SEASONAL ISSUES WITH CONCEALED vs. OPEN CARRY
I just recently read a blog about issues regarding “open carry” in a mall. The story stuck in my head and so I decided to comment and share my thoughts on this important issue.
In general carrying or handling a firearm immediately increases your responsibility, need for alertness, and possible liability. It does not matter if you plan to carry your gun at home, in the car, restaurant, grocery store, or mall. When I hear people talking about the fact that they want to openly carry a gun I start thinking about a few topics. Overall, yes we all have the right to possess and carry firearms, but I still believe that it is critical and important to keep in mind how the rest of the world around us will see, respond, and feel about us.
First of all, and most importantly, make sure that you are fully aware of the legal aspect and gun laws in your State. Apply for a CCW/CFP and you generally do not have to worry about open carry challenges.
The most important issue always has to be gun safety. I don’t care how safe and good you are around a gun. If there are kids or loved ones around you who should not see or have access to your firearm, you have to make sure that your gun is safe at all times. At the point of a home invasion you need to be able to respond appropriately. Develop a plan to retreat to a safe area where you then access your firearm. Fortunately, my family never had to fall back into our family safety plan, but it is in place, and we all know how to respond and act just in case it happens.
2. Carrying a firearm in a mall and in public
As soon as you step outside your door with your gun concealed, open, or stored, everything immediately changes. Yes, we have the right to carry a gun for the protection of ourselves and our loved ones. To walk into a mall and openly carry, at this time of the year, is something that I definitely would not recommend. There are families around, security has automatically increased, mall security is constantly stressed and on “high alert”, and there will be uniformed and off duty police officers all over the place. So why would you add stress to them and yourself when someone calls 911 to tell security that there is a person with a gun walking around the mall?
In the case that you are in a threatening situation, do you feel trained and ready enough to draw your gun to fight? Do you feel that you are mentally ready to use your firearm and are capable to hit the bad guy? He will probably be more than just 7 feet away from you. Are you trained to hit a moving target at 15+ feet away, with people in panic mode, and your family is there to worry about as well? Are you personally, or your family, threatened? Or is a bystander the one who is possibly in danger? Can you really assess the situation and make that life changing decision?
Unless the bad guy points a gun directly at me or my family I will observe and be alert, call 911, and make a controlled exit out of the area, with my gun concealed. Do not show your gun, because otherwise law enforcement will focus on you and not the bad guy who started it. Let law enforcement handle the situation.
If you carry openly, your advantage is gone. If the bad guy looks at you and sees your firearm in plain sight, guess who he will shoot at and put you and your family in imminent danger.
3. Restaurants that are serving alcohol
This is a very sensitive issue. Checking the laws in your State is highly recommended. Make sure that the State you live in allows you to carry your firearm inside a restaurant. If you are allowed to do so, I recommend carrying concealed. One more important point; I never, ever, order alI carry my firearmcohol when . Stay away from it or you will lose your license and end up in a lot of trouble.
In summary, my recommendation is to carry your firearm concealed. This will allow you to have the element of surprise on your side. Training will help you to be prepared for this situation. Take additional training classes which will prepare you for any possible scenario. At the end of the day it is your decision how to respond. Once you draw your concealed firearm you need to be prepared for all possible consequences. Always put safety first!!