By Rachel Brody |
The "open carry" movement has reminded people in many states that the right to bear arms is not limited to the growing number of people who choose to conceal their legally carried defensive sidearms.
While the practice may seem anachronistic and is alarming to some, it remains legal over much of the American landscape. Whether it "should be" allowed seems a rather moot question, since it is already "allowed" either by statute or the fact that there is no law prohibiting it in various jurisdictions where open carry is practiced. In states with specific right-to-bear-arms provisions in their state constitutions, one can reasonably argue that open carry is constitutionally protected.
If we were to outlaw open carry, would it not then be incumbent on the states to recognize that concealed carry could no longer be subject to licensing or the issuance of a permit, as it would be the only means for citizens to exercise a constitutionally protected right to bear arms? It might also bring more pressure on Congress to adopt a national concealed carry reciprocity law.
Yet opponents of concealed carry have endeavored to demonize that practice by repeatedly alluding to "hidden guns" as though it were done with some sinister motive. Their bottom line is that they do not want anyone carrying guns other than the police.
Though open carry does alarm some people, there is nothing fundamentally wrong about carrying a firearm in a peaceable manner while going about one's business. There was a more peaceful time in this country when it was common practice.
Gun control advocates have long insisted that the government and the public have a right to know who has a firearm. What better way to visibly accomplish that than by accepting open carry once again as common behavior?
In many parts of the country, open carry is as it has always been: a practice that hardly raises an eyebrow.
Perhaps the real question we should be asking is, why should we prohibit something that cannot be shown to have hurt anything other than someone's sensibilities?
About Dave Workman Senior Editor of TheGunMag.com
Ralph Shortey Republican State Senator in Oklahoma
Lindsay Nichols Staff Attorney with Legal Community Against Violence
Josh Sugarmann Founder and Executive Director of the Violence Policy Center