Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Open Carry

One side effect of losing weight is that I can carry my tiny revolver quite comfortably. In fact, it comfortably helps hold my pants up.

So I've started carrying that tiny revolver in my belt when I am out with Smiley, unless we're going to the library or somewhere else that prohibits firearms. Moreover, since the weather is now warm I no longer wear my usual overshirt and thus the revolver's grip is visible at my waist, although small.

I have never had anyone, adult or child, make any comment or stare. Perhaps people do not recognize it for what it is: folks these days have all sorts of phones, pagers, music players, key ring fobs, and whatnots at their waist. Or perhaps it is simply not worth a comment since Oregon is an "open carry" state and gun ownership is so high.

I have a reply prepare in case anyone were to ask me why I wore a tiny revolver on a walk around the neighborhood or at a playground: "Because you probably don't." I would much rather not think about crime and not expose myself to legal hassles if I did help defend someone. But local gun ownership is not high enough for me to feel responsible, as a parent, relying on others. I may be part of God's plans to protect someone else, as undesirable and incredibly unlikely as that would be.

That's a better contribution to conversation than "it helps hold my pants up". Certainly preferable to "in case a large pet dog decides Smiley is a snack."

I don't think I would feel as comfortable carrying a normal-sized handgun openly. Part of the appeal of the tiny revolver is that it is not a weapon a criminal would use. It's clearly wimpy and designed to be carried by the good guys and gals. Curious if any NAA mini-revolvers had ever been used in crime, I did some research: only once, when a driver who had been pulled over for speeding waved one as part of his threats to the police officer. I'm fairly sure most brands of baseball bat have a more extensive criminal history.

UPDATE: To be thorough I should add that Federal law generally prohibits carrying a gun within 1,000 feet of any school without a CHL. Although Oregon is an "open carry" state, most neighborhoods in Eugene have so many schools that carrying a gun legally without a CHL would almost require carefully planning your route with a map before leaving the house.

UPDATE: I should clarify my phrase "feel responsible, as a parent". Police have no responsibility to protect individuals, and are seldom present during a crime. I do trust God to protect me, but also realize that I may be a part of how God protects others, especially my son.

UPDATE: Notice that ORS 166.173(2) specifies that a city or county cannot restrict where someone with an Oregon CHL can carry.  The signs that Eugene places in the library and parks don't say this.  I expect the city employees don't know this detail.

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