Open Carry is the act of openly carrying a firearm or other defensive tool in plain sight in places where the public is normally allowed to dwell.
Concealed Carry in which the firearm or defensive tool is concealed beneath the clothing, a handbag or other location in which the defensive tool is not visible.
The legality of Open Carry was reassured in Virginia after a July 2nd, 2004 incident in which two men entered a Starbucks openly carrying sidearms and the local law enforcement responded by confiscating the firearms and charging them with a misdemeanor. After the issue was cleared up, the officers returned their firearms and apologized for the confusion.
Open Carry laws vary from state to state and in some cases from county to county. Some states have pre-emptive firearms laws, meaning that local ordiances (counties and cities) may not create their own firearm laws.
Vermont is unique in that no permit is required to carry Concealed, Vermont is a model state in perhaps showing that gun control has no effect on violent crime where as the opposite…no gun control may actually reduce crime by allowing citizens to arm themselves in defense of persons and property,
California has the most restrictive gun laws, banning a variety of weapons and ammuntion. Open Carry with a permit is permitted in California, so long as you are in an area with a population of less than 200,000 as of last census and it is your responsibility to know the population. It is believed that Many of these restrictive anti-gun laws in California can be attributed to it’s lack of constituional protection of the right to keep and bear.
Open Carry in History
Several states permit Open Carry. Kentucky’s constitution for example explicitly forbids the passage of laws forbidding open carry;
From the Kentucky Bill of Rights Section 1
”Seventh: The right to bear arms in defense of themselves and of the State, subject to the power of the General Assembly to enact laws to prevent persons from carrying concealed weapons.”
As you can see, the framers of Kentucky’s constituion meant to insure the the open carry of arms was protected, giving the general assembly power only to enact laws prevent persons from carrying concealed weapons.
Open Carry was common in “the old west” and despite claims that shootouts were frequent and easily provoked, the opposite is more true. Stagecoach robberies and bank robberies for example were far less common than “westerns” and dime store novels made them appear to be. According to UCLA historian Dr. Roger McGrath, the rates of murder,robbery rape and other assorted violent crimes were far far lower than they are today and those lower rates can be attributed to the open carry of firearms.
”Open Carry is considered visual deterrent, those meaning to do harm or other criminal malfeance, are made aware that the person carrying the sidearm will not be easy prey.”