U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Open carry of holstered pistols was commonly seen at the Gun Rights Policy Conference (GRPC) in Phoenix, Arizona, 21-23 September 2019.
The GRPC had an overflow crowd of over a thousand activists from around the nation, many were standing in the back of the conference room, trying to find seats. It was the largest GRPC ever.
There were numerous examples of holstered pistols in evidence. Open carry has become common and accepted in Arizona, as a result of Second Amendment activists in the state.
In the 1990s, open carry of holstered pistols was under attack in Arizona.
During the 1990's an Arizona judge ruled a person with a holstered pistol on a belt, if the holster was on the opposite side from a police officer, was carrying “concealed”. Arizona did not have a concealed carry permit law at the time.
In another case, a judge in Tucson ruled open carrying a holstered pistol, into a public park, was not part of the right to keep and bear arms, was not covered under the Arizona Constitution, and was not a violation of the state preemption law, because a person could choose not to enter the park. The Second Amendment defender was Ken Rineer.
The judge, Cindy Jorgenson, was elevated to a federal judgeship by former Senators McCain and Kyle.
The Second Amendment activists in Arizona changed all that. They pushed Constitutional Carry through the legislature.
They placed limits on the ability of local governments to create “gun free zones”.
They enforced the ability to exercise their rights. Link to Rick DeStephens recounting of the Sacaton Rest Stop activism. (scroll down the page to read AZRickD's account)
Activists open wore holstered firearms in the legislative chambers. They were respectful, and careful not to threaten anyone with their body language.
Arizona is considered the top Second Amendment friendly state in the United States. Others are very close.
The open carry of firearms has always been a right in Arizona, even though anti-rights judges tried to limit it with judicial fiat.
In comparison, California, next door, has no right to keep and bear arms in its state Constitution.
California concealed carry permit law was designed to prevent minorities from carrying firearms.
In 1967, California passed the Mulford Act, to keep people from carrying loaded guns openly. At the time, the Supreme Court had ruled the Second Amendment did not apply to the states.
The first Gun Rights Policy Conference (GRPC) I attended at the Sheraton Crescent did not have as many open carriers.
It became clear they did not ask anyone open carrying to leave. There were no gun ban signs on the doors. The GRPC rotates to Arizona every few years. This year, the 34th GRPC, was the fourth GRPC for Phoenix. More and more people have attended each succeeding time. More people have been openly carrying.
This is a national phenomena. Stories about Second Amendment supporters who won't exercise their rights during their own conferences have dried up.
There are only five states where open carry is illegal. There are 15 states that require a permit in order to exercise your Second Amendment rights.
No permit is required for open carry in 30 states.
Constitutional Carry, where no permit is required to carry holstered, loaded pistols in most public places, openly or concealed, is the law in 16 states.
The total is more than 50 states, because all Constitutional Carry states are, by definition, also open carry without permit states.
Several speakers at the GRPC told attendees they were at the safest place on the planet. More people would have been carrying openly, but the air conditioning was on high. Many people were wearing jackets to stay warm. The jackets also concealed their personal defensive firearms.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.