiences.

    You've bypassed all of that in a vain polemic; why? I normally wouldn't respond, just report (don't get me wrong, I'm doing both), but you don't' have to take the tone or tack you have unless it's the limit of your expressive and intellectual capacity.
  21. Mar 15, 2011 #20
    That's what you want man, then I'll just leave you all here to stew in your own juices. I'm off to a more civilized area of this forum to share my wisdom.
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