Braggers in general are annoying. When it comes to bragging about concealed carry, responsible fellow gun owners (and plenty of outspoken gun haters) rarely let that behavior slide.
I first came across the witty term “OLC,” or “Out Loud Carry,” on a public discussion forum, a response someone left for a question about a friend bragging about their carry. The commenter added something to the effect of, “Dude, your mouth is printing.”
It perfectly described a situation at a former workplace where an older male coworker told anybody and everybody in the office that he had a concealed carry—less emphasis on the “concealed” part.
Responsible gun owners know that respecting the concealed firearm on your hip requires more than just practicing gun safety. You must also practice social safety by being aware of those around you and careful with whom you tell about your choice to carry. Open and constitutional carry warrant very different social circumstances, but in this case, we’re focusing on concealed carry.
There are a few good reasons why you should be selective when talking about concealed carrying:
- Bragging about CCW could, in certain situations, be considered akin to brandishing your gun. Some might go so far as to say you're posing a dangerous threat to yourself or others.
- My next point about OLC goes hand-in-hand with the threat of danger. You’re drawing attention to yourself and your gun (that is supposed to be concealed), and not all attention is good attention. Perhaps someone who is lawfully prohibited from owning a gun hears you bragging and takes advantage? Minimize this risk by watching your mouth.
- Others who are carrying concealed will likely avoid you if you’re bragging about packing. Even if you had a best friend that chooses CCW, he or she would be wise to stay away from you as you pose a risk to them and the chance you’d reveal their choice of self-defense to someone who doesn’t need to know.
Now, for a little context, this bragging behavior was taking place in an office located in Montana. And with Montana’s freedom-first culture, often you’re in the vicinity of someone openly carrying no matter where you go; predictably there's sure to be plenty of CCW happening as well.
But still, as a lifelong gun owner who’s also certified in hunter safety, my coworker’s behavior was concerning. I had scoured the internet for answers on how to approach him, if I should at all, hence stumbling upon the “OLC” post. Needless to say, many advocated for the original poster to have a talk with the friend to discourage the bragging behavior.
However, in my case, the man involved was decades older than I (a 20-something female), and I thought talking to him would be uncomfortable. Unfortunately, my time in that position at that office ended before I ever said anything. But if I were to go back, I would’ve mustered up the courage to approach him.
Thinking more about my scenario and doing a bit of research, I’ve made mental notes about how I could have handled that predicament. Here are some tips when addressing someone who brags about CCW in the workplace:
- Broach the topic when it’s just you and them if you feel comfortable enough. In m case, I probably would have had another safe, older adult male with me.
- Let them know you still respect their CCW rights, and if you carry too, establish a healthy rapport. It could go a long way in a workplace relationship.
- Emphasize how their behavior can fail to keep people safe, rather than harping on the bragging itself.
- Use anecdotes to help get your point across. One that I considered helpful, from that discussion forum that coined the “OLC” term, suggested posing a question: if they had a wad of $100 bills, would they behave the same as they are with their gun?
- Leave on a positive note. Depending on your relationship, you may crack a joke or two, or perhaps invite them to the range after work sometime.
- Avoid tattling on your coworker to management but at the very least write a memo to the appropriate manager about your interactions with this person and why you chose to do so. Keep a copy for yourself.
Above all, if you truly do not feel safe with this person, contact upper management and have a discussion before approaching him yourself. It’s not our wish to have someone be reprimanded for CCW, but responsible gun owners know that inappropriate behavior around guns shouldn’t go unchecked.