Is Open Carry Dangerous For A Black Man?

Gun rights are civil rights.  Guns are not only for white North America.  There is some form of legal open carry in 43 states in the US for the law abiding.  It is an individual state’s constitutional provision that allows a law abiding citizen to do this.  And that person has to be willing to take on the scrutiny of the public, law enforcement, and even peers in the gun community.  You have to have your act together to do this.  Criminals don’t open carry. 

I ask the question because perception being what it is…  Misconceptions, hoplophobia and ignorance can get you killed.  What do you think?

Is open carry for a non-white person dangerous?  For those that carry; have you ever considered the risk a person of color may face to do the same thing as you even though they have the “right” to do so?








Rev. Kenn Blanchard is a gun rights activist, firearms trainer, and new media producer of The Urban Shooter Podcast.

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27 thoughts on “Is Open Carry Dangerous For A Black Man?”

  1. I don’t think open carry is dangerous for a black man, I just think that a black man open carrying a gun will cause a lot of uproar, panic and fear within the society. I think the more we as law abiding black people open carry, the less and less society will pay attention and focus on something else.

  2. There is an element of risk for a black person to openly carry a firearm. We run the risk of being identified as criminals to law enforcement despite not breaking any laws. Police officers know that they aren’t to hassle black men for merely carrying firearms, however, that does not stop them from their “consensual” encounters. In Detroit, the top brass of DPD has stated on the record that their officers have been trained on the subject, however, the actions by some officers suggests otherwise. In many of these aforementioned encounters, some police officers unfairly and in some case unlawfully violate the rights of black open carriers. It is only a matter of time before a horrific accident occurs. Despite the risk, there are scores of black men in Detroit who carry their arms openly as an expression of their rights as full citizens. There are other reasons to openly carry a gun, such as crime deterrence, but black folks also boldly open carry to educate others. In the end, some police will continue their acts against the rights of black open carriers until we make them stop. If it takes several federal lawsuits targeting the city’s already thin coffers, then so be it. However, they will be stopped.

  3. I think that combining “walking while black” with open carry increases your chances for a bad encounter, but also increases the educational value of OC.
    And with enough lawsuits after the bad encounters, eventually even the worst police officers & departments will realize that the law applies to them too.

    1. BTW, I’m not black & I’ve been seriously harassed by 2 PDs in my metro area… arrested twice, once at gunpoint.
      And one time they even broke into my home!
      After they tackled & handcuffed me, the first thing the SGT was shouting at me was “where are the guns? how many guns are in the house?”

  4. As we already know most gun laws came as a result to deny blacks their 2nd amendment right, some gun laws went hand in hand with jim crow.A dichotomy exist whereas if you carry in the black community you are more apt to be stopped by law enforcement as opposed to being white and carrying in the white community, if you are black carrying in a white community then you are more likely to be stopped than a white carrying in a black community.As i have stated before, most southern white men don’t believe blacks should have the same privileges and rights when it comes to guns and gun ownership, simply put they don’t want us to have what they have, show up at the range with an exotic weapon and see if you dont get thoset how did you get that, how could you afford that or what are you doing with that stares. Carry a weapon openly and you’ll get the same looks of disdain and disbelief, how dare you have the nerve to open carry. They think blacks are predisposed to violence thus we present a certain fear factor to those seeing a black man open carrying a gun.There is a law here in NC im not sure of anywhere else that is called, “going armed to the terror of the public” which means if you open carry in an intimidating or threatening manner you could be arrested or detained simply for carrying your weapon if someone else feels threatened by you. To me that law simply says it applies to negroes in reality, not in theory. Me personally i’d rather my enemy not know what i was armed with, i’d never open carry, in terms of self defense with a firearm i’d rather remain an enigma.

  5. It would be interesting to see how much more statistically-likely such open carry would be to result in contact with law enforcement…

  6. I’d like to say it’s no more dangerous for a black man than it is for me, but many of the people I work with don’t think anything of my gun habit, but would immediately think I was a criminal if I was black.

    A Latino once told me he never got into guns because where he grew up, only the bad guys had guns and he wasn’t a bad guy.


  7. That is a question about the honesty of law enforcement.  I think that a black man would have to be extremely careful open carrying.  I think the risk is higher than if he is white, but it depends on the area.  I’d stand out like a white rabbit in some northern inner cities and would be a fool to open carry there because it would be seen as unnecessarily provocative.  A rural area in the south might think nothing of it.

    Great question, Kenn.

  8. i don’t know the answer to that. but i do know that many have been shot while carrying absoutly nothing.  i would like to expand that question to, “is open carry dangerous to a black man more so than his white counterpart, and if so, who poses that danger and why?

    1. Is it more dangerous? Yes.
      Who poses the danger? Uninformed / bigoted LEO & uniformed / bigoted sheep.

      Why? Should be self-evident. The sheep call the LEO & bleat about someone doing something legal that they don’t like, & maybe they throw in a few not-completely-true statements to ensure that police respond quickly & severely.
      The police, acting on that bad information, react much more strongly than the situation warrants. Add in their own prejudices & misconceptions & it could be a bad scene.

  9. Paradoxically, it might be *safer* for a black man to carry openly than concealed. With OC, the gun is right there for all to see and might preclude some of the “I thought he was holding a gun” errors. Of course, it wouldn’t be MY lilly-white ass bleeding if I’m mistaken, so take that observation with a grain of salt.

  10. First of all, I’m still “on the fence” about open carry.  Anyone openly carrying a gun in public “raises a few eyebrows”, but  a Black man openly carrying will draw attention.   A Black man may be well within his right open carrying, but it will be frowned upon simply because of how Black men are portrayed i.e. racism/racial profiling.  If a Black man is going to open carry (or conceal carry) for that matter, it would definitely help if they learned the laws in their area and had a pro-gun lawyer on their side.

  11. Ken,  I think it depends on the image you betray while carrying.  A young BMA (Black male adult) with dreadlocks, baggy pants, and a backwards hat openly carrying will not get a warm reception from the local police.  A more socially acceptable way of dress somewhat business casual or jeans and a nice shirt with the look of an honest citizen may not have the same experience.  I think the same would be true of any person… if you look like a thug (white, asian, hispanic, etc)  you will get the thug appraoch and treatment from police.  Someone who takes a moment to consider thier appearance and the image they are trying o convey to the public is very important becasue it is the public that will be calling those local cops.  I think open carry is a bad idea typically (IMHO) concealed is much better, catches much less attention, and is the most responsible way to carry if it is legal in your state.  A person carrying a gun, in a holster, with an extra magazine will probably be mistaken for an off duty policeman.  Hope the comment helps, I like your show.  Thank you for producing it. 

  12. Here is the problem. 40% of the prison population is african american. The African American race is the leader are the leaders in committing  violent crimes in america. The public perception is in-line with the proportion of crimes that are being committed by this race. Yes it is dangerous, from public perception.

  13. I don’t consider open carry dangerous for a blackman.  I live in Virginia,and have opened carried a few times. I usually carry concealed everywhere I go. I don’t knock open carry. I just don’t like to advertise when I’m carrying at all. The few times I’ve open carried I’ve had no problem at all except for when I open carried in to a resturant in Alexandria, Va. Got some stares, and the manager came over to chat, but that was it. I was not asked to leave, and I was able to enjoy my meal with no problems. It is my right as a citizen  to open carry if I want,and the perception that because I’m black and carrying a gun I am a potential criminal is just asinine. And that is my attitude at all times. Numerous people have asked me why I carry a gun,and I always take the time to educate folks on why I carry, and gun laws in Virginia as opposed to strict anti-gun laws in Maryland and the district. Almost always folks are surprised when they hear about the difference between state gun laws and the rights of a citizen pertaining to guns.

  14. Absolutely not, not any more than for anyone else.

    It comes down to how you present yourself. If you wear baggy pants, a backwards hat, a t-shirt laced with profanity, and open carry by shoving your pistol in your pants and tucking in the shirt around it, then you may be seen as a threat by citizens or police…NO MATTER WHAT RACE YOU ARE. White, black, whatever, the same prejudices will be levied against you as you will be perceived as a danger rather than a trusted member of society.

    If you dress in decent pants, a polo shirt, comb your hair, and use a nice holster to open carry on your belt…then you have a significantly lower risk of having any sort of overreaction to your open carry, also regardless of your race.

    The factors that affect whether people misjudge your open carry do exist, but they have nothing to do with skin color. They have to do with how you choose to present yourself. Fair or not, it’s true. But at least it’s equally true for everyone.

  15. It should not matter how you are dressed the President Wears a suit and tie and People still call him a N the black man when he was born had a target acrossed his chest it’s sad but that’s how it is if you are American citizen and your rights have not been taken away then you have the right to carry a weapon where there States that allows it for as blacks over populating the Prision because let the truth be told a black man is going to get a different sentence as a white man doing the same offense Prision are built to enslave the black man another way to control them bad cops has placed false charges on black males so there can’t vote rights taken away so they can’t carry can’t get a loan for education it’s to kill steal and distroy there lives the devil let a black man say he has rights and that cop is going to slam him on the ground and taser him and say stop reaching for my weapon and shoot and kill them of taser them where now they are disabled because a cop went over board because it’s nothing anyone will do about it a private club for them it’s sad but true what I write about this happen to my family members so I know this for a fact

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