Debate Club

Open Carry Laws Benefit Public Safety

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The first thing I noticed about the question for this debate was the way it is worded. "Should people be 'allowed' to carry guns openly?" Using the phrase 'allowed' implies that open carry is a privilege that the state grants to citizens. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The right to openly bear arms for security and self-defense is enshrined not only in the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution but also in a majority of state constitutions.

[See the latest political cartoons.]

While concealed carry is seen today by much of the populace as synonymous with the right to carry, it is not, in fact, a right in most states (residents of Vermont may pat themselves on the back at this point). Rather, in the vast majority of states, concealed carry is held to be a state regulated privilege and this was affirmed by the majority opinion in the landmark 2008 ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller.

Open carry on the other hand is very much in keeping with the framers' view of the constitutional right to bear arms. Today, in a whopping 29 states (that's a majority for those who are keeping score), any law-abiding citizen who is not prohibited by law from possessing firearms may openly carry with no government permit or license required.

In an additional 14 states, legislatures have passed statutes regulating the wearing of arms and have determined that, even today, the choice to open carry has great value and should remain an option for permit holders. In fact, there are only seven states in which open carry is completely unavailable, and that number seems certain to go down this year as Oklahoma appears poised to add the option to open carry to their carry permit law.

[Check out U.S. News Debate Club: Are 'Stand Your Ground' Laws a Good Idea?]

Returning to the question at hand, the answer is an unequivocal "Yes!" Not only is it a right, but it also provides numerous benefits for public safety. A 2006 FBI study entitled "Violent Encounters: A Study of Felonious Assaults on Our Nation's Law Enforcement Officers" noted that criminals go to great lengths to conceal their firearms, do not wear holsters, and do not open carry under any circumstances.

Open carriers on the other hand wear their firearms properly holstered and go forth willing to subject themselves to the scrutiny of their neighbors and of law enforcement. They are a visible symbol of law-abiding citizens exercising their rights.

John Pierce

About John Pierce Co-founder of OpenCarry.org

Tags
gun control and gun rights
Second Amendment

Other Arguments

#1
1,310 Pts
An Armed Society is Truly a Polite Society

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Jerry Henry Executive Director for GeorgiaCarry.Org

#3
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In Parts of the Country, Open Carry Hardly Raises an Eyebrow
#4
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Open Carry Deters Crime

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#5
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Open Carry is Already Legal Under the Constitution

Yes – Open Carry is Already Legal Under the Constitution

Ralph Shortey Republican State Senator in Oklahoma

#6
-1,017 Pts
Open Carrying: Provocative Conduct, Dangerous Consequences

No – Open Carrying: Provocative Conduct, Dangerous Consequences

Lindsay Nichols Staff Attorney with Legal Community Against Violence

#7
-1,023 Pts
Open Carry Is an Invitation to Chaos

No – Open Carry Is an Invitation to Chaos

Constance N. Johnson Democratic State Senator in Oklahoma

#8
-1,030 Pts
Guns, Carried Openly or Concealed, Threaten Our Safety

No – Guns, Carried Openly or Concealed, Threaten Our Safety

Josh Sugarmann Founder and Executive Director of the Violence Policy Center

#9
-1,053 Pts
Carrying a Firearm Puts the Community at Risk

No – Carrying a Firearm Puts the Community at Risk

Joshua Horwitz Executive Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

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