Laws pertaining to the open or concealed carry of a firearm vary by state and change frequently. Please check with your local law enforcement on your state and city’s current carry laws. The number of first-time gun owners has steadily increased over the last year. Over half of all gun owners report the primary reason for owning a gun is for self-defense. The majority of gun owners believe their right to defend themselves extends beyond their home. If you are considering joining the eight million Americans who hold concealed carry permits, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself before proceeding.
Federal law recognizes our right to defend ourselves with a gun; however, at the state level carrying a gun is a privilege. In regards to whom and how one can carry, the states are may-issue, shall-issue, no-issue, or states that do not require a permit at all to carry.
- A may-issue state issues permits on a discretionary basis.
- A shall-issue state will issue you a permit if you meet the requirements.
- A no-issue state does not allow anyone to carry a gun.
- Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Maine, Montana, Vermont, Wyoming, and Mississippi—if the gun is carried in a bag or purse—do not require a permit for legal citizens to carry a gun.
All states differ in their requirements and fees when issuing a concealed carry permit. For example, Texas requires a 10-hour class before allowing you to get a carry license, while Washington does not. USACarry.com is an excellent resource by state listing all requirements.
Further, each state differs in the laws regarding how, where and when you may carry. The required class in Texas goes over these laws. In states that do not require a class, you need to familiarize yourself and know your state’s specific laws. The NRA-ILA has a website detailing each state’s gun laws.
Becoming a concealed carry permit-holder is a great responsibility and often requires a lifestyle change. I say this because there is no point in getting a permit if you are not going to carry. There is a plethora of information on what gun to purchase for concealed carry to what type of holster to buy. These decisions will help you pick the right gun and the right holster so you are comfortable enough to carry every day.
On that note, you must ask yourself:
Am I going to carry my self-defense gun every day?
Unfortunately, the potential for a life and death situation to occur is possible anywhere you go. You are not prepared to protect yourself and innocent others if you do not carry.
Am I ready to take another human life?
I have read that it is not our instinct to kill another human. When the time comes, will you be able to pull the trigger to save your life or the life of another? Settle your spiritual conflictions first before getting a concealed carry license.
Am I willing to change my lifestyle?
When you conceal carry, it is highly possible you will have to change your wardrobe. Concealed means concealed. It is illegal in many states to brandish your firearm. Many people wear a cover garment to make sure their gun never shows. Next, there are places where it is illegal to carry. The majority of states do not let you carry into a bar. If you frequent places that do not allow firearms, you will need to reconsider where you hang out.
Am I competent shooting my gun?
You should be a proficient shot and confident in your abilities to hit your target. Can you draw from a holster safely, quickly and effectively? Do you know how to clear malfunctions quickly? You should know your gun inside and out. Knowing how to shoot and grip your gun well requires practice and training. Taking the time and dedication to take classes, range trips and dry firing at home keeps your skill level up to par. If you do not enjoy shooting, or never practice shooting, you may possibly may end up dead because you could not work your gun.
Am I hot headed?
Part of the responsibility of carrying a concealed weapon is to diffuse a potential dangerous situation. This means you avoid or leave situations that could escalate into a fight or confrontation. You must remain even-tempered and calm. If you are the type of person who sees red quickly, you probably need to work on your anger before getting a concealed carry permit.
Choosing to carry a gun for self-defense is a noble and honorable responsibility. Don’t let my recommendations frighten you. Millions of people carry every day—safely—and never have to use their gun. I just want you to be as prepared as possible if you ever have to.
Are you considering getting a concealed carry permit? If so, what are your reservations? Share them with us in the comment section.