Gun Toting Dad at Mount Rushmore, open carrying S&W M&P 40. DemolitionRanch shirt just to be more patriotic.
Recently, if you follow the guntotingdad Facebook and Instagram pages, you would have seen a pic of open carrying at Mount Rushmore. Something that is totally legal at national parks in states that allow open carry.
Now this trip to South Dakota, while being a family trip, I decided to to also make it a experiment as well. How do people react to non-Law Enforcement open carrying a firearm in public. Especially in a National Park full of people like the Mount Rushmore Memorial. Now granted, I know that South Dakota is a gun friendly state, but you have people from all over the country visit, even some from out of the country. It also happen to be the last week of the Sturgis Rally with increased Law Enforcement present.
Lets just say, the reaction was a little underwhelming. I was expecting some looks, and maybe get questioned by Park Rangers. For the most part, either people ignored it or never noticed that I was carrying a holstered full sized M&P on my belt. My wife reported to me that she saw one guy give me a look. No park ranger said a peep to me, nor even gave me a second look. One interesting thing did happen and it really kind of caught me off guard. An older man wearing a biker vest comes up from behind and says “Excuse me sir, could I take your picture, with your accessories?” From his accent I would guess he was from out east somewhere like New York. I obliged and he took a picture. As he thanked me he said his buddies back home would “get a kick out of this.”
On this trip, I open carried at the campground, no issues. I open carried at Mount Rushmore, no issues. I open carried at Devils Tower, no issues. I open carried in the Badlands, again, no issues with authorities or anyone for that matter.
What I learned is this, Most people do not pay attention, or if they did notice, they did not care. Which seems to be a double edge sword. If you like to open carry legally, most people do not seem to notice. But at the same time, if they are not noticing the legal carry at all, they are also not noticing the illegal carry. What else are they not observing that could be dangerous.
I typically do not open carry, but I made a point of it on this trip to just see the reactions. Frankly I was surprised by the lack of reactions, save the one biker from out east that gave me my 30 seconds of fame.