Open Carry Gun Owner Has Gun Stolen From Behind

*This post was originally published on May 19, 2016, and republished with updated links and video.

I support open carry as part of our constitutional right to keep and bear arms, but as a daily means of carrying a firearm, I prefer concealed carry. I'll explain my reason below.

Open Carry gun stolen in MacDonald's —

While standing in line at a local McDonald's, a man who was open carrying his handgun was approached from behind by the suspect, who proceeded to draw the firearm and flee out of the restaurant.

open carry gun thief suspect

Photo Courtesy of Silent Witness

Filing that police report likely made the day worse for that gun owner. But it could have been even worse if the thief had used the gun against the victim or someone else. Here is a post about a similar incident in New York.

Open carry can make you a target for various crimes, so mind your surroundings and don't become complacent. No matter how much training or discipline we have, we can all become distracted. And it only takes a moment for someone to gain control of your firearm.

If you simply must open carry, consider a holster with retention, and learn how to counter gun grabs and disarms.

Also, there are healthier options than MacDonald's, but I digress.

AZ Central news report of incident —

What follows is taken from the AZ Central news report:

Silent Witness is looking to the public for help to identify a man who stole a gun from a man in line at a Phoenix McDonalds, officials said.

On April 7, at Southern and Central Avenue, the suspect approached a man ordering from behind before taking the pistol from the man's back pocket and running from the restaurant, according to Silent Witness spokesman Sgt. Jamie Rothschild.

The victim then chased the suspect in an attempt to retrieve his stolen gun, but the thief turned around and pointed the pistol at the victim before fleeing, according to Rothschild.

Police described the suspect as a black male between 18 and 25 years of age, 6 feet to 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighing approximately 160 pounds. (Source)

Incidents like these are more common than one would think and, in my estimation, mostly avoidable. If you're looking for a great course to establish the important fundamentals every concealed carrier should possess, check out this online course called Shooting Fundamentals.

shooting fundamentals

About Jacob Paulsen

Jacob S. Paulsen is the President of provides in-person and online firearm training for American gun owners. The Company is currently teaching in-person classes in 25+ states with a team of more than 55 instructors. Jacob is a NRA certified instructor & Range Safety Officer, USCCA certified instructor and training counselor, Utah BCI instructor, Affiliate instructor for Next Level Training, Graduate and certified instructor for The Law of Self Defense, and a Glock and Sig Sauer Certified Armorer. He resides in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with his wife and children.


  1. Matthew on May 21, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    I agree that carrying concealed is preferable. If someone wants to open carry, I would highly recommend only doing so with a holster with a level of retention, for this specific reason. Thanks for a great article!

  2. Edgar on May 23, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    When I took the CCW class, the Instructor presented this scenario: You are in whatever store open-carrying, and some people come in with the intention of robbing the place. If/when they see you open-carrying, what are they going to do? They probably will take you out if at all possible (you are a threat to their success), and then proceed to rob the place. My understanding of this is the fact that open-carry can/will make me a target.

  3. Lynner on May 23, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    Gun Owners are supposed to be “responsible” gun owners whether carrying concealed or open. How stupid can you be to have the gun in your back pocket and be out in public. This is stupid behaviour is what gives our community a ‘bad name.’ Ditto on the holster with a retention strap. Makes me wonder if he was licensed.

    • Ron on May 23, 2016 at 9:53 pm

      I don’t know about Arizona but in North Carolina, no license is required to carry open (only concealed)

      • Mel on April 6, 2022 at 1:10 pm

        This is exactly why I nevered open carried when I lived in AZ. I will always CCW and I will never leave my weapon in a vehicle.

  4. WhoCares on May 23, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    Concealed is the best way.

  5. Ken S on May 23, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    He’s lucky he only lost his gun.

  6. BillyBob Texas on May 23, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    S T U P I D >>>>>>>>

  7. Ron on May 23, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    It is easy to get down on someone else but, The fact is, this can happen easily with open carry and without a retention holster. It can even happen with a concealed holster if you aren’t careful. This underscores the need to be aware of who and what is around you at all times. When carrying, we must absolutely be in condition yellow at all times. This requires continual practice in controlling our mental state. Anyone who thinks he is such a cowboy that he doesn’t need to be concerned with such things is (likely) in for a very unpleasant surprise at some point in his life!

  8. Lawrence Muhr on May 23, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    I only use the drive-up window and McDonalds. There are too many people around and you can’t keep track of your environment.

  9. Mark ruby on May 24, 2016 at 5:39 am

    I carry concealed in the pocket everyday this is my preferred method of caring. Ikaria Taurus 738 380 auto most of the time on occasion I carry a Ruger LCR 357 Magnum but most of the time I carried a 380 this is my preferred method of Carry is concealed. and I carry concealed only concealed

  10. Jay on June 1, 2016 at 5:39 am

    When I was a law enforcement officer working for the Feds I never felt comfortable standing in line to purchase something at a store with my firearm on. (I did not have a uniform and worked plain clothes and 98% of the time had my firearm concealed). Normally if I had my firearm in clear view (I had my badge on my belt or around my neck on a chain and was going to the field office for firearms training) on a holster I always kept an eye on my surroundings. I also had a habit of resting my elbow on my weapon as well.

    I have debated back and forth with other like minded instructors. Some like the idea of open carry and some don’t. Well I’m on the side of I don’t like it. Most (a very high percentage) of private citizens have never had weapons retention training and this is scary if people are carrying openly. My opinion is if your going to open carry is to purchase a level 2 retention holster or higher. Also you shoildntake some sort of retention training from an instructor.

    (Excuse and typos, spelling and grammar mistakes)

  11. Jack on April 6, 2022 at 12:48 pm

    Open carry of a weapon is, whether you want to admit it or not, a use of force at least in psychological terms. How is this true? You can project force in many ways, sometimes just by your attitude, speech and manner of dress. If this is true, how is openly displaying a weapon not at least a minimal use of force? Don’t be surprised when you’re using force if someone challenges you on it. Best to go about your day without making people nervous, aside from all the tactical considerations. Less stress in the world is better.

  12. Duane T on April 6, 2022 at 1:34 pm

    While open carry may be permitted, and I certainly respect that right, it is, as others have stated, not the most prudent way to carry. Think of this as well! While you are at a ‘stop and rob’ minding your own business, someone could be in the store casing the place for a robbery. Noticing that you are open carrying, the bad guy will immediately confirm you as someone who could interfere with his lofty plans and you then would be the first person to be taken out of the equation. Without any notice, you could probably be shot. My takeaway on this is to always be in condition Yellow, whether you are open carrying or concealed carrying. The idea of using a higher level of retention holster is a great option, but along with it comes the responsibility of practicing drawing. In a high adrenaline situation, your fine motor skills will significantly diminish, so you need to dry practice your drawing from the holster until it becomes a natural function. Be Safe and Be Aware!!

  13. James W. on April 6, 2022 at 5:18 pm

    I am a resident of an open-carry state with a CCW permit from that state and wouldn’t ever open-carry. Being military, I currently live in another state that appears about to become a constitutional-carry state. Fortunately, there is already CCW reciprocity!

    What I honestly would like to know from is, if I see a guy open-carrying, and I witness another guy grab his gun and try to walk away, what should I do at that point? Apart from him raising the gun at the owner in the parking lot, if I’m in Micky D’s and see this go down in front if me, my first thought is I have an armed criminal literally in my sights. He is potentially an imminent danger to anyone at that moment. However, if he’s not aiming the gun at anyone, nor showing any aggression, again, before being pursued, what should I do, and what are the legal considerations? I’d love to see a video to break it down form y’all on this. I watch every one y’all put out. Thanks!

    • Matthew Maruster on April 6, 2022 at 9:11 pm

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment James. We will work on producing some content either on the podcast or in a written post. Thanks again!

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