Do you have a right to open carry? Sure, whether it’s legal or not, I’d say you have that right. But there are two main reasons that you shouldn’t — really, really shouldn’t:
1) It harms the cause. You look like an immature attention-seeking jackass. Plus you frighten people. We are trying to win people over, not scare them. We are trying to appear reasonable, not stupid and dangerous. See Andrew Branca’s argument along these lines here.
2) It’s counter-productive. Look at this t-shirt:
This is a stupid thing to wear in public. It makes you look like a jackass (see how easy it is to to that?), and it simply warns anyone that has in mind to do you harm to start big. Now look at this photo of another gun blogger who disagrees with me on this subject (his post where he published this photo of himself is here):
Even if this doesn’t raise alarm in his neck of the woods, it says “take this gun” to anyone wanting one. Easy-peasy to do that. Really, really easy. Child-like easy.
Now, I have (very) occasionally open carried when I had a badge to wear next to the gun, but only under unusual circumstances and only briefly, and only when I was using a security holster (and I don’t mean just a thumb-break holster). So sure, there are exceptions, but remember, when people saw my gun they also saw a badge, making it perfectly OK in their minds even here in Massachusetts.
There are those that argue that if we don’t exercise this right we will lose it. More likely we will lose it in places where it is now legal and not gain it in places where it currently isn’t.
No one likes a jackass. People like ladies and gentlemen.
Finally: I hit this point often and hard because it’s the part of self-defense that most people foolishly omit. If you carry a gun for self-defense, you have to know the law. Invest the money you’d spend on shaving a tenth of a second off your splits with Andrew Branca’s book or seminars — it’ll pay far greater dividends. Visit this link to learn more, and use the discount code “streetstandards” for a 10% discount.