Open carry on the march

Looks as if open carry could soon be legal in four states that now prohibit it.

Four Southern states — Texas, South Carolina, Oklahoma and Arkansas — are considering legislation that would allow people to carry handguns openly in a holster.

These generally Second Amendment-friendly states are among the last six holdouts against open carrying of guns. Openly carrying handguns is legal in most states, even those that ban concealed firearms. New York and Florida also bar openly carrying handguns.

I do feel compelled to point out that Illinois only allows open carry in unincorporated areas–I’m not sure I would classify IL as a state in which “openly carrying handguns is legal,” but I suppose that it’s technically true.

The four other states that ban so-called open carry “are extremely gun-friendly. They understand the individual-rights aspect. Yet for whatever reason, the carry laws in these states are restrictive,” says John Pierce, a co-founder of, which promotes gun rights.

Most states have strict laws governing concealed weapons. Illinois and Wisconsin ban carrying them entirely, according to the National Rifle Association. Concealing a weapon “was seen in the early days of our nation as something of an unwholesome act. People would bear arms openly,” Pierce says.

John, by the way, is a Gun Rights Examiner colleague of mine (Minneapolis). Of course, no discussion of the right to keep and bear arms possibly becoming less infringed would be complete without Paul Helmke’s “contribution.”

Says Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which opposes open-carry laws: “We don’t want more people carrying guns either openly or concealed because the more guns you have in a situation, the more likely you are to get gun violence.”

Brilliant, Paul–just brilliant. By that “logic,” one could argue that trees should be banned, because the more of them you have around, the more likely one of ’em could fall on somebody.

My suspicion is that Helmke’s greatest objection to open carry is that he is horrified at the idea of the carrying of defensive firearms becoming seen as normal. He doesn’t like concealed carry either, but when the public has little idea about how many people are doing it, it’s easier to dismiss those who do as just some paranoid fringe. If open carry were to become a normal practice, armed self-defense can no longer be dismissed as . . . abnormal.

Another of my Gun Rights Examiner colleagues is also quoted.

Grass-roots movements supporting open carry have emerged via Internet and e-mail campaigns, Pierce says. The online Texas petition now has more than 55,000 signatures. raised $25,000 through online donations to pay for advertising in Texas, says co-founder Mike Stollenwerk.

Mike is our DC Gun Rights Examiner.

Perhaps the best news is that rumor has it that all versions but the Texas one will not require a license. Imagine that–a right that shall not be infringed, without a licensing requirement.

Almost sounds like the government securing the blessings of liberty, or something. That was once popular in this country.

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