Jan 12

Open carry AR15: Good or Bad Idea?

A few days ago two legal gun owners took to the streets of Portland in order to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights while educating the public. Here’s the news story in case you missed it.

Let’s address a couple of the obvious issues first, call it how to carry a gun in public 101.

AR15 in Portland1- Given their reason for being armed in public I would suggest against walking around with a magazine in the weapon (long gun).  That’s just my opinion of course, and I realize that their pistols are most likely at full capacity plus one.

2- Muzzle awareness…If you sling the weapon across your back the muzzle should point DOWN unless you are marching in a ceremonial formation, not up and away from you.

3- Obviously if they were on a patrol in some tactical environment their posture and weapon readiness level would be different, but they aren’t on patrol.

Now on to the crux of the matter, why even do this at all? Yes I concede it is most definitely their right to do so but in my opinion this is a case of great intentions, piss poor execution.  You and I understand what is going on and would not be remotely threatened by their actions. Even the Police, once called out to the scene let them go about their business. However most of the public did not understand their intentions and were shaken by their actions. A local school was placed on lockdown and many people called 911, if you listen to the comments made by some of those interviewed they clearly felt threatened. Seriously what is the end state here, what did the gun toting protesters expect to happen? If they exercised their rights every day in this manner would those who felt threatened start changing their minds? If protesters took to the streets with their ARs and AKs slung on their backs would public opinion change?  How many people were “educated” that day, or possibly was their stance against guns only empowered?

I’ll tell you what the end state is, it ends with more legislation which will outlaw carrying rifles in public, something about the greater good and all that jazz. It happened in California after armed citizens took to the streets to protest a law that would make it illegal to display UNLOADED firearms in public places.

“Though these activists have every right to make their point, I think it’s actually helping [our] case because people can see it’s a little over the top. You don’t need a weapon to buy a cheeseburger,” said Portantino, whose district office is near where the pro-gun demonstrators gathered.

What was the outcome? The law passed anyways despite heavy protests.

He said law enforcement officials have been concerned about the proliferation of guns in public and the tense situations that arise when someone sees another person carrying a firearm in public. He said the encounters can escalate quickly because others don’t know whether the gun is loaded or unloaded.

Right now we are facing a full court press by those who would attempt to chip away (or strip altogether) our rights to own guns. With that in mind we must combat this full court press while realizing there is a time and place for everything. While I agree action must be taken in order to protect our rights, I would submit that it must be well calculated action which has the potential to reap positive results. Strolling around downtown Portland with ARs slung less than a month after a terrible school shooting probably isn’t the best idea, even if it is legal.

If they wanted to educate the public maybe they should have set up a booth in a public place, or drop the tail gate on their truck in a parking lot to pass out fliers.  Do it with weapons slung safely but have a few prominent signs made up so as to make all intentions well known.  Those who want more info can come up and get it, those who aren’t interested can be on their way.  I doubt any schools would have been locked down, or 911 calls made utilizing this method.  Another suggestion would involve asking to utilize a local community hall to set up dates in order to offer free educational courses on all types of guns.  Citizens would have the opportunity to inquire about and touch something that is so often demonized.

Folks the bottom line is I don’t have all the answers.  Yet what I do know is that those who would strive to strip away our rights will use every opportunity to rally the sheep behind a banner of fear and the need for more public safety.  We cannot empower them by giving them freebies to use against us.  While the time for personal and tough decisions might be down the road (if unconstitutional laws are passed) for now we can still write and call our elected representatives and support organizations like the NRA and GOA which lobby for our rights.  In the past I have often said that you only get walked on when you lay down and I stand by that statement.  I’m not advocating capitulation or submission here.  What I am advocating is relentless support of our 2nd Amendment rights combined with strong and determined resistance against the gun grabbers in a manner which paints us in the most positive light possible.  I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this matter, so hit up the comment box below.


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  1. Charlie Mike

    This reminds me of a saying that I was taught early on, (Just because it is your “right” does not necessarily make it right). Just like any battle we fight, timing is everything.
    It was supposely legal for that New York newspaper to print and map all those individuals that had guns but that still does not necessarily make it right. Possible outcome verses probable outcome needs to be evaluated.


    1. PJ


      Great point, ref possible vs probable. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Jeremy

    As a legal gun owner and hunter. I am tired of hiding. Last fall on my way down to a friends land to hunt. I got pulled over by the cops. They siad they were getting calls. From people who felt threatened by see my guns in a gun rack in the back window of my truck. The cops made me put the guns on the floor borad of my truck. Were are my rights to own guns. I rember back when I was in school witch was back in the late 80s druing hunting senson half or more of the the trucks in the parking lot of school hand guns in them. Now you can not go down the road with out some one calling the cops. What happend in the last 20 years?

    1. PJ


      I can feel your pain, things are not optimal as I agree we SHOULD be able to walk around anywhere at anytime with a pistol or even sniper rifle slung over our shoulder. However in 2013 this is not practical and like I said we have to walk a fine line, where that line is quite often is shrouded in mystery. Thanks for the comment.


  3. Mirage

    Can you see these same things being said about defending freedom of speech and religion? How about protesters in the civil rights movement? Sorry, but fundamental rights are RIGHTS. They are meant to be exercised in PUBLIC.

    And there is no reason a firearm cannot be loaded. The ones to fear are the criminals. People carrying long guns rarely commit any crimes, and accidents are far less than bicycles.

    Exercising ones rights is not a crime. Preventing someone from exercising their rights IS a CRIME.

    1. PJ

      Totally agree that rights are rights…great point! But just because I have the right to walk down the street in a Borat speedo does that mean I should?

    2. person

      Just saying but how would you know if the guy carrying an ar-15 isnt a criminal?

  4. netphreak

    Just a couple of thoughts: One, everyone is essentially allowed to carry a firearm as stated in the constitution. So, maybe we should examine the people that do NOT carry. It is the same situation just a difference of perception.

    Two, I carry several knives on my backpack, these are 12″ throwing knives and no one ever says a thing. And to me a knife is a LOT more easy to conceal and use without ever been seen or noticed. A person pulls a gun from a holster for any reason there would be panic.

    So, in all an AR-15 strapped across your back, a .45 on your belt.. knives up the sleeve, it doesn’t matter its human nature to feel safe and to protect family and we all will do what ever that takes, Rights or No Rights.
    I say to those who feel threatened when they see another carrying a weapon in public, to go get one yourself and stop feeling threatened.

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