But here comes the confusion buster.
Guns frighten me
I have borderline no knowledge about guns compared to many in the US who have a whole arsenal in their bedrooms. However, by willing to admit this, I'm already leagues ahead many gun nuts in the Twittersphere. Saying that doesn't mean I'm completely clueless though - where I'm from, you are required to know something (BY LAW....or at least parents who ask why you no doctor yet). In Vietnamese high schools, we have a subject called "National defence education", which, numerically speaking, has a GPA importance equal to Physics, Chemistry, or Biology, just so you get it (although to be honest nobody gives a crap). It is compulsory to know at the very least the AK-47 and its variants (sort of, we just muck about, just like high-schoolers everywhere), as well as a few more Eastern Bloc guns. The textbook teaches from how to march in formation to drop, roll and arm your bayonet - the thing costs around a US quarter, I believe, and with a couple of nice coloured pictures of stern men wearing uniforms and hand-drawn AK components.
In fact, everyone should be (and usually, the sane ones are) afraid of guns in some level.
But I'll let you in on a not-so-clandestine-secret - the gun-nuts are just as afraid of guns as anyone. Their fear of guns might topple that of overly-worried mums.
...but I thought you said guns are OK
I will not use the "everything can be a weapon" stance, because pro-boom-boom or not, that is over simplified. A frozen stick of butter can be used as a makeshift concussive weapon if you are inclined enough (and are crazy enough to ignore how ridiculous you look beating someone up with a stick of butter). But a stick of butter's ease to maim is nowhere near to that of a knife. And so on, the knife can never compare with a gun - hell, any gun - on killing prowess. A gun should therefore command a more frightening stance than, in this case, a frozen butter stick.
Don't lose your weapons because you prove to the people around you that guns are just as menacing as they think. Keep it by not just making yourself feel safe, but also others.
Don't be like the fuel cell folks who got stripped of their components because someone think people will make thermonuclear bombs out of batteries. Or worse, get your RC plane taken way by the FAA because you wanted to show off (like some open-carry idiot). Hold your rights but keep it low.
The open-carry "teenagers"
How do mature people react to alcohol? It's a nice drink, a way to connect with friends (a beer at a football game), a way to celebrate (some wine at a party), a way to enjoy life (a pina colada or a nice brandy).
How do teenagers react to alcohol? They can't handle it and they need more of it to show off. The bigger, the showier, the better.
It's the same thing with open-carry activists (aka gun nuts) vs. actual normal gun owners.
It's fine to have a nice hand gun to protect yourself, carried in your inner pocket or in a biometric safe by the bed. It's fine to bring your rifle out for a duck hunt, or up to the range for some classic practice. It's a bit overkill, but still quite normal to have a whole gun collection tucked behind a secret door by the bookshelf - then again everyone with any kind of hardcore collection, be it stamps or guns, are a bit overkill anyway.
Acting like that with guns is like a calm, confident adult. You know what it does and you don't go overboard with it (even if you call your biggest most badass barrel "Vera").
What you don't want to act like is to bring your guns out, whip it like a publicly-masturbating hobo and his penis.
Being all cocky (ehehe punz) and showy with a dangerous tool not only hurt your self-esteem and outlook, it can also potentially seriously hurt people in the vicinity, and the media effect it brings will also seriously hurt the mature folks who use guns the right way. Gun nuts like to say they are protecting their rights and America should do the same. Not true - there are people who do the same thing and embarrass no one. These big kids are just looking for a reason. A bunch of adolescent-minded manchilds with guns is the image that does the right-robbing job the best. I'd be fine with calm, collected gentlemen with a classy Glock to protect his family. I'd rather all guns be banned if idiots are roaming the streets, picking fights with cops and testing their limits.
"if we are not exercising our rights, it's already lost"
Ever heard of Switzerland? Everyone there is required by law to own an assault rifle. Not even an assault-rifle-look-alike AR-15. A real, being-used-for-war, combat rifle. The Swiss require people to learn about guns, be in the army for a while, and bring the goddamn gun(s) home. Yes, the government also gives them a semi-automatic pistol, and 50 rounds too. To get you on the road, so to speak. Swiss engineers plant bombs everywhere annually, and since 1978, every Swiss home has to have a bomb shelter strong enough to take a 12 megaton blast at 700 meters, and the schools and old buildings are upgraded yearly as well. In 1986, Switzerland has the best civil defense system in the world, with at least 85% of its people safe in the event of nuclear fallout.
Is that badass? Is that the dream rights thingie you deserve? Well no, not the style the open-carry "men" think they need. You don't see a Swiss carry their guns around (showingly). They might tuck their army-issued firearm under those cosy mountain clothings, but they are the friendliest, humblest and nicest folks. Look at Roger Federer, come on!
Now think of a nice, cosy Swiss village. Idyllic scene with kids running about. The thought of nuclear shelter under each of the houses, and guns ready in every house, guns more potent than any the open-carry gun nuts could legally bring out - those thoughts are not there. Instead, it's the nicest sweetest village you might have ever been to.
The Swiss deal with guns the way sane people deal with religions: you can have one or many, you can exercise with it and be proud of it, but don't whip it out and shove it in the faces of other people.
Can the open-carry folks do the same?
No, not now. Because the gun nuts, ironically, deal with guns the way many American deal with religions: they think one method is best, they show off their exercises and are obnoxiously proud about trivial things, and shove it into other people's faces.
A last word on open-carry (for now)
Be confident with a gun. Don't find trouble with it. And if I may add, don't try to be a jerk with any technology/tool anyway.
The easiest way to think if the gun is getting a bit too big is to make an imaginary comparison with a bloodied knife.
Imagine a knife the length of the gun you plan to strap on (ehehe), with a bit of wet blood on the blade. And you're holding it.
Imagine yourself walking calmly with it, and imagine how people would react. Even gun-nuts can imagine realistic knife scenarios.
If people are getting squeamish... maybe leave it in the car or back home?