Pros and Cons of Open Carry Laws
Please Note: The information contained in this article is for general purposes only. Not all states have open carry laws. Each state that does has their own very specific rules. Check with your state before carrying your weapon on your person openly or concealed. Here is a list of the states that allow for open carry of weapons.
What Is Open Carry?
To begin, let’s define what open carry means. Some states allow their residents to carry their firearms on their persons without a carry permit as long as the weapon is carried outside of a person’s clothing. In other words, the weapon can be seen by anyone looking at the person. Most people carry their weapons in a side-holster. While having a permit is generally not required for carrying the weapon openly, some individuals, convicted felons, for instance, are not allowed to carry a weapon under any circumstances. Restrictions vary from state to state.
Pros of Open Carry
The obvious benefit to open carry laws is that more people are armed at any given time. With violent crimes on the increase, many responsible individuals want to have protection within easy reach. Open carry allows these people to defend themselves, and others, should they find themselves in a dangerous situation. Many people believe that having an armed citizenry decreases crime. Lawbreakers are less likely to commit their crimes if they know locals may be armed and ready to take action against them.
Open carry laws are a true reflection of our Constitutional right to “keep and bear arms.” Legal open carry is, for some, a demonstration that they know their rights and are willing to exercise those rights.
Cons of Open Carry Laws
As with anything, misuse and abuse can happen. Most states that allow for open carry do not require any type of weapon’s training at all for their residents. If a person is legally eligible to carry a weapon, they may do so regardless of whether they know how (or when) to use it or not. This can lead to a variety of unfortunate incidents.
It is simple math that the more weapons that are being carried in any given area, the more accidental misfires will happen. Misfires can occur due to weapons being dropped, weapons falling out of holsters, weapons being carried with rounds in the chamber and the hammer cocked, and so forth. The good news is misfires that lead to physical harm are rare.
This last issue is purely social in nature. While there are many who believe fervently in open carry laws, there are also those who believe that citizens walking around, visibly armed, reflects poorly on their communities. It is a misconception to assume that these individuals are all “bleeding heart liberals”; they are not. There are more than a few professional law enforcement personnel who would prefer to see less firepower on the street than more.
In closing, if you live in an open carry state and are considering arming yourself, do invest whatever time it takes to become proficient with your weapon before you begin carrying it. This is time well spent.