I know I have touched on this in the past, but it would seem as though now is a good time to refresh it in everyone’s minds.
I believe in freedom. Right up until your actions can be factually proven to detrimentally affect another person, against their will, in some specific and demonstrable fashion, you should be free to do whatever it is your little heart desires. This is not a matter of potentialities and probabilities and could-be’s, this is a realm of cold, hard facts.
I believe in choice. Whether we are willing to acknowledge all of them or not, we almost always have choices in any given, specific situation. I believe we should do everything possible to maximize those choices not only for ourselves, but for others as well. See above.
I believe in the sanctity of life. Our lives are the only things we truly own in this world, and, so far as we know, we only get one of them. As such, we should not only be permitted, we should be encouraged to do anything and everything necessary to protect those lives from anyone who would deprive us of them. Again, see above.
With those three beliefs expressed, it should come as no surprise that I firmly believe that all adults should have the choice available to them to avail themselves of modern tools and equipment that have proven to be useful in the past when it comes to matters of self-defense – to wit, bearing arms.
Furthermore, I believe that all adults should be able to bear those arms however they see fit, so long as it is done in a safe and responsible manner. I would also prefer "polite", but that is a matter of personal taste.
How can I be internally consistent if I were to believe any other way?
More to the point, how can supposedly pro-rights individuals be internally consistent if they were to believe any other way? The exact same arguments that can and have been used against open carry by supposedly pro-firearms individuals can and have also been used against firearms in general – do they not see the problem with that?
No, open carry is not for everyone. For that matter, concealed carry is not for everyone, and carrying a firearm in general is not for everyone. I would never force anyone to openly carry a firearm against their will, just like I would never force anyone to carry a firearm in general against their will – why do some supposedly pro-rights individuals feel the need to force people who do carry firearms to do so in a concealed fashion?
There is no consistent data indicating that open carry puts you any more at risk than you already are, causes any more unrest than firearms in general, or significantly alters an appreciable portion of the public’s opinions – trust me, I have looked. Sure, there are anecdotes, but there are anecdotes that open carry stops crime, and as we all know, the plural of "anecdote" is not "data". Likewise, there is no shortage of anecdotes of idiots being idiots while openly carrying firearms, but there is also no shortage of idiots being idiots with firearms in general – if we are not willing to take firearms away from all people on the account of a few idiots being idiots (and we assuredly should not), why do we make the exception for open carry?
On the other hand, open carry can be an invaluable tool for normalizing firearm carry, acclimatizing people to the notion that other equally-normal people actually do carry firearms on a regular basis, and preventing firearm carriers from being turned into a marginalized boogieman. After all, if no one knows anyone who carries a firearm, when blatantly anti-rights organizations demonize and denigrate those law-abiding citizens, other citizens may not really think much about it. But when people know that their next-door neighbor carries his firearm every time he mows his yard, and seems to be an alright kind of guy? You figure it out.
I support carry, and, in the end, open carry changes nothing – we are the same people with and without a firearm strapped to our hips, with the same rights, choices, and freedoms available to us regardless. How about folks start respecting that, rather than repeatedly and irrationally losing their gos-se at someone exercising their rights in a fashion they may not necessarily agree with?