Safety and Training

Purse Carry—Don’t be Caught Carrying Where You Shouldn’t

Picture shows a gun, a United States passport and foreign currency.

On Thursday, August 29, 2013, Ted Nugent’s wife, Shemane—who has a concealed carry permit—was arrested at DFW Airport in Dallas, Texas for having a gun in her carry-on luggage. According to the family’s attorney, David Finn, it was an “honest mistake.” Shemane either forgot or did not realize the gun was in the bag.

Picture shows a gun, a United States passport and foreign currency.
Keep a separate travelling purse and carry on that your gun never goes in.

Either TSA has stepped up their game or more people than ever are carrying, but by June 2013, TSA had found a record 894 guns either on flying passengers or in their carry-on bags. There is no way of knowing how many people had malicious intent, but the majority caught simply say, “I forgot it was there.” Many of us strap our guns on in the morning like second nature. For many caught carrying at the airport, it’s most likely a case of simply not thinking about it. It is legal to fly with your gun; you must check it in properly. To read more about flying with your guns, read Lisa Metheny’s article, “How to Survive Flying in the Not-So-Friendly Skies.” If you carry in your purse, I can see how easily it would slip your mind to remove it when travelling—especially if you are running late.

I have never recommended purse carry. The drawbacks are plenty. However, I do recognize that some women will only carry that way. It is your choice to make. I won’t judge either way. If you choose to carry in your purse, you must be hyper vigilant it is there, not only to follow your state’s concealed carry laws, but in order to keep your handgun secured. The following are some tips if you decide to carry in your purse.

Picture shows a black purse sitting on a table with a cocktail in front of it.
Have a separate “going out” bag. Many states have laws against carrying in an establishment that serves alcohol.
  • Do not sling your purse over the top of the chair at a restaurant. The purse, along with your gun, is easily snatched this way.
  • Do not put your purse in the children’s seat in a grocery cart. Again, it can be snatched too easily.
  • Have a separate “going out” bag. Many states have laws against carrying in an establishment that serves alcohol.
  • Remove your gun from your purse every night. This puts you in the habit of removing it and putting it back in the morning, so you never become complacent and forget you are carrying it.
  • Before travelling, use the buddy system. Have someone else double-check all of your bags, including your purse, for guns, ammo or magazines.
  • Keep a separate travelling purse and carry-on that your gun never goes in. This will make sure you do not accidentally show up at the airport while carrying.
  • Download the iPhone app, Carry Alerts for $2.99. The app warns you when you are entering a “gun-free zone.” The alerts will remind you that you have a gun in your purse.

With all that goes on in our minds everyday, I see how easy it is to forget a gun is in your purse. Let’s just hope you don’t forget it’s there if you need it! Perhaps it is time to mentally “gear-up.” Carrying a gun is a huge responsibility. Being fully aware at all times that you have it means you be caught carrying where you shouldn’t be.

Do you purse carry? What are things you do to remind yourself to remove it on federal property, when going to the airport or while picking up the kids from class? Tell us in the comment section.

If you would like to learn more about concealed carry for women, read the following blog posts:


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