Ryan Gill (montieth) wrote,
Ryan Gill
montieth

On open carry with rifles

With all of the Open Carry is BAD noise going on, let me relate an instance of where open carry of a rifle is in one way important and even useful or more specifically, responsible.

Several years ago, I was driving around in my then extant '01 Honda Insight. I suffered a tire problem which needed an expeditious replacement (side wall cut) and since I was near I-85 and a nearby NTB, I chose to drive there directly. I arranged for the tire replacement and as I was about to hand the keys over to the staffer, realized that I had a M1 Carbine in the car and in a location that was not entirely secure (certainly not to anyone in a reasonably well equipped auto repair shop at least).

I was faced with a conundrum, leave the firearm in the car where some "prohibited person" might gain access, drive home on an unsafe tire to secure the firearm, or remove, it sling it and treat it like a non issue (carefully so). Not being contrary to any laws of the State of Georgia, I opted for item 3.

So, I re-rigged the rifle inside the sleeve/sock it usually lives in but with the sling protruding through an expediently made slit and with just a bit of the butt-stock showing. Then I slung the carbine over my shoulder, went inside and handed off my keys to the NTB staffer to take my car around into their shop for the tire work. Upon inquiry, I discovered that my wait would be about 3 hours due to the work ahead of me (and the need to obtain tires from another location). So I sat down to wait with the carbine set behind my chair along side my every day carry computer bag.

An hour into watching insipid day time TV on the waiting room television, my resistance failed and I decided that a walk 3 doors down to the REI was in order. So, letting the NTB staff know to call if they finished my car sooner, I re-slung my somewhat concealed carbine (muzzle down) along with my computer bag and then walked down to the REI.

I entered the store without fanfare (no need for a tactical approach) and traveled towards the camping gear section. Upon being asked if I needed any assistance, I told the passing staffer that I was passing the time waiting on my car to get repaired at NTB and decided it would be best spent browsing their selection of fine gear. Nodding, the staffer wandered off to do what retail staffers do in such places in the middle of a slow week day.

I was there for about 15 minutes before I noticed one of the staffers was again near by, sort of hovering. I politely inquired as to if anything was the matter. He asked if what I was carrying was a rifle. I confirmed his suspicions and asked if it presented any issues. I did add that it was legal, further that I had a GA weapons carry license, not that that was required for rifles/carbines. I also did point out that since I had to get a tire issue fixed fast, and I didn't have any way to secure it in my car and thus figured this was the safest and most responsible thing to do. I further explained that if they desired that I leave, I would do so. He replied that he understood that I was waiting on my car to get fixed but was not sure if there was a problem or not insofar as corporate rules went. He said he'd have to go check. I agreed that if he wanted to do that then perhaps he should, I would abide by what ever they wished.

He departed to go check and in about 5 minutes returned and said that apparently there was not anything in the rules and that I was fine to stay. I thanked him for his time and courtesy. We chatted for a bit over some bits of gear and discussed water purifiers for a little while. I continued to browse for the next 45 more minutes until the cheerful call from the NTB folks related that my little Honda was once again roadworthy and with new "shoes". I departed the REI and went back to NTB to obtain my car and head about the business of my day.

No photos were posed for. Noone was threatened. No media was involved. No police were called. Everything was polite. No unhappy words were exchanged and I carried a slung rifle in store in an "administrative mode" that as far as I know, resulted in no hard feelings. And I suspect, based on the polite encounter that didn't seem at all an issue, gained a few points for responsible gun rights with the REI staff I encountered.
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