My excellent friend and excellent photographer Steve LaBadessa has a photo essay featured in Time magazine about open carry gun law advocates in California:
It’s interesting that it’s a Barney Fife situation; you have to keep your bullets in your pockets until the little Andy Taylor in your head tells you it’s OK to get operational. I didn’t realize that was the case. For all the digital ink spilled on the subject, you’d think that tidbit would have found its way to my eyeballs. But then, you don’t hear much sense about the issue one way or the other about the topic.
I must admit it’s a bit jarring to see people walking around with a holster like that. Not particularly scary, just a little odd. Maybe I got blase while working construction for the majority of my life. We were all carrying around things that could maim or kill you pretty much all the time. Which would send you scurrying off a subway car faster: a guy with a pistol in a holster, or a guy carrying a chainsaw?
People disarmed themselves in the not too distant past. It wasn’t laws that did it, particularly. Guns became mostly superfluous in most places outside a farm or a city with the crime rate through the roof, so people stopped having them around. People stopped having outhouses when indoor plumbing got going, too. The unusual nature of seeing people out and about with guns again is more a signal that many average persons don’t think guns are superfluous any more, and they don’t think the government’s first impulse is to protect them from harm any longer, so they’re doing it themselves.
The question of whether to let people carry guns is plenty argued over. Better to ask why they want to. The registered nurse in the essay doesn’t look like Annie Oakley to me; maybe she just knows something we don’t about being out in the world with a bag full of legal drugs lots of people would kill her over.