Friday, February 5, 2016

Open Carrier Robbed of Pistol in VA?

So what might be the first pure disarmament robbery of an open carrier ever happened recently in Newport News, Virginia. The Daily Press reports that the victim was robbed, after dark, by two men who demanded his gun, disarmed him, and knocked him to the ground. Something about this story just doesn’t make sense to me.

Let’s take the story on its face first. One, use a retention holster so your weapon can’t be easily grabbed or fall out during a struggle. Two, maintain situational awareness and avoid strange people who might try to rob you. Three, if someone demands your gun, it’s time to create distance, draw it, and possibly fire, and not surrender it without a fight. Do all of these things and open carry isn’t an issue.

Details are lacking, because why should a news reporter push for details? Such as, why was the victim visiting a friend at a motel that, according to Google, has been a hotspot for prostitution arrests. In my experience, drugs and prostitution go together and tend to happen in high crime areas. I’m going to speculate, rightly or wrongly, that the victim was not an upstanding citizen visiting a friend at a discount motel. My ex-law enforcement instincts are telling me that this is a case where there is more than meets the eye.

My supposition: The victim went to the motel to do something illegal, or maybe not. He was carrying a handgun concealed. At some point, for some reason, he got robbed (or rolled), and the gun was taken. When he reported it to police, he said it was openly carried. Why? Because open carry without a permit is legal in Virginia, but concealed carry requires a permit. Easy enough to explain with no witness and criminals who won’t tell the story differently.

Now if additional facts come up, I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong, but this thing stinks to high heaven. Like the case in Oregon a while back, this looks like a person making bad choices in a bad neighborhood. I can’t be entirely sure, so I will happily retract these statements if additional evidence comes to light. Still, I’m not buying this one nor should it be used as a reason against open carry.

What we have here is a plausible open carry robbery, not a confirmed one. Taken on face value, yes, there aren’t any extenuating circumstances and all my counterpoints are inferred, but with today’s lack of quality reporting, we’re not surprised there aren’t more details. Now if my hypothesis is correct, it would follow that the police, nor the reporter, would be interested in following up. Just move on and let the victim pretend this was something it wasn’t.

The real problem with these stories are that concealed carry supremacists—usually someone making a buck teaching a class or selling a book—use this kind of stuff to lend credence to their fallacious argument on why open carry is suicidal. Forget the fact that a lot of these guys are easy to pick out in a crowd with their loud pro-guns t-shirts, tactical cargo pants, tactical phone case, flashlights and knives clipped to their belts. Hypocrisy at its finest.

To date, I am unaware of any civilian who has been truly disarmed, killed, or injured because they were legitimately openly carrying without a reasonable doubt as to the facts of the incident. A bare handful of stories, all with qualifiers, are used to discourage open carry. I don’t mean to sound like I’m trying to be a blind apologist, but the outliers don’t prove concealed carry is better. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages and neither is inherently superior.

The sad fact is, concealed carry supremacists have little to no experience practicing open carry in an urban area. Bob Owen over at Bearing Arms will have you think that if you so much as look out the front door with a pistol on your hip, ISIS terrorists will take you out right away. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but if open carry was so dangerous, why don’t we have more of these stories? Using a 210 word story as evidence to totally discount open carry is just plain stupid and proves how incredibly close-minded the concealed carry only community really is.

If this was really an issue, why aren’t we seeing stories like this every day? Such as: Open carry mom robber of pink pistol at Target or College freshman beaten up, tuition and open carry pistol taken? Scant evidence, usually always qualified by circumstances into something less than open carry making someone into a target, is conflated into a systemic condemnation. Concealed carriers have been attacked because of their pistols too, once in Florida, and another man who was pistol whipped and robbed of his gun in Ohio.

Frankly, those who have no practical experience with urban open carry have no business diminishing its practice or otherwise criticizing it. Legitimate criticism should center on a lack of a retention holster, training, and deficient situational awareness. Attacking someone over a method of carry shows a lack of respect for those committed to exercising their Second Amendment rights. You might prefer the Panthers to the Broncos, but hey, they’re both going to the Super Bowl, so they can’t be all bad, right? So don’t worry about open carry, and if you don’t have any experience with it, don’t knock it.

-G. C.

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