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Should You Carry a Concealed Weapon?

We often watch the nightly news and see yet another public shooting where a bunch of people were killed or wounded when a person decided to shoot up a McDonalds, a movie theater or a concert and we think to ourselves: if someone had a concealed weapon permit and had been carrying, things would have gone very different for the shooter. And perhaps that is true.

There are other times of course when a concealed weapon would not have been much help. Think about the Las Vegas Concert Massacre, termed the worst mass killing in American history. Also, there have been many incidences where an attacker with a knife has taken out a person with a gun. Or what if there is a vehicle or a bomb, involved? Well, the concealed weapon probably would not have been much good for situations like these.

So, for those of you who are considering obtaining a concealed weapon permit and carrying a gun, there are some things you need to consider. For the many individuals out there, who are looking for answers, we must ask ourselves…

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Is a concealed carry weapon really necessary?

Well, as I mentioned before, just pick up any newspaper in the United States or abroad and I think you can answer that question yourself.

If you decide that concealed carry is for you, here are some things you should consider.

The License:

In order to carry a concealed weapon, you are going to need to get a license. Since I am former law enforcement I am able to carry concealed under HR 218 or The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) as it is commonly referred, which is a United States federal law, enacted in 2004, that allows two classes of persons – the “qualified Law Enforcement officer” and the “qualified retired or separated Law Enforcement officer” – to carry a concealed firearm in any jurisdiction in the United States or United States Territories, regardless of state or local laws, with certain exceptions.

For the “common” citizen the laws for getting a license varies. In some states, it is much easier to get a permit than in others. My father lives in Alabama, and there Sheriffs are required to issue or deny the concealed carry application within thirty days. He paid his $5 and had one in no time and has been carrying for years. One of the very worst states is Delaware. This small state makes it practically impossible for a person to get a license.

Check out what you must do even to be considered for your permit.

  • Arrange with a Newspaper of General Circulation in Your County.
  • Have your application published once, at least 10 business days before the filing of your application.
  • Obtain an affidavit from the newspaper company stating that this requirement has been met.
  • Attach the newspaper company’s affidavit to your application.
  • Be sure to use your whole name – no initials – and your home address.
  • Background Verification.
  • Reference Questionnaire.
  • Notarized Application.
  • Photographs.
  • $65.00 statutory filing fee

Your Weapon:

I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t already have a weapon at home whether you can carry it concealed or not. Then again, some states make it very hard even to own a gun, let alone carry it concealed. For example, it used to be that in the District of Columbia, the possession of handguns, even in private citizens’ own homes, was prohibited unless they were registered before 1976.

However, the handgun ban was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller. The Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment acknowledges and guarantees the right of the individual to possess and carry firearms, and therefore D.C.’s ban on handguns was unconstitutional.

When deciding what gun you will carry, understand that the gun you currently own for protecting your home may not be the gun you want to carry. You might have a large firearm that you keep at home for protection, but some people aren’t into carrying a big firearm.

You may want something smaller like the M&P Shield I sometimes carry, which is about 6 inches long and 4 inches high. Trust me, I used to carry everyday as an agent. The larger weapons can be heavy, and your back will start to hurt causing you not to want to carry. I suggest you go to a local gun range and fire weapons you are interested in. Don’t just buy one you read about. You might not like it, and you will have spent a significant amount of money.

You also want to consider how you want to holster your weapon. Do you want to carry in front, in the back, in a shoulder holster, or a more traditional right-side holster? I have carried in every way you can think of. I used to carry in a shoulder holster for the cool factor. But I found it not to be so practical when I needed to draw it and it actually fell out of the holster a couple of times when I bent over. That’s not good.

When I carried in the small of the back, it was hard to get to my weapon. In the front, it was not very comfortable nor easy to get to. I found the most comfortable and practical position for me was the regular old right-side hip carry (left side if you are left handed.) It is easy to conceal and easy to get to if you need it. The choice is yours, and the location you choose should come down to the efficiency of movement and comfort for you.

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The Open Carry Option

Forty-five states allow open carry with various rules and restrictions on the practice. There are two options, permissive open carry and permissive rural open carry. Here are the differences between the two:

Permissive Open Carry – A state that has passed full preemption of all firearms laws, with few exceptions. They do not prohibit open carry for all nonprohibited citizens and do not require a permit or license to open carry. Open carry is lawful on foot and in a motor vehicle.

Permissive Rural Open Carry – A state that generally allows open carry without a license, but local restrictions may exist. Some states exempt license holders from local restrictions while others don’t.

If you have a clean legal record or and don’t have some other issue that prevents you from open carrying in one of these states you might be able to carry your unconcealed weapon without a license.

Your Responsibility:

It is your responsibility to make sure that you know how to use and maintain your weapon properly. I highly recommend that you don’t just buy a gun, strap it on, and start carrying it. There have been many people killed by their own weapon when someone took it away from them. Imagine you try to defend yourself and realize that you are not able to fire because you never learned how to take the safety off the gun. Also, besides the safely class you will likely need before being allowed to carry your weapon, take some additional courses to learn how to shoot your gun properly and how to make the right decision as to when to shoot.

Finally, make sure you get some liability coverage. If you shoot someone, you will likely get arrested until things can be sorted out. You may need money to make bond. You will need legal representation, and it is highly likely you will be sued. There are companies that protect those who carry a concealed weapon. I am not endorsing any particular one, but I belong to the USCCA (United States Concealed Carry Association.) For $30 a month they provide me with peace of mine and the following:

  • $1,000,000 in Self-Defense SHIELD Protection for Civil Defense & Damages
  • $150,000 in Self-Defense SHIELD Protection for Criminal Defense, Bail Bond Funding & Attorney Retainer
  • 24/7/365 Critical Response Team
  • My Choice of Attorney or Access to USCCA Attorney Network
  • Up-Front Funding for Criminal Defense & Bail Bonds
  • Protection for the use of ALL Legal Weapons

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I am sure that if you follow my articles, you already know that I highly recommend that you exercise your right to protect yourself and your family. There is a cult classic movie called True Romance, where the lead character Clarence Worley makes this statement when questioned about his carrying a concealed weapon into a meeting:

“It’s better to have a gun and not need it than need a gun and not have it.”

Terror attacks and random acts of violence happen every single day, and everywhere when we least expect it. These actions tend to affect those who are vastly unprepared. Don’t you be that person!

Although I am former law enforcement and a current reserve officer, I have to tell you that the government cannot protect you and the police can only protect you as quickly as they can get to you. Usually, that is after the fact.

While a gun will not protect you from the mad bomber, it will protect you from the knife-wielding nut job or the armed guy who wants to shoot up the movie theater you happen to be sitting in with your family. Terrorists are trained to hit soft targets, but I want you to be a hard target by having your legally carried firearm with you at all times. Concealed carry license holders can and do act as one of our nation’s great deterrents.

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45 thoughts on “Should You Carry a Concealed Weapon?”

  1. Many if not all of the of the mass shootings happen in gun free zones. Since concealed carriers are above average law abiding citizens, they have either left their firearm in the car, or just don’t go to that place. So, the chance of a concealed carrier being there with a firearm are pretty slim. The murderers want fame not a fight. That is why you don’t hear of mass shootings at a gun show or at the police station.

    So, as a carrier, don’t go where they don’t want you. There are plenty of other retail stores and restaurants that are happy to have your business. These non-politically correct places either don’t care about your firearm, or are happy you have one.

    Being a carrier involves accepting responsibility for your own protection. If there was a mass murder by shooting going on in my vicinity I am going to first and foremost protect my family. If there are others who hide behind me while I am protecting me and mine, then they are lucky.

  2. Even though I have my concealed carry permit in the FREE state of Tennessee, I read your article just to see what else I can learn about this issue. I’m always open to learning more. Yes, there are situations where a gun does no one any good, but again, better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

    Training and ongoing learning are keys to safe gun use. Also, I was taught that the first line of defense is to try to get yourself and those with you OUT AND AWAY from the threat if at all possible. Shooting the “perp” is the last thing you want to do. Thank you for your great information! keep up the good work!

  3. I need your advice. When I carry my Ruger LCP .380, should I have a cartridge already in the chamber? Ruger does not have a safety pin, only long trigger pull precaution. On another hand it is not easy to put the bullet in the chamber, the spring is very strong, and I may be do not have a time for that. Thank you.

  4. concealed permit 1966 Darien Ct only
    Moved to Stamford State permit
    No classes no tests. 3 Years Marine corp infantry Have metals rifle M-14 45 19962 – 1966 2 months TAD to the pistol range 15 /25 yards 50 yards pistol team Fired 3 times a week
    I own an M-1 and a colt 191991A1 both A+ condition Have klock 9MM small for carry concealed.
    Trained MP riot house to house rock climbing rappelled out of helicopter jungle mountain survive ll cold weather
    Do not need a fast draw no round in a chamber. Been in situations I can tell what is going to happen

  5. First of all…ex-Marine, full supporter of the 2nd Amendment and practice at least twice a month at the range.

    I agree with Mr. Heath…shooters are going to pick soft targets and most soft targets are gun free zones. That’s why being an above average, law abiding citizen I make sure my weapon is well concealed. I would rather be charged with having a gun in a gun free zone than not charged because I’m dead. If a terrorist or just your plain nut job can bring a gun into a gun free zone, he’s going to be in for a surprise.

    Every man, or woman, must make the decision of what risks they are willing to take on a daily, if not hourly, basis. I do not condone concealed carry in a gun free zone but everyone needs to make that decision on their own and understand the full consequences of their decisions. Like the old saying goes…the only person who can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun…and bad guys don’t play by the rules…so now and then a good guy needs to bend the rules.

  6. Good article. Just one point of contention: I live in Delaware, and you are correct, they make it a hassle to get a CCW (you did leave out that you also need to attend a whole day training class by certified instructors and the need to submit fingerprints) and the total cost is about $400.00, but it isn’t impossible. Unfortunately, to leave Delaware you have to go through NJ, MD or PA. NJ & MD make it almost impossible to get a CCW, have no reciprocity states and in NJ it is illegal to have hollow point ammo. I have both an AZ and VA non-resident CCW for the reciprocity benefits allowing me to carry in most states except the Northeast and the Left Coast (CA OR WA). Just getting out of DE is the hassle. Thanks for the article and I would still encourage any DE residents with no legal, mental, abuse or DUI issues to apply.

  7. I have been caring for years. I got a PEAN.ccw before MO. had one. When MO. issued there ccw I got thers, now that MO. dose not require a ccw I have my 38 with me 24-7.

  8. Don’t get me wrong but you are right in every single way and I have seen people got shot in front of me and even still just like today I walk in QT gas station I seen a guy graving beerfrom the fridge I seen the guy stared walking to the door then my wife was getting out from the restroom when he turn around to see if they were falling him he almost pushed my wife to the ground so I turned to the guy it was fixing the the stuff in the salad section to told the guy hey that guy just came in the store and took a case of beer my wife you seen that guy almost pushed me down so I moved I told her yes that guy just stole a case of beer so the guy ask me which was he when I told him how he look and he run to the door and outside then he came back inside I’m going to look the video so he told me I think I know who you talking we seen him around this area so I was ok wow just imagine how many times he been doing that so I just walk away from the store I told my wife and kid that why I don’t do nothing with out a concealed weapon my son told me hey dad why you didn’t do nothing to stop him I told him I got yall in my mind plus for yall go tru anything but could happen to me he might had a gun and shoot me or even stab me no I care more for you guys that not having my life… but hey can I still get a license and concealed carry in with just a permit in Dallas TX I got cople fire arm with locks for protection and it time for me get into concealed carry in plus I’m clean and good reference because of my pass I help cops in the pass they put me in reference that I help them and not only that I had people try to give me money to let them go they give me money or even drugs for me to hide for them I told them no I got alot of respect for the things cops do for us in the streets so I’m not a sell out I promise you that but thank you for your time and effort and trust me I will tell you if I got it.. plus keep the good work

  9. Reciprocity Act MUST be passed..NOW!

    ALL honorably discharged military personnel should be allowed to own/carry what ever they please.

  10. Good information. But you left out one critical thing … Whether you open carry or conceal carry, you should never panic.

  11. Good article whether one agrees or disagrees. Of course, there are always those who will carry illegally. And, the majority of those are not the nut cases. This country was founded on guns and will only exist as long as people are able to protect themselves and have the means possible to do so. I will agree that you cannot depend on law enforcement to protect you ( no offense intended). Unfortunately, law enforcement can only react after the fact and with all the restrictions on them from the bleeding heart liberals they are slowed down even further. Tuff job and rather thankless. May the liberals and protesters face violence. Then perhaps they will no longer be liberals and protesters. Talk about a Catch 22!

  12. I have a lot of questions that I want answer to, but don’t know who to ask for the answer. What I have read is very interesting.

  13. I have been an NRA Certified firearms Instructor and Training Counselor for many years in pistol, shotgun and rifle disciplines. I am also a Florida “K” licensed firearms Instructor that certify licensed private investigators and security officers to carry a firearm in the course of their duties. I teach students the responsibilities attached to the use of deadly force. It is the final choice to bring a gun or deadly weapon related incident to an end by meeting force with equal force. In doing so opens the legal and civil liability attached. Mass shootings and other violent crimes have become all to frequent. We are our own first line of defense against such acts. To be legally armed is one thing but to be formally trained is the difference between success or failure to survive if you become the intended or random target of the attack. Being aware of your surroundings is your best chance to avoid becoming a victim.

  14. Bob.Pierce,

  15. Food for thought. You’re definitely correct in your assessment of circumstances, but, the quote from Clarence Worley, , pretty much sums it up.

  16. I agree with Mr. Heath. I received my concealed carry permit several months ago. Since then, whenever I leave home, the side arm is in my in the waist concealed holster. Unfortunately, at events such as concerts, football games, etc., attendees are searched for weapons. Needless to say, firearms are prohibited at such events. If a person qualifies and receives a concealed weapon permit, they should be exempt at such events. Considering the extensive background check when applying for the permit; isn’t a concealed weapons permit testimony that you are a law-abiding citizen?

  17. This a very good article. It echoe’s things I think about every day. I have a CC permit in Oklahoma, just renewed for another 10 years. I do not carry, but can. Thanks for all the reminders. Claude Smith

  18. I would like to carry but don’t know how to get the license to do that with all the violence going on, just one month there was a home invasion that killed the people living there four doors down the street.
    We’re can I go to get the license without getting scammed.

  19. Great comments. I live in Gary, IN. And have been carrying concealed since 1984. I have a lifetime carry permit. Right hip best carry for me. I am on our STAR Security Team (safety through awareness and response) at Church, sad but needed theses days. Your training has helped me immensely with being aware of my surroundings. Many times I am the sheep dog of the team and give the commands if an incident occurs. We train for all types of incidents including active intruders, bomb threats, knife attacks, medical, etc. I watch your videos regularly and train as much as I can. By God’s Grace, I hope I never have to pull my weapon anywhere but at the practice range. Use my concealed weapon as a last defense to protect the lives of my family, others, and myself.

  20. I used to belong to USCCA but I live in NY State and Governor Como has outlawed this coverage in NY State selectively leaving NY state concealed carry citizens unable to protect their assets if involved in a self defense shooting. This basically gives the Bad guy the advantage. So NY state does not care about legal tax paying Citizens they would rather protect the Criminal element among us.

  21. In PA, I left the house at about 9:30 AM. I drove to the courthouse and received my conceal carry permit in about 15 minutes, Went to a local gun shop and purchased a .38 Special in less than 1/2 hour and was home by noon.

  22. Firearms laws vary from State to State so much that if you travel out-of-state often, and/or will be traveling thru several States, it behooves you to know what the laws are in every state you’ll be going thru. But there are some websites which list the relevant State laws in an easy-to-read format or on a chart you can print & take with you.

    Personally, I don’t like concealed carry because it eliminates the “deterrent factor” of open carry, which I know for a fact works. I live in North Carolina, where open carry has always been legal, going back 300 years, no license or permit needed. You only need a permit if you’re going to buy a handgun @ a retail store — you get that @ your country sheriff’s office (after a background check) — it’s a permit to BUY a handgun, not to carry one. The State Constitution originally forbid concealed weapons, but several years ago it was amended to allow concealed carry. However, you do need a permit for that & you have to take / pass a concealed carry class 1st.

    I moved to NC many years before the concealed carry amendment & right off I noticed it was commonplace to see people with a handgun in a holster, just walking down the street, in a supermarket, Walmart, at a gas station, etc. Nobody thought anything of it since it had always been legal. BUT — after the concealed carry amendment, handguns in public just disappeared — it’s not that people quit carrying a handgun, it’s just that you don’t see it because most of ’em got the concealed carry permit. I could get it but I haven’t & if I’m going someplace where it would be wise to carry my pistol, I WANT people to see it. Criminals are cowards & go for the easiest / weakest targets — more often than not just seeing that you’re carrying a handgun is enough for them to stay away from you & look for another target. And look in a different State, before the concealed carry amendment, when all kinds of people openly carried a handgun, young, old, weak & strong.

    Interesting tidbit about the difference in State laws: a while back I read about all the fuss regarding legalizing open carry in Texas — concealed carry was already legal, but open carry wasn’t — the opposite of NC.

  23. Bob, I have been following for some time now and have purchased many things through FF. I have been HIGHLY interested in obtaining my CWP in Az. HOWEVER, I got a Felony DUI in 2004. how would you recommend that I either get it reduced or expunged?????

  24. Hello there my name is Shane, I’ve carried a weapon open carry for years now, here in the states of Missouri, so I’m pretty up to my loss on things, but you know what u have told me some things that I’ve never heard of, and I want to say thank you very much.
    Im going to put what you told me to use on some things, again I appreciate you sending me these emails and tips thank you

  25. Hello Bob and all that read this I’m 53 years old and studied several different disciplines of hand to hand close quarters combat as well as weapons training wrestling in high school with 3 state championships as well as boxing and kick boxing several years However I have been a active and consistent concealed carrier since age 21 legal age to carry a gun from my experience through life I don’t care how much training nor how many black belts and degrees you have or how much time you spend at the range shooting 1000’s of rounds through your weapons That doesn’t prepare you for what could be awaiting you around the next corner or at the next traffic light YES it’s better to have a gun and not need it than to need it and not have it BUT IF you don’t have what it takes to pull that trigger when the time comes IF there’s any doubt or second guessing It’s very likely you’ll be killed with your own weapon sorry But I’m not gonna sugar coat it for anyone facing serious situations and someone that’s not afraid to take your gun away from you and kill you with it is not the time to find out you don’t have what it takes to use it I’ve saw people get beat to death with the snub nose 38 aol they had emptied into the mans chest and then he got the weapon away from him and literally fell dead on top of the man that shot him 6 times and both died I also know at least 3 other guys that have had 25 auto and 380’s emptied in their chest and beat the Hell out of the guy that shot them and drove themselves to the hospital So were you put that 1st round counts it should be the only one you need

  26. I don’t believe it is necessary to carry a firearm with rare exceptions. I was an MP in the US Army and I am considered by the Army to be an Expert with the 45 cal. APC Pistol. All that said, I stand by my opening statement.

  27. I am 82, and have carried open and concealed legally since I moved to this country (1990). In Arizona where I live now, respect for the 2nd Amendment to our Constitution is alive and well (permit-less concealed and open carry for honest folk). Daytime I carry open or concealed – depends on the environment I’m in. At night, walking my dog, I carry two, openly, one on each hip. A Bond Arms Snake Slayer with shot shells to scare away coyotes and javalinas (I don’t want to kill them), and a Bond Arms Snake Slayer IV with .45 Long Colt cartridges to deal with larger predators (mountain lions and people seeking to do me harm). As I age and grow weaker, knowing I am in the prime “victim category” in this country, I practise regularly to maintain my skill at arms.

  28. I’m an advocate of decent and responsible people being allowed to protect themselves – ie I subscribe to the adage “An armed society is a polite society” but I also support robust rules that ensure only sensible people be allowed to own and carry guns. It’s a difficult law to get right but I think authorities should always err on the cautious side, even if it occasionally causes a law abiding citizen to be denied a permit. A lawyer in my town shot and killed his ex wife some years ago. Looking carefully into his personal details and psychological profile, he was someone who became enraged easily. He should never have been given a permit and it was bureaucratic laziness that led to this tragedy. I have no problem at all if someone wants to “check me out” carefully, before giving me a gun permit. We all should be prepared to be resonably scrutinized before we get a gun permit.

  29. I am a retired police officer with over 20 years of service. I am now 82 years of age and though I would feel better with a weapon on me I do not know if it is the smart thing to do. Your advice is well received and appreciated. I feel each person has to make his or her own decision as to how they feel about carrying a weapon. That decision could change the rest of your life. Keep up the good work. It is appreciated.

  30. Great article that gives us some things to consider. NC has open carry and some of the people I see in Walmart seem to be more for show than go.
    My biggest issue for a concealed carry weapon is size. I have pretty big hands and even the M9 we used in the Corps felt too small in my hand.

    Again, thank you for the thoughts to consider.

  31. As a NRA Instructor, I appreciate articles like this….and wish there were more. Thanks!

  32. Interesting information, I have my License to carry here in Texas, I switch from a m9 or 1911A1 with a BUG Glock 26, it depends how I’m feeling, I carry pretty much carry everywhere I can legally, like many here I’m retired military (Army) we have constitutional carry but I like to have the license, especially when carrying in other states, plus insurance

  33. I was young(23) and untrained when I got my first cc permit. Driving home on a deserted hiway at 3am, a guy purposely ran me off the road going the opposite direction. I came out of the ditch swung around to give chase and pulled my firearm. I pulled over angry and shaking. I continued home put the gun away and didn’t carry for about 4 months until I got some training, thanking God for putting my brakes on. In agreement with every thing you said, excellent advice.