Ohh my God, He’s got a gun!

Posted on June 15, 2010

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For the past two months I’ve been carrying more and more with my open carry holster. Where I used to carry my handgun concealed all the time or even break my own rules about carrying constantly, I would leave my gun in the lock box in my vehicle if I was going into a store or establishment where I thought that there may be a chance thatholster 003 someone would be uncomfortable with a “citizen” carrying a gun. I think that leaving the gun in the car defeats the reasons why I choose to carry at all. I was more concerned with “social etiquette” or others perceptions, than with sticking to my values and beliefs.

A few months ago I made a conscience decision to start carrying all the time, regardless of the situation or venue I was going to, albeit within the limits of the law. In the winter or colder months it’s very easy to carry “concealed” at all times. You have the clothing and apparel needed to properly “hide” your handgun. When it’s 90 degrees outside, wearing layered clothing is uncomfortable if not suspicious. When it’s to hot for a vest, I wear “open”. Washington state is an “open carry” state.

“However, the practice is not common due to serial misinformation about the legality of it among law enforcement. There are significant efforts by OpenCarry.org members to educate the law enforcement agencies, you may see the progress on the state forum. You are also not allowed to carry a loaded handgun in your car unless you possess a concealed pistol license.”

Aside from having to deal with the possibility of law enforcement not knowing the laws. I have had to educate those close to me about the laws as well. My wife had a slight aversion to me “open carrying” all the time. Not because she didn’t want me carrying, but because she was unsure of the laws and feared for what might happen if I was approached or stopped by law enforcement. After reading and educating herself about the rules, she has now, at least a little bit, begun to get over the stigma of what it means when someone is carrying a gun on their belt.

When I give a class about concealed carry, I spend a lot of time on the thought process and decisions you need to go through before you ever make the final decision to carry a gun concealed or open. I have discussed with my wife and made a conscience effort to ensure I have practiced what I teach and know that I am 100% sure that I have made the right decision and am fully qualified to carry a handgun. I am aware of the laws and the consequences of my decision and have accepted the responsibility to exercise my right to bear arms. I did not make the decision lightly, and in no way made it solely to exercise my 2nd amendment rights. The second amendment is there to ensure that you have a right, not to force you to exercise it, but to make sure that you always have the opportunity to make that decision.

For about two months now I’ve carried open everywhere I go and have had no issues, no questions, hardly any second glances. Today I was asked to please leave my gun in the car when I went to the movie theater. Not when I entered and bought my ticket, not when I handed my ticket the the guy at the box-office, and not while I stood in line for 5 min buying soda and popcorn. It took 20 min for an usher to finally approach me as the first previews started to roll and ask me to please take my gun out to the car. As soon as I asked why, he quickly asked if I would like to speak to a manager, over his radio which was loud enough to announce what he was doing to the entire crowd, he contacted the manager who told him to escort me to the hallway. The manager, clearly uncomfortable, asked me if I would leave my gun in the car, I again asked why, and was told that it was a theater policy. I asked if it was posted someplace and he said yes and took me to the box office and pointed out the sign. It was at knee level below the overhang of the podium that the ticket collector stood at. I said OK and took my gun to the car. There was no argument, no big “scene” just him asking and me complying. I could tell that he was clearly upset and was braced for a huge confrontation, but like I stated before, I am a law abiding gun carrier and didn’t want to cause a scene or risk him over-reacting to something that he was clearly uncomfortable dealing with. I wasn’t upset that he asked me to leave my gun in the car, I was more upset that they waited until there was an audience to tell me that I was violating their policies. I quickly got over it and enjoyed the movie.

Now the questions and responses to the situation will vary and I can see that from my simple post on FB that the first one is:

“Why would you carry in a movie theater?”

The simple answer is, I carry everywhere that the law allows me to. Why? Because the person that you should be worried about when it comes to carrying a gun, the one that doesn’t have a license, doesn’t have formal training, and who was initiated into his gang by shooting someone, is also carrying his “gat” in his waist-band everywhere they go.  That person was sitting in the front row today laughing with his “homeys” because the guy lawfully carrying a gun was escorted from the theater and they sat there fully loaded. They don’t walk you through a metal detector to get into the theater, my wife can consistently get all of her “outside” candy in because they barely look in her purse. If it makes you uncomfortable to see someone with a gun in a holster on his belt in plain view, let me assure you that criminals don’t carry openly, unless they are walking into a crowded theater with a fully automatic rifle and start blasting away. Won’t you be relieved when someone in the crowd shoots him before he shoots you or your family.

It’s one of those things that over-sensitive people argue about until the unfortunate incident occurs that changes their mind. Hopefully you don’t have to ever experience it, and I hope that if it ever does happen there is a law abiding gun carrying citizen to show you that your concerns were and are totally unfounded.

I know that the stigma about “those people” that carry a gun is that they are all rednecks just carrying to exercise their 2nd amendment rights. Let me assure you that had you ever attended a formal safety class or CCW training and listened to the questions potential and current gun owners ask and consider when they make a decision to carry you would think much differently. You may want to take advantage of the next time you see someone carrying a gun and ask them why they carry. Or if you’re in our area instead of scoffing at the free safety and CCW classes that are being offered or sponsored by some of the local moms groups, maybe attend one, even if you never intend to carry a gun.

“An armed society is a polite society.”

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Posted in: Personal, Politics