Open Carry and Unintended Consequences

By on April 5, 2016

2014-10-25 12.30.17

Open carry of hand guns has come to Texas! And I’m glad.  Now I don’t have to conceal my gun if I don’t want to.  I’ve started open carrying out of convenience.

I carry concealed most of the time but open at work.  Before the law changed, I always had to have a cover garment ready to use or another holster that will conceal.  It’s just annoying.  Now I don’t have to worry about it when I’m going back and forth, or when I run for lunch or something.

No Gun Sign, Real Guns

The law changed on the fist of the year in Texas and brought a lot of attention to the 2nd Amendment.  It also brought a lot of attention to putting up signs.  Since the law changed, I’ve seen a lot more “no guns” signs up.  Here in Texas, the sign has to be a certain sign or has no weight of law.

But more and more the signs are up.  It’s annoying.  I have to make sure I carry my gun a certain way or have to go someplace else.  The above photo is from one of our favorite gas stops on the gun show circuit.  The sign means nothing legally, but ethically it means that we will be finding another spot to stop.  Yes, we went in and got gas because it was late at night and not much is open in that part of Texas.

No Gun Sign, Regal Movie Theatrs

The above is a legal sign in Texas and holds the force of law.  This one is on my favorite movie theater next to my house.  Now my wife and I drive by this one to get to another theater.  These signs went up in February this year and I’ve seen them on all the Regal Cinemas in my area.  I suggest that you go someplace else, I do.

Not that I care anymore, when a law changes, a lot about that law changes.  The consequences of violating the sign are almost nothing now.  In Texas, it’s a Class “C” Misdemeanor, which is the same thing as a speeding ticket.  The maximum fine is $200.  I don’t knowingly violate the law but am not paranoid about it anymore.

I traveled to teach a class this year and walked into a gas station to grab food for the day and when I walked out, I noticed the legal sign that said I couldn’t carry.  I just laughed because I had two guns and had already put extra magazines on my belt to teach the class.

I have received a couple of odd looks while open carrying.  One of the gun shop’s favorite places to eat is a sandwich shop next to an Army Recruiting station.  Parking sucks so I normally park in front of the recruiting office and walk by it to get to the sandwich shop.

Last week, when I opened the door, there was someone eating right next to the door.  He saw my gun and I watched his eyes get huge staring at it.  I just said, “hi, how you doing?” He smiled and went back to eating.  I almost laughed at him.

On the other side of the coin, it does make me a little jumpy to see a gun.  A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in church enjoying a sermon.  A couple of rows up, a man half stood up and bent over to take care of his kid next to him.  Apparently he took off a jacket he shouldn’t have and I saw the butt of his gun sticking out enough to identify it as a Smith M&Pc.  Definitely not concealed at all if I can see what kind of gun you are carrying.  For a second, my mind raced through “what ifs” until I studied a little more and saw it was a friend of mine that I know carries a gun and has been going to the church for years.

Last week, I got to talk to him about it, and with the open carry law, he isn’t too worried about it anymore.  His lack of worry allows him to carry more and he does all the time now.  Before, he really thought about it all the time because he was afraid of someone seeing it and would leave his gun at home a bunch.

We as a culture need to remember that good guys carry guns, too, and you should be aware of others that are carrying.  Here in Texas, carrying a gun is becoming more and more normal, so I have started practicing looking for concealed carry guns again.  It’s a fun pass time when I’m out people watching.

Starbucks Gun Sign

As usual, any change in a law requires our diligence. I’ll be writing a letter to the movie theater.  I don’t really think I can change it, but I’ll try.  I’m also not going to spend a lot of time on it.  I’ll just spend my money someplace else to see a movie.  The Starbucks campaign is a beaten dead horse and I won’t be wasting my time with that one.

Where you can make a difference, do so.  Don’t waste energy on where you can’t.  Sometimes it just takes the time for someone to explain the signs to a decision maker to get it changed.  Find the place you can make a difference and go for it.

Stay Safe,

Ben

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