Video: When open-carry is your only option

posted at 11:25 am on August 10, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Reason TV takes a close look at the issue of handgun rights and carry permits in California, one of the few “may-issue” states left in the nation.  County sheriffs may issue or deny permits at their discretion, and as the video states, they don’t usually approve applications from most law-abiding citizens.  That forces people like Sam Wolanyk to carry unloaded weapons openly, which has the state legislature in a lather — and people debating the nature of the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms, or in this case, bare arms:

As most Hot Air readers know, I have a carry permit in Minnesota, although even some people in this state don’t realize that the permit doesn’t restrict me to concealed carry. I can open-carry if I like.  Normally, I don’t like, although I support those who do.  To me, open carry is unnecessarily provocative, plus it marks me as a primary target if, God forbid, I end up in a dangerous situation where it becomes an issue.  Police officers carry openly because it’s part of their job, and if carry permit training teaches anything valuable (it teaches many valuable lessons, of course), it’s that a carry permit is not a Junior G-Man badge.  I have it for my own personal safety, for specific as well as general reasons.

I’d take an even dimmer view of open carry of unloaded weapons — an unloaded gun provides all the provocation with none of the immediate defense capacity — but in this case, it’s instructive.  The state of California wants to ban a practice that presents no immediate threat, conducted by law-abiding citizens with no record, that has produced no shooting incidents.  Anti-gun advocates would rather waste time on this than, say, solving the massive budgetary and debt problems the state faces, as well as solving the problem by allowing law-abiding citizens to get concealed-carry permits with a “must-issue” law.

This reaches the point of absurdity near the end of the video, when the author of a bill to ban open carry of unloaded weapons,Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, tells Reason TV that the purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to protect property — which doesn’t include the person himself.  That’s actually backwards, even under existing lethal-force-in-self-defense laws.  People are not permitted to use lethal force to protect property in California, or Minnesota either, with or without carry permits.  (Neither can the police, by the way.)  They can only use lethal force of any kind when faced with an immediate threat in which a reasonable person fears for their own life or of “great bodily harm,” which roughly means losing a limb or an eye, not just getting beaten up.  All the carry permit allows is the ability to have the lethal force at hand if that situation arises; it doesn’t exempt the permit holder from laws defining lethal force in self-defense.  In most cases, and certainly in Minnesota, those laws require a victim to retreat first if possible rather than using the lethal force, sometimes even in their own homes.

It seems that Portantino doesn’t even understand current law in his own state.  Why should Californians trust him to amend it in ways that reduce their ability to defend themselves?

Addendum (previously published but still applicable): My late friend Joel Rosenberg literally wrote the book on carry licensing in Minnesota, The Carry Book: Minnesota Edition.  Unfortunately Joel passed away before he could complete an edition that looked at the issue nationally, but even if you’re not in Minnesota, there is a ton of good advice for those who want to pursue carry licenses and handle firearms.  My particular favorite chapter of the book is titled, “Cowardice 201: A PhD Seminar in Advanced Staying Out of Trouble,” in which Joel reveals that the true secret of karate is to run faster than everyone else.  Self-defense starts with keeping out of situations where you will likely find yourself threatened.  Joel’s book is a sobering read, literally and figuratively.

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Well, in Britain they just need to be able to carry!

Must see video: ‘VIDEO Flashback: Armed Korean Grocers Defend Property During 1992 Los Angeles Riots’.

Donald Douglas on August 10, 2011 at 5:51 PM

Nobody on this thread talked about the specific CA legislation that this video is addressing, so here goes:

I read CA AB144 yesterday after watching the video.

The liberals may get this to pass without too much uproar, because they put a clause in that open carry is a misdemeanor, if (one big condition), you are not in legal possession of the handgun.

So, if I legally possess my handgun, I can still open carry an unloaded handgun, after this passes. I’m sure that will result in huge hassles from the cops (how do they determine legal possession – probably by hauling you in, confiscating the gun, and then taking their sweet time figuring out it is yours.)

So, they get us off the street, and make the pain of lawful open carry not worth the extended hassles.

Jimmy Doolittle on August 10, 2011 at 5:53 PM

Why does your state house meet so rarely?

MadisonConservative on August 10, 2011 at 4:53 PM

The reason is that our founders wanted a “citizen” legislature and meant it, so our Constitution provides for the legislature to meet in regular session every two years, beginning on the first Tuesday in January in odd-numbered years, for no more than 140 days. Now, the Governor can call them into special session at any time in between for a period of 30 days, but they can only consider the specific subjects he/she includes in the call.

We also pay them as salary, whether a Senator or a House Member, a whopping $600 per month, $7200/yr, but they do get about $130 per day as a cost reimbursement whenever they’re in session. This factor alone helps keep our budget lower, because when these agency heads are asking for more money and higher salaries for their people, our guys always remind them of what they’re getting paid.

TXUS on August 10, 2011 at 6:02 PM

I think it was John Lott who wrote an in depth article on the so called wild west a few years back.
He dug into the records of several of the worst so called crime ridden wild west town and found….. there was almost no crime.
Several things I remember from this article…. most robberies occurred against the stage coaches. but the bandits only ever stole the money boxes. They never robbed from the passengers and were always courteous… especially to the women. Because they feared the people.

I think there were zero rapes and assaults on women in these towns. Women were always always treated with respect. Gun fights seldom happened and when they did, it was in a saloon and over gambling. Most other robberies only occurred in or around the saloons and usually only to drunks.
Vigilantes were not like what we think of vigilantes today. They were organized and worked with the law and were feared by the bandits.
In the end, he concluded… if you avoided the saloon you would probably never experience any crime in your entire life. All in the middle of the worst wild west towns there were. He also concluded that compared to today.. all of our large cities had far far higher crime than anything at all out of the so called wild west.

Sounds like going back to that time would actually be going forward. We’re already in the dark ages.

JellyToast on August 10, 2011 at 6:20 PM

Damn, Porcinetino reminds me of a Barney Frank clone. Now there’s a creepy movie: “The Boys from Pasadena”

Blacklake on August 10, 2011 at 6:23 PM

Why does your state house meet so rarely?

MadisonConservative on August 10, 2011 at 4:53 PM

The reason is that our founders wanted a “citizen” legislature and meant it, so our Constitution provides for the legislature to meet in regular session every two years, beginning on the first Tuesday in January in odd-numbered years, for no more than 140 days. Now, the Governor can call them into special session at any time in between for a period of 30 days, but they can only consider the specific subjects he/she includes in the call.

We also pay them as salary, whether a Senator or a House Member, a whopping $600 per month, $7200/yr, but they do get about $130 per day as a cost reimbursement whenever they’re in session. This factor alone helps keep our budget lower, because when these agency heads are asking for more money and higher salaries for their people, our guys always remind them of what they’re getting paid.

TXUS on August 10, 2011 at 6:02 PM

Wish that worked here in Oregon. Biannual sessions and low payed politicians has only managed to entrench former politicians into the local bureaucracy. All the statehouse thieves know that they’re time is limited in Salem so they make sure that there is someone to appoint or hire them on with one of the state bureaucracies after they’re done screwing over the taxpayer. It’s enough to make you start looking for a rope.

Browncoatone on August 10, 2011 at 7:39 PM

I would ask the honorable Mr. Portatino, where was Law Enforcement who are sworn to serve and protect the public, when Ms. Giffords was shot?

That’s right. They weren’t there. Too bad for her.

bds1976 on August 10, 2011 at 8:22 PM

In Indiana, we have the only shall-issue lifetime License To Carry Handgun in the U.S.-

- no mandatory “training classes” for the license (most do it anyway from any number of instructor groups here)
- the License only states “to Carry Handgun”. Indiana law is silent on open or concealed.
- we have no “duty to inform” police if we are armed if stopped for some reason
- we have a very strong “Castle Doctrine”, and it extends to all of our property, including our vehicles.
- we can leave a secured handgun in our property (i.e. vehicle) on workplace property without fear of being terminated-
-and a dozen more reasons (firearms related) why I still reside in Indiana.

Oh, and for the “open carriers will be targeted by crooks first” crowd, please provide me with ONE incident of that happening…I’ll wait… honestly most people don’t even notice the 1911, even in the summer, even in line at the store!

El Cazador on August 10, 2011 at 10:14 PM

A little OT, but for those worrying about Brit style riots happening here, consider this:
1. The people to fear the most are gangs who don’t care about food stamps, welfare checks, etc. because they’re flush with drug cash.
2. The real dependent types are too fat, and lazy to riot.
3. Our police (especially urban forces) have become para-military forces that would be more than happy to break out there riot toys if need be. Seriously, you think ANY major American city police force would be wringing their hands the way they are in London?
By all means, lock your doors, but don’t lose too much sleep over this.

teacherman on August 10, 2011 at 10:28 PM

That’s “their riot toys” sheesh

teacherman on August 10, 2011 at 10:29 PM

Oh, and for the “open carriers will be targeted by crooks first” crowd, please provide me with ONE incident of that happening…I’ll wait… honestly most people don’t even notice the 1911, even in the summer, even in line at the store!

El Cazador on August 10, 2011 at 10:14 PM

Wow. Back when I got the license originally, the instructor made a somewhat big deal out of printing. This is in Texas. I used to worry about that.

Then I found that _no_one_, not even LE, ever looked or cared. Men don’t go around staring at other’s hind regions, and most women (in my observations) are oblivious to the fact that there are good people carrying guns. Not that women are staring anyway, and not that some have CHL, and know exactly what’s up.

So, for me, printing is a non-issue, and I can see how many would not notice an exposed piece.

bbhack on August 10, 2011 at 11:02 PM

OPEN CARRY

IN ALL

FIFTY SEVEN STATES!

amend2 on August 10, 2011 at 11:31 PM

For the ladies who shoot or want to learn to shoot, shooting in competition is a ball, and a great way to be familiar with your chosen carry gun. The only pressure is what you choose to put on yourself when shooting…

El Cazador on August 11, 2011 at 12:00 AM

Forgot the link…

El Cazador on August 11, 2011 at 12:02 AM

Hmmm.

http://youtu.be/NjehTPW4E3o

El Cazador on August 11, 2011 at 12:04 AM

It is possible to get CCW in California. As the video and Ed’s comments say, it depends on the Sheriff.

In practice Sheriffs in the rural counties respect the individual and accept “self defense” as sufficient good cause to issue CCW.

The Sheriffs in urban counties are beholden to the PC/liberal political line, so issuance in those counties is limited to non-sworn officials and “special” people — there is no acceptable good cause for a regular citizen, so even a 90 lbs. woman with documented death threats from a known felon cannot get a CCW from such a regime.

Kenosha Kid on August 11, 2011 at 1:36 AM

Why is it always bad to go “back in time” instead of “forward in time?” If we’ve established bad policies that limit our freedom and diminish our personal responsibility, maybe we should go “back in time!”

morganfrost on August 11, 2011 at 11:32 AM

Contrary to what the Liberals would have you believe i.e., if you are are armed your more likely to act like a hothead out on the streets

An armed society is a polite society!!

flameofjudah on August 11, 2011 at 3:36 PM

Contrary to what the Liberals would have you believe i.e., if you are are armed your more likely to act like a hothead out on the streets

An armed society is a polite society!!

flameofjudah on August 11, 2011 at 3:36 PM

While the gun in my pocket increases confidence in my preparedness for bad situations, it also increases my focus on staying away from potentially ugly situations because the last thing I ever want is to use the thing. It is there when all other possible options are taken away. Even if politeness is normal to you, the possession of a deadly weapon makes the exercise of politeness all the more important. To those of us who carry, this is obvious. To liberals, not so much.

SKYFOX on August 12, 2011 at 6:59 AM

Ed says:

To me, open carry is unnecessarily provocative, plus it marks me as a primary target

While the second part of his statement is certainly true, I disagree with the first part. Open carry is very necessary for one simple reason: desensitize the public (and law enforcement). It’s called operant desensitization and is a well verified psychological principle.

The more people see law-abiding citizens carrying guns, the less likely they will be scared by them and the more aware they will be of how benign the issue is. The best world is a healthy mix of both.

rspock on August 13, 2011 at 6:02 PM

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