Concealed Carry VS Open Carry

All too often concealed carry advocates are pitted against open carry advocates. There seems to be an innate blood feud rivalry like the Hatfield and McCoy families had.

The media has played a major role in this animosity by drumming up publicity through fear mongering, in order to demonize and subvert the Second Amendment.

In recent times, we have seen a lot of media coverage of open carry advocates and their demonstrations. The most recent example that comes to mind is the Open Carry Texas group that was carrying long guns around in public places and into restaurants to see if they were friendly to the Second Amendment. This happened to backfire and the media ate it up by the spoonful; restaurants kicked them out and stores changed their policies. In Texas, it is legal to carry long guns and pre-1899 black powered pistols but the open carry of handguns is prohibited by law even if you have a CHL. This media coverage created some negative backlash and further caused the divide to grow between open and concealed carriers.

On the flip side of the equation we have or should I say had open carry in California. Since the state's inception, open carry was perfectly legal. In 1967, the California legislature first made the possession of loaded openly carried firearms illegal but unloaded firearms were still okay to wield (AB1591).

44 years later, after receiving a score of negative media attention about people openly carrying unloaded handguns at Starbucks, the legislature convened once again and decided that it should ban all open carrying of arms. In 2011, the unloaded open carry of handguns was banned, quickly followed by a ban on carrying unloaded long guns in 2012 (AB144 & AB1527).

On the surface, this seemed like a very bad thing for California residents and their right to bear arms but it just so happens that the kneejerk reaction of the legislature to ban all forms of open carry may have backfired. When the legislature banned all forms of carrying firearms for self-defense it gave credence to Mr. Peruta's lawsuit against San Diego County and its restrictive CCW issuance policy. If the Ninth Circuit Court's decision is finalized, not only will San Diego County be forced to issue CCW permits for self-defense but other counties scattered throughout California will have to as well. See Peruta v. County of San Diego for more information.

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You may have heard the saying before that “sex sells.” Well, the same thing can be said about fear.


Fear sells and is good for news ratings whether it is natural disasters such as fires and hurricanes or recent crimes committed like robbery and murder. In our case, the media tends to makes up for sensational “crimes” to place the blame at the Second Amendment's doorstep. This tactic is all part of their divide and conquer strategy.

Let's take an honest look at both sides of the equation when it comes to concealed versus open carry and a few commonly heard arguments.

The Conceal Carry Permit

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The people of Texas and California may have had different personal reasons for openly carrying firearms but the best reason for doing so will always be the same; no government permit was required. In Texas you can get a CHL but in California a majority of counties severely restricted who they will issue a CCW to. Open carry typically does not require a permit in most circumstances, unless venturing into “restricted” places like school zones.

Concealed carry advocates have argued at times that a permit is a safeguard and that it rules out criminals and crazy people.

I think that everyone should be trained in the use of their weapon but I am utterly opposed to government lists of any kind. Nothing good has ever come out of a government list. Additionally, criminals also don't follow laws and won't go through the hassle of the permitting process to register with the government. Requiring permits is just more red tape to burden lawful citizens with.

Tactical Advantage

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This is another area where open carry and concealed carry advocates seem to bump heads. Concealed carriers profess that openly carrying a firearm gives up your “tactical advantage” in a self defense situation.

Alien Gear Holsters IWB: Holsters for Concealed Carry

Alien Gear Holsters OWB: Holsters for Open Carry

They proclaim that if you are openly carrying a firearm, criminals will target you first in the commission of a crime or simply use your own gun against you.

Open carry advocates on the other hand say that openly carrying firearms deters crimes and that the weapon is more readily accessible then if it were covered up by clothing while concealed carrying.

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How many criminals are going to try and rob these guys?

I think that the answer lies somewhere in-between both arguments. Openly carrying your firearm could indeed give up a tactical advantage in some fictional crime scenario. However, in general, open carrying acts as a deterrent to crime. We see this with police and security guards on a daily basis. No criminal in his right mind is going to see someone carrying an AR-15 or 1911 on their hip and think to themselves, You know what? It might be a good idea to try and rob this guy that's carrying a gun.

Criminals typically look for easy targets.

On the off chance that a criminal does knowingly decide to go after someone with a gun, let's just hope that natural selection works itself out.

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Campbell, Ohio Open Carry Protest-The safest spot in town.

Openly carrying a firearm does draw attention but usually not from the criminal element.

To me, trigger happy police and uninformed anti-gunners are the biggest threat to look out for while openly carrying a firearm.

People have been trained by the media to be afraid of guns and this results in them wasting government resources by calling 911 for something that isn't even a crime in most cases. Dealing with the police is never a fun experience and having a firearm will only escalate the situation in most circumstances.

Overall, I think that concealed carry is more practical in the city than open carry. In a rural area open carry might be just fine and it is my preferred method while out hunting, but this is because there aren't a lot of other people around to cause an uproar. No matter how you choose to carry a firearm, whether openly or concealed, it is important that you follow all applicable laws. You should support other people's right to carry as well, even if you don't personally agree with it. We need to stop playing into the media's hand and falling for this open carry versus concealed carry nonsense. By feeding into the propaganda we are causing more harm than good and not advancing Second Amendment rights. More guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens is a good thing.



About The Author


Travis Box is currently a college student studying American history with a concentration on the Constitution, Revolutionary War, politics and legislation. As an active hunter for 5 years and a recreational marksman for over a decade, his writing brings with it years of real world experience from both the field and the range.