Monday, July 8, 2013

Monday Gunday: Breaking my Open Carry Cherry

As I might have accidentally mentioned in passing, about three weekends ago I was up in Tennessee and Kentucky.  While there, I took advantage of their Open Carry laws and, well, carried openly.

(Legal Note: TN only allows OC if you have a recognized concealed carry permit, whereas KY allows full open carry without any kind of permit.)

The first time I OC'd in public was when I met Oleg for lunch. He took me to a Thai restaurant, because I love Pad Thai and will eat it any chance I get. My holster was completely outside my clothes; Oleg had his inside his pants, but outside of his shirt. I dubbed this style "subtle carry", as it provided all the benefit of OC while keeping his pistol mostly concealed.

No one gave us any hassle about it, but I didn't expect any. I thought it might feel weird to OC in public, but I didn't -- perhaps it was because I was with another OCer, or perhaps it was because I knew we were in a state where OC had been legal for some time and expected people to be cool with it.

Then I went up to Kentucky for the Bidet Shoot and OCed the entire time. Again, no problems, although I felt some eyes on me at the hotel.  Of course, I was nearly always in the company of three tall and burly men who were also OCing, which might have had something to do with it. I didn't see anyone else OCing, however.

It was on my way back that someone finally said something about my OC. I was at a truck stop in Tennessee, paying for gas & munchies at the counter, when someone behind me said "Aww, what a cute little gun!"  My immediate reaction was to be annoyed, because the tone of voice sounded mocking; I inferred a kind of  What a tiny, useless little popgun you have intent from him.

I could have made a big deal out of it. After all, don't anti-gun folks think we're all insecure and compensating for something? Surely I pulled out my gun and shot him for being insulting to me, right?

Well, no. I didn't do that, because I am a responsible human being who understands consequences.

Instead, I took a breath, turned around, smiled and said "Thank you!" in as bright a tone as possible. "I have small hands," at this point I waggled my fingers to demonstrate, "so a small pistol fits me just fine!"

So engaged, he asked me "So what is that? Glock 26 or 27?"   It turns out this fellow just suffered from asshole voice, which is the verbal equivalent of bitchy resting face, and actually thought my gun was cute.

We talked a bit about carrying, and he mentioned that he preferred 1911s -- fortunately we avoided the 9mm vs .45 argument -- and I earned Geek Superiority by proclaiming that I had just returned from a blogshoot where I had shot an AR-50.

As he left, he said "Don't let them take your rights away!" to which I replied "I won't!" and then, to my utter surprise, the matronly woman behind him -- who, to steal a line from Lewis Black, looked like "Protestantism had sprung from her womb" -- nodded sagely and said "Amen."

Oh, Tennessee. You seem like such a nice place to live. If only you didn't have vampires and douchebags setting up checkpoints on your highways, I'd be inclined to move there.

So anyway,  that was the degree to which people commented on my Open Carry of a pistol. I am pleased that my first time was so easy and uncomplicated!


  1. Sounds like a success!

  2. We'll deal with the vamps and douches in time, come on down, still the 3rd freeset state in the union, and the warmest (geographically speaking).

  3. Come on UP. I live in Florida, after all.

    What do you mean by "warmest (geographically speaking)?"

  4. Of the top 5 freest states (from the most recent Mercatus Center study (, Tennessee is the 'warmest' as in weather. Sorry, at #23, Florida doesn't even make the race.

  5. I loved the video, that's awesome. I still have yet to carry openly but I'm not sure I ever will just because I don't want to draw attention to myself. Congrats on doing it. I have to say when I do see someone open carrying I sometimes want to ask them about the experience but I never do so thanks for sharing this.

  6. BRF and AV reminds me of this speech impediment on KiTH

    Good on yah for engaging the guy. Hope his voice doesn't hurt his sociability too much.

    Yeah, it was nice to have enough of a quorum to Open Carry. Since once you have enough people carrying it seems more "peer acceptable". Also it was hot (Yes yes nothing like Florida), so OC handy.

    Now you may not have seen anyone else OC but I did see a guy doing the Oleg "subtle carry" when I was walking Joe. Older, wiry gentleman with a Smith revolver in an IWB.

    We both talked about dogs for a bit. Yah, at the hotel far more people talked about my dog than the gun.

    Also a word of warning to North East gunnies that may want to OC. In some states like Mass it may be *legal* to Open Carry, but if a cop sees you he'll talk to you, make a note of it, and then your permit will get yanked for "poor judgement". Yes.

  7. Actually, while KY was cooler than FL it wasn't *that* much cooler. The most significant change was how much less humid it was.

    As for MA, it's right up there with NY, NJ, CT and CA as "places you could not pay me enough to visit."

  8. Good news, and the first time is always the hardest (and most paranoid)...

  9. When I left NJ for the last time I swore an oath never to return. So far 11 years and counting.

  10. Of course, you probably didn't have to worry about as many eyes following you due to open carrying as I did for the kilts. :)


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