In hot weather the holster was almost unbearable. Pressed against Jensen’s skin, the firearm was heavy and uncomfortable. Hiding the weapon made him feel like a criminal.
Then one evening he stumbled across a site that urged gun owners to do something revolutionary: Carry your gun openly for the world to see as you go about your business.
In most states there’s no law against that.
Jensen thought about it and decided to give it a try. A couple of days later, his gun was visible, hanging from a black holster strapped around his hip as he walked into a Costco. His heart raced as he ordered a Polish dog at the counter. No one called the police. No one stopped him.
Now Jensen carries his Glock 23 openly into his bank, restaurants and shopping centers. He wore the gun to a Ron Paul rally. He and his wife, Clachelle, drop off their 5-year-old daughter at elementary school with pistols hanging from their hip holsters, and have never received a complaint or a wary look.
Jensen said he tries not to flaunt his gun. “We don’t want to show up and say, ‘Hey, we’re here, we’re armed, get used to it,’ ” he said.
But he and others who publicly display their guns have a common purpose.
The Jensens are part of a fledgling movement to make a firearm as common an accessory as an iPod. Called “open carry” by its supporters, the movement has attracted grandparents, graduate students and lifelong gun enthusiasts like the Jensens.