Open Carry: Problem or Solution?


Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings (D) stood next to Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) and dropped an extremely uncomfortable reality check: Open Carry, the movement pushed with near-fanatical obsession by Texas Republicans, not only did nothing to help stop the mass shooting of police officers in Dallas, but it actually made the situation far worse. Open Carry had an opportunity to justify its existence – and it failed on every conceivable level.

For Rawlings, examining the aftermath of the shooting made it clear that having dozens of scared civilians clinging to assault-style weapons during a mass shooting was a recipe for disaster. The “good guys with guns” didn’t suddenly become action heroes bravely stopping a heavily-armed lunatic. They acted like any of us would: When the shooting started, they scattered in every direction in terror. Only unlike others, these fleeing victims were strapped with weapons that sowed confusion. Any of them could have been a shooter attempting to blend in. At a moment when cops were being targeted by a sniper, officers had to track down these “innocent” gunmen just to make sure they weren’t one of the bad guys.

As Rawlings explained:

It’s logical to say that in a shooting situation, open carry can be detrimental to the safety of individuals.

Here’s how bad the situation became in Dallas during the shooting:

Rawlings said Dallas police Chief David Brown told him that people running through the shooting scene with rifles and body armor required officers to track them down and bring them to the police department. Whether that was time that could have been spent trying to find and stop the shooter is something police will have to comment on, Rawlings said.

In other words, the exact reason gun rights activists often give to justify “guns everywhere” bills is false. They don’t keep people safe, they put people’s lives at risk by causing chaos.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.