Balance of Responsibility:
When making the decision to push the conversation to firearms, we need to be tactful. Remember that the people we are talking to are not used to thinking about firearms, let alone seeing them in real life. We have to break through this judgement to start the conversation.
Starting the Conversation:
When looking at open carry, we see that often it is used as a statement of rights more than an option to carry defensive tools. If your desire to use your firearm as a political tool is important to you, I understand your choice. I simply encourage you to do what we should all do, every day: have a plan and create circumstances that will help you execute.
The goal should be to get more people on the side of gun rights. How do we do this?
1) Dress well. Button up shirts and a nice pair of pants can do wonders for the public perception of you (and by extension, the firearms community). This will offer more opportunities to start the conversation about why this right (that belongs to everyone) is important.
2) Have a script. Know what you are going to say before the opportunity presents itself. Do research into information that supports your argument, as well as information that the other side uses as their arguments. Be prepared.
3) Be nice. Make sure that you treat the public better than they deserve. Be the type of person that changes the public perception simply by who you are. This is the best way to start talking to strangers if you want them to listen.
If you follow these rules, you will have more success in starting that conversation. Don't expect to win everyone or anyone over right away, but if we are kind and professional, we can make people reconsider what they really think the gun community.