Originally Posted by jhenry
Does anyone here really consider what the older man did to be acceptable gun handling? Anyone?
Gun handling? OK. Public etiquette? Not so much.
He kept it pointed at the floor and (apparantly) cleared it properly. Whether he did so in a socially conscious manner is open to question. Obviously, very much so in the OP's mind. Not to mention the safety issue. In some places drawing a weapon can get you shot by a less-than prudent (or intelligent) armed person.
I have not thought very much about the (non-shooting) circumstances that would prompt me to draw my carry piece. I always considered, unless requested by an authority (Law officer or some such), I would never do it. But if a discussion were to warrant it, I suppose I might consider it.
Perhaps I would if certain conditions held. A clearing barrel was available. The property owner/manager were in agreement and all present were aware (which should be obvious if I were standing in front of a clearing barrel).
Otherwise, I would "keep it in my pants", so to speak. Concealed is concealed and holstered is supposed to be (my personal feeling).
Having said that, in a firearms-friendly venue (the old American West for example) the social norms permitted a more casual attitude. (However, I can't imagine your average thrift store -as in the O.P. to be a current-day example.)