There’s a lot of debate that takes place around the idea of open carry. Many argue that open carry is tactically stupid as it makes it clear to any potential bad guy who to take out first during a robbery. Others counter with arguments about how open carry initiates conversations about the Second Amendment and our right to keep and bear arms.

Both are good points, but for one open carrier in Fayetteville, NC, open carry isn’t such a grand thing these days.

An incident involving a stolen gun caused a commotion at Walmart on Skibo Road on Thursday afternoon.

About 3 p.m., Fayetteville police spokeswoman Asia Cannon said, inaccurate information based on radio scanner traffic began circulating about a shooting at the Walmart. Officers arrived and discovered that a man had grabbed a gun off another man who was open-carrying the weapon. The man who grabbed the gun then ran off.

Someone then yelled out about a gun in the store, which then caused some kind of commotion, though no one was injured.

Of course, this illustrates one of the main problems with open carry. Besides freaking out the uninitiated citizen, it also makes yourself a target for crap like this.

To be sure, there are things you can do to mitigate this kind of thing. First, look at your holster and see how easily it is to draw from someone else’s hip. I’ve found that some holsters are very easy to draw from when they’re no your hip, but not so much when they’re on someone else’s.

Also, look at learning some weapon retention techniques. These are, in my opinion, a good idea for anyone who is carrying a firearm, whether open or concealed. The last thing you want is for your decision to rely solely on stealth to come back and bite you in the rear should someone figure out you’re packing.

That said, stealth–in other words, carrying concealed–is the best way in which to carry as a general rule. If you want to make a statement, that’s fine, but don’t expect anyone to listen to you when they’re concerned about the heater on your hip. Some will, but a lot more won’t.

But if you’re serious about protecting yourself and others with a firearm, carry it concealed. Doing so means that not only will you minimize your chances of being murder target number one in the event of a robbery, but you’ll also help make sure that you actually have your gun at that key moment, rather than having lost it to some schmuck in a local Walmart who snatched it and ran off.

Folks, if we want to be considered responsible gun owners, we need to act like it. That means not advertising what we have so would-be thieves like this can grab a hold of our weapons and run for the hills. The last thing any of us want is to help arm criminals, but just what do you think happened with this weapon?

Learn from this, just as I am, and let’s make this the last such incident.