There I was, running last minute errands like most of us do in Walmart. I had my two-year old son in a cart, and thankfully no masks to impede my breathing as I raced around grabbing last minute items for our weekend party. When I was satisfied that I had enough chips, salsa, sausages, and glow sticks for the six families visiting us that day, I dutifully lined up to have everything scanned.
That’s when I noticed the guy next to me with an open carry pistol. I couldn’t have felt safer.
I want to first note that it was a rather large pistol. My concealed carry pistol, a Kahr PM9, is small. It’s not even as big as my hand. I can put it in my pants pocket and you’d never notice it. Kahr ran with the “Slim is sexy” and “Thin is sexy” for their PM and P series pistols for a while. They are a great pistol if you need to get yourself out of a jam.
The Walmart guys pistol was not small. It was more along the size of a 1911. He did have a nice, very sturdy holster, so it wasn’t going to fall off. The guy had a second clip on his belt as well. I was trying not to stare, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to take a picture.
What I continue to find odd is that people are frightened by this guy. I much prefer that law abiding citizens wear their pistols in the open. For starters, if you walked into Walmart thinking you’re going to shoot the place and the people full of holes, and you start seeing guys and gals walking around with guns, you might think twice about that. Even better, in the time leading up to that, you might see enough weapons every time you go out that you stop even planning such a crime. Knowing that someone could stop you right away from achieving your goals, even if you didn’t care about your own life, might be enough to make you reconsider your decisions.
But further still, if there was an actual incident, I’d rather have the open carry guy there. I don’t know how good of a shot he is with the pistol, but even if he simply shoots back at a would-be criminal, that’s enough for me. Unless you’re in the military, police or a hardened gang member, you tend to run and hide when people shoot at you. Standing up while bullets fly by you is a chilling experience that causes impulse reactions unless you have experienced it multiple times. That would easily give me enough time to leave the store with my kid.
I’m also not worried about getting accidentally shot by this guy. His holster was solid, much better than my first holster (which ironically dumped my pistol on the floor once in a Walmart checkout line…thankfully, the clerk didn’t bat an eye!). The accident rate of pistol holders seems to be dropping steadily, thanks in large part to the availability of professionally run pistol orientation classes. It was significantly harder back in the day for a new shooter to get a class on using their weapon unless they had family members already versed in shooting. Now, nearly every large gun store offers classes that teach you everything from maintenance to the laws on protecting yourself from criminals. Even young people carrying on campus have significantly lower rates of mishaps than before.
We need more open carry to make us feel, and be, safer.
This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.