“I am only buying it for the articles.” – Everyone
The June 2012 edition of Playboy, which hit the newsstands last Friday, features an article by Pat Jordan entitled “Armed & Dangerous: Has Gun Culture Gone Too Far?” In the article, in which I am quoted, Pat discusses the open carry movement and the concerns that some have expressed about gun owners “baring it all.”
Jordan, an admitted concealed carrier and believer in self-defense rights, clearly has a problem with open carry. He stereotypes, generalizes, and often just plain gets it wrong. Despite the fact that I am inordinately proud to have been quoted in Playboy, I feel duty bound to offer a point by point rebuttal to his article.
I should start by noting the premise of the article. Jordan is writing about his experiences as he accompanies an open carrier going about their day. The open carrier he chose is Jerry Henry of GeorgiaCarry.org.
The primary theme running throughout the article is that he thinks open carry is all about “fantasy” fulfillment. Interwoven throughout the article he waxes poetically about macho imagery, invoking the names of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday, Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, and Dirty Harry. He also brings up the OK Corral and the Battle of the Bulge. And he returns repeatedly to this theme throughout the article, growing ever more insulting each time.
But that’s not all. He gets it wrong on multiple fronts. Let’s look at some of the other problems with his views on open carry …
Open Carry is All About White Guys
Jordan seemed to revel in categorizing those who open carry as “the Caspar Milquetoast set” of “average white guys.” It seems that he just hasn’t kept up with the times. In reality, open carry is as diverse as America itself and the only requirement to participate is a love of individual civil rights.
Let’s have a look at just a few of the dominant figures in the open carry movement who don’t match his insulting stereotype.
Yep … Jordan seems to be bringing his own prejudices and preconceived notions to the table. And he appears to be enjoying himself as he peddles his distortions. Let’s see where he goes next.
Open Carriers Live by Cliches
Throughout the article he presents a number of incorrect facts concerning firearms, ammunition, and carry in general, apparently gleaned from comments made by those he met during the day. These include:
1) The 1911 is the hands-down gun of choice for open carriers.
2) Hollowpoint ammunition is “exotic” and “finicky.”
3) 45s are so powerful that they do not ever need to be loaded with hollowpoint ammunition.
I have to believe that he knew these were not correct factual statement and was taking a not-so discreet jab at the intelligence of open carriers when he finished one section by noting cruelly that “aphorisms” are “what passes for truth” amongst open carriers.
Reporting on Open Carry Apparently Diminishes Math Skills
And like so many other reporters down through the years, he managed to get the number of states which allow open carry wrong as well, despite the fact that I went over the numbers repeatedly during the interview.
As you can see, open carry is available in one form or another in 43 states, not the “30-odd” states reported by Jordan. And this number will increase to 44 on November 1 of this year when the newly passed Oklahoma open carry bill becomes effective.
Out of fairness however, he may have used the term “30-odd states” to refer to the 29 states which allow some form of open carry with no government permission required whatsoever. However, this ignores the 14 states, soon to be 15 with the upcoming addition of Oklahoma, where legislators have made the public policy decision that permit holders should be allowed to carry openly or concealed as they see fit.
Most States do Not Have “Open Carry Laws”
Perhaps the thing that bothers me the most about the media’s treatment of open carry is the constant reference to “open carry laws.” As noted above, in 28 states, there is no “open carry law” per-se[1. California is an exception to this rule, only allowing rural open carry hence the fact that we are down to 28 instead of 29]. Rather, open carry is legal in these states because it has not been made illegal in much the same way that it is legal to wear a blue shirt because there is no law against it. But you don’t hear reporters going around talking about “blue shirt laws.”
While it is understandable for laymen to be uninformed if they are not gun owners, I always expect better of reporters covering what is, essentially, a legal topic. He does explain the difference somewhat when he turns to the genesis of the open carry movement but then goes right back to using “open carry laws” as a general term of art to refer to both the presence or lack-of open carry legislation.
I suppose I can only sigh and move on …
Open Carry “Scares” People
Jordan finishes off his article by listing places where open carry demonstrations have occurred. He cites these as examples of times that the public has been “scared” by open carry. He mentions that there have been cases of people open carrying near the president “under the watchful eyes of the Secret Service.” I can assure you that, despite recent embarrassments, the Secret Service takes their job very seriously. Anyone open carrying at a presidential event will be staged in a “free-speech area” far away from the President and carefully watched.
In truth, citizens and law enforcement alike both know that bad-guys do not invite the scrutiny from law enforcement that open carry can bring. To use one of the aphorisms that Jordan insists are all we know in the open carry community, “it isn’t the gun you see that you have to worry about.” As the FBI reported in a 2006 study entitled “Violent Encounters: A Study of Felonious Assaults on Our Nation’s Law Enforcement Officers,” criminals go to great lengths to conceal their firearms, do not wear holsters, and do not open carry under any circumstances.
Jordan wraps up with a litany of insults for us at OpenCarry.org, calling us a “liability”, “a wild card”, and the NRA’s “redheaded stepchild.” But I have always said that, so long as they report what you actually said … and you didn’t say anything stupid, there is no such thing as bad publicity.
And think about it from another perspective. We have Playboy running an article in which open carry is presented as the extreme alternative to the “righteous” activity of carrying concealed.
Think about that … We may not have finished our mission of normalizing open carry in every state, but we sure seem to have moved the bar a long way toward making concealed carry the new normal. And that’s not a bad place to start … when you’re winning the culture war.
Now go out and buy yourself a copy. And when your significant other asks you why you bought Playboy, tell them “It’s for the articles.”
UPDATE: OpenCarry.org Co-Founder Mike Stollenwerk writes about this article and takes some fun jabs at yours truly in his latest DC Gun Rights Examiner column.
Those that oppose open carry need some new material – by their obvious distortion and prejudiced bias, they effectively make our case for us. Problem is that there is no compelling argument left for them and few people pay them any mind.
Must be a terrible thing to be so wrong.
So, John, people DO read the articles! 😉
It was hard, but I forced myself to read the article before turning to my personal favorite page … the comics of course. 🙂
When I pick it up, the first thing I turn to is the “Armed Citizen” column… oh wait… wrong magazine…
hey John. it is worrying when an anti says something against firearms. but it seems that we have a battle with the so called “pro-gun” people that attack open carry. it is aggravating at least
It is. But we have to remember that each person is approaching the issue from a unique perspective so we need to be careful about attacking our own even if we disagree on certain issues. As the old saying goes, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” 🙂
1. Love the updated bio.
2. Love the observation about math skill diminishment.
3. I’m perfectly comfortable with the idea of scaring a rapist, murderer, or other dangerous criminal away from me & my family if we’re out & about. Others need not fear, as I’m law-abiding and super nice.
Thanks Kyle! 🙂 I worked hard on that updated bio to get the “feel” right.
Heard Cam Edwards of NRANews.com mention this article was coming. I share your conclusion, when concealed carry is the new normal, we’ve come a long way.
This is probably a dumb question, but could someone please explain to me the differences between the different categories of open carry in the map? what is a Gold Star open carry, friendly, limited. I live in Texas where its not legal but we do have concealed carry licenses which I may (or may not) have… but wish I could openly carry.
Glad to answer your question. Gold star states are those where open carry is available without any permit requirements with state-wide preemption on foot and in vehicles. The Orange friendly states are those which have unlicensed open carry but are missing one of the requirements for gold star. Pennsylvania for example doesn’t allow open carry in vehicles without a permit and the same is true of the city of Philadelphia. Green states are those where a permit is required to open carry and red (like Texas) is where no open carry is available.
I hope this helps.
Yes it definitely helps. I appreciate the information. To me, open carry makes sense, but the “guessing” on the part of criminals where there is concealed carry makes sense too – e.g. they don’t know who can potentially stop them. What I wish is that we could openly or concealed carry anywhere in the country, and if someone acts up, folks would just take care of it. But that’s just me… thanks again!!
I open carry every day, everyone should. I cannot speak for GA, but in Washington State, I do not scare anyone in my daily travels except the police. Most do not notice, but those who do are always positive. I have even had people come up to me and thank me for exercising THEIR second amendment rights. I believe most people want to be armed, but they are afraid. When they see me armed and polite it emboldens those around me seek their own self defense methods. I open carry at my bank, and one teller told me she purchased a weapon and training (and now she carries) because she saw me as an example. Keep Calm, Carry On!!
The thing people don’t usually consider is that in order to OC, one must be ULTRA law abiding in order to avoid getting jammed up. We know that in order to successfully OC, sometimes we need to “beat” the cops at their own game… IE: Know the law BETTER than them. People look at OCers as people that can’t obtain CPL or CHL (or any concealed license) or some other sort of scofflaw, when in reality the vast majority of us just want to A.) carry the way we want to carry and B.) further the cause by illustrating the point that every day normal people do every day normal things while being armed. That’s not only OK, but a -GOOD- thing.
I would say that John has a very good take on what Pat Jordan came up with. I am the Jerry Henry from GeorgiaCarry.Org and I can assure you that this is basically a work of fiction. I told Pat when he called me wanting to go open carrying with me that it would be a very boring day but he was welcome to tag along. He had to work to make our day less than boring but put his literary license to abundant use.
Thanks John for the good follow up article.
And thank you Jerry for all you guys are doing down in Georgia!!!
Pat wanted a story of action and adventure and that is what he wrote. 🙂 The boring day of an open carrier didn’t fit the mold. Lol!
And, thank you John for what you are doing throughout the US. You did hit the nail on the head. The only people who knew we were carrying until he told them was, of course, he and I. As usual, open carrying is a non issue, at least where I live.
Wait a minute the girls in the magazine can take off their tops and expose their holsters but, it’s wrong for me to take off my jacket and show off my guns!
I never knew they had articles in Playboy.
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Unfortunately I stopped my subscription to Playboy last year – They have had some other 2AM related items over the years, some good and some bad.
Regarding this topic of Open Carry, I have been following and supporting it for quite a while. Please visit the Montgomery Citizens for a Safer Maryland web site to see some of the activities.
BTW, I don’t think you can put Maryland into the “Green State” licensed open carry category. Yes you can get a CCW permit in Maryland through a difficult, intrusive and abusive process, which is being argued now in the courts. Even if it were technically OK for a CCW permittee to open carry, that activity would result in instant legal hassles.
Wyoming, however, is another matter. See the links below regarding our “Walk in the Park” activities.
The WITP handout flyer
The 2010 travel log
The 2011 trafel log
There are other fun articles dotted throughout the MCSM web site – you may particularly enjoy the “American Militia” series of essays at;
We are moving to Wyoming full time and will be re-educating some of the liberal state refugees who wind up there and bring their problems and solution ideas with them.
Web links appear to have been eliminated
let me try again
The WITP handout flyer
The 2010 travel log
The 2011 travel log
The anti-spam plugin eliminates links in comments. 🙂
I love hearing the “Wild West” and “OK Corral” analogies as arguments against OC. Here in Texas we hear it brought out every time the issue comes up. My argument is, recently we’ve been inundated with news stories on a weekly basis documenting the shocking number of murders over the previous weekend in places such as Chicago and Seattle. With spread-out massacres going on almost every weekend WITHOUT OC, I’m thinking we need some Wild West, that the OK Corral would be a welcome respite.
Playboy is such a liberal rag. I read it, yea but I buy it for the pictures……