Thoughts On Open Carry Of Long Guns

By Philip Van Cleave

Carytown, VA Open Carry Demonstrators
Carytown, VA Open Carry Demonstrators
Virginia Citizens Defense League
Virginia Citizens Defense League

Covington VA –-( 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. A sling does not cover the long gun’s trigger. Not so with a handgun holster.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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:

  • 9 thoughts on “Thoughts On Open Carry Of Long Guns

    1. Well, TexasGal, writing letters, sending emails, and making phone calls has not helped to get our legislators working on fixing the law that allows Texans to carry rifles openly but forbids the open carry of handguns. What the open carry groups are saying is, “if you won’t fix the law, we will follow it as it is written”. I’m not crazy about seeing people carrying AK-47s and AR-15s around either BUT, I do support their effort 110%. By the way, what would you consider “proper attire” for open carrying a weapon? I don’t open carry a rifle but, if I do, must I wear a suit to fit your criteria? Maybe I’m not a “fasionista” but, shouldn’t tactical rifles be worn with tactical clothing? At least they would match.

    2. The demonstrators here in Texas have carried their ARs, AKs, and other equally alarming rifles into Walmarts, Targets, and restaurants in all our major cities. Their dress and appearance is unflattering of gun owners. They repeatedly thumbed their noses at anyone who tried to explain they are alienating legislators and the public. They caused several companies to publicly announce “no guns” policies because they scare and annoy customers. Now legislators and even a majority of gun owners here want to make them stop the open carry of long guns. Until this behavior there actually was a good chance to pass an open carry law here. The inconsiderate actions of small groups of open carry zealots has now ruined it for the upcoming session. They were even stupid enough to demonstrate at the State Republican Convention looking like hillbillies with black rifles. Legislators were not amused. The liberal media loves these people and so does Mothers Demand Action. They are not helping gun rights at all.

    3. Open carry of any gun should be allowed anywhere but a little common sense dosn’t hurt anything. If some people especially scruffy looking folks walk in to a business carrying long guns people are prone to get nervous. Ir you are going to carry a long gun how about looking neat looks are everything to many folks and we want to make friends not scare people. It dosn’t matter what the truth is it is what people percieve it to be. Use common sense

    4. OCing long guns is fine at rallies to make a point but not practical otherwise. When we do OC meet & eats at local restaurants the long guns stay home.

    5. Texas is way past due for open carry handguns.There is just enough candie ass liberals in the Texas Senate to be a pain in the ass on that issue. In the next legislative session soon to be Gov.Abbott has already gone on record as saying it will pass,…guaranteed ! After all, he will have a pen and a phone ! ….J/K ! I want OC to pass bigtime in TX but I will still carry concealed ! I personally dont want to advertise the fact I’m armed ! Thats just me !

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