Considering the recent increase in violent attacks here in Santa Barbara, I am writing this to hopefully inform and educate the law abiding general public about their right to carry a legally owned firearm without a county-issued concealed carry permit.
Most people believe that the only legal method of carrying a gun for self-defense is to have a permit. However, this is not their only option. It is 100 percent legal, as long as you are the legal owner of the gun, and are not a felon who is prohibited from possessing a gun, to holster a handgun openly, with the ammunition or magazine in a separate pouch on your belt (except for a handful of restricted areas outlined in the California Penal Code).
Upon reading this, many would ask, “What is the point of carrying an unloaded gun?” I will be the first to admit that an unloaded gun is useless, but with a little practice, a safe and proficient operator can load a gun in under two seconds. Two seconds can be a lifetime in a fight-for-your-life situation, but in a large percent of these life-threatening scenarios, this would be a sufficient amount of time to defend yourself.
Here are just four reasons why I, and a growing number of Californians, are engaging in open carry:
1) It is our right, and a right unexercised is a right lost!
2) For self-defense, which unfortunately, in some cases requires justifiable lethal force.
3) As a legal protest against concealed-carry permits, which in Santa Barbara County are nearly impossible to acquire.
4) To educate the public that criminals and police are not the only people who carry firearms.
Personally, as an individual who carries a gun for self defense, I would much rather carry concealed, so as not to bring attention to myself and possibly be felony-stopped by a police officer at gunpoint because they receive a “man with a gun” call. However, as I stated above, our Sheriff refuses to issue permits to everyday, law-abiding citizens, so either we are forced to carry concealed without a permit in violation of the law (which I refuse to do) or carry openly.
I hope that after reading this you have become more knowledgeable concerning this topic and if you ever do see one of us out there open-carrying, I hope you feel safer knowing that if something were to occur, there is someone there to take action. Remember: Police respond to crime; they rarely stop it from occurring.
If only George Ied, the innocent Syrian clerk who was beaten to death while walking home, had been armed, chances are much better that he would still be alive today. By merely presenting the weapon, he could have very well have stopped the attack. What a shame, what a shame.