I’m not a huge fan of open carry. I know some of you are and I respect your decision to carry openly. I know some people carry openly because their states allow that without a permit and so that’s how they’ll carry. I respect that decision too. In fact, I respect your decision to carry however the hell you want to carry, truth be told.

Yet I’m not a fan of open carry on a personal level.

What I’m less of a fan of, though, is the hysterics that I see from anti-gunners over the idea of open carry.

The open carry of firearms is primarily performance. Whether the performer’s goal is to dramatize extreme gun rights, intimidate others, trigger the libs or cast oneself as the avenging hero in a miniseries of the mind, the practice is not just an assault on public safety. It’s a theater of the absurd.

Oh, goodie. It’s going to be one of those opinion pieces.

I’m so thrilled.

There is no evidence that open carry makes any corner of society safer. There is, on the contrary, impressive evidence that carrying firearms increases aggression and gun violence. Open carry forces people in public thoroughfares to evaluate the mental state, physical demeanor and emotional intent of every armed person they see. How exactly does one differentiate open carry from homicidal carry?

False. The first study has been thoroughly debunked and the second study talks about road rage while providing absolutely no evidence that guns make people more aggressive. The writer apparently just did a Google search and grabbed the first study they could find.

As for how someone differentiates between open carry and homicidal carry, keep in mind that 99 percent of the people carrying a gun represent absolutely no risk to anyone. They’re carrying a gun. They may be police officers or not. It doesn’t matter. If they’re carrying a firearm on their hip, they’re not a threat.

If you’re worried, though, I have a suggestion. Get a gun and get a permit. Then, if that person does more than just carry a gun–meaning they begin to use that gun in a violent manner–you can deal with the threat yourself.

However, the writer does touch on a point here that I think is worth discussing.

When open-carry enthusiasts in Texas began organized public performances several years ago, they went to comic lengths to pretend that marching down the street with an AR-15 was perfectly normal behavior. “A rifle on our back is part of our everyday life, just like a cellphone is part of our everyday life,” one performer told the New York Times.

When other Texans declined to indulge the charade, fleeing instead, the group took extra precautions. They gave advance warning to patrons and employees at restaurants before entering. Because that’s what you do at restaurants when your behavior is totally normal and healthy and not-at-all alarming.

The idea here is to normalize the sight of people carrying firearms. Those who ran away did so because they have no context for seeing someone carrying a rifle down the street besides what they see in the news. In other words, they see a rifle out and about and they think mass shootings.

What these efforts are about is to try and change that perception.

Where I think we need more discussion, though, is whether this is the right way to go about it. Scaring the hell out of people rarely woos them to your side of the debate. While we can argue that such a thing shouldn’t scare people, the truth of the matter is that it does. It scares them severely.

It also provides ammunition to people like the writer, who can take a lawful and harmless activist and gin up all kinds of outrage. That outrage may well turn into legislation banning the practice.

The gun community has had the open carry versus concealed carry debate for years and we’ll continue to have it. However, I think it might be a good idea to discuss these kinds of practices in more detail and talk about whether they’re helping or hurting the effort. Self-imposed limits aren’t necessarily a bad thing.

The last thing I want to do is give anti-gunners more ammunition to try and kill open carry as a whole. Even if I don’t particularly like it, I like it not being an option far, far less.