Last month, we discussed the “pros” of open carry. Now we have to discuss the “cons.” There are physical hazards to open carry. Opponents of the concept say, “The openly carried gun will make you a target. Either the bad guys will grab your gun or they’ll shoot you first.” Advocates of open carry say “No, that’s never happened.” Unfortunately, they’re wrong.
TV station KOIN in Portland, Oregon, reported in early 2015, “William Coleman III was robbed of his Walther-brand P22 just after 2:00 a.m. October 4 in Gresham by a young man who asked him for it—and flashed his own weapon as persuasion. Coleman, 21, was talking to his cousin in the 17200 block of NE Glisan St., after purchasing the handgun earlier that day, when a young man asked him for a cigarette, police said. The man then asked about the gun, pulled a gun from his own waistband and said ‘I like your gun. Give it to me.’ Coleman handed over the gun and the man fled on foot.”
This was not the worst fate to ever befall an open carrier. A few years ago in Richmond, Virginia, Blaine Tyler was open carrying when he walked into a convenience store one night. Two 16-year-old punks with already-serious criminal records ran up behind him and one snatched Tyler’s pistol from its holster and ran. Tyler, 48, reflexively chased the teen gun-grabber, who turned and shot him dead with Tyler’s own pistol.
Two incidents involving Indiana gun shop owners who open carried, come to mind. In one case, the assailant asked for an item displayed behind the owner, and when the latter turned to reach for it, he snatched the owner’s open-carried Colt Gold Cup from his holster and tried to shoot him with it. Fortunately, the gun was cocked and locked and the attacker didn’t know where the safety was on a 1911 pistol. The disarmed owner dove for another gun under the counter, and survived the following shootout. In the other incident, the multiple armed robbers had scoped out the owner’s open-carried HK P7 9mm, surprised him at gunpoint, and disarmed him. They were marching him into a back room with the obvious intent of executing him there when he grabbed a hidden .357, and turned the tables, winning the ensuing gunfight. Do you have fortuitous access to a second gun, as these good men did, if someone gains control of your open-carried pistol?