What Concealed Carry Should Mean to Those New to the Lifestyle

Concealed carry is a legal term for getting permission from your local government to carry a firearm for self-defense. It also means it can put more pressure on us legally if we were to use the firearm in our defense. All our actions up to the point of having to defend ourselves will be looked at and scrutinized by the prosecuting attorney, the media outlets, and our friends and family.

But do not let that deter you from what you are looking to do. It is just a harsh reality nobody wants to admit or talk about. I would rather you know forehand and then get into the nitty-gritty of what you are looking for.

When I got my Pennsylvania concealed carry permit, it was as simple as going to the courthouse with cash, a smile, and a driver’s license. Pending the county, they may want to see two other forms of ID along with it to establish residency. Other than that, you waited by the mailbox for several weeks before it just appeared. Today, it is still like that here in Pennsylvania. If you have a clean slate and no felonious past, you shall be issued a license to carry a firearm.

Several states require you to take an 8-hour concealed carry course, and then you have to show proficiency with your carry firearm in order to receive your license to carry; whatever state you live in, shall issue or may issue, have different meanings. “Shall-issue” states will send you your permit as long as their checks and balances work out for you. The “may-issue” states treat the process as if it is a burden to help you along with getting a permit and make it nearly (not completely) impossible to receive the license or permit in that state.

A concealed carry permit is exactly what it sounds like. Permission to carry a firearm hidden on your person, which would normally be illegal in most states without the permit or license to carry firearms (not including Constitutional Carry states.)

Concealed carry does deter crime (not necessarily eliminating it); however, it has been proven that in most places, there is concealed carry, there is much less crime that happens in those areas. Areas where you see and hear about shootings all the time are not from law-abiding citizens like yourself who obtained permission to conceal carry. These shootings happen from those who ignore the law, the ones we need to protect ourselves from.

Concealed carry for new moms and dads shouldn’t be as taxing as it is made out to be. Yes, there is a child now involved. How you obtain your information, however, may change. The tube on the internet should not be your “go-to” source for training or information regarding your new lifestyle regarding having guns and children in the home. If you were to ask me how I always keep my firearm ready with children in the home, I would tell you it is as simple as keeping it on your body until you are ready to turn down for the night. If you have the right gear, the right mindset, and the right training, you will not have to fear the worse.

Training should be a factor in this lifestyle. When I started to carry, I was working as a private eye and had little to some training, which helped but did not address when children are born and such. That was a learning curve, for I was not about to disarm myself since I may or may not have ruffled some feathers while I was working in that field.

I have found it to be easier to leave the firearm holstered on my body until it was time to turn in, then it was accessible via lockbox in the nightstand. Throughout the years, I have found many gadgets and magnet holsters to be quite helpful in keeping my firearms accessible and out of the eyes and reach of my children.

Having children in the home does not mean you keep them completely clueless, they will ask questions, and you should be prepared to answer them truthfully. One day, my daughter asked me when she was in 1st grade if I was a bad man, so I asked her why she thought to ask that. The private school I was taking her to has a different idea of armed citizens, and I let her know that I carry a gun because carrying a police officer with me would be burdensome and clumsy with my bad knee. Around three years later, she showed interest in shooting, so I bought a single shot, Rascal, from Savage with the Accu-trigger system, figuring this was the safest option for her at her age. I set up balloons at the local range, and she had a blast popping them from 25 yards, then 50 yards, and at 100 yards. My son also showed interest when he was 8, so he started with a .32 caliber pistol because, at the time, I had not yet been an instructor and only had self-defense knowledge. Since they were both taught at the appropriate age of “when interested under supervision,” I had no curious children looking through my things. One reason for this was, they were educated on the dangers of firearms and the safety and knowledge I poured onto them on how responsible folks do not wind up on the news. There was never an issue with the curiosity.

I know this article seems as if this is intended for folks with children, but it can also mean a partner or spouse who is not into the same lifestyle as you. We want to portray to the world that we are not an issue, that we are not the problem with the world (legal concealed carry firearm owners), and it starts in the home.

If there is a party in the home who is not comfortable but shows interest, you are better off taking them to an indoor range with rentals to feel and find their own “fit” to try a gun for their first time. That doesn’t mean you can’t be there to assist, but you need to understand that the choices that lead you here will not be the same choices for them. Grip size, hand size, caliber ranges, all these things matter, and ask for assistance with an instructor who will help guide your partner along. No matter what your skill level will be, it is intimidating for new shooters for their significant other to help them if you are not patient enough to understand this is their “first shot” experience with firearms, which in itself to those who have not is intimidating in itself.

If you have children in the home, and you want them to learn, remember that the best way is the safest way, start with dry-fire training (snap-caps are great) and lead them up to one round at a time. When you are comfortable enough with them, you may introduce more, but until then, stick with dry-fire and one round at a time, never a full magazine. When do you release them to be free with a full magazine? That takes years and your own willingness to accept a negligent discharge. Even though your child is shooting the gun, folks will see it as your responsibility to accept responsibility for their actions since they are minors under your supervision.

When do you introduce them to the firearms, and how do you know if they are ready? Ask them if they would like to come with you when you go. It is as simple as that. If you get a no, they do not think they are ready.

What should conceal carry mean to you? Responsibility to yourself for your own personal defense and the defense of your loved ones.