Rep. George Lavender has filed a bill to allow open carry in Texas.
“Back in the Old West, people had to leave their guns at the edge of town,” said a spokeswoman for the Texas chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, who apparently got that “fact” from watching old TV westerns.
I am not philosophically opposed to open carry. In fact, I think it should be allowed. But I would prefer not to open carry myself, and I definitely hope that we don’t ever have a requirement for open carry.
The reason for that is because I believe that concealed carry is a better deterrent to criminal behavior than open carry. When a significant portion of the population carries concealed, it causes some doubt in the mind of a criminal attacker, and not knowing which potential victim might shoot back actually protects all potential victims, at least a little.
On the other hand, if a person is carrying openly, that removes the doubt, and allows the criminal to plan alternatives.
Imagine that you are carrying openly, and you happen to be visiting a convenience store (or a bank, for that matter) at shift-change time, and some criminal who has been “casing the joint” for a while has decided that is a good time to rob the place. He comes in ready to commit an armed robbery, and sees just you and the store clerk — and he sees your gun.
Who is he going to shoot first?
Another thing to consider is that if open carry becomes common, then the risk to anyone who isn’t openly carrying actually increases, because the criminal will be looking for potential victims who don’t appear to be armed.
I can see that open carry would eliminate some problems, such as the CHL holder who becomes unconcealed by accident. For me, I currently make the tradeoff between easy and fast access and deep concealment in favor of deep concealment. If I didn’t have to worry about the possibility that under some circumstances, my gun might become partially visible, I might be inclined to opt for fast access and less deep concealment. It might be nice not to have to worry so much about “printing” or having to un-button or un-tuck a shirt in the case that I need to draw my handgun. So, I would not be opposed to open carry.
I just wouldn’t want to carry openly myself.