By no means do I consider myself to be an expert in the arts of everyday carry, concealed or open. A majority of my knowledge comes from habitual research and reading countless articles. I always try to keep an open mind to other experienced carriers, paying particular attention to real life situations and what they gathered from various encounters. I myself have yet to experience my own carrying encounter, law enforcement or otherwise. I know it’s only a matter of time; but I still hope the day never comes I’m forced to act as I’m prepared to do. All things considered, I still don’t let the many hypothetical situations deter me from carrying every day.
I first decided to begin my voyage of everyday carry soon after leaving the Active Duty Army after 13 years of honorable service. With multiple deployments overseas, and not to mention the constant change of living conditions, I was never able to fully commit to every day carry. However once my situation changed, I devoted my newly acquired free time to the usual vast amounts of research needed to answer some very important questions.
The first and often most important question I found myself asking was; am I prepared to act accordingly should my life of the lives of my family be threatened? If the answer is no, then perhaps carrying isn’t for you. The willingness to take a life in defense of your own is first and foremost the foundation of what it means to carry concealed. You are not only taking the responsibility of your own life, but the lives and well-being of everyone around you; family or otherwise.
Moral decisions and responsibilities aside, there was still much to consider when making the decision to carry. What firearm should I use or purchase for the task? How much and what kind of ammunition should I consider using and carrying on my person? How much practice do I need to be proficient with the given firearm? What are my State requirements to apply for a Concealed Carry Permit? Do I meet those requirements? As I’ve stated before many, many times a large amount of research is needed when considering these options.
Some of us are lucky enough to have a network of friends and colleagues to rely upon when needing answers to these important questions. For others that are not so fortunate, the internet can be a valuable tool. However, I must raise the caution flag when turning to the internet for answers. While it can be an easy access to a wide variety of useful information; sometimes that information can be misleading or in worse case completely false. While I stress research, I always encourage those not familiar with certain areas to check and recheck their sources when reaching out into the World Wide Web for answers. Taking the word of a misinformed source speaking solely on opinion could possibly lead you down the road of a court hearing.
The mentioning of legal ramifications brings me to my next point. When deciding to take the steps toward your Concealed Carry Permit, it is always wise to look up your State of Residence laws regarding concealed carry. This may seem like redundant information to some; but to others completely unknowing of such laws, they may be surprised as to what they find. Some States, including the cities and townships within them, have their own specific set of laws regarding concealed and open carry. Familiarize yourself with them thoroughly. It may even be worth it to take some time out of your day and speak with a local law enforcement officer on the subject. Some would cringe at the thought of speaking to a police officer about carrying a firearm. Recent news and stigmas would suggest most law enforcement officers detest the idea of civilians walking around armed. However you may find that a majority of police and law enforcement are more than receptive to such conversations.
Many factors are to be considered when deciding to carry. There are far too many aspects to cover in just one article alone. Preparedness is your best defense. Arming yourself with knowledge, proficiency, and awareness of the law is just as important as your sidearm. Above all else, remember that you carry a responsibility not only to yourself and family, but those around you as well. Always remain vigilant.