'Open carry' guns at our children's risk

Open carry to make this a gun friendly world? Maybe
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Open carry to make this a gun friendly world? Maybe

'Open carry' guns at our children's risk
By James Carroll

June 16, 2008
IMAGINE A child barely tall enough to reach the top drawer of the bedroom dresser. Imagine the child on tip-toes opening the drawer because the forbidden object is hidden there. The naughty thrill of reaching under the socks, the shock of actually touching the thing, finding it cold, as if on ice. Such is my memory of furtive encounters with my father's handgun. At the time, Dad was an FBI agent. Where he stowed his weapon when off-duty was absolutely out-of-bounds, which defined its appeal. Invading that drawer is my first remembered act of disobedience.

Even at age 4, I was hypnotized by a gun. The gun was a mystical object, with significance that far transcended any imagined use. Fear, but also consolation. Awe. Trembling. That the gun was my father's was a first clue to potency. Hidden away, yet the gun sent a pulse through the whole apartment, a psychological electromagnet around which my awareness swirled. Long before I tasted the temptations of sex, I yielded to an irresistible prurience by opening that drawer. Initiation into obscenity. Because primal disobedience is so defining, I found a sense of independent selfhood in relationship to a gun. Only later would I realize how very American that makes me.

What is it with Americans and guns? "The right to bear arms" is the constitutional dynamo sparking an electromagnetic pulse through every corner of politics. Meanwhile, in the nation's cities, a slow-motion massacre unfolds, with gunshots mercilessly cutting down a legion of the young. Yet in legislatures, bills designed to reduce gun violence are routinely killed by the all-powerful lobbying of the National Rifle Association. Presidential candidates are universally required to worship at the altar of the Second Amendment.

Now an "open carry" movement encourages gun owners to wear their weapons ostentatiously on their belts, "to make a firearm," in the words of a Los Angeles Times story last week, "as common an accessory as an iPod." Or, as one open carrier said, "Hey, we're normal people who carry guns."

Get used to it. In most states, there is no law against license-holders cradling a rifle on the street, or holstering a firearm on a hip, like Wyatt Earp. But since the close of the last frontier, gun display, except in movies, has been culturally taboo. The power of that prohibition is what stirred me at my father's dresser. "Open carry" aims to remove such visceral negativity, though the taboo amounts, in fact, to last ditch gun control. The "normalizing" of guns will inevitably normalize their use. From movies to legislation to political rhetoric - and now to "accessory" fashion: guns galore. And who, pray tell, will bear, not the arms, but the consequences?

In despair over unchecked gun-carnage in Chicago schools, Mayor Richard Daley asked, "Why is America turning its back on its children when it comes to gun violence?" The answer is buried deep in the national psyche, and I am a case in point. The gun is a totemic object, with meanings that drill far below surface arguments about self-defense, the sport of hunting, standing militias, or the intent of the Framers. Children die because these deeper meanings of the gun go unreckoned with.

Anthropologists suggest that the evolutionary mutation separating primates from humans was the invention of the weapon. Instead of merely gathering food, our forebears began to hunt for it, and "culture" followed. The hunt organized around a weapon, whether a wedge-shaped stone or a sharpened stick, led to cooperation, planning, sharing, communication, and even upright posture. But the use of weapons against fellow animals seems also to have imbued humans with a sense of shame, which spawned post-hunt rituals of sacrificial atonement, the genesis of religion. Only the weapon made it possible for humans to better beasts, but only shame enabled humans to moderate the weapon's use. Otherwise, the human species would have plunged quickly into self-eliminating extinction.

In the great American gun debate, some would forgo the primordial shame the weapon still generates. Hence the "open carry" movement. But given the gun-deaths of children, and the sponsoring gun-paralysis of politics, Americans should have more shame, not less. A gun is no iPod. Shame is the children's last protection.

The real thing:
http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2008/0...

38 Comments

6 years 18 weeks ago, 9:46 PM

sarge225

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Most parents have a hard enough time keeping up with the televison remote control. with "open carry" will come neglegence. this is a major issue even in the armed forces with trained personel.

6 years 17 weeks ago, 11:42 AM

Lowoverhead

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Open Carry

I own a Beretta Px4 .40...I have a Beretta holster for it. Can I wear
it on my hip around town, as long as the gun is empty? I live in San
Joquin County, California.

6 years 10 weeks ago, 2:22 PM

jerisandesherlia

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Huh?

Well for one why would u want too? seems kinda pointless and reckless to me think about it...

5 years 51 weeks ago, 5:18 PM

samD

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Calif open carry

California is not a traditional open carry state. Open carry is generally prohibited except in unincorporated areas where the county has not made open carry illegal, or, pursuant to a CA open carry permit issued and valid only in a county with a population of less than 200,000 persons...

6 years 10 weeks ago, 2:29 PM

Reaper308

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stupid

I agree, wearing an open carry firearm that is unloaded will only get you shot.

"Proelium Comminus Auctoritate" "Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is a muzzle flash."
6 years 7 weeks ago, 11:00 AM

sytasyn_syn

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yo

There is no problem of a concealed carry. Do you really need the feeling of everyone knowing your strapped? Does it make your dick bigger? Can it get you laid(depends on the state and gun). I dont see the point of it. you carry for one purpose, to protect you and the people around you...not for cool points!!

Be Kind and Courteous to All That You Meet, But Always Have A Plan to Kill Them -U.S. Marine Corp General-
6 years 5 weeks ago, 10:53 PM

mr.rogers

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I also am a conceiled carrier, and must say if it's not loaded, it's not on me. I'm not opposed to carrying a fire arm in the open, but strongly prefer that it's hidden. You all know, that if it's seen there are less likely to be trouble...the cats away the mice will play, the flip side is now there are untrained gunslinging. What's stupid is people sometimes think that if your clean cut, carrying in the open that your in law enforcement, that can not be farther from the truth. That's scary, all I'm saying is that if you going to carry open or hidden, have the knowledge and ability to retain your fire arm so it's not used on you or anyone else...not to mention the the consequences of your actions!

show your appreciation for your freedom, thank a vet
5 years 51 weeks ago, 11:17 AM

palidan

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Concealed Carry.

Ive been carrying my Colt Revolver concealed for over 10yrs. I love the state of Virginia for this privlege. I mind my business and don't look for trouble but have the confidence that I can handle trouble if it arises. I feel open carry makes you look like a insecure macho jerk.

mike
5 years 51 weeks ago, 11:29 AM

Ebear

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agreed

I'M hoping that Concealed Carry comes to illinois.yOU NEVER KNOW WHEN YOU MAY NEED IT.

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5 years 51 weeks ago, 11:38 AM

sytasyn_syn

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I don't think it will

I don't think it will anytime soon. Il is one of three states that are FUCKED in gun control!

Be Kind and Courteous to All That You Meet, But Always Have A Plan to Kill Them -U.S. Marine Corp General-
5 years 51 weeks ago, 11:33 AM

sytasyn_syn

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I agree. I can't stand

I agree. I can't stand seeing people Open Carry. I feel the sudden urge to bludgeon them with there own pistol!

Be Kind and Courteous to All That You Meet, But Always Have A Plan to Kill Them -U.S. Marine Corp General-
5 years 51 weeks ago, 11:41 AM

Anonymous

Palidan

Us Virginians Love Colt revolvers right? I own a Colt Single Action Army in .45 Long Colt. Have you ever shot one?

5 years 51 weeks ago, 8:50 PM

palidan

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Colt SAA To Snake

The closest Ive come to a Colt SAA was a Uberti clone. I fired six rounds and the damn cylinder pin worked it's way out. I was told by a number of people that all I needed was a new cylinder pin but I never trusted that type of revolver again. I now carry a 1929 Colt Official Police revolver which I trust with my life.

mike
5 years 51 weeks ago, 11:42 AM

Ebear

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OK

GUESS I'LL KEEP CARRYING MY MACHETTE

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5 years 51 weeks ago, 11:55 AM

Ebear

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HI

HI SNAKE!!!!!! SEEN ANY MEXICOONS LATELY?

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5 years 51 weeks ago, 12:23 PM

Anonymous

Ebear

Just you my friend. Been smokin any grass lately hahaha!!!

5 years 51 weeks ago, 5:14 PM

Crusading Knight

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get jacked

I been carrying concealed for 9yrs now and I feel safe that way. I would be afraid to open carry for fear of someone's plan to attack from rear and steal gun, might be asking for trouble in some places

It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.- Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)
5 years 51 weeks ago, 8:54 PM

palidan

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Jumped from behind.

Crusading Knight wrote:
I been carrying concealed for 9yrs now and I feel safe that way. I would be afraid to open carry for fear of someone's plan to attack from rear and steal gun, might be asking for trouble in some places
"Its not just being good with a gun that counts. You've got to have that third eye." John Wayne in The Shootist."

mike
5 years 51 weeks ago, 5:23 PM

Pkato

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All the comments

Make sense to me...and I agree, why carry a weapon if you don't have it loaded?

Patrolman Kato
Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself.
They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone
under independence. -- George Washington
5 years 35 weeks ago, 8:48 PM

jboogie1

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no need to show it off

as long as its hidden , it will still be there when you need it , surprize the bad guy!

5 years 26 weeks ago, 5:32 PM

nashu2shy

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....

in my country (romania) you will get killd before u draw it from the hostler...with this world crisis and lack of money is not safe to go out after 22.00 hrs.
now,don`t tell me you carry an empty gun...in the pants too!!!

nashu2shy
5 years 24 weeks ago, 1:55 PM

Lyle Hutchins 1

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Open Carry

satasyn_syn, "YOU ARE RIGH ON L'il BROTHER"!!! I live in Oklahoma, and have a CCL, I am a Security Officer In a Casino. We have to think constantly about being in this situation meaning open carry. All Officers use the triple retention holsters which would only slow down the Perp. However, shortly we will be chainging our uniforms, and go to Blazers which will cover our newer close carry holsters. Many of us Hate the Blazers but relize the bennifets of concield carry. Back to CC. It is MANDINTORY in Ok, that one with a CCPermit, must at all times, keep that weapon CONCILED!, or face losing the right to carry. Why would someone carry openly? This has allready been answered. Their "DICK" is to DAMN little to find!! May I suggest this to "OPEN CARRY PEOPLE WITH LITTLE "DICKS". CONCEAL that piece and tie a string to your "DICK" so's you cand find it!

cherokee65

Lyle Hutchinson
5 years 24 weeks ago, 2:17 PM

Lyle Hutchins 1

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John Wayne 3rd eye

Dude, I have that 3rd "EYE"! But can't see with my pants pulled up! HAHAHAHA!!!!! My 3rd "EYE" has too much SHIT & STUFF in the way!!! I just KILL My self HAHAHA!!!

cherokee65

Lyle Hutchinson
5 years 16 weeks ago, 11:16 PM

fired_silver

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Having the right to open carry doesn't mean you have to exercise that right. I carry concealed and would continue doing so, but I would like to not have to worry about how well my gun is actually concealed. If I am running a short errand it would be nice to just walk out the door and not have to go find my concealment holster and put on a different shirt, etc, etc.

Additionally, it is about a right which we have. The way they remove our rights is to slowly erode them, not take them away all at once. Any erosion of a basic constitutional right is, in my opinion, bad. Also, because it is a right, no one should have to prove their need or explain their reason for wanting to carry in any they choose. It is their right, end of story.

In closing, based on all the comments revolving around the male anatomy, I get the impression that most of you are already probably carrying a gun to compensate for something. Anytime you try to make a point using sophomoric analogies to genitalia, you have lost the debate. Please grow up before you talk to someone who is actually anti-gun, for the sake of all of us who want our rights intelligently and properly defended.

5 years 3 weeks ago, 8:11 PM

g00fus

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Thany you! fired_siver

Finally, someone who can form a thought and articulate it. Not only do I agree with your opinion, I appreciate your grasp of grammer. I am a brand new member and have been reading several post over the last hour or so and just found the first one that is not so full of incomplete thoughts and grammatical errors that it is readable. WTF? I have read reviews that are so grammatically and cognitively incomplete that I am actually embarassed for the writer (HK mod23). It seems like the're trying to think but nothing's happening. Good luck, I'm outta here!

Information without the means to apply it is just data and a computer without 0's and 1's might as well be a toaster. The combination of knowledge and intelligence makes real progress possible. The lack of either makes one a liberal
5 years 3 weeks ago, 8:28 PM

Anonymous

goofus

sorry some of these peoples handle of the englii isnt up to your standards.maybe we should ban them on that basis.just read the shit and understand it the best that you can.the rest of us do.otherwise,fuck off!

5 years 3 weeks ago, 8:29 PM

Anonymous

goofus

is that eloquent enough for ya?

5 years 3 weeks ago, 8:31 PM

Ebear

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lol

god damn right Grease.what a prick!!!!

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5 years 3 weeks ago, 8:36 PM

Anonymous

i got yer back

ya bean eater!

5 years 3 weeks ago, 8:37 PM

Ebear

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shit

was he talkin bout me? Fuck you Goofus you Lapper!!!!

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5 years 3 weeks ago, 8:39 PM

Anonymous

ebear

i think he was.

5 years 3 weeks ago, 8:42 PM

Ebear

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grease

i believe you....Goofus!!! I unclog my nose in your general direction!!! you smeller of other peoples' behinds!!!!

...check... G-AZ
5 years 3 weeks ago, 10:13 PM

luckybychoice

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fan here ebear?

i tried being reasonable,i didn't like it, NRA LIFE MEMBER,USMC VETERAN
5 years 3 weeks ago, 8:45 PM

Anonymous

nice,ebear!

farmer snot blow,i like it

5 years 3 weeks ago, 8:48 PM

Ebear

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yeah grease

i hate when i get like this...but sometimes i can't control my inner Python

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5 years 3 weeks ago, 8:50 PM

Anonymous

first skeeter joe the liberal then this Queens english ass hat.this guy got all butt hurt because we all don speeki de perfect englii

5 years 3 weeks ago, 9:14 PM

photobear6

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you want to send them running just talk facts they really hate facts.

America is not at war. The U.S. Military is at war. America is at the Mall. If you don't stand behind our troops, PLEASE feel free to stand in front of them!
4 years 44 weeks ago, 1:00 AM

CharlesW

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right to carry

Hell lets all move to Alaska where they don't have
hand gun laws unless you get stupid if you know
what I mean. I saw on the TV show COPS where an Alaska
State Trooper stoped a car and there were 4 large cal revolvers
laying in the back seat. The trooper checked the numbers and sent the driver on his way.

A little rebellion is good medicine for the government Thomas Jefferson

'Open carry' guns at our children's risk Pictures (1)

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