James Causey, a columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, spent a day with a gentleman who open-carried his pistol. Mr. Causey writes:
Here's my take: While a person has a right to legally open carry, I don't understand the need to draw unwanted attention. Why display your gun when you can carry a weapon — with a concealed-carry permit — under your clothing? I don't want to be in a restaurant next to someone with a gun any more than I want to sit next to a smoker.Now I’m not going to say that Mr. Causey has no right to his opinion. In fact, I’m sure there are plenty of others who would agree with him. But the problem with his article is that it shows he carries a preconceived notion as to how open-carry ought to be perceived within the community.
Here’s what I mean. He writes:
When he parked at Home Depot and got out of his Chevrolet pickup, I walked behind [the man] to see if any of the workers or shoppers paid attention to the firearm. Most people appeared not to notice, and when a worker helped him to pick out an electric saw, he didn't appear to be alarmed.It’s almost as if Mr. Causey was, oh, I don’t know, expecting people to freak out and run away screaming. Few seemed to notice the firearm; those who did, for all intents and purposes, didn’t seem to care (or be ‘alarmed’); only at ‘the bank’ did anyone actually pay noticeable attention, and even then only one man felt compelled to ‘back away’.
While [the man’s] firearm didn't draw much attention at Home Depot, Petco and the service station, several people noticed at the Tri-City National Bank inside the Pick 'n Save. One man in line backed up a few feet when he spotted the gun. (emphases mine)
Now here’s an important point about the whole ‘bank’ thing: if this TCF Bank is like most other banks inside supermarkets in the Milwaukee area, it looks like this:
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That’s right: a service counter with a small attached office – hardly the stand-alone bank-with-teller-cages-and-a-vault you might visualize in reading the article. So, if you wish to be technical, the gentleman Mr. Causey was with was in a supermarket and stepped up to the bank-branch counter.
I will agree with the sentiment voiced in the article that some open-carry (like the guys walking around town with their rifles slung over their shoulders) doesn’t help the cause a whole lot. But Mr. Causey’s article, though not ironclad proof that fears of open-carried firearms are misplaced, is another piece of evidence that, perhaps, there aren’t all that many people out in the community who react with instant, pants-wetting fear of seeing a handgun.