“Hello, I have a .357 Magnum. Can I have a ride?” — Jeremy Bryant, open carry advocate.
Jeremy Bryant doesn’t always hitchhike, but when he does he begins by asking, “How do you feel about picking somebody up who has a .357?” Surprisingly, most Oregonians feel good about it, if the documentary he filmed is any indication.
His goal for the film was simple: to “show that regular everyday Oregonians support open carry” and demonstrate “the kindness and generosity of strangers, and the decency of American people.”
He was remarkably successful. No one who offered him a ride drove away after he disclosed his weapon, though some asked not to be filmed for the documentary. Several people voiced enthusiasm and support for the 2nd Amendment. “If you take away the guns from the good people, then only the bad people will have them,” one driver commented.
“If you take away the guns from the good people, then only the bad people will have them,” one driver commented.
“I was expecting a harder time getting rides,” Bryant said. “I was incredibly surprised that every single person greeted me with a smile…”
Bryant filmed the entire documentary on his phone, recording his experience hitchhiking 420 miles to and from his grandfather’s funeral.
“In Oregon you actually do get picked up,” Bryant said. “The reason why is because there’s open carry here in this state.”
A wide variety of people offered him a ride, both men and women, alone and in groups. According to Bryant, one man “found it strange I was carrying” but offered Bryant a ride nevertheless. Two women bought him lunch because they couldn’t give him a ride. When he said he had a .357, the driver said, “Oh my god!” and started to pull away. But her friend made her stop so she could run back and bring him the food.
Two women bought him lunch because they couldn’t give him a ride. When he said he had a .357, the driver said, “Oh my god!” and started to pull away. But her friend made her stop so she could run back and bring him the food.
Everyone else—including one man who hadn’t picked up a hitchhiker in 15 years, a pregnant woman, and an airport security guard—gladly gave him a ride to the next leg of his journey.
“The general public should always carry to keep the peace, good, and dignity of our country and the welfare of its people,” Bryant repeated throughout the film. “That’s why I carry myself.”
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” he continued.
Bryant made sure to announce his weapon before getting in the car, something he credited as the key to his success. “Most people, if you get in your car and then tell them you have a gun, it scares them. So I’ve given them the option to just pull away from me before I even get in their car.”
The documentary has been featured on the Oregonian and on Oregon TV stations KATU, KVAL, KCBY, KPIC, & NBC16. Kevin Starrett of the Oregon Firearms Federation says it’s “a fascinating look at the reality of openly carried firearms in rural Oregon.”
What do you think about open carry? Is this a good way to promote it? What would be your response if you saw an armed hitchhiker?
(Editor’s note: This article was a submission from freelance writer Jordan Michaels.)