Open Carry Laws Helped a Madman Gun Down Three People in Colorado

0513_opencarry2201Growing up in Texas, it goes without saying that I have friends who like guns – one of whom is a conservative son of a former police officer and has had his concealed carry license for several years. One day a few months ago I asked him what he thought about those who want to openly carry guns and his response was rather surprising – he thinks it’s idiotic.

In fact, he said many of the same things I’ve been saying for years:

  • Openly carrying a gun makes you a target of anyone who may want to commit a crime because they know you have a weapon.
  • If everyone walks around openly carrying a gun, how would we know who the “bad guys” are?
  • It opens the door for discrimination because a group of black males walking down the street in a mostly white neighborhood with AK-47’s strapped to their backs isn’t going to make those folks “feel safer.”
  • It makes it much more difficult for cops to do their job because they can’t legally stop someone who might have bad intentions from openly carrying around a gun – until that person commits a crime with the gun (at which point it’s usually too late and there are already injuries or deaths).

This proves to me that someone can be an avid supporter of the Second Amendment and utilize common sense when it comes to regulating that right.

It goes back to a question I’ve asked gun fanatics for years: If everyone’s walking around with a gun thanks to these open carry laws, how can you tell the difference between a “good guy” with a gun and a “bad guy” with a gun before they start shooting people?

I’ve yet to receive a single rational answer to that question from any of them, because there isn’t one – and they know it.

Well, a tragedy in Colorado Springs perfectly exemplifies the dangers and stupidity of these open carry laws.

On Halloween, Noah Harpham killed three people in his neighborhood before later being gunned down by police in a shootout. This tragedy might have been avoided had it not been for the open carry laws in Colorado Springs.

You see, prior to Harpham opening fire, a neighbor had called 911 to try to alert police to the fact that she was worried something horrific was about to take place – only to be told by dispatch that there was nothing they could do because of Colorado Springs’ open carry laws.

Just think about that for a moment. You call 911 to report that someone who looks to have evil intentions is marching around your neighborhood with a gun, only to be told that there’s nothing the police can do about it until after that person shoots somebody or commits a crime with the gun.

That’s exactly the type of society open carry activists seem to want to create, and it’s absolutely absurd. Let me reiterate that, up until Harpham opened fire, he was just a “good guy with a gun excersizing his Second Amendment rights.”

I cannot fathom this level of stupidity and ignorance. To think, someone called 911 prior to this madman killing three innocent people and, because of these ridiculous open carry laws, there was practically nothing the police could do about it. 

Could you imagine if this happened at a school? By the way, there have been several incidents reported around the country where open carry activists legally marched in front of schools, terrifying students, teachers and parents. It’s just a matter of time before one of these “good guys” turns out to be a “bad guy” and we end up with another school massacre that could have been prevented – except open carry laws prevented anyone from doing anything about it until after a few students were already dead.

This is not what our Founding Fathers intended when they wrote our Second Amendment, and it’s a damn shame that there are so many people in this country who honestly believe that it is.

A big part of gun advocacy needs to be about responsible gun ownership and laws. There’s nothing responsible about supporting any law that says that when someone calls 911 to report a suspicious person carrying around a gun, the police can’t do anything about it because, until that person actually opens fire, they’re not breaking any laws.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Brian

    Bullshit. The basis of this is the police saying “He’s not breaking any laws.” Ok. Say he wasn’t openly carrying a gun. Then what? “He’s not breaking any laws.” That’s what. The crime still happens, the only difference is that morons get to feel more comfortable about it before it happens.

    • Joey Morales

      Forget your hypothetical senario. That fact is that he was openly carrying a gun that caught the eye of someone who felt it was suspicious enough to call it in and nothing was done due to the law. Lets also look at the states that have both the open gun and stand your ground laws. One guy walls inyo a store carrying a rifle, one guy already i. Thestore is carrrying a hand gun and feels threatened by the first guy. So he fires away claiming self defense.

      I wish people understood that these are lethal weapons. Not toys or fashion accessories.

    • Emma Huckleberry

      Wow, again you completely missed the point Brian…..

      • Jim Bean

        I think he completely nailed it. In fact, it was the same comment I scrolled down to make before I read his.

      • Brian

        No, I think you missed the point. This seems to be deliberate ignorance on your part in order to make yourself feel better about your complete inability to make a difference in a case like this.

  • Jim Bean

    The open-carry radicals are doing it to make a point just like the BLM folks are doing it to make a point. If we’re going to respect the right of one group to protest peacefully, don’t we have to respect the other? Isn’t that what our constitution provides for.

    Here we have three people killed and no reason to think absence of an open-carry law would have made any difference. With BLM we have hundreds, going on thousands killed, and liberals are defending them unconditionally.

    • Jake

      So a fellow american that is willing to risk life and limb and incarceration to protect your life or your loved ones is a “radical”
      Just think about this a second.

      I man, that saved your daughter or your wife or your mother or grandfather from being killed or victimized is just a “radical” and deserves this kind of treatment?
      You should just start talking shit about all of our soldiers out there protecting us, and our police…..they are just radical gun loving heretics

      • Jim Bean

        You obviously misunderstood my comment. I said, in part: “Here we have three people killed and no reason to think absence of an open-carry law would have made any difference.”

        I was using the term ‘radicals’ to describe those civilians parading around with weapons exposed just to provoke a reaction.

      • Jim Bean

        PS. I hope you’ll hang around here. You make articulate arguments that are refreshing in this sea of gobbledygook.

      • Jake

        ; )

  • Nancy B

    Disagree. You would have a point only if he had been open carrying and it had been against the law. Then he could have been stopped. But if it had been against the law, I think it would have been more likely that he would have been concealing, no 911 call would have been made, and the shooting would have happened anyway.

    • ratherdrive

      Why is it more likely that he would have been concealing, as you say? Clearly he was not only carrying, but brandishing as well, which in turn normally comes with a motive to display power.

      Rather difficult to brandish and conceal at the same time, right?

      • Nancy B

        More likely because he would know someone would call the cops before he started shooting. He was apparently not brandishing when the 911 call was made. From abc27 in Denver:

        “Naomi Bettis said she spotted Harpham, her neighbor, before the
        killings started. She was in her driveway and he was just a few feet

        “I looked straight at him, and he didn’t pull the guns on me or anything, but he looked at me,” Bettis said.

        Bettis said she called 911 to report a man walking with a rifle and looking
        suspicious, but that dispatchers informed her it is legal to openly
        carry a weapon in Colorado.”

      • Jake

        ratherdrive- chose to tuck tail in between legs

  • Jake

    At least the woman had a chance to spot a bad guy with a gun, with open carry illegal every one hides their gun.
    with the fear of a bad guy spotting a good guy I guess we should tell
    all the law enforcement officers to stay out of the public becuase they
    might be spotted and targeted…..
    Hmmm isnt this the exact reason we want a saturation of LEO’s in our soft zones, etc?
    I can be a trained armed civilian, and that prevents one opportunistic
    criminal from taking advantage of a situation then that is something I
    want to do!
    Many LEO’s dont train near as much as some civilian armed citizens. Having this asset is a huge benefit.
    me…if you had a daughter, or a wife, or a sister…..any loved
    one…that was making their way through their day in their college, or
    getting a latte at a barrista or a red bull at a convenience store, and
    put to the odds that an opportunistic criminal wanted to A). rob and
    score cash no matter what the consequence. B). A saddistic predator that
    wants to inflict as much harm on innnocent lives as possible and rape.
    Would you rather take away my right to be in that building and at least
    maybe make the criminal choose elsewhere because the risk/benefit wasnt
    good, or let me be the focus of attention from the criminal, and thus
    keeping your loved one out of the picture.???
    So all
    these vehement opposers of open carry, be it they are anti gun, or
    simply think tacticaly that an armed citizen gives up an advantage by
    being “spotted” by a criminal, can’t put themselves into the
    equation…they arent there as strangers ready to defend their wife or
    daughter or loved one, yet they want to take away another trained man
    willing to risk his life for a stranger….your loved one……???

    Isn’t that like saying a soldier is in the wrong for standing up proud, outspoken and visible to defend the homeland?
    Or police officers that are openly armed just contribute to the violence..
    officers being inserted among the population just provide themselves as
    the First targets to a bad guy? So therefore we should talk shit about

    I am a stranger, I am a husband, I am a son, I
    am a father, I am skilled, I am ready, I am out there to deter, to
    prevent, to combat the sin that is so prominent in our lives these days.
    I would risk my life for a stranger. Would you?
    Would you take away a tool that could prevent the your loved one being a victim or being killed?