Open Carry ‘Terror’ & The Lies Hateful People Tell

By Jeff Knox

Open Carry Map
Open Carry Map

Buckeye, AZ –-( The Bloomberg propaganda machine has been working overtime doing its best to convince large, national chain stores and restaurants to ban the carry of firearms on their properties.

The latest target of this push is Target stores.  The focus has been on some misleading stories about folks, mainly in Texas, who have been using the lawful, open carry of long guns as a political statement and protest.

The media attention, fueled by press releases, letters, and petitions from various Bloomberg minions has even caused a bit of a rift within the rights community.  Various bloggers and pundits, including an official NRA blog and people well-respected in the rights movement, have posted some pretty scathing comments critical of open carry activists.

It’s time to set some things straight.

Open carry of firearms, including long guns, is nothing new.  It is very common in many areas, and it is completely legal in almost all states.  Open carry of long guns is less common than open carry of handguns for the simple reason that it is less practical and convenient.

Typically people carry a gun for one of three broad reasons:

  1. For personal defense.
  2. To get the gun from one place to another.
  3. To make a political statement and/or normalize the practice.

The only reason activists in Texas have been including open carry of long guns in their public protests is to highlight the fact that Texas is one of only 6 states that forbids open carry of handguns.  The object of these demonstrations is to change the law in Texas to repeal its ban on open carry of handguns.  They are seeking to draw attention to the fact that, were the laws in Texas more in line with the majority of states, they would not need to carry long guns to make their point.

Bloomberg and his Astroturf groups would have you believe that open carry is a dangerous and unusual practice that businesses should ban on their premises.  It has never been illegal in most states and has not been a problem.   (Image courtesy of

Thousands – maybe hundreds of thousands – of people openly carry firearms in this country every day (along with the millions who carry discreetly).  Whether they’re carrying long guns or sidearms, it does not generate fear or excessive discomfort in the vast majority of people they encounter.  People don’t stop shopping, they don’t leave restaurants, and they certainly don’t dive under tables, hide in bathrooms, or run for the exits.

Occasionally some hoplophobe (a person with an irrational fear of weapons) will call the police and make a report.  These days, police dispatchers have learned to ask if the person is making threats, waving the gun around, or engaging in some criminal activity.  That’s usually enough to clear up the situation.

They inform the caller that open carry is legal and the matter usually ends with that.  Occasionally someone will make some sort of complaint to the management of an establishment, resulting in a request that the open carrier leave, or they will express their irrational fears – or political views – directly to the open carrier.

Consider that for a moment.  How threatened do you think a person is feeling if they are willing to approach the “guy with the gun” and tell him he shouldn’t have it?

Never has someone legally open carrying suddenly gone berserk over a bad cup of coffee or an inflated price tag – or a request to leave the premises – and started shooting people.  Never has a robbery or mass shooting begun with an individual or group of people casually walking around with their firearms in full view.  And never have we seen people rioting in panic at the sight of someone engaging in lawful open carry.

Moms Demand Action Liars
Moms Demand Action Liars

Several months ago, an anti-rights group began circulation a picture that looked like a group of armed men formed up in skirmish-line fashion preparing to take aim at some anti-rights activists across the street.  The picture, and accompanying comments, was picked up by a variety of news outlets and hundreds of blogs complaining about the bullying tactics being employed by the “gun-nuts.”

In fact, the reality didn’t match perception.  The photo was actually a side-view of the open carry group as they were posing for a group photo – well away from the anti-rights folks.  From the side, it looked menacing, but from the front, we actually see families with babies and smiling faces with no hint of threat.

The misrepresentation of that photo worked so well though, that it has become the preferred tactic of groups like Moms Demand Action and their parent organization, Mike Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety.  They get pictures of peaceful open carry protesters, and post them in a context of fear and threats as a way of ginning up public opposition to visibly carried firearms.  They use the pictures to push for companies like Starbucks, Chipotle, and now Target to adopt corporate policies against lawful carry on their premises, and they lie about the activities of open carriers and the reaction they receive from the public.

Those who choose to open carry need to remember that their actions and demeanor reflects on all gun owners, and that their opponents will take any opportunity to make them look bad to the public.  Accordingly, they should try to present a friendly, neighborly appearance and attitude, avoid political debate – especially heated arguments – and go out of their way to be courteous and cooperative.  Other supporters of rights need to avoid undue public criticism of these protesters.   That criticism only serves to support the Bloomie’s agenda.

When you see someone peacefully going about their business while armed – whether in person, or in a photograph – remember that this is your neighbor, your dentist, or a young man or woman who might have volunteered to fight terrorists in a foreign land.  Their objective is not to scare, intimidate, or harass, nor is it to make carry of long guns a regular routine.  They want to show that there is nothing to fear and ask that their right to have a firearm available for personal defense be recognized and respected in Texas as it is in most of the country.

You can help by letting the companies know that you appreciate them respecting people’s rights and would hate to have to take your business elsewhere because of a useless “No Guns” policy.


©2014 The Firearms Coalition, all rights reserved.  Reprinting, posting, and distributing permitted with inclusion of this copyright statement.

The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition is a project of Neal Knox Associates, Manassas, VA. Visit:

  • 15 thoughts on “Open Carry ‘Terror’ & The Lies Hateful People Tell

    1. Kjohn, you need to grow up. In the interim you should read more, and start with the constitution and its amendments. Then, because God does bless America, you will be able to access enough uncensored information to understand that there is no neon signage identification pointing to those who are going to harm themselves or others. You may learn that tactical firearms training equal to or better than what is currently provided to law enforcement is readily available. You might discover there are not enough law enforcement officers to either enforce current laws or provide you a safe passage through life. At some point in your development you will figure out too that about 50% of our population will be pulling up their panties and have never swaggered, so your point there is moot.

      Open carry or concealed, it’s a right. You exercise your right to speak – you don’t get to pick and choose which rights the rest of the citizens get to use.

    2. @Texasgal, I am with you 100%. Yes, I have a rack in the back window of my pickup, and I do CC or OC depending on the weather. I too would be very much alarmed if I saw the OCT group carrying AR’s, or AK’s into my local stores.
      Just last week, I stopped into my little local store, and for the first time encountered a gent with a glock holstered on his hip, OC. I laughed, and said to the lady behind the counter “Looks like I’m in the safest place in town right now”. My S&W snubby was on my hip, but only the bottom of the holster showed below my shirt. The fellow OCer, the lady behind the counter, and I all had a good laugh. Bought my milk and bread and we all left happy. No drama, no problems.

    3. So, one of the videos from a Chipotle “demonstration” showed a bunch of guys milling around in a parking lot caressing their guns. One of them says, “I ain’t gonna eat nowhere that I can’t protect myself.”

      I gotta ask. From WHAT? Bad burrito filling? A guy at the next table trying to steal your salsa?

      You bumbling nitwits don’t know how completely idiotic you look and sound. No, boys, you don’t need martial weaponry to grab fast food. Or to shop. Or to catch a movie. Or to drink in a bar or worship in a church.

      Nothing is going to happen to you. And, if it does, your stupid gun isn’t going to help.

      What’s most alarming about gun fanatics is that they say, “Oh, you’ll be happy to see me and my gun when you’re assaulted.”

      No, I won’t be happy to have you waving your gun in a situation that can only be made worse by random shooting. Unless you’re a police officer, you’re not trained or practiced at responding to emergencies with a firearm — I don’t care how many hours you’ve spent at the range, how many animals you’ve slaughtered, or how many bullseyes you’ve got nailed over your bed. When I have a crisis, I don’t want any of you anywhere near me. I’ll take my chances with the bad guy.

      This trend toward vigilante local justice by thousands of swaggering tough-guy wannabes is getting out of control. Having a gun doesn’t make you a cop.

      Believe it or not, most of us average Americans are comfortable going out into the world and living our day-to-day lives without training wheels. We take the risk that, in a society the size of ours, there’s always the possibility that we might get hit by a car, attacked by an assailant, or struck by lightning. We don’t feel the need to tote armaments against the very slim possibility of misadventure.

      Maybe you guys need to pull up your big-boy pants and try a little swaggering without the firepower. Or, better yet, try walking normally.

    4. Jesse, please explain your statement “what we want is for gun nuts to stop murdering children”. When has a “gun nut” (as you so ignorantly call them) went out and killed children? When? There are no “reasonable restrictions” only infringements of rights. There are already laws against murder, yet you think more laws will change that. How is that even remotely possible? If a criminal or crazy person wants to kill, he’s going to kill. Chicago has the strictest gun laws in the country and lead the country in murders. How could that be? Guns are illegal in Chicago. Jesse, you’re a dope.

    5. Actually, Shane Herron, what we want is for gun nuts to stop murdering children.

      By “refuse to comply with any more “reasonable restrictions” do you mean break the law and openly threaten anyone who tries to get you to comply with the law?

      You know who has a gun and breaks the law with it? Criminal thugs.

      There are two groups of people in this world: those who want reasonable restrictions on guns and those who want to murder unarmed elementary school children; which one are you?

    6. Bloomberg is NOT a PUBLIC FIGURE. He is inciting hatred and bigotry though. So he is an enemy of the state.

    7. For TexGal: You might want to take a look at how effective the OCT movement has been so far in changing the political atmosphere in the TX legislature. A bill that has gone nowhere for a number of years is now almost certain to be voted on in the next legislative session, and almost certain to pass, to allow open carry of handguns. While the OTC guys may have been “playing into the hands of MDA” in the MSM, they have also been extremely effective in achieving their objective in TX. Gregg Abbot (who will be our next
      Governor) openly supports the bill, as do most GOP state legislators, and all the candidates for Lt. Gov. Not only do they support it, but they are now saying so in public. A bill that always died in committee (due to Dewhurst and Straus) is now virtually certain to come up for a vote, Dewhurst is no longer in the running for office, and Straus is going to have to let the bill out of committee next time around. Who cares what MDA says? As with most movements for political change, this one had to break some eggs, but they look to be making a nice omelet in the end.

    8. New Jersey is one of the worst for carry permits. You have to “prove a need” to carry, and the proof is never enough unless you are “connected”. ANY requirement for licensing or registration is an infringement upon our second Amendment rights and therefore invalid. But it costs just as much to fight a constitutionally invalid charge as to defend against a legitimate one.

    9. Unfortunately, the OCT Texas and OCT Tarrant County groups here in Texas brought the most alarming (looking) long guns they could into businesses in major cities repeatedly. Places where the first thought of most people was they must be either dangeeous nuts or just the rudest jackasses in the world. It did nothing at all to condition anyone to accept the idea of open carry. People do NOT say to themselves “we should give these people the right to carry more guns openly”. Instead it played directly into the hands of MDA and stimulated a backlash even among gun owners. There are over 600,000 licensed conceal carry citizens here who are able to go armed almost everywhere without upsetting anyone. This has caused businesses to seriously consider keeping us out too. We would like the option to carry openly in situations where it would not alarm. Politely. Now because of the stubborn and rude actions of small groups of open carry activists, the attitude open carry here has taken a terrible hit. Carrying an AR in walmart while looking like a hillbilly 3rd grade dropout offended people. It was the wrong place. Trumpeting that is your right to do so when virtually everyone begged you to stop it was stupid. Now the groups have finally agreed to stay out of businesses and just carry their black rifles up and down streets. No. Just stop. Stop carrying long rifles in places other than hunting and gun shows/shops. Please. Our legislators are now unwilling to even file an open carry bill this year. It was actually expected to pass before these buffoons snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

    10. Those who do not live in states like nj do not realize hat people in states like nj are conditioned to think of any guns in isght as dangerous. When the state republicans nominated 2 very solid men for governor who wee pro shall issue every paper in the state was on them every day and non stop. It will take a lot more than legal peaceful open carry to chnge their mind.

    11. Open carry is legal in Utah, just frowned upon in the bigger cities. A permit is required for concealed carry.

    12. If I encounter someone carrying a firearm (non leo)sometimes with leo’s. I generally strike up a conversation with them. There is generally NO reason to fear someone with a firearm unless they are acting in a confrontational way. In my 40 years of carrying both concealed and open, I have never had reason to fear another citizen exercising their God given rights to protect themselves or others.

    13. When I see articles like this it makes me grind my teeth. I am so sick of people treating gun owners like we’re doing something wrong just because they don’t like the sight of a firearm. They act like we’re the crazy ones, they laugh at us and make fun of the idea that we might one day actually need that gun to defend ourselves or our community. They call us pussies and tell us real men don’t need guns. Then they resort to this kind of misleading photos and straight up lies to get others behind them because they know the truth isn’t on their side.

      The fact is the right to keep and bear arms is a constitutionally protected right. It’s no less of a right than the right to free speech or religion and should be given the same protections under the law. But they want us to submit to “reasonable restrictions” on our rights to carry. Well, I remember just a few years ago when liberal gun-grabbers were coming out of the wood work kicking and screaming because someone used the words “under god” in the pledge of allegiance or hung the Ten Commandments on a courthouse wall. Something that trivial was considered a violation of their 1st Amendment rights and they were protesting by the thousands. Yet now, when it’s gun rights on the table, they want to dictate who has the right and who doesn’t. They want to tell us who can carry, what we can carry, how much we can carry, when, where and how we can carry. They want me to ask the state for permission before I exercise my constitutionally protected right. And they call that a reasonable restriction?

      More deaths have occurred in the name of religion throughout history than all other causes of death combined. How would they feel if we told them they had to apply for a permit before they could go to church, or get permission from the minister before staying home on Sunday. They’d tell us we shouldn’t punish the entire religious community, or every atheist in the country, for the actions of a few members. But that’s the type of restrictions they want to put on us. They want all of us to give up our freedoms because of the actions of a few nuts with a gun. I’m sick of it, and it’s time we take our rights back and refuse to comply with any more “reasonable restrictions”. It’s our constitutionally protected right to do so and if we don’t start soon it’ll be too far gone to rectify it.

    14. Map is misleading at best at least on Utah: Utah is permit free if unloaded, but unloaded in Utah means one action from firing. ie: Locked and Cocked with safety on is legally unloaded; but a glock can not be chambered since pulling the trigger and disengaging safety is the same action.
      I have no idea if it is inaccurate on other states; but in my home state of Idaho: We get rated badly nationally for lack of stand your ground, castle etc, when in fact we have them in court precedent form, but not statute. So this kind of misleading is common on these type of big national maps.

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