Why Boycott? Open Carry is Dumb.


Why Boycott? Open Carry is Dumb.

Pro-gunners are up in arms these days, mainly due to recent knee-jerk reactions by large retail companies in response to pressure by anti-gun organizations. I’m talking about Wal-Mart’s recent announcement to end sales of certain “scary” kinds of ammunition and their decision to ban the open carrying of firearms inside their stores. Numerous other retailers have also jumped on the “no open carry” bandwagon, including Aldi, Kroger, CVS, and Publix, and I’m sure there are others as well.

These announcements are met with applause by the ignorant and with outrage by stringent pro-gunners. I, on the other hand, simply shrug and keep on doing what I do: Concealed carry.

They are not Infringing on Your Rights

Here’s the thing: Nobody is forcing you to shop in any particular store. If you believe in property rights, and you probably do if you’re reading this, then you must also support the right of any establishment to make its own decisions — no matter how poor those decisions may be.

A government ban means government enforcers (police) can and will enforce it with violence or the threat thereof. And it’s government which is specifically limited via the Second Amendment, which says the government CANNOT ban guns or the use thereof. (Yes, I know government does restrict guns; I’m simply saying that only government bans are actual infringements.)

The Second Amendment is not about private companies. Just like private individuals in a free society, companies may choose what activities it deems appropriate by those who enter their buildings and walk around on their property. And you may choose not to set foot on their property. Simple.

Open Carry is Dumb

Don’t wig out; I’m not talking about carrying openly while hunting or hiking in Alaska. I’m talking about the subject at hand: carrying a firearm openly inside a retail establishment. It just ain’t smart.

For example, there’s the guy who was attacked while open-carrying in a Walmart back in 2015. Some guy saw his gun, became upset, and attacked him with a baseball bat. Or the Oregon man who was proudly open-carrying his new handgun (albeit not inside a store) when he was targeted by armed thieves who got the drop on him and stole his brand-new popper.

These are just a couple examples off the top of my head. But with a little thought, you can see that carrying your piece in plain view is at the least unwise. If you cross paths with someone who has evil intentions, he will know you’re armed before you know he is… so you will likely be the first one killed if he decides to start dropping bodies in a “mass shooting.”

Count Your Blessings

Here’s another viewpoint for ya… think back 20 or 30 years, and imagine one or more major retailers back then asking customers not to openly carry firearms inside of their stores.

If this had happened back then, I’m betting the general public’s reaction would be more along the lines of, “What? People are openly carrying guns in public?”

My point: Civilians openly carrying firearms in modern America is a fairly modern concept, as far as I know. And now some retailers have gotten scared or gotten pressured or whatever, and have asked people to stop doing it on their private property.

Folks, that’s really not a big deal.¬†And today’s legal environment is fairly friendly to the concept of concealed carry, which is a good thing.

Please Carry a Gun

Am I saying not to carry a gun? Absolutely not! I wholeheartedly support concealed carry of firearms by any and all responsible citizens who are willing and able to use their firearms for self defense in the unlikely event they need to do so.

It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. This mantra was taught to me as a young boy — not about guns in particular, but it certainly applies. And another pearl of wisdom from my late father:

A loaded gun is the finest insurance policy there is. And just like insurance, you hope you never need it — but if you do, you’re damn glad to have it.

Conceal it and Have a Nice Day

If you want to boycott any company for any reason, by all means feel free to do so. But I’m just gonna keep my popper out of view and carry it legally wherever I go. If nobody knows I’m carrying, my day goes better and everybody’s happy. But it’s there if I need it, which is why I carry in the first place.


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Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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