Open Carry, Constitutional Carry and Mandatory Gun Training

Over the last few weeks, since I announced that I am running for the 76th Seat on the National Rifle Association’s Board of Directors, I have been ask to state or clarify my position on several topics. The three most frequent and relevant questions have been about topics related to training and carrying defensive firearms. While I have certainly opined on these issues before, I thought it would be helpful to put my thoughts into one article as people are making up their minds about whether or not to vote for me and/or support my campaign for a seat on board of the most important organization in our national fight to regain our 2nd Amendment Rights. In addition to my statements here, I’ve included links to some videos from the past that I have made that support & explain my positions.


Open Carry


While almost all of the public commentary I’ve seen since my announcement has been positive, the issue of Open Carry has been referenced in a handful of negative posts around the internet. The fact is that I have offended more than a couple of people over the past few years by clearly stating that I do not think confrontational open carry activism is the way to keep the Right to Keep and Bear Arms movement moving forward. Unfortunately, when I say ” I’m against confrontational open carry activism”, some people hear “I’m against open carry of a firearm being legal.”  What am I actually talking about ?  I’m talking about the guys who wear ARs and AKs slung over their shoulders and go to the mall, often without so much as a legitimate shopping agenda. I’m talking about the guys wearing camouflage and long guns walking through city parks because they can. I’m talking about the guy who took a shotgun to the public library and sat down to read in the children’s section “just because he could.” I’m talking about the countless videos of people made of themselves being “harassed” by local police after they purposefully put on a gun and carried the video camera looking for a confrontation (yes, these are specifically the people who got the right to OC even an unloaded gun taken away from us in California… a state that has just recently seen a massive turn towards Shall Issue Carry Permits!).

My stance on OC Activism has its roots in one simple statement: I believe that guns should be carried for the purpose of defending yourself or others.  That’s it… pretty simple, right?  I don’t think that putting a gun on your hip so that you can educate someone is a good idea. I certainly don’t think that Pro-Safety, Pro-Defense and Anti-Crime individuals should be consciously distracting local police officers from dealing with more important issues than someone poorly exercising a legal right. There are many ways to educate people about the legitimacy of carrying a gun. Wear a t-shirt, get a tattoo, hand out flyers on the street corner. Worried about educating local police about legal rights (firearms or otherwise)?  Prepare a presentation and ask to speak to a shift meeting or address a collection of supervisors. That doesn’t work? Fine, again, prepare a flyer with code sections, citations and helpful pictures then give one to every police officer you see. 5 minutes of solid thought should be able to yield many options to make a difference that don’t revolve around the combination of a lethal device and confrontation. As for the legality of Open Carry, I am 100% all for it and you can’t find an example of me ever stating otherwise. As for Open Carry being a good option for guns that are carried for personal defense, I don’t think that it is a good idea. A quick google search will reveal that just about every instructor in the industry is in agreement on this issue and the reasons are many. For more of my thoughts on the issue, as pertains to defensive firearms, check out these videos:


“Constitutional Carry”

I am 100% for the right of anyone who can legally own a firearm to be allowed to legally carry it for defensive purposes. That is how I interpret a state not requiring anyone to obtain a special permit to carry a firearm. Vermont, Alaska and, most recently, Arizona allow this to happen and most of us in the RKBA Community refer to this as “Constitutional Carry”… the opportunity to carry a firearm without “infringement”.  Of course, to suggest that a 100% literal interpretation of “shall not be infringed” line is an option isn’t very realistic either. Clearly, even the most die hard pro-gun advocate isn’t going to suggest free legal access to firearms for a convicted violent felon or a clearly mentally unstable person. I won’t simply wave around a copy of the Bill of Rights to justify my support of Constitutional Carry.  I believe that Carry Permit Laws exists to tax and inconvenience people who are seeking to exercise their right, and meet their responsibility, to be capable of defending themselves. I do not think that the process involved in getting a concealed carry permit has any significant positive effect on gun safety, crime prevention or the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. While this entire video is only available to PDN Premium Members, you can get the point of my position in the Free Preview:


Mandatory Gun Training

As someone who’s primary source of income for most of his adult life has been teaching people defensive firearms skills, it surprises some people that I am Against Mandatory Firearms Training in order to own, purchase or carry a firearm of any kind. I am unaware of any state mandated program that meets the total amount of education I think someone should get before they choose to carry a firearm for defense. Presentation from the Holster, for example, is a fundamental skill that anyone and everyone should develop before they ever believe that it is appropriate for them to carry a firearm in public for defensive purposes. Yet, how many state permit processes require it? If you talked to 10 instructors, you’d get 10 different lists of things that any reasonable person should learn and practice before carrying a gun. I honestly have no faith in an administrative bureaucracy to develop an adequate mandated course that would be practical on the scale necessary. If I were given the choice tomorrow between establishing a national standard and designing it myself or abolishing training requirements, I would choose the latter. I believe that when you give someone a certificate of training (especially with a  permit to do something) those people often believe that they have met their obligation, that the obligation was designed appropriately and they do not need to do anything else. Put simply: Most people have too much faith in the Government.  They operate under the illusion that simply because their state trusts the process, the process must be good enough. I think that if you take away that illusion, if you take away the opportunity for people to believe that they have done enough, people will seek out more training than could ever be mandated. I think the surge in public opinion inside the firearms community about the value of getting thorough professional training and conducting relatively frequent practice would be overwhelming. Counter-Intuitively, I believe that removing mandatory minimum training would result in an over-all increase in the average amount of training and practice that people carrying guns have.

Disagree?  Hear from a couple of students that I had (in Arizona) a few months ago on why they have sought out training beyond what is required and/or offered by the government:


Let’s step away from CCW Permits and Defensive Carry for a moment, what about general firearms safety education? I am For Mandatory Firearms Safety Education for Children in our Public School System.  For well over a decade, I have lamented the public education industry’s position on the danger of firearms being completely inconsistent with their position on any other “dangerous” topic. Drugs?  Danger=Education. Smoking? Danger=Education. Sexually Transmitted Disease? Danger=Education. Guns? Danger=Demonization. Those who establish the standards for our children’s education in our country would honestly rather talk about sex with middle schoolers than guns. And, if the kids themselves talk about guns, then they will get punished in one way or another… “for their own safety”. It’s ridiculous and it is a hypocritical position that is untenable in the face of any logical inquiry or critical thought. Yes, of course, guns can be dangerous… our kids should be educated about them at least as equally as they are educated about drugs, cars, fire and running with scissors.


Voting for the 76th Seat on the NRA’s Board of Directors: NRA_ballotRemember: I need YOUR SUPPORT and the support of any voting member of the NRA as a Write-In on the 2014 Ballots in order to qualify to be on the ballot for the 76th Seat!  The voting for this one year position actually takes place at the NRA Annual Meeting on the last weekend in April in Indianapolis, IN. Only voting member in attendance  can cast a vote for this unique seat (all other seats on the board are 3 years terms). If you are a voting member and haven’t sent in your ballot, please add “Rob Pincus, Bexley, OH” to the write-in portion of the ballot as one of your up to 25 votes. Voting for more than 25 people will disqualify your ballot. If you have lost (or never received) your ballot, you have until April 6th to get a replacement and send it in to the NRA. Safety Solutions Academy has spelled out the steps to Get an NRA Ballot. If you are attending the NRA Annual Meeting, I would greatly appreciate your vote! Details on how and where to vote at the meeting will be posted and shared when the time gets closer. I will also be organizing opportunities for those interested in supporting this campaign at the convention to pass out flyers and speak with attendees who haven’t made up their minds or who may not even know about the 76th Seat Election Process. Also, I will be speaking twice a day at the NRA Annual Meetings, once each on the topics of Defensive Shooting Skills and Home Defense. Lastly, please consider posting your statement of support HERE as a comment to encourage others to join us. Thank You for your Support! -RJP

42 thoughts on “Open Carry, Constitutional Carry and Mandatory Gun Training”

  1. Bradley Newton

    Common sense is uncommon these days. I think your views represent a large portion of responsible gun owners and personal defense advocates. I hope you get on the board. You will have my vote.

  2. You’ll get my vote, Rob.

    Only issue with the mandatory education program in school is who is doing it and with what firearms? We’ve all seen the video of a the DEA cop that shot himself while in front of a class of kids. Seems that a set of firearms rendered safe for such sessions and intended only for such sessions/demonstrations would be advisable. They’d still be “operable” in the sense they function enough for handling, loading, “firing”, and understanding how they work, but wouldn’t accept standard ammo and would not fire even if someone managed to get a live round in. No one should be using their service firearms so as to avoid just such situations as presented in that famous video.

  3. Three votes from my immediate family. Your points of view are consistent with the views expressed by most of the people I know. We definitely need a refresh of the NRA Board! Gods luck.

  4. Intelligent and thoughtful commentary on your position. If I were a voting member, you would get that vote. Good luck.

  5. My opinion of the matter mentioned concerning convicted felons having the right to have and bare arms is that the law prohibiting this is simply ludicrous. The only convicted felon this has any effect on is the convicted felon who wishes to abide by society’s laws,hardly someone to be concerned about. Those who are looking to commit crimes with firearms will do so regardless of the law. I am a convicted felon on a simple drug possession charge of many years ago and as a result, can never own or carry a firearm of any kind.

    1. we had a gun club in school back in the 50`s here in So Cal.
      Like your thinking, got my vote.

  6. Furthermore, committing a crime while in possession of a firearm is already unlawful and a chargeable offense in addition to the crime being committed.

    1. The point was that we all know that not EVERYONE should have unrestricted access to firearms. Someone who has demonstrated a propensity for predatory violence against others is on that list as far as I am concerned. Do you disagree?

  7. I don’t disagree however,the law is really ineffective. It’s only effectiveness is in the legal purchases of firearms.

  8. If I could be at the meeting, you would have my vote. Your thinking is very reasonable and I am in total agreement. Would love to see you on the board.

  9. Pingback: Why I voted #Pincus4NRA (and you should too) | Ordnancecorner's Weblog

  10. Rob: I have always respected you and your defense programs. In this case, you approach all these important issues in a thoughtful and reasonable manner. As such, your opinions on the subjects are also thoughtful and reasonable and therefore worthy of support. As an NRA member, if able to vote, you would have my vote. I hope that you will also consider running for a House or Senate seat someday. You’d have my vote there too.

  11. Your views regarding Open Carry are on target and should carry favor with all good law abiding gun enthusiasts everywhere. You can count on my vote.

  12. I share your views and appreciate your thoughts. As it stands right now, you have my vote. Excellent examples on the OC debate!

  13. Wiliam Frederickson

    Rob Pincus should be put on the ballot for the NRA.
    He knows more about guns than any one.

  14. Timothy J. Manzolillo

    Mailed my ballot in several (?) weeks ago. I guess I missed out on the chance to vote for a good candidate. You sound very reasonable and responsible.

  15. Zachary Wellman

    Rob I agree with you to a point as a open carrier. I don’t seek confrontational encounters with police.

    I am carrying solely as a deterrent. I have never once tried carrying a long gun to get law enforcement to react In fact I am against those types of individuals

  16. I too am a member of the NRA & I have been for many years.
    Also a member of USCCA too. Rob Pincus has my vote.

  17. Carry to protect my rights and family, all in with your thought process . I’m not looking for any reason for police to confront me either ,I’m all about law and order, and also believe in our 2nd amendment rights .

  18. As a 22 year Army vet with combat experience and an avid “gunner” who hunts, shoots, and carries concealed, there are more reasons than those you stated that need to be a t your core for wanting to be on the NRA board. First and foremost in my mind is in wanting to uphold the values and principles of the U.S. Constitution, and the 2nd Amendment. This, and defending the U.S. from assaults from the “Left” should be your #1 priority-not Concealed Carry laws or gun ownership. You can not defend the 2nd Amendment without defending the rest of the Constitution. “Freedom of Speech, press, worship” must be as vigorously defended also. The 5th, 14th Amendments are just as important, if not more than the 2nd. The Constitution is a living, breathing entity, and to support part of it more than any other part will stifle its life-force and hinders it growth.
    Freedom, liberty and free expression are more valuable commodities that are being lost faster than anything else in this country at this time. The “freedom to express” our views, lives, traditions are under siege at an alarming pace, and will be lost if more people do not stand alone and cry out their objections to the encroaching march of fascism. Your voice and status could be better used in this public setting without the political influence of the NRA behind you. Your voice, being heard standing alone pronouncing your support and leadership for the American gun owning Patriot is an invaluable asset that can not be lost to the NRA establishment and Washington, DC.
    You and your “voice for freedom” belong to “we the People…”, not DC!
    PLEASE, Rob, think of what you CAN do now for we, the American Patriots out in America, and what you COULD possibly do for the NRA in Washington.
    I will always support you and your decisions, but this letter should tell you where my heart is leaning. Thanks!

    1. With all due respect, and acknowledging the common sense wisdom in what Rob Pincus is saying, I must second the opinions posted in comment #20. I’m a combat vet from the Viet Nam War, and have owned and used firearms almost my whole life. I’ve also been editing for Connecticut Carry, for about the past nine months. While Mr. Pincus’ comments are very important and make LOTS of common sense, it is paramount for us all to focus on the Constitution and our Rights. If we fail to get our nation refocused on literal constitutional language and Rights, the citizens of other states shall, also, find themselves in this same dystopic, despotic, ignorant, panic-driven, anti-firearms situation in which we are living here in Connecticut. Our new draconian laws exist because “we the People” allowed the State and Federal governments to ramrod through legislation and executive orders that violate their oaths of office and subvert and dismiss our constitutional Rights.

      I already voted on and mailed my NRA ballot, having looked diligently through the candidates for those candidates who were allegedly most active in defense of our Constitution and our Rights. This as a very practical issue, as well as very principled, for if we do NOT stand in clear and present defense of the Constitution, then all the concealed or open carry in this country shall be done by partizans and guerillas who try to regain what was not adequately defended at the ballot box by “we the People”.

      1. No reason to preface that “with all due respect”… I see nothing in there that goes against anything I stand for.
        I do think that to simply take the position that all of our RKBA Issue will be resolved through rallying around the US Constitution is a bit short-sighted, however. The US Constitution is a living document. While it is convenient for us to ask for a literal interpretation of the Bill of Rights given the way that the US Supreme Court has recently interpreted the Second Amendment as an individual right that cannot / Should not be significantly restricted by state or federal government, we must remember that the Constitution has been amended and changed many times. Focusing on the reasons why the Second Amendment was part of the Bill of Rights in the first place is paramount.

  19. Rob, as a recently CCW licensed gun owner (and a senior citizen), I support your candidacy for the NRA Board of Directors. I am especially in line with your views on firearm safety education for children. It would seem that is the proper time to begin firearm safety is when future gun owners are kids. That is, before their environment has an impact on decisions they make.

    You have my support for the seat on the NRA Board of Directors. Good Luck.

  20. Hi Rob,
    You always have my support as well.. Your great training and your commitment to educating the general public about the proper/safe use of firearms has been inspirational and essential to the community. An informed voice like yours should be welcomed to the NRA, good luck.

  21. Dennis Brislawn

    Rob, I always find your thoughtful comments persuasive. The fact is that we get more attention by being the neighbor people WANT to have, rather than a guy or gal being confrontational. A gun owner who is matter of fact, confident, pleasant, is going to win over the vast, undecided middle. Seems to be that if we are cocky, belligerent, confrontational, that we will push the middle to the other edge. And, as an attorney I firmly support our Constitutional rights… but with rights comes responsibility! So training is MY obligation, to be up to the awesome responsibility of defending life if necessary. When I was an Army infantry officer it was a duty. As a civilian… while I have no legal duty to act, I feel a certain moral/ethical duty to be prepared to defend life. Mine, my family’s, my friend’s and my neighbor. But that takes training and an acceptance of a certain amount of risk. I plan to minimize that risk… especially of criminal and civil liability. Again… training, study, practice. Then do it some more.

  22. I will support you as I am able. You have my vote!
    Please let me know if I may help in other ways.

    Thanks for all you do!


  23. Unfortunately I have already mailed my ballot and missed this opportunity. If you get on the ballot for the 76th Director, you have my vote. Good luck!

  24. As a member of USCCA and a Life Member of the NRA you have my vote and my thanks for running for the Board. Just as in any organization, new members are a source of new ideas and enthusiasm. I have followed you on TV for years and found you to be the consummate professional. Too bad you’re not running for the Senate. Best of luck
    in what ever you future holds.

  25. Dr. Dave Pesec

    I was a bit concerned with your no training position until I read it further. I totally agree now. YOU HAVE MY VOTE.

  26. Ken In Colorado


    Already sent in my ballot…sorry. Your views are identical to mine. You definitely belong on the NRA board. I will pass the word around.

    Enjoyed meeting you several years ago at Valhalla…really enjoyed your Combat Focus Shooting Fundamentals and learned SOOOOO MUCH…plan to take it again as a refresher.

    Good luck and be safe.

  27. Pingback: Maine: Senate to Consider “Constitutional Carry” Tomorrow | IDF Zahal News Blog

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