The right to open carry brings many problems.
We’ve all watched a million cowboy movies, where all the women wear long flower print dresses and all the men wear six-shooters at their hip. The men all practice fast draw, and the fastest gun lives to ride into the sunset, whereas the bad guy is carted up to Boot Hill. That’s the model of open carry, totally or partially legal in some states, forbidden in others. Link to: Wiki article on open carry.
Openly carrying a gun can be very intimidating, even if the gun isn’t loaded. Other people can’t tell whether the gun is loaded or not.
Link to: Topeka man leading open carry fight.
There are many rules and regulations, or variations of them, pertaining to open carry. States, counties, and cities may all have different and conflicting laws. Some forbid carrying loaded weapons. Many allow open carry in rural locations but forbid it in all others.
Carrying a concealed weapon is a different thing. You could be standing in a crowd, and everyone might be armed but you. If someone suddenly produces a weapon, you might need to change your underclothes rather immediately, but as long as the weapons are concealed, you don’t know they’re there. Here’s a link to the wiki article:
Link to: wiki article on concealed carry in the US.
According to the wiki article, 49 of the 50 states allow concealed carry in some form. Illinois is under court order to pass such a law. Many states allow concealed carry only if the owner has a concealed carry license.
Never carry a weapon, open or concealed, within 1000 feet (about 3 football fields) of a K-12 school property line. Federal law forbids it. Technically, you could be arrested and imprisoned. There are many other restrictions on where firearms may be carried, including federal and state government offices, churches, sporting events, and et cetera.
Traveling with a weapon from one state to another can be very tricky. You can end up paying a hefty fine or going to jail if you don’t pay attention.
But, this post is about open carry compared with concealed carry. Here’s a site that discusses the differences: Link to: open vs. concealed carry.
There are people who insist that it’s a right to carry weapons openly. If everyone carried a weapon, it would be a nightmare for everyone, including police and security officers. I can imagine meeting up with a gang of teenagers, all armed, coming right at me. Or, five hundred Occupy Wall Street protesters, firing their weapons in the air and marching down Main Street. Mobs are terrifying enough without guns. The consequences of unrestricted open carry are unpredictable and could be horrible.
Here’s my opinion: open carry should be sensibly restricted, allowed in rural locations only, and, for hand guns, only by licensed individuals who have been vetted by the state. Concealed carry should be legal in urban areas but again should be restricted to people who have been properly vetted and licensed by the state. The locations where firearms are not currently permitted should continue to be forbidden for both concealed and openly carried weapons, however, provisions should be made in some cases to check weapons at the door and regain them on leaving.