08 October 2015

Principle versus Practicality: Open Carry and the 2nd Amendment

Almost as assuredly as winter itself, gun control discussions are coming.  Politicians and would-be politicians have been weighing in on gun control in the wake of the most recent public shooting in Oregon.  Remarkably, for many, it seems that their view on gun control is less fluid than one might think.  There are people who think guns have no place in modern society and typically you can hash it out all day long with such people with little change in thought.  But amongst supporters of the 2nd amendment there is actually a pretty vigorous debate taking place.  This is not about the right to gun ownership or even gun control measures.  The debate centers around a recent spree of open carry laws passed that allow gun owners to carry their weapons in the open without concealment.  Ranging from handguns to AK-47s, citizens are now walking through stores, getting coffee, and roaming the streets with their firearms on display for all to see and the 2nd amendment loving community has been set ablaze as the need to hash it out has never been so important to the national debate.

Is it merely a matter of principle?

For many supporters of open carry laws, they would argue that it is a matter of constitutional principle.  If the right to bear arms has been enshrined and confirmed in the constitution itself, then why out we hide it?  Moreover, it has been viewed as a “front line” of sorts in the battle against increased gun control.  They are not so much wanting to carry in the open as much as they are wanting to ensure government has no ability to infringe on their ability to do so if they chose.  For if they are legally able to shop with an AK-47  as if it were the Wild West, then real gun control seems quite far off now doesn’t it.


For other supporters of the 2nd amendment, it is less a matter a principle and more a matter of open carry being less than helpful.  For while lovers of the 2nd amendment are rarely bothered by the sight of weapons in the open, much of America is on the fence about the matter.  And as such, the sight of two men walking around with AK-47s in the same parks where their children play moves them in the direction of more gun restriction.  And all for the sake of principle, more enemies and opponents of the 2nd amendment are being created because someone wanted to open carry out of principle.  Will this have a backlash on the American gun control debate and if it is only a matter of principle, will the backlash be worth it?

Is it even practical?

The last question we have to ask ourselves is whether this is even practical.  Is there any tactical advantage to open carry?  For until the bad guy decides to declare himself and his intentions, he is unknown in the crowd.  Just ask any Marine who has patrolled the busy streets of Iraq or Afghanistan.  However, the open carry individual has instantly declared himself a target and if a surprise attack can take out well-trained Marines with that first volley of fire, then certainly an individual can sneak up behind you in the bread isle.  And now, the enemy has your AK-47 when he at first had but a pistol.

2nd amendment

Then again, others think that open carry allows them to carry more firepower.  Because apart from strolling the streets in trench coats or capes, man how cool would it be if capes made a comeback, but apart from that, you can’t easily conceal most assault rifles.  As such, are you putting yourself in a position to be outgunned by the bad guys? These are questions not only of principle, but of tactics.  Is the fight for open carry worth it?  Will it make those on the fence about gun control afraid and more likely to support gun control legislation?  Does it put you at a tactical disadvantage to the enemy who has not yet declared himself? Can you conceal enough firepower to ensure you are not outgunned?  Tough questions America and one supporters of the 2nd Amendment have yet to hash out yet.  But not it is your turn to do your part, and hash it out as best you can.  Share this article with one of your friends and let the debate begin.