Is Open Carry Too Dangerous For African Americans?

by Philip Smith – President NAG

Is Open Carry too Dangerous For African Americans?
Is Open Carry too Dangerous For African Americans?
National African American Gun Association
National African American Gun Association

USA –  -( I am going to try to talk about something that typically we don’t hear about unless we are with close friends or at home with family.

The issue is “Open Carry of Firearms” for African Americans.

I want to start off by saying this is not a discussion to determine the legality of Open Carry. That has been determined already by federal and state and local Courts. African Americans can Open Carry just like the rest of the public.

That is not the issue.

The real question is should you open carry, with all the issues that might happen because you have a gun on your hip in full public view?

There are two basic schools of thought or comments that you hear. I will tell you which side I fall on in just a bit. One school of thought is that you are entitled to the full rights as the rest of society.

If you want to Carry then it is within your rights to do so without persecution or harassment. As a friend told me on one occasion…”I can do what I want and I am not going to stop doing something because someone else may not like it or they feel uncomfortable”……Ok I got it ….It is your right and the 2nd Amendment guarantees that right. No argument here bro…..

The second school of thought is that if you “Open Carry” you put yourself in harms way with the public as an African American because you have a gun and it can be a big problem for some local law enforcement and the general public. It isn’t fair or right but that is the reality today.

Why put yourself in that type of problem when you can avoid it all together. [not to mention the tactical advantage, but I will leave that for a whole other debate.]

I personally mix it up. If I am in the city I will always conceal carry but if I am out hiking or in a really rural location I will “open carry”. Sometimes just the sight of a gun in the wilderness is enough. I understand the social realities that exist in 2016 and I adjust my attire as needed.

What are your thoughts on this issue?

About National African American Gun Association (NAAGA): 

The goal of the National African American Gun Association is to have every african american introduced to firearm use for home protection, competitive shooting, and outdoor recreational activities. We are a civil rights organization focused on self preservation of our community through armed protection and community building. The National African American Gun Association provides a network for all african american firearm owners, gun clubs and outdoor enthusiasts. We welcome people of all religious, social, and racial perspectives. We especially welcome african american members of law enforcement and active/retired military.

For more information, visit:

  • 42 thoughts on “Is Open Carry Too Dangerous For African Americans?

    1. Eaglenester said ” Individuals who CCW or open carry are the most law abiding people in the United States be they black, yellow, white.”
      I would strongly disagree with that opinion. The issue of open carry v conceal v not carrying is always up for debate and will usually always stir emotions. The idea of carrying a weapon daily for fear of anything shows the mental issues Americans have. Most ccw holders have zero training when it comes to real world firefight situations and zero training when it comes to successfully stopping a threat. A good guy with, trumps a bad guy with! I think if you need to carry a gun with you on your daily adventures, it shows your inability to be a normal human being that doesn’t fear the shadow around every corner. The second amendment does not protect ammunition and without ammo your guns are useless. Maybe critical thinking and more common sense would protect you better than the wheel gun on your hip. Keep pretending that you are the hero and everyone is out to kill you. Buy more guns and carry everywhere. Shoot everyone you see open carrying because YOU fear what they may do to you. Ever wonder why you argue the law about carry and ownership rights but can’t carry in places those laws are made. We are all puppets. This good guy is not carrying his guns anymore. I will carry a bomb deploying robot for my protection from this day forth. Remember the right to your weapon does not include ammunition. I said good day.

    2. As an NRA instructor, a licensed CCW participant and a black guy, I rarely open carry because I am convinced that the large majority of LEO’s do not like Americans exercising their God-given rights to self-defense, and law-abiding black guys doing so even less. They can kill us, essentially, with impunity as juries let them go 99.78% of the time. I might have been lawfully exercising my 2nd Amendment rights; but I’d still be dead.

      I work in the hi-tech Defense/Law Enforcement equipment industry so I know tons of cops(black & white) and they seem to struggle with the fact that 13 million of we Americans are armed, licensed and participate in our own defense. As such I normally keep that G27 concealed. I certainly recommend that my 21 year old son, in college, keep it concealed because young armed black men will immediately be seen as a threat by law enforcement and probably killed. it’s a sad fact; but I see no avenue for changing this reality until we get 130 million Americans carrying on a daily basis.

      When hunting in Texas, PA or NH I do open carry as I do if I happen to be in cat country in Colorado, etc.
      So net, net for me concealed carry is the preferred option. Please get your wife, daughter and new friends to the range. We need more good people involved in the gun culture.

    3. Carry the way you want. I carry my ID and my permit around my neck. Every time cops have questioned me, I give them over and I am on my way.

    4. Google “The Racist Roots of Georgia Gun Laws.” It’s a very well written treatise on the early history of Jim Crowe laws.

    5. Let’s address the core elephant in the room, unless “you” came from Africa and became “naturalized , you are not “African-American”, you are a Black American, or better yet just an American.

    6. WITH <— start out loud) the media bias that has difficulty telling the real truth from one hour to the next open carry for ANYONE is presented by the media as a negative and insane thing. Why? Because of all the sensationalist media bias that portrays anyone who open carries a "bad guy". A "cowboy" a gunfigntin OK Corrallin member of the Unger gang. Doc Holliday is waitin around the corner and the Coroner is measurin every new guy ridin into town for a pine box.

      Why is it ANY DIFFERENT than Uncle Sam flashing all the weaponry to the world while Mutual Assured Destruction keeps the clock at 11:59:45…? We are spoon fed media hype that serves the agenda of the Elite.

      Would I open carry? Where I live it would be OK but if I still lived in Chicago? Whaddaya think? Get mugged so someone can steal my weapon? With concealed carry it is a gamble both ways.

      Open carry should not matter, but it does. Because of liberal chickenshit thinking promoted by the wealth elite in order do divide the nation…

      We have to get rid of the false social stigma promoted by the NEWS MEDIA. Especially if we want to "Make America Great" again. But that will only happen when we take ALL our rights back.

    7. I am not in favor of routing open carry. I think it takes away the tactical surprise of a concealed-carry holder when firearm use for protection is necessary. Many people who open-carry who are not law enforcement trained are an easy source for a bad guy to get a gun or another gun by taking theirs. Except on the range, unless the person is active military or law enforcement in uniform I feel the weapon should be concealed. Too many people would use open carry for “show,” which does somewhat intimidate many people.

    8. This is a silly subject which fuels racial decides. I am surprised this stupid article was even posted on AmmoLand. They are apparently getting desperate for material so they throw some rhetoric like this together. AmmoLand, hire some real journalist. We have other real and true issues to deal with. Moving on…….

    9. First of all, learn to LIVE in Condition Yellow as described by Col. Cooper. And remember that ALL rights apply to ALL!
      Then the choice to open carry a handgun has to take into consideration many factors not present in carrying concealed. I personally would not even consider open carry in a “tough” neighborhood where the “strong arm” robbery of my gun is much more likely than, say, in a “safe,” downtown or suburban retail area.
      Ethnicity has become a more important factor during the last 7 years plus of intentional and intense divisive politics along with the concomitant rise of radical “rights” groups who engender an anger among their constituency at all others, And all others against them. Unfortunate but reality.
      Factor All into your decision.

    10. If I choose to, I will open carry wherever (city, country, wilderness, etc.) I want! If someone has a problem with it, it’s just that, THEIR problem. Others could care less whether or not if I’m uncomfortable with what they’re doing so why should I care about the comfort level of others? It doesn’t matter if they trust me or not because I don’t trust them either. To each is own!

    11. Apparently “CWB” is the new “DWB”. The B isn’t just for Black, and in spite of a light complexion I belong to the other B. My family includes Chicano, Black, and Anglo members. Many , probably most, would not choose to open carry. Fear of harassment due to race should not be one of those reasons.
      Tells you how far we have to go to achieve MLK’s dreams.

    12. My only comment which relates to no race is’
      Just because you have the right of way at a traffic stop does not mean you should proceed. Because
      You can still die at the hands of someone that didn’t care about the law. So at the next traffic light proceed
      With caution even with the right of way. So do the same with open carry

    13. Back in may of 2016 Texas legalized open carry by holders of carry licenses. An Amendment was added by the representative from a predominantly African American district requiring that police had to observe some suspicious behavior (other than being visibly heeled) to stop a person and ask for their carry license. The reason was to prevent profiling and harassment of latino and African Americans who were carrying openly. The amendment was killed by pressure from the police chiefs associations. Whether this was due to fear of weapons or a desire to create a “CWB”
      similar to “DWB” I can not say. I’m sure there were people who worked to kill the amendment who felt each, and in some cases, both ways.

      DWB doesn’t just mean driving while Black, there is another B. My Family is made up of Chicano, Black, and Anglo members, most of whom would not wish to open carry for reasons good enough for them. However, fear of police harassment should never be one of those reasons. That said, I carry weapons to break up trouble, not start it.

      1. No Amendment needs to prevent stops just due to carrying. Is already codified in the federal courts. Terry v Ohio and Black v US are just 2 cases stating such. LEO must have articulatable reasonable suspicion to stop someone and just the act of carrying (if legal) does not meet that standard

    14. I never understood people who advocate for open carry. Why you want to announce that you’re carry a gun in Wal-Mart or in a recreational park?? Plus, if there are criminals or terrorists around you you’re the first they’re going to attack: you don’t know who they’re but they see you, and at least you have Jet Li fast response to a surprised’ s attack, you’re going down without a chance….and just because you wanted to show everyone around you that you’re carrying a gun…Stupid mistake in my eyes!!!!

      1. There is an important issue beyond, and different from, the issue of tactical advantage. It may confer some tactical advantage to carry concealed, although you must then draw from concealment – which probably takes longer, and bad guys may target you because they believe you to be unarmed, while they would avoid you if they knew you were armed. As Wyatt Earp said when asked the secret to winning a gunfight, “That’s easy. Don’t show up!” So the tactical advantages may not be nearly as great as so many seem to think.

        But tactics aside, many of those who carry openly, do so because they are gun-rights activists, or at least supporters, who want the public to become more accustomed to, and less nervous about, seeing armed citizens in the public sphere. They do this more as a act of public and social responsibility than for tactical reasons. This is a separate, but desirable, goal from mere tactical advantages. The open carry law now in force in TX, for example, only came about because of the heightened publicity and public attention garnered by controversial open carry of long guns (the only legal open carry at the time). There are great advantages to the gun-friendly community, and the country at large, to having the public become more accustomed to seeing folks carrying guns openly.

        In the Black community specifically, there is a valid issue with being seen as more dangerous if you are carrying openly, because such a high percentage of the violent crime in the US is committed by Blacks, causing most police (and many ordinary citizens) to be more wary of Black people generally. This is inevitable for the same reason that more people are wary of snakes than sparrows-there are NO poisonous sparrows, and even if the vast majority of snakes are harmless, SOME are poisonous. It is well documented that most of the violent crime in question is committed in inner city areas in a few large cities, and most often by gang members; nevertheless, they are too often BLACK gang members. Seeing more ordinary, responsible Black citizens walking around with guns on their hips would probably go a long way toward countering the current stereotype that Blacks are all “Gangsta Culture” Hip-Hop loving guys with crime on their minds. Of course, this will take time. It is a long view concept. As usual, it is the Black community that will have to bear the brunt of the initially increased danger to those who carry openly, but the rewards for Black citizens overall may be great, and it wouldn’t be the first time Blacks had to endure increased danger and potential harassment for the benefit of us all. Still it remains a personal choice.

        1. I open carry for that exact reason. I believe that the public needs to know there are more responsibly carried guns around them than they realize, and that their fear is misplaced. Many of the responders here are missing a crucial point…. the general public is woefully ignorant of the number of law abiding, armed, citizens among them. With this ignorance comes the thought of, “No one around here carries a gun, must be a country/redneck/gun nut/paranoid/prepper/etc phenomena.” With that comes an energetic response to hearing about criminal gun use. And that, my friends, leads to uninformed and subject ignorant support of gun control. We can only win a gun control fight through public awareness…. once the general public realizes that they encounter 10:1 (no idea on the actual number, it could be FAR higher) law abding concealed carriers for every law abiding open carrier then they can open their eyes when they hear the antis scream of blood in the streets or on campuses. With just a little awareness we are poised to undo a lot of damage that is caused through ignorance of facts.

          I am not advocating open carry as a constant, some situations lend themselves to open carry while others require concealed carry so act accordingly. But everyone needs to realize there is a positive side to open carry even if they choose never to do so themselves.

    15. Well, as a Euro-American, an African-American opening carrying in a city, is an invitation for harassment. The FBI stats that says African-American males, who represent less than 20% of the population, are accounting for over 50% of crimes is on every cop’s mind. That isn’t fair, just like TSA profiling Arabs coming into America, but it is prudent. I agree with the author though. Conceal carry in the city.
      Maybe one day we can stop prefixing our identities and just become Americans too.

    16. CCW and/or open carry are ultimately about survival. We carry to protect ourselves from, and survive an attack by the unlawful element among us. The objective is Not to announce our position on the 2nd amendment but to survive. A black or white person should exercise wisdom in their carry decision and reality should always trump exercising a right. CC is likely the best decision for all of us, but perhaps most especially for the blacks among us.

    17. It’s a fact that being black in America has been detrimental to us Afro-Americans we are deemed dangerous and can’t be trusted, regardless of level of profession or economic standards. I do agree that it is dangerous for us to open carry, it is dangerous for us not to carry, so the real question is why does people around the world have so much fear of us when we have never done anything to be mistreated or mistrusted, if you can handle the truth you can say that the most disruptive and dangerous people on the planet is the white man he has caused more death and mayhem on mankind and the animals as well as the planet, so as a black man I fear the white man more than any man; I grew up in Texas and I have been hated all my life by the white man for no apparent reason so perhaps this issue about open or concealed carry can maybe level the playing field. I’m just saying. …

      1. Really, are we going to let the whole race thing spoil our Second Amendment Civil Rights unity? I think that the gun grabbers would like that.

    18. Reply to many of the commenters: This article is about legal open carry and the decision to do so by law-abiding blacks, not gang bangers or criminals who by law are already banned from having guns. WTF

    19. I don’t see any problem with them Africans having a gun as long as they aren’t a gang member or on drugs.

    20. I’m white and my wife is black. We live in an urban area (a major US city). We both CCW, I’m more serious about it and ALWAYS have a gun on me, inside the home or outside. My wife doesn’t always carry stating she feels uncomfortable with a CCW sometimes and she always looks business professional. I asked her why and she reminded me of a case in our state that took place a few years ago where a black female with a CCW card was pulled over, complied with all the officers instructions and was still shot dead reaching for her CCW card, after getting the OK to get her card out of her purse. It was all recorded and the office was tried right away and found guilty of homicide, still didn’t bring a law abiding citizen back. 2nd Amendment and state laws aside, those things don’t matter to some people who view certain groups as “all the same”. My wife has stated that she would never open carry and thinks that blacks who choose to do so are setting themselves up for a bad situation. I agree with her. Why would you want to advertise a firearm and possibly place yourself in a dangerous situation? As the author of this article said “It isn’t fair or right but that is the reality today.” Their are a lot of good police officers out their, some are our friends and neighbors, and their are good citizens too, but there are plenty of trigger happy folks that see the 2nd Amendment as theirs alone.

      1. I don’t see the open carry “syndrome” as a race specific thing, it covers all of the races and genders. When I see someone carrying, I am curious as to what kind of piece and the equipment they have. I might get some good ideas from them. I do not look for race but I would note gender and make a specific point to congratulate a woman for being on the side of guns. It is so neat to realize that women are more active in shooting sports. I shot locally in the 70,s and 80’s and we would have women only occasionally at the shooting club.

    21. Good article and concern. As an African-American, this is a legitimate concern.

      Unfortunate that most commenters are missing the point and concern being addressed. They say race doesn’t matter when assuming your rights but then talk about who are the criminals.

      Sad, we haven’t moved forward in thinking!

    22. Individuals who CCW or open carry are the most law abiding people in the United States be they black, yellow, or white.
      Why should race even enter into the question? Strapping on a weapon carries potential consequences that can be life changing. Individuals who choose to carry are aware of these consequences and will do almost anything to avoid using their weapon in a deadly self defense situation until they have no choice but to use deadly force to protect themselves, a stranger, or a loved one. As for a a black person open carrying being a criminal predator, the key word here is CRIMINAL. A CRIMINAL bent on harming someone could just as easily CCW and break the law, you would not be aware of it until its too late anyway.

    23. I agree with rumcrook’s first sentence. I agree all good guys have the right to open carry, regardless of race. What concerns me is the criminal element walking among us. Open carry provides those individuals the opportunity to prey upon the weakest and unprepared, untrained in weapon retention. It will happen and all too often with disastrous results I fear.

      1. Well Grumpy, that is one of the tired lies gun haters spread but never happens. So why don’t you cite examples supporting your paranoia. You last sentence sums you up – “I fear.” The fact that wet pants liberals assume the fetal position when they see a law abiding citizen with a gun will not dissuade me from exercising my constitutional rights.

        1. Don,
          An ounce of prevention/caution and common sense is MY choice. My words “I fear” lit your fire. How bout I hope not, could happen, what if was used instead? You summed me up as a lib, that quick. I’ve carried a gun over 50 years during military and law enforcement careers, and carry concealed everywhere I go. I consider myself a strong conservative and proud American citizen. This is an open carry issue that each carrier should make an intelligent decision that is best for them, like you did a long time ago.

          1. Gramps, there are people that just live to turn a person’s sentence into a witty insult. Don was just showing off his abilities to the readership. He would have jumped on anyone. You just stick to the wisdom that the years have brought to you. We know the real score. I look forward to reading your comments in the future.

      2. Open carry is an invitation for ‘further scrutiny’ and only someone wanting to flout their over active ego’s would do so. Open Carry and Constitutional Carry are instruments States are using to restore the 2nd amendment to it intended “shall not be infringed” status. I concur that advertising ” here it is come get it” and take this to the bank some one is going to do just that. Take it away from you and shove it where the sun never shines. In the Woods I always had the snake charmer, for the surprise of a close encounter the long gun or shotgun is not the ultimate weapon of choice.

    24. It does not matter what color you are if you are an American you have constitutional rights. I am tired of all of the crap people out there are doing any more. When you are a person who is voted into office the oath you take states that you uphold the constitution of the US, so do it and quite trying to change it just do what you are hired by votes to do and to me that is simple. You work for the common people not for your selves or for big business, or for other countries for them to over throw us. We the common folk are your agenda to work for and for us only. We as the public also have things we need to watch out for and that is to put people in office that will work for us and us only and if they do not then we remove them and look for ones who will and put them in office. So people get off of your butts and start voting the idiots out who don’t or will not work for us the common folk and put people in who will.

    25. Boo Hoo wo is me get over it and use your head especially on open carry. I know parts of Michigan, Texas and Illinois that I can’t open carry without harassment due to my race of white. Its not a race issue as much as it is a culture awareness issue. You live where one race commits more crimes and see it daily then you will become aware of that issue and have a suspicious eye. In the rock pile or sand box several races open carry all day without issue because they aren’t the threat right? It’s only a certain race and them open carrying is an issue. From childhood we are taught “which one of these is not like the others?” get over it and conceal it and use your head. Legal doesn’t make it smart.

    26. Being from lower income area, I’ve noticed that open carry turns the heads of law enforcement, regardless of race. I conceal in the city. I also will teach or give advice to anyone who gets curious regardless of race.

    27. I don’t like open carry for myself, and prefer to conceal carry unless out camping hiking, ect. But here in colorado where I live I have seen 2 or 3 black guys open carrying. No one batted an eye, I noticed becuase I have pretty good situational awareness. But they must not feel it’s problematic in any way becuase they were doing it.

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