Open Carry?

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had decided and declared that the Second Amendment gives us the right to carry openly for self-defense. This is an amazing decision, considering the court which made it. Located in San Francisco, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is the most liberal of all the courts of appeals in the land.

It was clear that the court didn’t like the decision that they felt they had to hand down. The way their decision was written, was almost lamenting the fact that they had to decide as they did. But in the light of the laws of our country, they felt they had no other choice.

We have yet to see the full results of this decision, but it could have far-reaching effects. Chances are, this decision will be appealed to the Supreme Court. For quite a few years now, the Supreme Court has refused to hear cases about our Second Amendment rights. But with Justice Kennedy retiring and the possibility of Justice Kavanaugh (a strong supporter of the Second Amendment) being confirmed by the Senate, there might be the four votes necessary to cause the Supreme Court to hear the case.

Whether or not they do, we might be seeing a situation where case law is redefining the Second Amendment, allowing open carry of firearms in all 50 states. I imagine that will need to be tested in court, but as I understand it, a decision of this type, made by a court of appeals, is binding across the country. At an absolute minimum, it could be brought up as case law in any trials involving open carry.

How Does this Affect Concealed Carry?

The opinion written by the court clearly applied only to open carry, not concealed carry. They went so far as to say that in their written opinion. So states could still regulate concealed carry, requiring a permit to do so. It only affects open carry; and it doesn’t seem to discriminate between handguns and long guns either.

This is not to say that just anyone can carry a firearm openly anywhere they want. There are some people who are not allowed to own firearms, such as convicted felons. This opinion doesn’t affect that at all. Nor was the opinion specific enough to affect open or closed carry in places where it is currently prohibited, such as courtrooms and post offices.

Should You Carry Open?

At some point in time, I imagine someone is going to put this new decision to the test and carry a firearm openly in a state where it is not currently allowed, such as California or New Jersey. I’m also sure that when that happens, they will be arrested, jailed and arraigned for that infraction. What I’m not sure of, is how that will work out in the court. It seems to me that this new ruling should get them off scott-free. But I’m not a lawyer.

But that’s for others to decide. The question I’m asking is whether you and I should carry openly? More specifically, should we give up concealed carry in order to carry openly, if the law allows?

I must admit, there are times when I carry openly, especially when I am at home. Carrying openly is more comfortable than carrying a pistol under my shirt, where it digs into my side. Sometimes, I even leave the house, still carrying openly, if I need to run to the hardware store for something. I can do that legally in the state in which I live, so I do so sometimes.

But, I still normally carry concealed most of the time. While carrying openly may provide a deterrent against crime, I have to give up a huge tactical advantage to do so. If I’m in the bank or a store and someone comes in to rob, the first person they’re going to shoot is the guy with a gun. So carrying my pistol openly paints a huge bulls-eye, right on my back.

On the other hand, carrying concealed allows me to decide when those criminals find out that I am armed. I can wait until the right opportunity presents itself and then draw my firearm, allowing it to be a surprise. That surprise will be even greater, the longer I wait.

If it is necessary to draw a firearm in self-defense, then we have to assume that we will be using that firearm. In other words, the idea isn’t to draw the firearm and threaten the bad guys with it, it’s to draw, aim, double check your aim and fire, all in one smooth motion. A standoff, where you’re pointing guns at each other isn’t going to turn out well.

For that matter, it probably won’t turn out well in a legal sense either. You don’t really have a legal right to draw that firearm, unless there is an imminent threat of life and limb. That’s the same criteria for using deadly force in self-defense. If all you do is draw it, threatening the bad guys, you’re guilty of “brandishing a firearm,” which is illegal. The other problem is that your defense is weakened by waiting. It’s hard to say that you were in imminent danger of life and limb, after you’ve waited a minute to shoot, holding a gun on the criminal.

So even if this new ruling changes things, I don’t think it will change things for me. I’ll still be carrying concealed, and not letting the bad guys know that I’m ready for them. Let them be surprised, it will be better for me.

Till next time, as always, keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Chris and Dr. Rich

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