MEMPHIS, TN – In two separate incidents, two men who were open carrying had their guns stolen out of their open carry holsters while standing in line at a store.
In the first incident, a man was standing in line to check out at a gas station while open carrying a handgun on his hip. Another man in a Looney Tunes hoodie came up from behind the victim and pulled the gun out of his holster.
The two men struggled over the gun, but the suspect gained control of the weapon and then pointed it at the victim before fleeing the scene in his vehicle.
In the second incident, which happened only nine days later, another man was standing in line to checkout at a different gas station. He was also open carrying a handgun. A suspect also came up from behind him, pulled the gun out of his waistband, and pointed it at the suspect. A struggle ensued, and another suspect outside the store started shooting. The victim was struck in the leg.
Only the man who fired the shots was arrested. The man or men who stole the guns has not been arrested. The police don’t know whether it was the same man in both incidents.
The Problem with Open Carry
And this is one of the problems I have with open carrying. Do I think it should be legal? Yes, I do. Do I open carry? Very rarely. In my opinion, which may conflict with some of you reading this, it allows bad guys like this to see the gun and make you their target.
Both of the victims in these incidents were most likely unaware of the suspects until it was too late… when they snatched the guns out of their holsters. Or what if one of these suspects was armed and came into the store to rob it? Who do you think would be their first target? The men open carrying, that’s who.
I carry concealed precisely for that reason. It is concealed, and no one knows I have a gun. I also carry in the appendix position. There are a few reasons I carry appendix, but one is that for someone to take my gun, they would have first to know there’s a gun there and, second, come face to face with me.
Now, I said I rarely open carry. The only times I open carry are when I’m hunting and want to carry more comfortably and faster access to my handgun.
If you open carry, to each their own. You are well within your rights to do so if it is legal in the state you are carrying in. But you should take these two incidents as examples of some of the dangers if you do so. I’d also recommend having a holster with retention to make it harder for someone to walk up behind you and pull your gun out. It won’t do you any good when your carry gun is in the hands of a criminal, and you’re left standing there unarmed.