Open Carry in Washington – Who Really Does It?

In today’s Doonesbury cartoon in the Spokesman-Review, Alex Doonesbury starts an argument with some guys wearing guns in a coffee shop.  They respond by implying that her boyfriend Leo is not manly enough to pack a gun.  Leo is an Iraq War vet and he puts them in their place.

I blogged last summer about the open carry movement in rural Washington, and I have been tracking it for about 3 years.  When I wrote that blog post last summer, I really thought more would come of the movement in rural areas.  However, it really seems to be more of an urban thing.  It seems as if the open-carry advocates are focusing on the Seattle and San Francisco Bay areas.  Check out a good article in the Seattle PI about the subject of Starbucks’ decision not to prohibit open-carry in their stores.  See here.   The odd thing about this issue is that I think a lot of urbanites assume open-carry occurs in rural areas.  I live in a very rural area with no local gun ordinances, and I literally do not recall a single instance of open carry here in the 15 years that I lived here.   I have obviously seen people armed at the gun range, out hunting, or even on their own property in Ferry, Stevens and Okanogan County.  But I have never seen someone just come into the supermarket or coffee shop bearing a side arm in open view.

To view the full Doonesbury cartoon online click here.  (Note that if you visit this cartoon after Sunday, you will have to click “previous” at the top of the cartoon to see Sunday’s strip.)  Also, check out this youtube video.

Watching this video it is hard to tell who is supporting what side. Seattle is a weird place.

3 Responses to “Open Carry in Washington – Who Really Does It?”

  • Dave Yarnell:

    I recently attended a dinner lecture where some folks from Montana came to discuss the Constitution. Two of the speakers wore pistols in plain view. I had been introduced to them and they knew I was a law enforcement officer. It appeared to me that they felt I may have some problem with them wearing their weapons, because they kept making direct eye contact with me every time they spoke about the Second Amendment. There is very little open carry in my county, even though I have never heard any comments made to discourage it or ban it. I fully support the Second Amendment of our Constitution, but I think most people are fearful of the bureaucracy of the government and have no faith in the security of their rights.

  • Hayden:

    The whole premise of the open carry movement is “use it or lose it” – meaning the right to bear arms will wither away if people are not reminded of that right daily by seeing armed men all over. The problem with this argument is that the same people do not apply that reasoning to the 1st amendment. For example, a person has a constitutional right to burn an American flag (on private property) See Texas v. Johnson (1989). I fail to see how that right will wither away if I do not burn American flags on a regular basis. The constitution allows people to act like a moron – I fail to see how we need a reminder. Whether it is burning a flag or carrying an M-16 into starbuck, the result is the same – it is just some selfimportant jackass looking for attention!

  • Sue:

    It was good to see the Supreme Court overturn the Chicago ban today.Reasonable gun control needs to exisit to keep it from being too easy for criminals to get their hands on weapons, but the average ciitzen should never be denied their right to possess weapons.

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Steve Graham is a criminal defense lawyer, and he splits his time between Spokane and Seattle, Washington. Visit his website by clicking:
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