Oh, dear. Here we go again.

Newport News police are investigating after a man reported he was pushed to the ground and had his handgun stolen late last week.

Officers responded to a report of the robbery in the 6000 block of Jefferson Avenue just before 8 p.m. Jan. 29, according to police spokesman Harold Eley.

The victim, a 37-year-old Hampton man, told police he was robbed as he walked across Jefferson Avenue to the lot at the Windsor House after visiting a friend at the Travelers Inn. He was wearing his handgun in a holster, open carry, on his hip, Eley said.

The man said he was approached from behind by two men, and one of them demanded his gun. The other then grabbed the gun from the holster and pushed him to the ground. Both men fled on foot southbound toward the trailer parks, Eley said.

Open carry supporters often make the argument that by openly carrying their firearm on their hip they deter crime.

Reality seems a bit more… nuanced.

An “accidental” open carrier (concealed carrier who failed to competently conceal his weapon) was robbed of his gun in Oregon in September, 2015 after a man saw his weapon and followed him into a store bathroom, beat him up, and took it.

A month earlier, another man in Philadelphia with a very poorly concealed handgun was likewise beaten up and relieved of his gun.

In April, a felon with a history of mental problems attempted to rob another open carrier, and it was only through dumb luck that the open carrier didn’t get his skull bashed in (side note: he typically carries concealed and says he will never open carry again).

In a case very similar to the most recent incident in Newport News, an open carrier was robbed of his gun in Gresham, Oregon, the very first time he took it out in public.

The sad fact of the matter is that I don’t recall ever covering an incident where an open carrier thwarted a crime (though it almost certainly has happened at some point). When I see a story about open carry in the news, it tends to revolved around one of the following:

  • There was an organized open carry protest somewhere.
  • Someone was confronted or arrested by police for how/where they were open carrying. In some of these instances the police were ignorant of open carry laws. In others, the open carrier violated their local laws.
  • Someone got robbed of their gun while open carrying.

John Johnston of Ballistic Radio asked a very interesting question several months ago:

Genuine question, and let’s all keep it civil.

Is anyone aware of any Open Carry advocates, i.e. a person who by choice carries a handgun day in and day out unconcealed, who has received any significant amount of training? I’m not talking about people who are forced to carry that way due to sh*tty laws, or people who participate in planned open carry events. I’m talking about folks who could conceal a gun but choose not to and espouse it as the superior mode of carry.

If so, what are you guys considering significant training? Curious to hear answers, and let’s not turn this into a bash CC or OC thread. I’m just trying to better understand where people are coming from here.

The responses were informative.

Among those who responded, there was a clear trend.

A significant percentage of open carriers had no formal training at all (no, the various required concealed carry permitting classes are not training), and those who were serious students of armed self defense (most attended at least one defensive firearms class a year) almost never open carried by choice.

The more professional defensive firearms training someone had, the less likely they were to choose open carry.

I’d further note that among those who have gone through defensive firearms courses and extreme close quarters and “hands on” courses (which I haven’t yet), I haven’t been able to find anyone who open carries, though we are talking about a very small percentage of people who train to that level who are not in military combat arms or the higher end of law enforcement.

If you want to open carry, by all means go ahead and do so.

I do find it interesting, however, that the more training someone has, they less likely they seem to want to open carry.