Skip to comments.RI Open Carry Day One: The Ocean State Has Its Privileges
Posted on 07/02/2012 4:00:23 AM PDT by marktwain
So there I was in the Rhode Island Attorney Generals office, actually in the office, behind security glass, standing next to a desk, picking up my Pistol Permit. I had to jump through a lot of hoops to get this, I told to the woman assembling the laminated card. Its a privilege, the guy-in-charge opined, in no uncertain terms. Its a right, I countered, failing the STFU rule by a large margin. The big guy didnt even blink. Thats only for the militias, he said, ignoring decades of Supreme Court rulings. After an uncomfortable pause he asked why I applied for a State Pistol Permit when I have a Providence Concealed Weapon Permit . . .
I dont have to wait seven days when I buy a gun with the City Permit, I said. But I can only open carry with the State Permit.
No you cant, countered the woman putting the finishing touches on my Permit. Its only for concealed.
Yes you can, the guy-in-charge corrected. Its both open and concealed. You know: security guards.
And there you have it: a piercing glimpse into the open carry culture here in the Ocean State. In case you havent figured it out, there isnt one. The idea of a law-abiding citizen openly carrying a firearm in public for his or her own personal protection (or just because he can) is an anathemaeven to the people who issue the permit that makes it legal.
And so it begins: my personal journey into RI gun rights. And if you think a Wally Walk is a bit nerve-rackingstrolling through WalMart with a concealed firearm for the first timetry walking into your favorite local non-chain grocery store with a gat strapped to your hip in a state so blue its taking Xanax. Talk about sweating bullets . . .
I was literally sweating. Im not sure how a perp walk feels, but I have a damn good idea. Talk about situational awareness; I was aware of every person within fifty yards. Were they looking at me? Do I look them in the eye? Do they look me in the gun? What do I say if the manager comes up? What do I do if the cops come to say hello?
Yes, there is that.
Videoed encounters of the concealed carriers vs. cops kind have generated a great deal of YouTube traffic. In none of these links do we see a cop shoot a law-abiding gun-toting civilian (The Mother of All Negligent Discharges). Other than a bad guy pulling my gun and shooting me with it, or shooting me first during the commission of a crime (which makes perfect sense), police interaction is my greatest fear.
["Could that really happen?" I asked the homicide detective sitting next to me at the cigar store one day, pointing out that an OFWG with a hip-holstered heater shares nothing more than basic anatomy with Providence gang bangers. "Could a cop shoot me by mistake?" "Rookies," he replied, puffing on his Padron.]
In most of the YouTube open carry vids, the civilian confronts cops with the fact that the po-po have no right to stop the gun schlepper simply for schlepping a gun in plain sight. In many cases, the open carry advocate refuses to show ID or even provide their name. I know my rights! Cue bombastic music. We are the champions, my friend.
Call me mercurial, but Im not going there. While Im Bruce Krafftian in my view on gun rights, I dont see the point of antagonizing police officers whove never seen an open carry advocate in their natural born lives. So I plan in complying with their commands (including VERY SLOW disarmament) and declaring The law says I dont have to show you my ID unless you suspect me of committing a crime. But I will show it to you this time.
My excuse for not doing the hard line gun rights thing: Im open carrying as part of a crusade to normalize guns. I want to protect my gun rights, and gun rights in general, by demonstrating that a law-abiding citizen can carry a gun responsibly. That applies to both the public and the police. Besides, I dont want to be arrested. Or shot.
So far so good. I went to the East Side Market for dog biscuits and Bottles liquor store for some Chard. Thats it so far. At this point, I reckon my gun is invisible, as Im the only non-LEO or security guard open carry guy in the entire Renaissance City. Except for those times when my FFL guy Steve brings his LC9 into town; a discreet gun in a discreet holster.
Im heading down Thayer Streeta genteel Brown University parade of shops and eateries later today. I wonder if fellow Rhode Islanders who clock my Caracal will assume Im a cop? Open carry is so far beyond their ken that seeing me as a LEO is a logical leap of logic. Ill let you know how it goes. Meanwhile, a practical consideration . . .
I cant open carry when Im walking the dogs. Maggie and Rosie Von Schnauzer are not the most people-friendly canines. I cant imagine trying to control them while a cop attempts to investigate the guy with a gun. Actually, I can, and its not pretty. But there is real beauty ahead: the day I encounter another person in Providence open carrying their firearm.
Get people used to the idea and we’ll have less cops harassing open carriers. It was never a big deal in my hometown because we didn’t leave a string 911 calls everywhere we went.
I don’t want to carry a gun around all the time.
I carry a Scanner for emergency calls from the Rescue Squad I belong to and it’s a nuisance weight hanging on me all the time. I don’t need another nuisance weight hanging around my belt.
However I want the right to carry it if I so choose.
I want the right to have a weapon with me if I choose to go to a place where I think I need one.If I go on vacation I want my weapon with me at the motel.They don’t put Motels in the better parts of town.I wouldn’t visit Detroit or Chicago on a bet, but I would want to be as well armed as the gangbanger that lives there, if I did go.
If I decided to go to the range I would carry my weapon there with me, I wouldn’t want to be hassled for carrying it.In other words, whether I carry or not is my choice and my right, and right now my choice and my rights in Maryland where I live are being stepped all over.
I was in Sam’s Club a few days ago and saw a grandmotherly type with a .45 acp holstered on her hip. Good for her! OBTW when I carry, it’s concealed..just for the record.
The correct reply to that is the definition of the militia as written in the USC.