It’s Time for America to Adopt Nationwide Open Carry

The recent terror attack in Manchester, England underscores the need for Americans to arm themselves at home. Whether an attack occurs in Nice, France, San Bernardino or Orlando the carnage only stops when the terrorist is dead.

This tragic reality recently revealed itself in the completely disarmed United Kingdom – with Manchester’s concert bombing being the worst attack in the country since 2005.

With each rampage, helpless citizens are slaughtered waiting for law enforcement to arrive. Is it time America became an open gun carry nation and stand its ground?

Strict Gun Laws Don’t Save Lives

To say there is no correlation between strict gun laws and saving lives would be an understatement. Take, for example, the school shootings such as Sandy Hook in Connecticut. The state ranks in the Top 10 in terms of tough gun laws. Those laws did nothing to save the lives of 20 elementary school children.

Despite Chicago having tough gun laws, the city saw more than 760 gun-related killings in 2016 and topped New York and Los Angeles combined. Gangs members and criminals have ample access to firearms. Permits, attempts at gun registry, longer prison sentences and gun purchase discouragement have not turned back the tide on murder. They only serve to make an unarmed citizenry more vulnerable.

During the 2015 San Bernardino attack, the terror couple of Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 unarmed people and wounded 22, including police officers. California touts the strictest gun laws in the country, and these Islamic extremists were able to gain access to legally purchased weapons. They were finally stopped after a fatal shoot-out with police.

In the 2016 Orlando nightclub attack, extremist Omar Mateen murdered 49 unarmed citizens and wounded 53 others before being shot and killed by police dispatched to the scene, after a 3-hour standoff. In terms of gun law strictness, Florida is considered middle of the pack in terms of gun laws. The common thread between these terror attacks is that only the use of force ended the slaughter of innocents.

Attacks That Were Thwarted

Mass murder garners widespread headlines, and tends to make everyday people fear firearms out of sheer misunderstanding. What doesn’t get many headlines are the instances where gun owners stop murderers in their tracks. Here are examples of citizens who successfully drew their weapons in defense of others.

• Pearl High School Shooting: In 1997, student Luke Woodham murdered his mother, two students and injured seven others until Assistant Principal Joel Myrick retrieved his .45 caliber pistol from his truck and forced him to stand down until police took him into custody.
• Parker Middle School Dance Shooting: Student Andrew Wurst shot and killed a teacher and wounded others. The incident was halted when the banquet hall owner pointed a shotgun at him and made him get down on the ground.
• New Life Church Shooting: When Matthew Murray opened fire on parishioners, former police officer Jeanne Assam returned fire with her personal firearm wounding the assailant. Subdued, he took his own life.
• San Antonio Theater Shooting: In 2012, gunman Jesus Manuel open fire on moviegoers and people in an adjacent restaurant. Off-duty police officer Lisa Castellano returned fire and ended the incident.

There are numerous examples of people thwarting potential massacres. However, these acts of heroism were not the result of openly carrying a firearm. The weapons were generally retrieved or concealed carry. In cases of a threat, would open carry have saved even more lives?

A New Kind of Deterrent

It may come as a surprise, but most states allow open carry. In fact, only five states and the District of Columbia have banned the practice – including California, Florida, Illinois, New York and South Carolina.

It’s important to note that California and Florida have suffered two major lone wolf terror attacks and Chicago, Illinois, has effectively become the murder capital of the nation. Still, many states have restrictions to open carry.

While people debate the issue of open carry as a statistical deterrent, the fact remains that few states participate at a significant level. In many places, anyone lawfully walking in a public place with a hip holstered firearm would likely be confronted by law enforcement.

Imagine eating in a restaurant with your family and being called out by officers with weapons drawn. The likelihood of issues with local police departments serves as an innate deterrent to open carry participation. However, in states such as Texas where the practice is more commonplace, violent crime trends lower than many other states – and certainly lower than Chicago.

When criminals or Islamic extremists are faced with legitimate firepower, they are far more likely to think twice. The only way to stop a murderous gunman is to return fire, and easing the tensions around open carry will make Americans armed and ready to defend themselves and loved ones.

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