Right now, there’s every indication that SB234 will make it out of committee and so far it’s looking really good that the most comprehensive gun rights bill since Shall Issue passed in ‘86 will make its way to the Governor’s desk, which Governor Scott has already said he’d sign. Then, with that as law, Floridians will be able to carry more places as well as do so openly.
I totally plan on OC’ing more than the average gun owner. For one, I’m an activist. Two, I believe it to be a better deterrent to crime, a more comfortable way to carry, and provides more convenience should the horrible happen and I require its use. Cops openly carry their pistols for a reason, there’s nothing wrong with a citizen doing the same.
However, here’s the logical process for how I’ll choose when to OC and what I will carry.
One, if I have my family with me, I will generally conceal. My wife, even after all these years, is still not a gun nut and is barely comfortable as it is around them. I’ve gotten partial ambivalence out of her which is as good as I can expect. However, since OC will be rare and not something people are used to here, it is sure to draw a few stares and possibly conversations – some might not be pleasant. This isn’t something I want to subject my family to.
If I’m on my own, I’ll probably OC anywhere I would conceal which is to say, anywhere I’m at. I carry a weapon every place I am legally allowed to at all times (and tend to avoid situations where I can’t carry). Deciding what to carry isn’t difficult. I normally carry a Glock 20 or a KelTec P3AT if a full size pistol isn’t feasible. Because I do not have an IWB holster for the Para 1911, it only gets used for Open Carry events.
So, I’ll chose whatever fits me best that day which will generally be the Glock 20. Since concealment isn’t as critical, I expect the P3AT will start collecting a bit of dust. I may be looking at a S&W MP40 at some point, and if I do get it, I might carry that just for variety.
Then, I’ll simply go about my business exactly as I always have. If I need to go to the library, I will. If I need to pick something up at Home Depot, I’ll go there as well. If I need to pick something up from the grocery store, then I walk in there.
What I won’t do is select a firearm that I would never have for concealed carry like a shotgun or a rifle, nor will I make it a point to go places where I really have no business going to. My activism makes me an ambassador, so it behooves me to not alter my habits ‘just to prove a point’. I don’t find that to be an effective means of winning over people to my cause. If you have to modify both your choice of weapon and actively seek a place to go to that you weren’t planning on otherwise, then you’re not really doing much more than being an attention hound.
It’s a rare event when a stunt like that works for the better of everyone. I’m not saying it can’t work, for Pete’s sake I have to go fishing to OC, and I always am borrowing someone else’s fishing rod as I don’t have one myself. But the act of trying to legalize something tends to bind you to doing things you might not normally do. But when you spend more time modifying your behavior to ‘prove a point’, maybe that point isn’t quite what you’re trying to do.
*Rosa Parks sat at the front of the bus. She didn’t stand in the isle in a bright pink bikini bottom with nothing but pasties on the top that read “SUCK IT WHITE BOY! I AIN’T MOVIN’” while blocking access to the rest of the bus. There’s Martin Luther King, and then there’s Malcom X. One has a holiday and hundreds of streets that bear his name, the other is still spoken of in tones of scorn in polite company.
We can be those ambassadors. When you carry your gun, be it concealed or openly, be polite. Be courteous. Do not do things simply because you have a gun that you wouldn’t do without it. If you feel the need to show off, maybe there’s better things you could do with your time.
*I agree with JayG that we are not in the same situation as blacks were in during the civil rights movements. There are some parallels and there is bigotry abound, but we’re not getting hit with a fire hose or having effigies of Charlton Heston burning in our front yards. We should be cognizant of the limits of analogies and not over use them.