Most firearms owners would agree that carrying a firearm openly is a Constitutional right in the United States of America. However, many states and local jurisdictions have laws that prohibit open carry. Some local areas allow open carry, but have restrictions on owning specific kinds of firearms.
While open carry should remain a Constitutional right, it’s not always the best choice. Many people have been shot while open carrying a firearm when police thought they were reaching for their weapon.
If you feel safer carrying a firearm, but don’t want to manage the risks associated with open carry, there is another option – concealed carry. Most states allow citizens to apply for a concealed carry permit (CCW), but there are a few states that won’t grant CCW permits to private citizens. Hopefully you’re not in one of those states.
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Concealed carry is often safer
At first, open carry might seem like the smarter option. YouTube has many videos of Americans who open carry in public places in order to raise awareness and educate the police. Their work is important and it makes sense to normalize the presence of firearms in public.
However, there are risks associated with openly carrying a firearm in public. Even if you can open carry in your state, there are four solid reasons to apply for and obtain a concealed carry permit instead.
1. It’s not as uncomfortable as you might think
If you’re concerned about comfort, you’ll be happy to know that carrying a concealed firearm doesn’t have to be unpleasant. You don’t have to tuck your pistol into your waistband and hope it sticks like people do in the movies.
You can buy comfortable concealed-carry clothing specially designed to accommodate your everyday carry (EDC). Check out the clothing available from primaryarms.com for a wide selection of items.
Concealed carry clothing made for men and women will accommodate just about any common carrying position. Between holsters, pants, shirts, and jackets, you can get what you need to carry your firearm with relative ease.
2. You’re less likely to look like a suspect
Legally, carrying a concealed weapon reduces your risk of being mistaken for a suspect or criminal. Just the sight of a firearm in public puts some people on edge and can influence their perception toward thinking you’re a criminal. Hopefully, this won’t be the case in the future. For now, it’s a real concern.
It would be great if carrying a firearm didn’t automatically make you a target of suspicion. But that’s a reality we all have to face. It’s probably not going to be as big a deal if you openly carry a firearm in the country, but in a large city, it can get you in trouble fast.
As a gun owner, you have to be responsible for yourself and other people. It may seem unfair, but you have to think about what could happen if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. Many innocent people have been killed for openly carrying a firearm.
Open carry laws won’t prevent you from getting shot by a police officer who interprets your behavior as a threat. In fact, it won’t even matter if open carry is legal; if a law enforcement officer feels the need to use deadly force against you, for whatever reason, he or she will probably not be held responsible for your injuries or death if their reasoning was justified.
With a CCW permit, nobody will see your weapon, and the only time you’ll need to tell anyone about your firearm is if you are questioned by the police.
3. You won’t make people uncomfortable
Many people become fearful at the sight of guns. Firearms that are out of sight don’t make people anxious.
Unfortunately, most people who aren’t used to seeing guns will become nervous when they see you openly carrying a firearm. This is an understandable response, but it’s unfortunate because it means that exercising your Second Amendment right has the potential to scare fellow citizens.
When people are afraid of someone, they tend to regard that person’s actions as sinister. For example, if you’re openly carrying a gun at Walmart and someone sees you buying another firearm, they might suspect you’re about to engage in a mass shooting. Unfortunately, some mass shooters have purchased their firearms and ammunition at a department store right before going on a rampage.
Fear is not necessarily rational, obviously, so you could end up being reported to the local police. If you get reported as a suspicious person, the result could be worse than police mistaking you for a suspect on sight.
When you’re reported directly to the authorities, the fearful person might say things that aren’t true, but the responding officers will have to proceed as if they are. Worse, if you’re innocently going about your business, but you happen to move your arm or hand near your weapon, you could get shot. For instance, if you reach to pull up your pants, an officer will interpret that as an attempt to grab your firearm.
If you’re going to open carry in public, you need to take extra precautions to avoid moving your hands anywhere near your firearm when you’re confronted by the police.
4. It will be easier to respond to a mass shooter threat in public
If you ever find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to take down a mass shooter, carrying a concealed weapon will give you a better opportunity to save lives. Although some people believe openly carrying a gun will deter mass shooters, that’s not necessarily going to be true in all cases.
Mass shooters tend to be suicidal and ready to die. If you’re openly carrying a firearm, and the mass shooter sees you and your weapon first, he could take you down with his first shots.
Consider getting your concealed carry permit
If it’s allowed in your state and local jurisdiction, you should get a concealed carry permit. Even if you still want to carry openly, at least you’ll have a permit in case you change your mind or your state’s open carry law gets changed.