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Open Carry Guns

Updated on May 14, 2017

More than seventy years ago, out on the farm, my parents gave me a .22 short semi-auto rifle for my birthday. I was taught how to shoot, where to shoot and when by the best...my Dad. Later I owned a rifle and shotgun, but never a handgun. However, Dad did buy a .22 pistol and kept it in the glove compartment of the car. I don't know why. We could take care of ourselves and there was nothing to fear.

My teen years were filled with hard work on the family farm along with school, sports, and church...learning about team work, being responsible, "sticktoitiveness," and being adventurous with the environment and social situations. I was rich but didn't know it. It was my pockets which were empty. I was enjoying just being a kid...when suddenly toward the end of my teen years I grew up and it started with one event.

I was driving the family car when I came upon a scene that was not only a surprise but a shock which threatened who I was. My first feeling was fear which quickly turned to anger ... then uncontrolled rage. THE PISTOL IN THE CAR POCKET ENTICED ME TO ACTION. I grabbed it and got out....

Later, as the chaos subsided to nothingness, my feelings turned to physical trembling. What had I done? It seemed as though I had watched another "me" in action. I apologized to my parents. We prayed together but never again discussed what had happened. I confessed and vowed repentance before my religious congregants. They too, prayed and forgave. One has never forgiven me. I learned a lesson forever in my mind.

I share my story at this time because I see people advocating "open carry" of lethal weapons without being licensed by the State. What I see terrifies me. Having a lethal weapon "at the ready" for me was an enticement to an action foreign to who I really was...and I almost hurt an innocent and myself. What I am concerned about is the presence of lethal weapons within reach to so many. Bottom line for me is that open carry policy in our society scares the devil in me. When I see a lethal weapon being carried openly.... I ponder whether to challenge its evil potential on the spot or run from it. I am still working with myself on how to handle that. For me it is difficult to overcome tribalism in favor of my moral imperative to treat others as myself; so what should I do when or if I am confronted with an "open carry" situation?

Footnote: If I were to have my way, STATES would license individuals to own lethal weapons...using nationwide guidelines which would permit reciprocity. Further, I suggest the FEDERAL government should control the manufacture and distribution of all lethal weapons...requiring each to have locking mechanisms. COUNTIES would license and enforce sales and records, thereof. MUNICIPALITIES (just like in the old West) should be able to control "open carry" or public presence of lethal weapons within their boundaries of jurisdiction. Governance policy and enforcement should be from ground up, ie, city-county-state-federal...all clearly delineated through negotiation. Perhaps, my grandchildren (who are above average) will have the political will and know how to fix this mess ... brought on by what/who?

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    • jksouthard profile imageAUTHOR

      JK Southard 

      15 months ago from USA

      Jack and all other commentators,

      I am still looking for a protocol to deal positively with an open carry gun policy in public situations which makes me and others feel uncomfortable. However, I am going to give the project a rest for a while...go visit some old friends and family this summer, take your and others comments to heart in my continuing study, meditation, and broadening people interactions. I will be back on the "Hub" in a couple of months. Have a good summer all.

    • Jack Burton profile image

      Jack Burton 

      15 months ago from The Midwest

      jk sez: I am trying to bridge the divide that exists between the feared and fearful.

      Jack replies: No... you are admitting to being one of the fearful and you want to apply it to most everyone else.

      jk sez: Please re-read my opening statement. I was raised to be comfortable with guns and people who owned them

      Jack replies: Yet, you still give the vibe of someone who is fearfully afraid of others who have guns. I am not making this up, you know. I am just going off from what you posted with your very own fingers

      jk sez: still am except when they seem out of context and contemptuous which can lead to unexpected consequences.

      Jack replies: You still have not dealt with the very real issue of multiple states across decades with millions of people who legally carry guns both openly and concealed with no problems in society... and society having no problems with them. If I choose to openly carry my handgun into the Walmart down the street there will be no problems at all. How do I know this? Because I see it every day in Walmart, the supermarkets, the playgrounds, and the McDonalds. Again... why do YOU have this problem and NO ONE else does? You have not attempted to answer that either.

      jk sez: Why test the devil?

      Jack replies: Convicted by your own fingers. You think either a person carrying a gun or the gun itself is the "devil" that can be "tempted."

      jk sez: You have given me to pause on many fronts. Will think, study and get back to you in a few.

      jack replies: Thinking and pondering is good as long as it is done with facts, reason, logic and rationality. Emotions kind of short-circuit the process, though.

      jk sez: One more variable in my background for you to think about is that my very first playmates were Pancho, Natividad, and Norman. If we all showed up with lethal weapons to your 4th of July party, would you welcome us?

      Jack replies: Seeing how my wife is of the Fernandez family you can show up with Pancho, Natividad, Jesus, Manuel, Roberto, and Pedro and we'll think it's a family reunion. Don't assume.

      jk sez: I hate hypotheticals, no one ever wins. But the background and possible scenario are real.

      Jack replies: So is a meteor crashing into the earth and destroy us along with the dinosaurs but most people don't worry about it in their daily lives.

    • jksouthard profile imageAUTHOR

      JK Southard 

      15 months ago from USA

      Jack, just read your response. I am trying to bridge the divide that exists between the feared and fearful. Please re-read my opening statement. I was raised to be comfortable with guns and people who owned them AND have been for more than 7 decades...still am except when they seem out of context and contemptuous which can lead to unexpected consequences. Why test the devil?

      You have given me to pause on many fronts. Will think, study and get back to you in a few. One more variable in my background for you to think about is that my very first playmates were Pancho, Natividad, and Norman. If we all showed up with lethal weapons to your 4th of July party, would you welcome us? I hate hypotheticals, no one ever wins. But the background and possible scenario are real.

    • Jack Burton profile image

      Jack Burton 

      15 months ago from The Midwest

      jk sez: I am concerned about the availability of lethal weapons among the masses of humanity.

      Jack replies: Reminds me of my favorite Bible verse in Genesis where Abel asked his brother, Cain, "Crikey, mate, where'd you get that Glock?"

      jk sez: Guns had a purpose and place.

      Jack replies: What makes you think they still don't have a purpose and a place just because you don't like that purpose and place?

      jk sez: To me a gun openly carried in public is not a piece of jewelry nor a badge of courage, rather just the opposite. If it is a political statement...lethal though it may be...

      Jack replies: I think the operative words in that sentence are "To me..."

      jk sez: I would feel more comfortable respecting the person and issue if the carrier were sporting a symbolic badge of a gun.

      Jack replies: I don't think the wording of the 2nd Amendment has anything to say about a "symbolic badge of a gun."

      jk sez: But then to the subject of my paranoia, I am not afraid of people

      Jack replies: Sure you are. You are afraid of those who lawfully and legally carry guns. Go ahead and admit it. We all know it already.

      jk sez: I am concerned about the availability of lethal weapons among the masses of humanity....when surprises push past built-in checks of behaviors which can happen in any/all of us.

      jack replies: First, let's separate legal gun owners from those who have illegal possession of weapons. Surely you don't count those who legally use a bank's services the same as those who are there to rob a bank, eh. Or those who legally own a car to those who have just stolen a car.

      80,000,000 gun owners in America, best guess. What percentage of them would you say cause problems with their firearms each year? Until you sit down and ponder that then any statement you make about "concern of availability" is just nonsense to those of us who have actually pondered that very concept.

      jk sez: The gun presence/availability in peaceful scenarios bothers me.

      Jack replies: You can reject the paranoia term all you want but that doesn't stop you from showing the classic symptoms of it. There are at current count 12 MILLION CCW holders, and over the decades in dozens of states that probably totals over 20 million. Please show, with detail and specifics, the problems in society that these 20 million people have caused with their firearms that makes that one group distinctly stand out from the rest of humanity.

      jk sez: I wish there were an accepted protocol known to everyone to deal with it.

      Jack replies: There is. I pointed that out in a previous post. You reject it.

      jk sez: One such protocol in the old days was the unloaded shotgun carried broken down.

      Jack replies: "Wait, Mr. Thug, I have to ready my shotgun. Please don't rape me yet!!!!"

      jk sez: Bottom line I don't trust testi-swagger to be anything but confrontational in nature, hence, potentially dangerous.

      Jack replies: Bottom line, based upon reality, you are paranoid. It really is that simple. The real world is not the way you perceive it to be. Millions of people, decades of time, and spread across the country proves that to be true.

      jk sez: Any suggestions to deal with the problem in our society where being packed together is more the norm than exception?

      Jack replies: Yes. Learn to live in reality. Get to know those who are in the firearms community, go out to the range with them, and get comfortable with firearms. I've seen hundreds of people just like you turn from paranoia to understanding the issues and accepting reality with just a bit of effort on their part to actually acquire fact-based information.

    • jksouthard profile imageAUTHOR

      JK Southard 

      15 months ago from USA

      Jack, you offer food for thought as always. Thinking back I grew up in a time/place where a gun in the rack of the pickup window was common. The guns were used to protect(kill) anything intruding against our livelihood herds. We did not take them with us to family picnics or such. Guns had a purpose and place. To me a gun openly carried in public is not a piece of jewelry nor a badge of courage, rather just the opposite. If it is a political statement...lethal though it may be...I would feel more comfortable respecting the person and issue if the carrier were sporting a symbolic badge of a gun.

      But then to the subject of my paranoia, I am not afraid of people or feel persecuted nor do I feel superior. I am concerned about the availability of lethal weapons among the masses of humanity....when surprises push past built-in checks of behaviors which can happen in any/all of us. The gun presence/availability in peaceful scenarios bothers me. I wish there were an accepted protocol known to everyone to deal with it. One such protocol in the old days was the unloaded shotgun carried broken down. Bottom line I don't trust testi-swagger to be anything but confrontational in nature, hence, potentially dangerous. Any suggestions to deal with the problem in our society where being packed together is more the norm than exception?

    • Jack Burton profile image

      Jack Burton 

      15 months ago from The Midwest

      "if I know a drunk"

      But do you KNOW that the "gun holder" is "anything" other than a law abiding citizen who is going to join a group of buddies after work?

      Do you "know" that the person buying arsenic rat poison at the hardware store is going to use it on rats or his girlfriend?

      Do you "know" the person walking into a bank is going to deposit a check or rob the bank?

      In my state (and many, many others) it is perfectly normal to see individuals walking around with handguns openly displayed. In stores... in parks... in McDonalds. No one freaks out... no one calls the cops. No one rushes up to give them a hug.

      Why do you suppose that is the way it is? People peacefully going about their business on both sides.

      Why do you suppose you feel differently about the concept? What is it about you that makes you so paranoid when so many other people can accept it as perfectly normal, reasonable behaviour without resorting to panic or hysteria? Before you want to change other peoples behaviours I would look into yourself first.

    • jksouthard profile imageAUTHOR

      JK Southard 

      15 months ago from USA

      Jack, you make a point...I do not throw myself in front of moving autos. However, if I know a drunk is intent on driving, I will try to prevent the drunk from driving or will call 911. Now, if I observe an individual with a high powered semiautomatic lethal weapon headed toward a gathering in a park for a group event of some kind.... I do nothing? Would you have different answers if the group "looked" way different than the way the individual "looked"? Regardless the groupings, is your advice still to just walk or run away? Do nothing?

      But I hate playing "what if" scenarios... no one ever seems to win those games. Rather, I would like us to develop a protocol to handle such situations. I feel compelled "as we are all brothers" to do something, but WHAT? Your thoughts?

    • Jack Burton profile image

      Jack Burton 

      15 months ago from The Midwest

      If JK sees someone driving peacefully towards a crowd of people he is going to throw himself in front of the car to keep it from running people over. Of course, the actual times that someone runs a crowd of people over in a car is about one out of a million... about the same number as those who have a gun shoot willy nilly into a crowd.

    • jksouthard profile imageAUTHOR

      JK Southard 

      16 months ago from USA

      So, Jack, are you saying that if I see a person carrying a lethal weapon toward a group of people playing a baseball game, I should be afraid to notify the police for fear of being arrested for it? Is there anything that I could do to possibly prevent a shooter from shooting people? Perhaps grab the carrier in a big hug...because he/she probably needs some love in his/her life?

    • Jack Burton profile image

      Jack Burton 

      16 months ago from The Midwest

      JK sez: Should I move away AND dial 911 when someone is carrying a lethal weapon openly?

      JK missed Longhunters posting: Once the police saw my permit, they couldn't do anything to me but the "confronter" almost got arrested.

      Jack replies: Go for it, JK. I would enjoy knowing that you got arrested for calling in a false police report.

      What are you going to tell the 911 operator? "I just saw a person behaving perfectly legally"?

    • jksouthard profile imageAUTHOR

      JK Southard 

      16 months ago from USA

      Oscar, I am glad the good guy was able to shoot the bad guy and, perhaps save other innocents. Thankfully the good guy had his weapon concealed. If not, the bad guy might have shot him first.

      Longhunter, your suggestion is my first reaction...move away. That, I will do. However, your statement that someone openly carrying without a permit could be dangerous, is scary. Should I move away AND dial 911 when someone is carrying a lethal weapon openly?

    • profile image

      Longhunter 

      16 months ago

      JK, I have a permit to legally carry and do so everywhere except at work. I can understand your concern. I can open carry in my state but prefer not to so not advertise nor scare others around me. I, personally, see no need to "show off" like some kid. When I see others open carry, I tend to move away as well. They have that right in my state but I see them as "showboating", not something I agree with.

      My suggestion would be, if you see someone carrying openly, don't confront them. Just move away. It's not worth the drama. If they have a permit and it's an open carry state, they have the right to do so. If they don't have a permit and are carrying, they could be dangerous.

      I have been confronted when my gun was seen from under my jacket. That person even called the police. When they showed up, I kept my hands in plain sight then followed their instructions. I kept my cool while the person who called them did not. Once the police saw my permit, they couldn't do anything to me but the "confronter" almost got arrested.

      Just a suggestion.

    • profile image

      Oscar Wright 

      16 months ago from Texas

      Working on one's self is often . . . maybe always the best place to begin. Trying to determine how society and/or its designated agent, government, should best protect us from ourselves as a society may be a bit more challenging. It is easy to agree with you that accountability is needed at every level/stage (e.g., manufacture, teaching/training, and individually. Which level of government should be involved at what point becomes less clear for me and therefore probably debatable.

      Of additional concern is concealed carry as well as open carry. Seeing someone with a gun strapped to her/his hip is one thing. Seeing someone and seeing a bulge under a coat and wondering is it is a weapon is another. Everyone has stories . . . . personal and vicarious. Such as: an angry man entered a bar & grill shouting explatives here recently. He proceeded to shoot the manager in the face (killing him) and began shooting randomly. A patron of the bar had a gun and shot the guy in self defense and defense of others there. The perpetrator was discovered to have additional weapons and ammo. It appears many would have been victim were it not for the patron (open or concealed carry . . . I am no sure) who legally carried his own weapon in to the establishment.

      Could I have done that? I do not know and I have no plans to carry at all . . . . so I will likely never have the chance to know. But I think this true story is the basis for those who carry suggesting that some without permits or even with permits are going to violate the rights/lives of others. Why not protect yourself?

    • profile image

      Della Chadwick 

      16 months ago

      Interesting story and perspective. To truly understand your reaction, one would have to know the complete situation. As you, I grew up on a farm where we were taught to respect guns and the use of them at an early age. Guns weren't/aren't to be feared. Fear should be for those who use them incorrectly or by disrespecting other humans. Education is needed about guns and the use of them. Education is needed in respecting others. In total agreement that if TREAT OTHERS AS YOU WOULD BE TREATED was embraced by each person, there would be fewer harmful situations. You learned a lesson about yourself. Good for you! Now, what you do with the lesson is up to you. You are off to a good start by the comments and suggestions in your footnotes. Not sure I agree with all of them, but at least you are taking action and not just sitting around griping like so many others do.

    • jksouthard profile imageAUTHOR

      JK Southard 

      17 months ago from USA

      You are correct. Not trying to put anything on anyone. Just sharing what one homo sapien learned about one's self and the world in which we live. Do with it what you will.

    • Jack Burton profile image

      Jack Burton 

      17 months ago from The Midwest

      Please don't put your moral and intellectual failings as a person onto other people who are obviously more capable in life.

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