Open Carry by an On Duty Range Officer - Safe or Unsafe?

Discuss issues regarding open carry.

Open Carry by an On Duty Range Officer - Safe or Unsafe?

Postby dewittdj » Mon 16 Feb 2015 8:27 pm

I tend to be biased towards legal carry in any but prohibited situations and even then, I like to hear and present arguments for allowing legal carry in all instances.

Several ranges in the area have rules against the general public from openly carrying while participating on the public shooting range. Some even go so far as to restrict Range Officers from openly carrying while serving on the public range.

A recent incident has brought to light a number of arguments for and against such practice by an on duty RO on a range that restricts open carry by anyone on the public range. The obvious argument is that such carry is against the range rules. Other arguments have included the safety ramifications of openly carrying, the influence of patrons, especially those that are of the "monkey see - monkey do" crowd.

The solution is for the ROs that wish to open carry to present an argument for open carry by ROs while on duty, to the appropriate decision makers on the Boards or Executive Committees of the subject ranges.

I've seen similar practices at Lee Kay, Bountiful, Cache Valley and Wahsatch.

What would your arguments be, either for or against an on duty RO openly carrying on the public range?
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Re: Open Carry by an On Duty Range Officer - Safe or Unsafe?

Postby gravedancer » Mon 16 Feb 2015 8:49 pm

I almost always open carried while working as an RSO at Big Hollow. Many of the other RSO's there did the same. Do they really need a reason other than "thats how they choose to carry" ?
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Re: Open Carry by an On Duty Range Officer - Safe or Unsafe?

Postby quychang » Mon 16 Feb 2015 9:18 pm

Many people only own, or at least shoot a limited number of guns. If it's your practice to open carry your 1911 where ever you go, and you're going shooting at a range, why in the world would you have to unholster, box your weapon and carry it in to the range that way, rather than just carry a bag with gear, ammunition, etc? And what makes it any safer to walk to your lane with a concealed weapon, unholster it and lay it on the bench, than doing so from an open carry holster? I've certainly done so with a concealed carry piece at both indoor ranges and at Wahsatch. Most of the time when I go shooting, it's with the intention of practicing with my carry gun. I think the whole question is somewhat absurd, to be honest. Not that YOU are being absurd by raising it Dave, but by the fact that it needs to be raised at all.

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Re: Open Carry by an On Duty Range Officer - Safe or Unsafe?

Postby Photocell » Mon 16 Feb 2015 9:39 pm

Just to be clear,are you asking our opinion on RO OC of a loaded firearm? I'm not real familiar with public ranges.
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Open Carry by an On Duty Range Officer - Safe or Unsafe?

Postby D-FIN » Mon 16 Feb 2015 11:00 pm

I am going to be brief here and maybe respond in more detail later. Typing on my phone in a hotel room. I personally think it should be allowed but I undrstand why as an RSO you could be concerned about someone with a firearm behind the line during a cease fire. In the holster it should be fine but you don't know them and if they will keep it there. As an RSO your job is everyone safety. I like to know about the incident?
Last edited by D-FIN on Tue 17 Feb 2015 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Open Carry by an On Duty Range Officer - Safe or Unsafe?

Postby muddy » Tue 17 Feb 2015 6:38 am

I was wondering about this as I witnessed an RO OCing at WSA last week and was wondering how they could get away with it. I have seen guys show up to the WSA open carrying a handgun and getting told by the RO's that they had to unload it and put it on the bench even though they were not shooting it but if they have it covered then its ok to leave on there hip. While this makes no sense to me in general why are the rules not the same for RO's? One has to play by the rules if they are going to enforce the rules don't you think? Would have been kind of hypocritical if that RO went up to some open carrier to tell him he couldn't OC all the while OCing himself.
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Re: Open Carry by an On Duty Range Officer - Safe or Unsafe?

Postby Paul » Tue 17 Feb 2015 7:50 am

I can't think of any reason to not allow OC by RSO's or anyone else at the range. Why are some ranges against it?
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Re: Open Carry by an On Duty Range Officer - Safe or Unsafe?

Postby gravedancer » Tue 17 Feb 2015 1:09 pm

Paul wrote:I can't think of any reason to not allow OC by RSO's or anyone else at the range. Why are some ranges against it?



It sounds like someone is just considering "OC" to be the same as "handling a firearm", and they are being a stickler about the "no one handling firearms while the range is cold" rule.

Basically, the RSO is assuming the worst case, which is that Joe open carrier is going to randomly pull the thing out of his holster and start handling it during a cease fire.

Personally, speaking as an RSO, I wouldnt have an issue with someone having a properly holstered weapon on their person, be it openly or concealed. The first time they started to fondle the thing during a cease fire though, wed have issues.
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Re: Open Carry by an On Duty Range Officer - Safe or Unsafe?

Postby Paul » Tue 17 Feb 2015 1:28 pm

Hmmm. I'm a RSO also I just never volunteer anywhere. I see zero problem with a holstered weapon. Handle when you aren't supposed to though and that's another problem.
This sounds like the "make a rule to ATTEMPT to prevent stupid from being stupid rather than just address stupid when it comes up."
If people are too dumb to keep a holstered gun holstered during a cease fire then they should be booted off the range.
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Re: Open Carry by an On Duty Range Officer - Safe or Unsafe?

Postby UtahJarhead » Tue 17 Feb 2015 1:36 pm

I've seen plenty of rules on drawing and shooting, a la speed drills... but restricting carry? That's asinine IMO. I've heard of it, but never seen it.
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Re: Open Carry by an On Duty Range Officer - Safe or Unsafe?

Postby jfwright1955 » Tue 17 Feb 2015 5:11 pm

Personally, I don't have a problem with the responsible open carrying of a holstered firearm at the range. For consistency I don't draw any distinction between RO's and the general public. As long as a person open carrying is demonstrating safe, acceptable behavior as defined by the ranges' rules then in my mind it shouldn't present any additional safety concerns or risks.

The issue I have is more around any apparent double-standards or interpretation of range rules. An example I'll use is for a range I'm more familiar with where the RO handbook states:

Wearing of Side-arms on the Public Range
NO ONE, including range officers, may wear an exposed sidearm on the public range CONCEALED firearms are exempt; these firearms will remain concealed. Customers with open carry handguns will place their firearms on their bench. An RO may not ask to view a patron’s concealed firearms permit. Side-arms may not be drawn and fired from the holster while on the public range.

That said, on several occasions I've seen RO's OC'ing on the public range and other RO's haven't said anything, or at least not that I've been witness to. I've also witnessed members of the public showing up with an openly holstered firearm and they've been correctly asked to conceal or bench it (usually the former) so as to comply with the established range rules.

So, either the rules for ranges using the same or similar verbiage as above should be changed to reflect what is considered "allowable" holstering of concealed and openly carried firearms for everyone to abide by or existing rules should be equally enforced for patrons and RO's.
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Re: Open Carry by an On Duty Range Officer - Safe or Unsafe?

Postby quychang » Tue 17 Feb 2015 5:26 pm

jfwright1955 wrote:Personally, I don't have a problem with the responsible open carrying of a holstered firearm at the range. For consistency I don't draw any distinction between RO's and the general public. As long as a person open carrying is demonstrating safe, acceptable behavior as defined by the ranges' rules then in my mind it shouldn't present any additional safety concerns or risks.

The issue I have is more around any apparent double-standards or interpretation of range rules. An example I'll use is for a range I'm more familiar with where the RO handbook states:

Wearing of Side-arms on the Public Range
NO ONE, including range officers, may wear an exposed sidearm on the public range CONCEALED firearms are exempt; these firearms will remain concealed. Customers with open carry handguns will place their firearms on their bench. An RO may not ask to view a patron’s concealed firearms permit. Side-arms may not be drawn and fired from the holster while on the public range.

That said, on several occasions I've seen RO's OC'ing on the public range and other RO's haven't said anything, or at least not that I've been witness to. I've also witnessed members of the public showing up with an openly holstered firearm and they've been correctly asked to conceal or bench it (usually the former) so as to comply with the established range rules.

So, either the rules for ranges using the same or similar verbiage as above should be changed to reflect what is considered "allowable" holstering of concealed and openly carried firearms for everyone to abide by or existing rules should be equally enforced for patrons and RO's.


If that's the way the rule is written, I guess I don't have an issue with it. My intention upon arrival is going to be to bench the firearm in preparation for practicing with it. As long as at the end of the session, I'm allowed to return it to my holster to leave the range, I'm cool. I'd even be willing to walk back to my vehicle before unholstering and reloading, though that seems both counter productive, and one handling step less safe. The same holds true of my concealed carry gun. My intent will be to bench it, get out my extra mags, boxes of cartridges, etc. I do not have a problem with not handling the gun during cease fires. I don't feel any particular need to carry a holstered weapon while on the range and that includes concealed, but I can certainly see why an RO would prefer to do so. I also think it's a little ridiculous to have different rules for concealed vs. open carry of holstered guns. Like covering it up makes it any safer. I suppose if you have a problem with your gun jumping out of the holster randomly just to cause problems, then covering it might make sense. I honestly don't know anyone with that problem though.

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Re: Open Carry by an On Duty Range Officer - Safe or Unsafe?

Postby dewittdj » Tue 17 Feb 2015 10:07 pm

Photocell wrote:Just to be clear,are you asking our opinion on RO OC of a loaded firearm? I'm not real familiar with public ranges.

Yes, your opinion for or against the idea of having Range Officers OC while on duty on a public range.
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Re: Open Carry by an On Duty Range Officer - Safe or Unsafe?

Postby MichaelD » Wed 18 Feb 2015 6:35 am

I don't see an issue with open carry by a range officer at all, so long as the public is allowed to do the same.
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Re: Open Carry by an On Duty Range Officer - Safe or Unsafe?

Postby gravedancer » Wed 18 Feb 2015 9:22 am

jfwright1955 wrote:Personally, I don't have a problem with the responsible open carrying of a holstered firearm at the range. For consistency I don't draw any distinction between RO's and the general public. As long as a person open carrying is demonstrating safe, acceptable behavior as defined by the ranges' rules then in my mind it shouldn't present any additional safety concerns or risks.

The issue I have is more around any apparent double-standards or interpretation of range rules. An example I'll use is for a range I'm more familiar with where the RO handbook states:

Wearing of Side-arms on the Public Range
NO ONE, including range officers, may wear an exposed sidearm on the public range CONCEALED firearms are exempt; these firearms will remain concealed. Customers with open carry handguns will place their firearms on their bench. An RO may not ask to view a patron’s concealed firearms permit. Side-arms may not be drawn and fired from the holster while on the public range.

That said, on several occasions I've seen RO's OC'ing on the public range and other RO's haven't said anything, or at least not that I've been witness to. I've also witnessed members of the public showing up with an openly holstered firearm and they've been correctly asked to conceal or bench it (usually the former) so as to comply with the established range rules.

So, either the rules for ranges using the same or similar verbiage as above should be changed to reflect what is considered "allowable" holstering of concealed and openly carried firearms for everyone to abide by or existing rules should be equally enforced for patrons and RO's.



Sounds like that rule was written by someone who doesnt like OC, and they are taking the opportunity to try to discourage it.
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