Sean has a excellent write-up of the near complete non-event of carrying cell phones openly. Um, I mean, sidearms. But really, what’s the difference? They are both just tools, right?
I’ve been carrying openly in a few places here and there, more and more often for about a year, now. Or has it been two years? The first time I ever carried openly, other than the easy place of shooting ranges, was grocery shopping with my sister and a few of her kids in New Hampshire. It wasn’t planned. It was a warm day, and I went along for the ride while she ran a few errands. She would go into a place with one or two of the kids, while I’d stay in the car with the remaining kids. The last stop was for groceries, and all of the kids were going in, so my sister, forgetting that I had gun on my hip, unconcealed, asked if I wanted to come in. When I reminded her of the gun, she commented, “oh, right, I’ve never seen anyone carrying in there, but it’s up to you.” I thought about it for a second, and decided, what the heck, New Hampshire is even more friendly to carrying openly than North Carolina.
It was pretty uneventful. I probably walked by about 100 people and maybe five people saw it. Two young girls, probably sisters, were chatting away in one aisle, and as one of them passed by me rather closely, her eyes suddenly widened and the two stopped talking. It probably didn’t help that her height was such that her eyes were right at gun level. I’m sure a couple of people saw it while we were in line at the register. But we left without incident.
I was hooked.
Not long after that, I went to a few of the Triangle Open Carry dinners. I consider those mostly to help those not yet comfortable carrying openly to dine among others doing the same.
The next time I went it alone, it was after my weekly range time with Knitebane and Mrs. Knitebane. We usually get together for food and conversation afterward at a cafe a few doors down from the range. I had heard that they were friendly to open carriers, but I hadn’t seen it. So I decided to take a chance. I’m sure the folks behind the counter noticed, but there was no comment. Mrs. Knitebane said that she about fainted, initially, and we laughed about it. Oh, she had no problem with it, but she just didn’t expect it. And I will admit, that on a recent visit there when a police officer walked in, my heart rate about doubled. Turns out he had his mind on meeting up with his family, so he didn’t notice.
I now carry openly at that cafe every week and they’ve gotten to know us as regulars. One of the employees once made a comment that we were her favorite. We usually stay after they close while they’re cleaning up until they kick us out, anywhere from 5-30 minutes after closing time. There was no reason for her to say we were her favorite, since we never really had much of a conversation with her other than placing our orders. All I could think of is that with two young women (in many instances), alone at closing time, in a store in a rather isolated area, they probably appreciated, as Sean put it, an ally who was armed. Another time, the owner had locked the door and as we were exiting, he followed us to unlock the door and made the comment that he probably didn’t have to lock it with someone packing a gun.
Once it was a bit crowded at the cafe, so we headed over to IHOP. I waited on the bench at the door for Knitebane, and a customer actually came out front and asked me for what reason someone would get turned down for a permit for a gun (presumably, he meant a NC purchase permit). I told him a couple of reasons are felony, or, I believe in NC, a misdemeanor in the past three years. He said, ah, yes, he had a few of those. (Made me glad I was armed, and backup was arriving momentarily.) He thanked me and went back to his table.
And like Edgar Friendly I now go grocery shopping armed.
Kidding, of course. Not the part about going shopping armed, just not in the way Mr. Leary’s character had to. I’ll typically spend about an hour shopping at Food Lion, carrying openly the whole time. I did have a funny encounter last time at Food Lion. There was a couple in one aisle with me and no one else, and as they walked past me the guy said, “Nice to see someone else carrying,” and lifted up his shirt to show me his concealed piece on his hip. Not something I would normally encourage, but in that circumstance, it was fine, as he was simply acknowledging we were allies. As someone else mentioned, how many cases do you hear of someone with criminal intent carrying a gun in a $70-100 holster out in the open?
So, I will continue with the boring activity of carrying openly, and probably even expand the number of places. I agree with Sean about the extreme lack of anti-gun folks out in the real world. You’d think from the MSM and the Brady Bunch (but I repeat myself) that you would be walking down a gauntlet of scared and intimidated mothers cowering in fear and hurrying their children away from you like magnets of opposite poles.
It’s just not the case.
So as Sean’s dad (and others) says, any right not exercised is a right lost. If you live in a place that does not unconstitutionally limit your natural right to keep and bear arms, enjoy your freedoms and carry openly with open indifference, but internal pride. Where the rights are infringed, continue the battle and let your legislators know that you will no longer tolerate your state, county, municipality being turned into a police state.