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Not Such a Simple Picture

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During my care-free years in college, I owned a single-action, western style .357 magnum revolver that my buddies and I would take to the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River. We’d sit, talk about the past, dream about the future and take potshots at whatever happened to float downstream. We were more likely to create geysers of water than to hit anything in the fast-flowing wide Missouri. Plinking with firearms was something I’d grown up with in the fields and streams on the outskirts of Dallas. As boys, we had BB guns, and then as teenagers we had more adult firearms. We shot tin cans along a railroad track, and once did battle with a v-formation of water snakes coming down the creek. Those days always come back to me whenever I hear John Prine’s song about a childhood of hunting pop bottles along the Green River in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.

Those fields of my youth are gone, replaced by tract housing and apartments north of the Addison Airport, and many of the creeks where we splashed as boys are just concrete culverts. But despite all the times I went plinking when young, I’ve never felt so threatened as an adult to think it was necessary to carry a handgun for self-defense. I’m not going to argue the merits or demerits of carrying pistols, open or concealed, because there are enough standard bearers on both sides of that issue to knee-jerk it to death. I merely want to point out that the sales job for the open carry of handguns is something of a misunderstood and misleading bill of goods.

First, there is a great deal of misunderstanding about exactly what open carry means, because there are two types.

One is to grant the privilege of openly carrying a handgun to those people who have gone through training and criminal background checks to obtain a concealed handgun permit from the Texas Department of Public Safety. The second version is called “constitutional carry” by its advocates and essentially allows anyone who can legally own a handgun to carry the firearm openly. Bills relating to carrying handguns on college campuses and open carry with concealed handgun permits are scheduled for a hearing in the Senate State Affairs Committee on Thursday, and although no constitutional carry legislation is before the committee, witnesses likely will bring up the topic.

Probably the biggest misleading fact thrown out by the advocates of open carry is that Texas is some sort of laggard among the states in allowing handgun owners to openly carry their firearm. Governor Greg Abbott has said repeatedly that 43 states have some form of open carry laws and once declared, “If open carry is good enough for Massachusetts, it’s good enough for the state of Texas.” While Massachusetts might technically be called an open carry state, like many states there are numerous restrictions that make gun ownership far more restrictive than Texas advocates would admit, and Massachusetts just last year added additional restrictions to its laws.

Essentially, to openly carry a handgun in Massachusetts, a gun owner has to have a permit from a local police chief, and gun owners find it more difficult to get such permits the closer they come to major urban areas. The national advocacy group OpenCarry.org describes Massachusetts this way: “Massachusetts is not a traditional open carry state, but it is not a crime for Class A License holders to open carry. However, it is reported that some jurisdictions will use this as an excuse to revoke permits.”

Another example: at least one map floating around the Texas Capitol shows Arkansas as an Open Carry state, but the OpenCarry.Org declares that “Arkansas is not a traditional open carry state.” State law allows someone to openly carry a handgun, but only if they are on a journey leaving their home county. A state law in 2013 decriminalized open carry so long as someone did not intend to use the firearm to commit a crime; however, the state attorney general, in a legally binding opinion, said open carry is only allowed in a person’s vehicle while on a journey.

And while the permitted carrying of handguns has gained some traction around the country, the so-called constitutional carry does not seem to be gaining much ground. The only states that clearly have constitutional carry are Alaska, Arizona, Vermont and Wyoming. Idaho, Montana, New Hampshire and New Mexico allow constitutional carry but with restrictions. For instance, Montana only allows open without a permit outside of city limits.

Meanwhile, Missouri last year overturned a gubernatorial veto to make open carry legal for persons with concealed handgun permits. Alabama and Mississippi passed open carry legislation in 2013, but only for those persons with state issued licenses. Oklahoma passed a permitted open carry law in 2012, but constitutional carry remains illegal. Louisiana allows the open carry of handguns, with or without a permit, but anyone who carries a firearm without a concealed handgun license within 1,000 feet of a school is subject to a $1,000 fine and imprisonment up to six months.

A similar zone exists under the federal Gun-Free School Zone Act signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990: carrying a firearm into a school zone carries a fine of $5,000 and five years in prison, unless a person has a firearm permit issued by their home state. The federal law, that is, does not recognize state reciprocity for handgun permits. If you want to get an idea of what a 1,000 foot ban would mean to constitutional carry, take a look at this Google map of schools in Dallas; each red dot is a school. And if you want to try to wade through the confusing mass of state handgun laws, I’d recommend going to both OpenCarry.org and The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

As the debate moves forward on open carry in Texas this legislative session, just remember the handgun laws of other states are not as simple and clear-cut as the handgun advocates would claim. And just as some states are relaxing firearms regulations, others are tightening them up. Just two days after the Texas House voted to authorize “panic buttons” in legislative offices because of a confrontation between a lawmaker and constitutional carry advocate Kory Watkins, the Washington State Senate decided to ban firearms from its gallery.

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  • JP

    RG, I’m glad you researched this. I was pretty sure the really really open, open carry states were not as prevalent as claimed but didn’t have the time to do the research. BTW, you had a typo (.375). Great thing about a .357 is you can shoot cheaper .38 rds without a problem. Welcome back to the mix. JP

    • R.G. Ratcliffe

      Thanks for catching that. I caught several typos, but the most obvious always is the one you overlook.

      • R.G. Ratcliffe

        Thanks for the heads up. Error corrected.

  • A Texan can never have too many guns.

    • Indiana Pearl

      You can.

      • Pearl for a dried up old hag you seem fascinated with my gun….

        • dave in texas

          Is there ever a time that you’re not a raging misogynist ass?

          • Unwound

            you act surprised his sense of humor never evolved past something that would be on a big johnson tshirt

          • dave in texas

            Good point. I try not to respond to the troll, but sometimes, his ignorant BS brings out the ‘someone on the internet is wrong’ in me.

          • WUSRPH

            Leave the presence of a fool, Or you will not discern words of knowledge (Proverbs 14:7).

          • John Johnson

            Often it is better for one to just keep their thoughts to themselves. You, and I, have a very tough time doing that.

          • Indiana Pearl

            I appreciate the moral support. I’m a wily old she wolf and can tear pretty hard myself.

          • dave in texas

            Hey, us old folk gotta watch each other’s backs.

          • Indiana Pearl

            You got that right. I always thought you were a spring chicken . . .

          • dave in texas

            My spring chicken years are pretty far in the rearview mirror. I recently celebrated my 22nd annual 39th birthday party.

          • Lilly

            We appreciate you for it…

          • Wasn’t funny it was a put down to a crazy old lady

          • Indiana Pearl

            I may be old, but you will always be stupid.

          • If you comment a snarky comment on one of my post you do so at your own peril.

          • dave in texas

            That’s a risk I’m willing to take, since any time you enter into a battle of wits, you’re coming in unarmed.

          • Indiana Pearl

            He thinks a misogynist is a doctor who treats women’s diseases.

        • Indiana Pearl

          You still have the IQ of a parrakeet.

          • Lilly

            Pearl! Don’t insult the parakeet!

        • Indiana Pearl

          Let’s hope we never have to see you in the nude.

    • Blue Dogs

      Got to have lots of guns in defending yourself!

      • José

        Really? I’m still looking through my Bible and haven’t found that verse yet.

        I guess it depends on what you are defending yourself from. Kory’s posse of wannabe Constitutional scholars think that they need guns to defend themselves against the oppressive government, despite the fact that recent history shows that you can bring down a government pretty well just using a popular uprising and a moral imperative. Perhaps his group is lacking those basic tools.

      • Unwound

        from what?

      • Indiana Pearl

        Dogs, what do you fear?

  • WUSRPH

    Welcome back RG. You will soon grew very weary of seeing posts by me.

    • R.G. Ratcliffe

      Thanks. I’d say feel free to wear me out.

      • JP

        No RG, WUSRPH is serious and I agree with him. Weary is in your future! JP

        • WUSRPH

          You can come off my list of recipients, if you would like.

  • WUSRPH

    This puts the situation in more perspective, but, now that you are a blogger, you are entitled to have an opinion…It is like being an editorial writer. So, what is yours? “Open Carry”? “Anybody, anywhere, anytime—constitutional carry”? Of do you agree with Justice Scalia that restrictions are allowed and may well be desirable? (This is probably one of the only times in his history on the court that I am on the same side as Antonin. I do not expect there will be many more.)

    • R.G. Ratcliffe

      I’m going to try to keep my opinions to the level of informed analysis. Heller v. the District of Columbia wiped out the idea that the Second Amendment only applies to the keeping of arms as part of a militia.

      But Scalia also wrote that does not mean the government is unable to regulate firearms. To lift a quote from the opinion: “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.”

      So open carry with a permit or constitutional carry are policy issues for the Legislature to decide, but if the law is kept the way it currently is, that does not mean lawmakers are spitting on the Constitution.

  • donuthin2

    Growing up on the farm, boys had bb guns at an age of 8-9 and a single shot 22 by 13-14. Then later, usually as adults we had shotguns or rifles for hunting and even occasionally a 22 pistol for target shooting. But I don’t recall the total obsession with guns by anyone back during those days or even of my generation. I am under no illusion that laws restricting guns will keep them out of the hands of criminals. But I think all of us have varying degrees of craziness and somewhere along the scale of craziness, one doesn’t need access to guns. But making that determination is somewhat subjective so society has no legitimate method for determining who should be or who shouldn’t be allowed easy access to a gun. So we allow it or we restrict everyone. I also think that having a gun either concealed or open carried has little chance of ever being used constructively and will far more likely be used someone who is momentarily irrational for whatever reason. No way do I think the constitutional argument is valid or rational given the the other constraints we have. You could make the same constitutional argument for being able to text while driving, or even drinking while driving.

    • R.G. Ratcliffe

      There’s little doubt that the current open carry movement started in Virginia in 2004 and gained huge momentum in 2009. Do you think this reflects greater insecurity causing a feeling that people should carry handguns, or is this a reflection of the current political atmosphere?

      • John Johnson

        In my opinion, U.S. citizens hear the Islamic terrorists announcing they are coming for us, and they see the results of their proclamations carried out in more and more countries around the world. Does anyone think they are just toothless, chest beaters? To a great extent, our current administration seems to think they can talk them down, reason with them and reach some moderate accord. Based on several decades of irrational behavior, I think sane, deductive reasoning shows that this is never going to work. With the Feds also applying bandaid fixes on the southern border issues and expecting the border states to pick up most of the tab, many Texans are considering the purchase of a weapon or adding to their already existing arsenal. I fall into that category. This being said, I do not want AR-15’s propped against restaurant chairbacks or hog legs strapped to some drunk’s leg as he staggers and stumbles into the local watering hole. I don’t want felons or those with diagnosed mental issues to be issued a permit to purchase or carry. That just seems like commonsense to me.

        • R.G. Ratcliffe

          John, you’ve pretty well described what the CHL is intended to prevent.

          • John Johnson

            Well then, who is it that Rep. Stickland and his supporters think is being shortchanged by today’s existing Texas laws? Felons and crazy people? Everyone else is able to go purchase and carry under a coat or pant leg or shirt if they can show that they know how to use and handle a weapon without shooting themselves or innocent bystanders.

        • Indiana Pearl

          Just read an article about how DOJ’s worst fears are crazy white guys like JBB.

          • John Johnson

            A DOJ article…what a joke. What would you expect a racist AG’s office to broadcast? Anyone who let’s Al Sharpton carry water for them is looney. I will say, however, that they probably should be fearful of violence coming from a crazed white guy. Lots of them growing extremely weary of Holder’s obvious biases. I know I am.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Gosh! I guess I turned on Limbaugh by mistake . . .

          • John Johnson

            No…it was me.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Where do you get your information?

          • John Johnson

            I read a lot. Watch both FOX and MSNBC. Don’t listen to much talk radio. Subscribe to Quorum Report, the FW Star Telegram and Dallas Morning News. Also read thru the Texas Tribune every morning.

        • Indiana Pearl

          JJ, you live in fear that Saladin and his Saracens will come back from the dead.

          • John Johnson

            Nope, no fear here. As I tried to explain to you, buying a weapon is insurance; it is contingency planning…just like keeping Tums in your medicine cabinet, a backup generator, or a spare tire.

      • WUSRPH

        The rush for guns started long before ISIS, etc . A big boost was the election of President Obama….both because people thought he was for gun controls and perhaps because of (not allowed to suggest this but it has something to do with his background).

        • John Johnson

          It started when the price of ammo began to skyrocket for no apparent reason other than the report that the Feds were buying it all up. It has continued because no one trusts the current administration.

          • José

            So a black Democrat get a elected President, and gun nuts all over the US go even nuttier with buying guns and ammo, creating shortages which they then blame on a government conspiracy, and that drives demand even higher, and…well you get the picture. Let me introduce you to a concept called the self-fulfilling prophecy.

          • John Johnson

            Lighten up, Jose. The cost of ammo went up because the ammo producers create maufactured shortages like the oil and gas people have done. That’s what happens when the Big’s buy up the small’s, and the Feds allow the Big’s to then join forces. They divide up the domestic pie and all reap windfall profits. That started happening long before Obama. He’s just exacerbated the whole gun/ammo thing. No one trusts the Feds or Congress to protect them. They are purchasing “insurance” at a higher rate.

          • José

            Good thing there are plenty of tin foil hats to go around.

          • John Johnson

            I am very comfortable in my beliefs, as you obviously are yours. I truly respect yours; I simply think you are wrong. I am going to do my best to no longer belittle those who do not see things as I do. It will be tough. Let’s see how long it lasts.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Those who think they can outgun the US military machine are indeed demented. That ability ended long ago.

          • Jed

            you misremember. the “ammo shortage” started very soon after the tea party, which started about a nanosecond after obama’s inauguration. that was when gun and ammo purchases hit all-time levels. this was not a shortage engineered by manufacturers,* it was a result of increased demand entirely driven by right-wing hysteria about gun control, and … you know it’s coming … fear of a black man with power.

            * except inasmuch as the increased demand was fanned by groups that represent the interest of gun and ammo manufacturers – i.e. the nra, glenn beck, etc.

          • Jed

            one minor edit: i do recall there was reportedly some large government purchasing of ammo at the time, coincidentally, although that information was also used to fan the frenzy … see above.

          • José

            You may be thinking of this;
            http://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/ssabullets.asp
            Yes, the US government bought ammo. A lot. It wasn’t a secret and there was a perfectly good explanation, but that didn’t prevent heads from exploding in the community of right wingers who find a conspiracy under every rock. Damn the facts, they say, it’s what I believe.

          • John Johnson

            Please…Jose…you are making this new pledge difficult for me. Read everything I posted. All of it. All the initial posts on this thread.

          • John Johnson

            I don’t care what you taught, Jed, or how you taught it, or what biases you interjected into it. I don’t buy everything you’re pushing. Guess I wouldn have fared well in your class.

          • Jed

            yes, you said it better than i.

            this is exactly how it happened. i remember it clearly because we discussed the whole thing in my class throughout that semester.

          • Blue Dogs

            Similar to 24’s David Palmer!

          • Indiana Pearl

            “Paranoia runs deep,
            Into your life it will creep.”

          • dave in texas

            …step outta line, the man come and take you away…

    • Indiana Pearl

      Not everyone grew up on a farm. I grew up in a city – no suburbs, no ranches, no farms.

  • WUSRPH

    The Senate adjourned today till Tuesday….That gets most of them out of town for the gun bill hearings tomorrow morning…….

    • Steve!

      But, unfortunately, not their staff….

  • WUSRPH

    . Reagan, the future president said, “There’s no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.” But, of course, things have changed since then.
    http://www.politifact.com/georgia/statements/2013/feb/05/barack-obama/did-reagan-support-assault-weapons-ban/

    http://civilliberty.about.com/od/guncontrol/a/Gun-Rights-Ronald-Reagan.htm

    http://www.ontheissues.org/celeb/Ronald_Reagan_Gun_Control.htm

    • Indiana Pearl

      Reagan destroyed America.

  • WUSRPH

    Let me see if I understand this:

    There are armed guards with x-ray machines and metal detectors like at the airport at every unlocked door into the State Capitol Bldg. or at the doors of bldgs. connected to the Capitol by the underground tunnels. The guards and machines are there to keep assassins, terrorists and other such bad people from bothering, killing or assualting the elected representatives. They will seize any weapons they find on (are in the baggage of) people going thru the lines. This is to insure our saftey when in the building.

    EXCEPT:

    1. Any one may take a “long gun”— a rifle, shotgun, semi-automatic AK-47 or other such gun (as long as its barrel is more than 18 inches long)–into the Capitol at any time….They can even take it thru the lines without worrying about it being seized since the DPS Troopers will only seize handguns, bombs and illegal knives, etc., not long guns.

    2. No license or permit of any kind is required to carry such a long gun. Permits are, however, required to carry a concealed handgun (“open carry”—openly carrying a handgun is not allowed, but efforts are underway to make it legal.)

    3. Anyone with a concealed handgun carrying permit issued by the State of Texas can carry a handgun thru the lines or, if he or she desires, get entry into the Capitol WITHOUT the necessity of going thru the lines and being x-rayed, etc. (Since Texas has “reciprocal” arrangements with other handgun allowing states, I presume that someone from out-of-state from one of the reciprocal states has similar rights.)

    4. There is no requirement that the handguns and/or long guns brought into the Capitol be unloaded or that the breech, etc. be blocked or kept open so that the firearm can not be fired.

    So, my question is:

    Why do we have guards at the doors?

    Oh, I understand….it is only to catch “bad people” and people with bombs and knives, not guns…. In fact, all those who can and do now carry firearms into the Capitol are ipso facto “good people” none of whom would ever, ever, ever misuse their weapons. In fact, if some bad person were to get in and threaten the peace, we can be assured all those “good” gun carriers will pull out their weapons and shoot ‘em down. So, we can let them in. It is just those unlicensed bad people we have to watch for…assuming of course some “bad person” does not somehow slip thru the less-than-strenuous checks of the “goodness” of handgun license applicants. But we know that will never happen, don’t we?

    One thought I do have is: Have you noticed that Texas gun advocates are always talking about “The Second Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution but never seem to mention our own Section 23 of Article I of the Texas State Constitution? I wonder if that is because our “gun rights” provision, unlike the federal one, specifically authorizes the state to regulate how you can display or carry or whether you can carry a gun. I wonder why they have not attacked our Texas laws, written under the terms of Section 23, for” infringing” their rights under the Second Amendment but then since most of them are also “state righters”, they must believe that Texas has more rights to regulate guns than just those under the Second Amendment shouldn’t they? But then, like so many things they believe, they believe them only when they are convenient.

    Article I, Sec. 23. RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS. Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the lawful defense of himself or the State; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime. Constitution of the State of Texas of 1876, as amended. (Emphasis added)

    Amendment 2 – Right to Bear Arms. A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. Constitution of the United States of America of 1789, as amended.

    That’s enough from me!

    • Blue Dogs

      Don’t forget about the security surrounding the TX Governor’s Mansion including Abbott’s Pemberton Heights home in West Austin!

    • Jed

      i think the guards are there to confiscate the poop jars.

      • Indiana Pearl

        Does the Abbott family poop in jars???

    • Lilly

      As I recall, the guards only started as a reaction (knee-jerk or not) to 9/11. The concrete barriers on the north side were erected then, also. Evidently, the Lege thought the terrorists only carried handguns and the are too stupid to get CHL (although they were more than capable of taking flying lessons and getting a pilot’s license). Perfect example of how fear is the most debilitating emotion — people stop thinking when they are afraid.

      And Watkins is at the hearing. There appears to be a line (no surprise). What a whimper and not a bang (pardon the pun) if he has to sit in an overflow room. 🙂

      • WUSRPH

        The increased presence of armed guards actually goes back to the “Republic of Texas” episode in the mid-90s when Gov. Bullock and company overreacted to their threat. (The group went as far as to kidnap a couple in Big Bend and had a standoff with the DPS, Sheriffs, etc.) Bullock reacted to the fact that the Capitol Police were unarmed and demanded more DPS officers. They added the door inspections after the Patrick office episode and the barriers after 9-11.

        Of course, the long-gun and CHL loopholes make this bans somewhat porous.

        P.S. I always thought it was funny that Bullock overreacted since he was a “carrier” himself.

        • Blue Dogs

          Kidnapped people? Seriously ?

          • WUSRPH
          • José

            Rick McLaren was another phony Texan. He came from up north, Missouri. IJS.

          • WUSRPH

            Stephen F. Austin was also from Missouri….All but two signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence were from other than Texas. They were Tejanos. So being from somewhere else is our tradition. (I, am course, am a native born.)

          • José

            I know, I know. Seems that our storied history includes a number of rowdy outcasts from elsewhere such as a couple of infamous politicians from the Volunteer State, Congressman Crockett and Governor Houston.

            Like you I was born and raised in Texas and am proud of it.

          • WUSRPH

            And don’t forget that bigamist from South Carolina WB Travis.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Jose, you need to get over this native born Texan triumphalism.

          • José

            It’s a congenital condition, I’m afraid.

          • Indiana Pearl

            The emperor has no clothes . . .

  • Paul Stekler

    It’s so great to have you back in “virtual” print RG.

  • Unwound

    oh good, kory watkins is testifying. this should be fun.

    • WUSRPH

      They kept him to his fixed two minutes and asked NO questions……Took the opportunity away from him…..He will have to do his thing outside the hearing room.

      He and his group were under extreme pressure from supporters of the bills to behave themselves so not to hurt the effort. They went along and testified on “on” with limited comments and asked for “constitutional carry”.

      Noticed that Sen. Z. seemed to be confused by one witnesses testimony that he open carried now….What she did not seem to understand is that he said he open carried a “black powder” weapon. Those and antiques (including replicas) from before 1875 (?) I believe are exempt from the laws.

      • Unwound

        From what i was reading they let him speak just long enough to do serious damage to his cause.

      • Blue Dogs

        Did any of the State Senators show hostility towards the witnesses ?

        • WUSRPH

          Not really….some hostility toward the senators from a couple of constitutional carriers, but nothing serious from either side.”

          The lady with five kids who has been in the media did predict an armed revolution if the leg. did not do go with constitutional carry.

    • Indiana Pearl

      Did he take off his hat?

  • Blue Dogs

    Jon might know about this:

    Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber (D)’s 4th term could end up very short as there calls from statewide elected officeholders & newspapers, demanding Kitzhaber resign from the governorship right now.

    http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Oregon-s-second-in-command-abruptly-returns-from-6075505.php

    http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/02/john_kitzhaber_controversy_5_l.html

  • WUSRPH

    Surprise! Surprise? The Open Carry and Campus Carry bills were reported by 7 to 2 votes.
    Only significant amendment would ban “Open Carry” on college campuses providing only for CONCEALED on those campuses.

    No action on “Constitutional Carry” despite its supporters calls to “amend” the bills to turn then into that bill. There was just a little problem called the CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF TEXAS that made such an amendment impossible.

  • Fact check – Arkansas – prosecutors will not prosecute people for carrying guns openly or concealed unless criminal internet is present – that’s in fact the law in Arkansas since 2013; Fact check – AG opinions interpreting criminal statutes are NOT “binding” on police or prosecutors; Fact check – Montana – open carry is lawful without permit in urban and rural areas – it’s concealed carry where permits are needed in urban areas; Fact Check – open carry.org – yes our state rating pages are a little behind the times – liberalization of gun carry laws continues at a fast pace these days by most states; Fact check – A number of states like Utah already allow concealed carry, and sometimes open carry, on college campuses; 45 states generally allow the open carry of properly holstered handguns (if you include California, a rural only open carry state); 30 states allow open carry without needing a license; more about open carry at OpenCarry.org. And carry on!