Public Interaction while OC-ing?

Public Interaction while OC-ing?

This is a discussion on Public Interaction while OC-ing? within the Open Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; How's everybody doin? I am new to open carrying. Well, technically I'm new to carrying at all, since I just got my weapons carry license ...

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Thread: Public Interaction while OC-ing?

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array pittypat21's Avatar
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    Question Public Interaction while OC-ing?

    How's everybody doin?

    I am new to open carrying. Well, technically I'm new to carrying at all, since I just got my weapons carry license a few months ago. Nevertheless, I've just recently started open carrying in public. I usually only OC at home or in my car (most of my time is spent in one of those two places). If I stop to get gas, or have to run in somewhere for just a quick minute I'll OC, but if I'm going anywhere with a lot of people around (like the mall) or somewhere that I'm going to be for a while (mall, grocery store, movie theater), I go ahead and conceal. I've heard a lot of stories of people being alarmed (irrationally) by OC-ers, and while I agree they have no reason to be alarmed, I'm not looking to draw any attention to myself or cause anybody unnecessary stress. Carrying is carrying, open or not, after all.

    This all being said, when I was getting myself a smoothie the other night after a movie, I decided to just OC since I didn't feel like switching to CC for just a few minutes. There was only a few other people in the shop, including the employee and two other guests. Being that I don't OC in public often, I was feeling just a little bit self-concious about it and began to wonder what I might say if somebody asked me about it. Questions like "Why are you carrying a gun?" or "Why do you feel the need to have a gun on you?" came to mind, and I realized that I have no idea what I would say! I don't want to stand there dumbfounded and tell somebody "Because I can!" just because I can't think of anything better to say.

    That all being said, I have a question or two for all of you OC-ers out there. This question is not for the cop baiters that OC to look for trouble. I'm talking to all the rest of you. I'm also not looking for LEO encounters - just strictly general public encounters.

    So here's my question(s): Have any of you been confronted by members of the general public while you were OC-ing? What was their reaction to it? What kind of things did they ask/say to you? And most importantly, what was your response?

    I'd really like to get some good ideas of what I might say in this kind of situation. Thanks in advance for all your responses and suggestions!
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet."
    -General James Mattis, USMC


  2. #2
    Member Array EeyoreCC's Avatar
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    Reactions will vary. Kids will be curious and not afraid to ask questions or point you out--loudly. Most adults won't even notice, or at least won't visibly react if they do. Some will comment or ask genuine questions, others will report "there's a man with a gun!" to the manager, or the police. A few will even confront you because open carry doesn't comport with their sociopolitical views. The bottom line is that, while everybody assumes that OC isn't legal or at least requires a permit, in fact almost nobody knows the actual laws (or lack of laws) regarding OC. Make sure that you do. Just because somebody doesn't like it or feels threatened doesn't allow them to revoke your rights, and the firm knowledge that you are entirely legal and correct in your action allows you to stay calm and "keep your head when all about you are losing theirs."

    The two most-common questions seem to be "is that real?" and "are you a cop?" These can be answered easily enough ("yes" and "no, just a law-abiding citizen", respectively). Then there's "why are you carrying that gun?" Your response to questions or confrontation will have to be gauged to the spirit of the question. Are they polite and genuinely curious? Or are they confrontational? There are literally dozens of possible responses. You could answer with a smart-aleck response ("because carrying a cop is too heavy" or "because when seconds count, the police are only minutes away") or be very earnest ("I carry to protect myself and those whom I love" or "See that little girl over there? She is the most important thing in the world to me. I carry this to make sure that nothing happens to her, and that her daddy comes home to her every night."). Generally, "because it's my constitutional right" doesn't really satisfy anybody. Sometimes, a combination of the above will be best.

    I strongly recommend you check out the forum at OpenCarry.org This subject is exhaustively discussed there, and it has a Georgia sub-forum for all your local issues. IMHO, it is the best forum for discussion of all carry-related legal issues (both OC and CC), with cites to authority and some genuinely well-thought-out arguments. Check it out.
    Guns don't kill people. Drivers on cell phones do.

  3. #3
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    I've been carrying for about 17 years now. The first 3 I was in a state that, at that time, did not allow OC. For the lat 14 years I have lived in a OC friendly state, and have primarily OC'd the last 10 years. I have only had a handful of people say anything to me about my gun, and only 1 that was negative. Most have been supportive and a few curious.

    Earlier this week I stopped at the 7-11 down the street from where I work. Another customer who has seen me in there before asked me why I always carry a gun. My reply to her was "Do you watch the news? The world is a crazy and dangerous place. I want to be prepared." She just nodded her head in understanding and we went on with our business.
    Freedom doesn't come free. It is bought and paid for by the lives and blood of our men and women in uniform.

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Bad things happen to good people,I used to be a boy scout so I try to be prepared
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

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    ^^^^^^
    "The world is a crazy and dangerous place."

    All the reason one needs.
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

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    Member Array tricolordad's Avatar
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    Have to get this out here first:Unless you are an activist, or are looking to be an incarcerated activist, i would steer clear of opencarry.org. So much bad advice is given there. Those are the "shock" people who you see looking for confrontations with police on youtube. They also frequently give out legal advice, it is the internet...you dont know who you are talking to.

    Ive had good and bad encounters, some very bad. Depending on where you live, it can be a wide variety of reactions. A few years ago, WI had he same constitutional OC, but frequently police depts used disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace charges to stop you from doing so legally. I was stopped in town, on my own property, on a friends private property...had guns pulled on me by LE, was arrested, threatened with jail time and sometimes worse. Average citizens have praised me carrying, announced it out to a whole store and sometimes they even call police. Ive even had an elderly lady ask me to dinner after having a conversation about right-to-carry. It was weird. Over time, as they get more comfortable with you, it gets better. If nobody else is carrying around where you live, it will be tough for a while. Youll feel like Amy Winehouse in a church. But.....that being said, ive been OCing for a while now. Cellphone holsters are more common than handgun holsters. Theyll be on their phones oblivious to the world. Most people wont even notice one bit. Just remember to keep your cool with antis. Theyre sloooowwwww
    Last edited by tricolordad; September 15th, 2012 at 11:38 AM. Reason: Clarity

  7. #7
    Member Array _Hawkeye_'s Avatar
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    The above is right...kids will be the ones. I just answer honestly.

    "Why do you have that?" cause there are a lot of bad people in the world

    "is that a gun?" yep

    "Have you ever shot anybody?" nope

    "Are gonna shoot me?" nope

    "Do you really think you are gonna get to use that?" hope not
    English is my second language, I have been told my use of it is harsh, apologies if this is the matter.

    You know what stops a bad guy with a gun? A good guy with a gun

  8. #8
    VIP Member Array SmokinFool's Avatar
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    Lots of good ideas here. I just recently started open carrying again after a long time keeping it concealed. I haven't had any interactions with anyone about it, but I do get stared at from time to time. Honestly though, most people don't even notice.

  9. #9
    VIP Member Array chiefjason's Avatar
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    I find that keeping a smile on your face, make eye contact, and occasionally making a joke in the process tends to ease people off. All the things that BG's don't want to do, and that's why folks describe some of them as "shifty". I've had some great conversations with folks because I was OC'ing. And those far outweigh any negatives for me. But I'm also in a very gun friendly area. The most often asked question for me is some version of "are you a cop."

    I did have a guy at the plumbing store ask me why I was carrying. For some reason I felt a little adventurous and told him that " I carried in in case I needed to shoot someone, but not him, because I need this part for my faucet." Luckily we both got a good laugh out of it.

    I'll engage people as much as they want to be engaged. Sometimes it's a yes or no. Sometimes they start asking about guns, gun stores, ranges, or how to get the right paperwork. And sometimes I'll end up talking with someone for 15-20 minutes just because.

    Maybe my best advice is to act like you are supposed to be there, like you are doing nothing wrong, like carrying a gun is not a big issue, and be yourself. And in the end, most of the people around you probably will not even notice.
    I prefer to live dangerously free than safely caged!

    "Our houses are protected by the good Lord and a gun. And you might meet 'em both if you show up here not welcome son." Josh Thompson "Way Out Here"

  10. #10
    Member Array EeyoreCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tricolordad View Post
    Have to get this out here first:Unless you are an activist, or are looking to be an incarcerated activist, i would steer clear of opencarry.org. So much bad advice is given there. Those are the "shock" people who you see looking for confrontations with police on youtube. They also frequently give out legal advice, it is the internet...you dont know who you are talking to.
    Bad advice, as with beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. All internet fora (even this one) have obnoxious bungholes, morons, and firebrands. However, learning what NOT to do is often just as important as learning what to do. It doesn't take long to figure out who the problem-children are. Conversely, there are members whose judgement and opinions I have learned to trust that have been very valuable to me. There's a whole spectrum of responses and opinions, and after careful consideration I choose where to place myself along that spectrum. You can, too.

    And yes, anyone who takes legal advice from an internet forum--without backing it up with more research--is a fool. Doesn't mean you can't have an interesting discussion about it and increase your awareness, though.
    Guns don't kill people. Drivers on cell phones do.

  11. #11
    Member Array Cbuffett556's Avatar
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    The people who will notice first are those who also carry (SA) and 'stop and rob' clerks. Intelligent clerks will be just fine because it's in a holster and not pointed at them. The dumb ones will get eyes like saucers and say "what's that for!?" to which I will calmly respond... "that's for the dumb SOB that tries to rob me or you. It ain't going nowhere unless I fear for my life" (true story, she laughed and said 'ok sounds good honey')


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk, please excuse typos.

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array pittypat21's Avatar
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    Hey all, thanks for you responses. Gives me a better idea of how I might answer any questions I'll come across. Thanks a bunch.
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet."
    -General James Mattis, USMC

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