KORENGAL: The Story Continues
Tom Kratman Strikes Again

On the Open Carry of Arms

Good to see Outlaw Jimbo back, eh?

Back in 2005, I wrote a piece on practical advice for those who want to carry arms openly -- a practice that, properly done, is one I think very worthy.  But there are some best practices. 

1) When wearing arms, go out of your way to be polite and courteous.... 

2) Start off with less intimidating weapons. Once your neighbors and the people you meet daily have adjusted to the tactical folding knife on your belt, carry a sheath knife. Once they've seen you with that a few times, carry an older revolver in a leather holster. Yes, this is irrational -- there's no reason to fear a semiautomatic more than a revolver. But the fear you're trying to ease is irrational. You'll achieve the end faster and more smoothly if you are sensitive to that. It won't be long before people are used to seeing you wearing your pistol or knife, and it won't bother them at all because they know you and have always found you to be upstanding.

3) You may find it helpful to carry to one side of the small of your back. In this way, you will frequently meet and begin talking to people before they notice the weapon. At that point, they will already have had the positive experience of dealing with a courteous person -- almost all of the intimidation that they may feel will be gone.

4) Be especially kind to the elderly, the disabled, animals and children. This is the right thing to do in any case. If chivalry and courtesy are to be defended, they must be lived.

5) Step your openly carried weapon down a level (or two) if you are going somewhere where there will be few other men, and lots of young mothers with their children. In this circumstance, you must do whatever you can to be a reassuring rather than an intimidating presence. As the law allows, you may still of course carry whatever you like concealed.

Awareness of the local culture is also important.  In the university town of Athens, Georgia, a lawfully and openly carried knife -- I can well attest -- garners no objections, but a pistol would scare people.  Since the point of the exercise is to persuade by gentle pressure in the right direction, you should keep that in mind.  On the other hand, in the nearby town of Commerce, Georgia, it's not at all unusual to see guys walking down the street with a pistol on their belt.  (You may wonder how crime rates in those cities compare -- this page contains a helpful chart.)

Respect the people you're trying to persuade, and give some thought to what the experience is like for them.  You want them to trust you to be armed around them, after all.