What does it solve?
Carrying firearms visibly in public, known as open carry, is a dangerous policy. It is exploited by white supremacists and opposed by law enforcement and the public. Members of hate groups regularly openly carry guns in a show of intimidation.
Research shows that the presence of a visible gun makes people more aggressive. Allowing guns to be carried openly in public also makes it very difficult to distinguish between the “good guys” and the “bad guys” during an active shooter incident. States should prohibit guns from being carried openly in public.
Myth & Fact
How it works
Open carry is a threat to public safety.
Open carry is a favored exercise by hate groups who regularly carry guns openly in a show of intimidation. In advance of a planned “Unite the Right” White Nationalist rally in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017, a self-styled “militia group” descended on the city openly carrying handguns and military-style rifles. Later that day, one person was killed and 19 others injured when a white supremacist rammed a car into a crowd of counter- protesters.
In the July 2016 mass shooting of five police officers in Dallas, the work of police officers was made more difficult as they struggled to distinguish between people legally carrying guns openly and the gunman who opened fire. Afterwards, both the police chief and the mayor said law enforcement couldn’t tell “good guys with guns” from “bad guys with guns” because it is perfectly legal to walk around in public with an exposed handgun or rifle in Texas.
A small minority of states prohibit the open carry of firearms altogether, while others require a permit to do so. However, while the majority of states require a permit to carry a concealed handgun in public, in the majority of states it is legal for civilians to openly carry handguns or long guns without a permit. This is often the result of the absence of state laws regulating the open carry of firearms in public, commonly known as the “open carry loophole.” Because responsible gun owners have not traditionally carried firearms openly, many state legislatures have not passed laws regulating the practice.