Thursday, January 15, 2009

Eventful Open Carry Experience

So Chris (gir007), his brother Raymond, my brother (elsensei) and myself all went to the Westfield UTC last night at 5:00 to check out the various stores and help Chris pick out his new Ipod. After having Raymond go to Sears to pick out a belt so he could carry my Makarov (He didn't know he was allowed to carry being under 21 and I had an extra gun with me, just in case) and Sam met up with us at our cars, we all walked into the mall near Sears and the adjacent parking structure.

As we walked in we met (by chance) some of Sam's friends, Kevin and Lisa, who subsequently joined us on our little adventure and went to the Apple store. Once inside, Chris went up front and started his Ipod purchase while the rest of us hung out at the back of the store, talking and checking out the various Macbooks. About 5 minutes in an employee came up to us and asked us about why we were carrying guns and asked the usual "do you have a license?" question, etc. We then explained some of the laws and had Raymond fetch a pamphlet from Chris to give to him. Very cool guy and seemed very open to the idea of it. (It probably helps that he is a former Missouri resident.)

Meanwhile, Kevin noticed that a plainclothes security guard (he saw the earbud and ID necklace lanyard) had entered the store and was coming progressively closer by "checking out" each laptop by tapping keys on the keyboard (while typing out nothing, haha!) but this was as we were leaving anyways so we just left.

Walking across the mall towards Nordstrom's we encountered a security guard talking on a cell phone and did not notice that we were packing. This was pretty unusual as he was positioned on our strong-sides.

Walking into Nordstrom's and shopping was yet again eventless. Chris said one lady asked him if he needed help and then said "never mind" and turned around but that seemed to be the extent of reaction. I noticed a few heads being turned myself but no one said anything (at least audibly)

After Nordstrom's we went into the dance store to see if Lisa could pick up a pair of swing shoes for last night's lesson. The saleswoman didn't say anything and was very nice. We half thought about trying on leotards but thought better of it :)

After that, we walked over to Starbucks and on our way there we actually had a security guard walk IN BETWEEN US and not even raise an eyebrow. We thought that was pretty funny overall. It got even funnier once we got to Starbucks, however, for as we stood there in a circle talking about what to do next a security guard passed by and went into an adjacent store. A few minutes later another security guard passed by, saw us, stopped, turned around and walked right behind a mall map and began radioing people. The first guard came out of the store and began radioing the second guard from about 10 feet away. We all had a chuckle about this because it was totally audible and they didn't know what to do about us doing NOTHING at all.

Eventually, we all figured out what we were going to do and then walked towards our original entry point. Along the way we noticed a guard trailing us by about 50 yards and using his radio at frequent intervals. Near the mall map near Sears I said goodbye to Sam, Lisa and Kevin as they were going to their respective dance lessons while Chris, Raymond and I had decided to go to Chilis. After reaching our cars and packing up everything to go into my car, we saw our trailing security guard standing on the sidewalk in front of Sears watching us leave. The time was 6:05 when we exited the parking lot.

Heading up the 805 lead us to Chili's Mira Mesa and was an excellent experience. We all sat at the bar and no one made issue with us carrying but one guy came in when we were about halfway finished with our food and looked surprised. During the meal he kept looking at Chris' magazines attached to his belt on the back of his weakside hip (Chris didn't see because Chris was facing me and the gentleman was sitting to Chris' weakside.) While discussing politics, video games and eventually (nay, inevitably) firearms, our newcomer pardoned himself and asked us about the gun laws and explained that he was a Nevada CCW holder but did not have one in California and was confused on some of the gun laws here and that the Sheriff up in Santa Barbara was not very helpful in clarifying the law for him so Chris and I educated him on some of the laws, (e.g. it is legal to have the gun and magazines in the same case, etc). Chris gave him a pamphlet and we wrote down our usernames for him in case he had further questions and he seemed very enthusiastic about our conversation. No doubt that he will be joining sometime in the near future.

After swapping some stories and paying our bill we left and went back to the mall where we noticed a stronger-than-usual police presence in that area with two patrolling cruisers. It might just be cooincidental but we thought that it was unusal to see cops patrolling an area approximately 1.5 hours after we had left the area.

After utilizing Sears' facilities (unstrapped) and saying our goodbyes, I went to the AMC 12 to try and catch Doubt for my film class. The mall was nearly empty when I was there at 8:15 so no real issues there. As it turned out the movie had started at 7:30 and the next showing was not until 10:00 so I decided to go another time and left.

On my way out, however, I stopped into a luggage store to inquire about repairing my sleeping bag. Since there were 2 guys ahead of me I stood and waited my turn but one of the customers began asking me about the laws concerning open carry as he was unaware of them (no surprise here) as he already had a CA CCW permit (big surprise there). As it turns out he is an auctioneer with his own company and travels a lot so that is how he got his. Now that I think about it, I did forget to ask him what county he got his permit in... crap! I wrote down my blog address on the back of that store's business card and handed it to him on his way out.

After I inquired about my sleeping bag repair with the salesman and was on my way out, he also asked me about the law here concerning open carry. I turned around and gave him a quick rundown of the laws and he told me about his life in Tuscon and how it was like the "old west." Nice guy and obviously pro-gun. I also wrote down my blog address for him as well as With that, I stashed the Tracker and headed up to my friend's house.

FINALLY, my writeup is done! I am sitting here in the computer lab at the Price Center with another 3 hours to go before class starts. I think I shall now utilize this time for furthering my understanding of Genetics and O-Chem.

Corollary thread for this post here

With that, fellow brethren in arms, I shall depart. Until my next adventure...


ETA on Jan 20: Word on the grapevine has it that the cops were called on us while OC'ing at Westfield UTC, which explains the police presence at the mall while coming back from Chili's Mira Mesa. Only one call was made and it was probably made after we had left the area... freaking hilarious.


Added Jan 18- VIDEOS!

Meet and greet in the parking lot.

Walking over to Nordstrom's

Walking out of Nordstrom's


elsensei said...

nice writeup. I'll get you video later today hopefully. :)

Lisa Ann Wilson said...

really fun time nathan - i like your blog. keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Sounds exhausting. I can't wait until this becomes so much like AZ that nobody feels the need to ask anything or behave any differently. Unless they're other CGN members saying hi!

spddrcr said...

hows it going? well ive been following your blog regularly for awhile ever since i saw mention of it over at calguns, and i do comend you for doing what you are doing and making the public aware of the actual laws concerning open carry. But i just dont know exactly how much is for show and reaction and how much is actually for advancement of our rights. saying things like look there's 3 guys with guns not shooting anyone seems to not be the smartest of things to say when the general public is not aware of the laws, as well as the blanket statement about the SD police.

im sure you have and will again at some point put yourself in the police officers shoe's. with all the crazy things going on in our country your never sure why people are carrying guns around a mall, and though you and i and most pro gunners will agree that if more upstanding citizens did carry guns then our towns and cities would be safer, im sure people who are ignorant about the real statistics of crime in free states dont care and all they think is "look criminals with guns" no matter how far from the truth it is.

anyways keep up the good fight, and next time i make it down to the SD area ill hit you up on your blog and maybe we can get lunch or something.

TrackerPacker said...

To have advancement for our rights there obviously has to be a "for show and reaction" part, because for people to notice it has to be shown and to gauge their knowledge or preconceived notion of an armed citizen there has to be some sort of reaction (in psychology, your reaction is gauged by your ideas of something.) If people do not have a psychologically preconceived notion that those carrying guns are evildoers, then we have the chance to engage those individuals in a normal conversation and let them know that we are about. If not, then the message still is that gun-carrying citizens are not a threat. We provided the former class of people with some information and they left all the better informed while the latter class was not clearly visible in our endeavors, save for the overzealous security guards.

The statement about "3 guys not shooting" is directly related to the previous paragraph. All too often it is thought that people that own, utilize or carry a gun automatically turn into psychopath killers and initiate another Columbine or some other mass-murdering event. In any case, that statement was made when no one was around and was said with the humorous gun owner in mind, as it is one of our little jokes.

I welcome the next time you come down to SD. :)


elsensei said...

my god, those videos were so boring. no blood, no guts, no violence, no screaming victims. Not even a gun sprouting legs, jumping out of the holster and running around, pulling its own trigger. Can i have the last 5 minutes of my life back?