By Philip Van Cleave
Covington VA --(Ammoland.com)- Below is a link to an interview I did this week dealing with three men who have been open carrying long guns in a busy commercial area of Richmond recently.
Open carry of long guns has been in the news because of Texas gun owners doing so. In Texas, only police are allowed to open carry a handgun, so Texans are open carrying the only thing they legally can: long guns. For those 18 to 20 years old in Texas, their only option for carrying a gun at all is to carry a long gun openly.
The real goal in Texas is to get their General Assembly to change the law to allow open carry of handguns, a battle that I’m sure Texas gun owners will win.
Here in Virginia open carry of long guns is very rare, largely because there is no need. Anyone 18 years or older who can own a gun can openly carry a handgun without any kind of permit. It’s a form of Constitutional Carry.
Virginia Citizens Defense League is neutral on how a gun owner carries and what type of gun he carries, as long as it is legal and safe.
That said, I have a few thoughts on open carry of long guns:
- It is very inconvenient to open carry a long gun as one goes about one’s normal life. Things like sitting down and standing up become complicated and can be down right uncomfortable if done for long stretches of time. Compare that to a holstered handgun, that you can easily forget that you are wearing.
- Muzzle control becomes a big issue. As you sit down, stand up, and go about your life carrying a long gun slung over your shoulder, you must have a constant consideration of where the muzzle is pointing. A sling for a long gun is just not as practical as a holster for a handgun.
- A sling does not cover the long gun’s trigger. Not so with a handgun holster.
- Standing up and sitting down will probably require you to actually handle the long gun (as in hold it in your hands). Doing so could almost border on brandishing and is simply not as safe as not handling the long gun in public.
- Many rifles don’t have drop safeties. So they really need to be carried without a round in the chamber if they don’t have such a safety. Meanwhile, virtually all modern handguns have drop safeties.
- Last, but by no means least, in a lot of localities in Virginia a long gun CAN’T be carried loaded because of hunting laws! So you end up lugging around a very heavy and a very expensive club. Not so with a handgun, which can be kept loaded anywhere you travel in the state.
Here is the story where I was interviewed:
Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (VCDL). VCDL is an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization dedicated to defending the human rights of all Virginians. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is a fundamental human right. Visit: www.vcdl.org