Right now the Oklahoma legislature is considering a bill that would allow Oklahomans to openly carry guns. The logic behind this bill is the idea that a person who is openly carrying a weapon is much less likely to become the victim of a crime. The idea is also to level the playing field, so to speak, with criminals.
I find two problems with this thinking. First, it assumes the carrier will be trained in the usage of the gun and its safety. But right now Oklahoma only requires a very brief course on gun safety for concealed weapons. The course hardly inspires confidence that these gun owners could be counted on to act safely and reasonably in all situations. It also does not assure for the safety of innocents who might get caught in the crossfire. The other question is begs is how do you insure that these guns will not be taken from these people by criminals and then used in their criminal behavior. Certainly a person on the street wearing a gun on his hip is open to being stripped of the gun by a thief. It is hard to imagine any police force or public safety individuals supporting this bill and yet the discussion goes on.
The reason the open carry laws died in the early 20th century is obvious. People wanted peace on their streets and the images of the old west did not sit well with them. It was obvious to them that all people could not be counted upon to act reasonably and responsibly in all situations. Too many innocent people were dying as the result of gun fights. It also allowed for vigilantes, people like George Zimmerman in Florida, to take the law into their own hands. If anything, Zimmerman shows us exactly the problems that exist in America today with the current laws. The NRA has overreached in its efforts to keep as many guns on the street as possible. Cases like Zimmerman will only increase if an open carry law is passed.
This is not a 2nd Amendment issue, as some will try to point out. This is a common sense issue. Our society is too violent as it is. We certainly do not need to make it any more so by allowing open carry law.