Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Open Carry in North Carolina

The Sun News reports on the momentum open carry is experiencing in the Tar Heel State.

In North Carolina, a grass-roots segment of gun rights advocates increasingly calls for firearms displayed as blatantly as a ballpoint pen in a shirt pocket. A national pro-gun Internet group, opencarry.org, ranks the state among the friendliest to those who wear a weapon for all the world to see. The state, like Montana, Arizona and Kentucky, gets a gold star.

Unlike concealed weapons, plain-sight guns are almost totally unregulated in North Carolina, where only a misdemeanor "going armed to the terror of the public" speaks to the issue.

I wonder how you prove that charge, terror of the public.

"It's gaining momentum," said Paul Valone, president of nonprofit firearms group Grass Roots North Carolina. "These are perfectly normal people. These are not gun nuts."

Now, that would be Paul Valone's opinion, right? Many would say that open carrying to make a point about the 2nd Amendment is proof that you are a gun nut.

At Perry's Gun Shop in Wendell, Barry Perry reports heavy interest in concealed handguns, showing off rows of pistols designed for that purpose in his display case. Most gun owners don't want people to feel intimidated by a weapon out in the open, he said. Others worry that open carry is too extreme and likely to generate a backlash that cuts into other firearms laws. More, even passionate gun advocates, doubt open carry's effectiveness as a crime deterrent.

Even Valone, who advocates removing many of the restrictions attached to North Carolina's concealed carry law, has doubts. If somebody were robbing a convenience store in which he were buying a soda, Valone said, he'd rather they not know he was carrying a gun. It takes away the element of surprise.

So, everyone seems to agree, there's no good reason to do this except to stick it in the face of those who oppose it. The fact that most people do oppose it, according to Rasmussen, including many gun rights activists, puts these open-carry folks in a category of their own.

I'd say this type of stubborn behavior, which is counter productive to their own cause, and which comes from a self-righteous we're-right-and-you're-wrong attitude, makes these people dangerous.

I'll tell you what I mean by that. When an emergency happens, when that rare moment of truly needing a gun to save the day happens, I don't think people who demonstrate this type of thinking ability are capable of acting responsibly. I don't feel that way about most concealed carry people, but these open-carry warriors are bad news.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.


  1. I've likened open carry to gay pride parades. They serve a more symbolic purpose than practical purpose. One of those symbolic purposes being to make certain types of people uncomfortable.

  2. I guess you may be right about that. And perhaps the results will be the same, which I think in the gay pride movement have been to make people in general less uncomfortable.

    Wit the open carry movement, it's a bit dangerous. The tide of public opinion could shift. I don't think that'll happen with the gays anymore.

  3. As a caveat, the Raleigh News & Observer misquoted me: I did not say I "have doubts" about open carry. What I said was that I personally do not, both because it gives away tactical advantage and because North Carolina's patchwork quilt of "no carry" zones, many of which are not obvious, can easily make inadvertant criminals of otherwise law-abiding citizens. It that happens, I would rather not be displaying the evidence on my hip.

    As for our organization, Grass Roots North Carolina, we do not disparage open carry. It is legal under North Carolina statutes and anyone should be able to choose the method of self-protection which most suits his or her needs.

    Paul Valone
    President, Grass Roots North Carolina