This April 2015 article about a man shooting himself in the bathroom of a Chick-Fil-A that popped up on multiple Facebook feeds today got me thinking about open carry. Let me explain…
The biggest practical benefits of the legalization of open carry in Texas come from no longer having to worry about getting in trouble for failure to conceal for brief periods where your activities or weather conditions cause you to expose all or part of your gun. One of those activities is using a public bathroom. With open carry legalized, the problem is solved. Keep the gun holstered, don’t handle it, and don’t worry about somebody seeing it.
If your gun is at risk of falling out of your holster when you lower your pants, you need a better holster that offers more retention. Having your gun fall out of your holster in public is embarrassing, could be a violation of the law (in places where open carry is not allowed), and worst, could result in injury or death.
Unfortunately, more than 400 businesses in Texas have chosen to post 30.07 signs banning open carry, which actually denies the armed citizen the “common sense” solution of simply leaving the gun holstered. In order to keep the gun concealed, that typically requires taking the gun out of the holster and setting it somewhere, finding some way to cover it up, or hanging it on the hook on the door. There are problems with each of those options, and sometimes they result in negative outcomes including negligent discharges and forgotten guns:
The simplest solutions to this problem are:
- Use the bathroom in places where open carry is allowed.
- Use the bathroom in places where only one person at a time can go in, and you can lock the door. Even if open carry is not allowed, in that situation you have taken the necessary steps to ensure that your gun is “not openly discernible to the ordinary observation of a reasonable person”, which is the legal definition of concealed in Texas.
- Pocket carry, purse carry or off-body carry. (All these methods have their own problems related to security of the gun and speed of access, but do offer an advantage in this specific situation).
When none of those options are available, this article from the Alien Gear website (and the linked video) offers some good general advice on this topic.