Open carry

Open carry

Open carry is shorthand terminology for "openly carrying a firearm in public." In the United States, the degrees of legality of open carry varies.

Formal definitions

Open carry - the act of publicly carrying a firearm in "plain sight". Plain sight - broadly defined as not being hidden from common observation; varies somewhat from state to state.

Preemption - in the context of open carry: the act of a state legislature passing laws which limit or eliminate the ability of local governments to regulate the possession or carrying of firearms. Prohibited persons - people prohibited by law from publicly carrying a firearm in plain sight. These can (but not necessarily, as state laws differ) include but are not limited to: minors, felons, those convicted of a misdemeanor of domestic violence, and those who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution.

= Open carry in history = Open carry was common during the pioneer era and in the American Old West. According to UCLA historian Dr. Roger McGrath in his book "Gunfighters, Highwaymen and Vigilantes: Violence in the Old West", the rates of murder, robbery, rape, and other assorted violent crimes in the western United States were far lower than they are today, and McGrath attributes those lower rates directly to the open carry of firearms. [cite book |title=Guns, Highwaymen and Vigilantes: Violence in the Old West |author=McGrath, Roger D. |year=1987 |id=ISBN 0-5200-6026-1] McGrath states that "the young, the old, and the female—those most vulnerable—were far safer in the most wild and wooly frontier towns than they are in any American city today," because "people had arms, knew how to use them, and were willing to fight with deadly force to protect their persons or property." However, crime rates overall were much lower in the United States in the 19th century. [For example, see cite book |title=Violent Death in the City: Suicide, Accident, and Murder in Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia |author=Lane, Roger |year=1999 |publisher=Ohio State University Press |id=ISBN 0-8142-5021-1; and cite book |title=Crime and Punishment in America |author=Currie, Elliot|year=1998 |publisher=Owl Books |id=ISBN 0-8050-6012-2]

Open carry today

Today in the United States, the laws vary from state to state regarding open carry of handguns, which are outlined in the map below.

The categories are defined as follows:

Permissive Open Carry States - A state has passed full preemption of all firearms laws. They permit open carry to all non-prohibited citizens without permit or license. Also open carry is lawful on foot and in a motor vehicle.

Licensed Open Carry States - A state has passed full preemption of all firearms laws. They also permit open carry to all non-prohibited citizens once they have been issued a permit or license. Also open carry is lawful on foot and in a motor vehicle.

Anomalous Open Carry States - In these states, open carry is generally lawful, but the state may lack preemption or there may be other significant restrictions.

Non-Permissive Open Carry States - In these states, open carry is not lawful, or is only lawful under a limited set of circumstances, such as when hunting, or while traveling to/from hunting locations, while on property controlled by the person carrying, or for lawful self-defense.

As the map shows, seven states and the District of Columbia fully prohibit the open carry of firearms. Additionally, there are eleven states which permit open carry without requiring the citizen to apply for any permit or license.

Disclaimer: "While state law may not prohibit the open carry of loaded firearms, it is not uncommon for law enforcement to be unaware of this fact. Especially in states with highly restrictive laws regarding firearms ownership, open carry, even though legal, could result in serious negative consequences."

Open carry encounters

In 2003, gun rights supporters in Ohio used a succession of open carry "Defense Walks" to help encourage the legislature to move stalled concealed carry legislation. [" [ 'Defenses' Walks Make History in Ohio] "]

The legality of open carry in Virginia was reaffirmed after several 2004 incidents in which citizens openly carrying firearms were confronted by local law enforcement. [" [ Guns Worn In Open Legal, But Alarm Va.] " by Tom Jackman, Washington Post, July 15, 2004]

In 2007, two Idaho teenagers sought to raise awareness by openly carrying firearms. [" [ Rifles and rights] " by Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press, May 19, 2007]

In 2007, Manchester, New Hampshire resident Dave Ridley was stopped and questioned by New Hampshire state police for open carrying while walking along a sidewalk. [" [ Open carry legal in New Hampshire?] " , August 5, 2007] The situation was resolved without incident after Manchester city police arrived and discussed the situation with the state police officer. Ridley has subsequently organized several "Open carry litter pickups" in order to raise awareness. [" [ Group to pick up trash — and carry firearms] " by Dan Tuohy, "New Hampshire Union Leader", May 2, 2008]

In 2008, Clachelle and Kevin Jensen, of Utah, were photographed together openly carrying handguns in the Salt Lake City International Airport near a "no weapons" sign. The photo led to an article in The Salt Lake Tribune about the airports preempted "no weapons" signs. After a few weeks, the city removed the the unlawful signs. [" [ 'Gun owners miffed by SLC airport's confusing no-firearms signs] "]

State constitutions

Forty three states' constitutions contain a provision for a right to keep and bear arms in some formcref|a, but no state constitution specifically refers to the open carrying of arms. Five state constitutions contain provisions that the state legislature may regulate the manner of carrying or bearing armscref|b, though none mentions open carry by name. Nine states' constitutions indicate that the "concealed" carrying of firearms may be regulated and/or prohibited by the state legislaturecref|c which could be considered, by process of elimination, to indicate that the open carrying of arms may "not" be legislatively controlled in these states, though this is not explicitly stated and is, therefore, open to debate. The remaining states with constitutional provisions for the right to keep and bear arms fail to make any further specific reference to the matter of whether or not this includes the right to carry arms in the open, leaving this matter a contentious one.

See also

*Concealed carry in the United States
*Free State Project



External links

* []
* []

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