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.
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.
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.
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.