My gun, my business – it makes me feel safer

Let’s talk about open carrying

People who claim to belong to “the open carry movement” have been shocking the public for the recent few years by openly carrying firearms in restaurants or parks. Such pictures evoked a discussion about weak state laws which, despite certain regulations, allow for such behavior. The movement members believe that they are just ”exercising their rights”, because in their opinion state firearms laws are unjust and need changes. But is this form of provocation safe and right?

Not really, it causes dangers of accidental or intentional use of firearms, and thus, someone’s injury or death. Then, it is a waste of law enforcement resources and it intimidates the public. However, someone may think that open carrying actually seems to be a great way of self-defense, so what is wrong about it?

According to the available research, it turns out to be not exactly as it seems. First of all, we must say it explicitly: using a gun in self defense is rather rare. But even if it is used to protect your own live or health, it is not more protective than other (safer) ways and, actually, it does not lower the chances of being injured. It even increases the risk of being hurt.

Moreover, open carrying makes it much easier to use a gun in simple everyday conflicts, which can lead to tragedies. In addition to this, it increases the rates of suicides. And finally, in states where the open carrying is legal without any permissions, law enforcement officers may be prohibited from demanding identification in the case of a person carrying a firearm openly.

What does the law say about it?

California, Florida, Illinois and the District of Columbia do not allow open carrying in public. New York and South Carolina do not allow open carrying in the case of a handgun, but not a long gun. Massachusetts, Minnesota and New Jersey do not allow carrying a long gun openly, but a handgun is allowed. The rest of the states allow open carrying, but in some of them it is possible only after receiving a permission or license. But still, even if open carrying is allowed, the law usually excludes certain places like schools or pubs with alcohol served.

California, Florida and Illinois are the most strict about open carrying – it is prohibited without exceptions. 13 states allow people to carry a handgun openly only with a permit. In Minnesota and New Jersey a permit may be received for a long gun only. In North Dakota, the law limits the open carrying by requiring a handgun carried openly to be unloaded. Iowa, Tennessee and Utah have the same requirement, but for a long gun. Pennsylvania and Virginia prohibit open carrying in certain densely populated cities.

States that Prohibit Open Carrying of Handguns

  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • New York
  • South Carolina

States that Require a Permit or License to Openly Carry Handguns

  • Connecticut
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • New Jersey
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah

States that Otherwise Restrict the Open Carrying of Handguns

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Michigan
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • Washington

States that Prohibit Open Carrying of Long Guns

  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey

States that Restrict, But Do Not Prohibit, the Open Carrying of Long Guns

  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Virginia