Seems like everyone's talking about open carry these days. I don't really have a dog in the open carry hunt, living in the Volksrepublik of MA as I do - I have this thing against getting proned out by a SWAT team - yet wanted to address some of the ideas and accusations being tossed around. This is one of those "hot button" issues where folks have strong, deeply-held convictions and often view contrary viewpoints as direct, personal affronts.
We'll start with the obvious disclaimer: Open carry should be legal in all 50 states. Period. The Second Amendment expressly mentions the right to keep and bear arms - there shouldn't even be a debate about the legality of open carry. That said, there are places where it's illegal (mystifyingly, both Texas and Florida fall into this category); places where it's legal on a technical level, but not advised (oddly enough, MA has no specific prohibitions against open carry); states where open carry is legal and completely accepted; and everything in between.
There have been instances of open carry being less-than-well-received even in states that are 2A friendly (NH, OH, and TN come immediately to mind) - which is why I, personally, don't care for open carry. There's too much fear, ignorance, and outright hostility towards guns and gun owners pretty much anywhere you go, and it's just too likely to result in an unpleasant confrontation with the police or a gun bigot. In my own opinion, the likelihood of having to face off against some tiny-brained hater or ignorant "respect mah authoritay" type outweigh the convenience of open carry. In my opinion.
For others, though, it's something they choose to do, and I say power to them. Yes, some take it to extremes, getting in people's faces and such, but I'd wager those folks are the far end of the bell curve. If the argument was about which gauge knitting needle made the best afghan, you know these people would INSIST that 6/0 is the ONE TRUE SIZE and that ANYONE who disagrees with you IS AN IDIOT and DOESN'T KNOW WHAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT. And they overuse the caps lock, too. Some folks just feel the need to be confrontational; I don't think it's necessarily because of open carry.
As to those who say "but it will alienate fence sitters", I'd offer that those "fence sitters" weren't people we were going to win over to the pro-2A side anyways. Very few people have problems with police officers or security guards carrying firearms openly; it's not the guns themselves that people have an issue with. If someone allegedly neutral on 2A issues is frightened over to the gun control side because they see a citizen openly carrying a firearm, they were never really on the fence in the first place.
I really don't understand why this is an issue. This should be one of those light-hearted back-and-forth issues like 9mm vs .45 ACP or Glock vs. 1911. I long for the day when the only response to seeing someone carring a firearm is "semi-auto or revolver?" If the switch were flipped tomorrow and open carry were made perfectly legal and unquestioned, my biggest problem would be deciding which gun to carry. And I'd need a whole boatload of nicer grips...
Until then, though, I'll keep my sidearm under wraps and my armed status as "unknown".
That is all.