One of the sports columnists who writes for the local fishwrap newspaper here also has a daily radio show. Besides commenting on the urgent sporting news of the day, he’ll occasionally ramble on about personal matters. And one of the tidbits he’s shared with the local population of 2.5 million is the fact that he has a concealed carry license. He’s even blabbed about where and when he chooses to carry. As far as I’m concerned, just like Fight Club, the first rule of concealed carry is . . .

You don’t talk about the fact that you carry. And the second rule of concealed carry is YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT THE FACT THAT YOU CARRY. If you think about it, yakking about it tends to negate the whole concept of “concealed.” You gain absolutely nothing from letting others know you carry and it can lead to problems. Things like acquaintances wondering what you’re so scared of, people with other than good intentions knowing you own guns, buddies asking to check out your heater.

I’ve texted the local media dude and advised him to STFU about his gun habits. There’s no way of knowing whether or not the message got through, but he hasn’t mentioned guns since. Do you tell people you carry again? And if you do, why?

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72 Responses to Question of the Day: Do You Talk About Carrying a Gun?

  1. Shortly after I turned 21 and got my CCW, I went to the gun store to buy a carry holster. Chatting with the dealer, he said something that I’ve lived by ever since: “If it’s concealed, then it’s CONCEALED.”

    Some times coworkers or friends see it, then I explain (any one who knows me long enough knows that I CCW). And of course my gun buddies and I talk about methods and styles. I don’t broadcast to the general public that I carry for a number of reasons (privacy, security, etc). Because “If it’s concealed, it CONCEALED”

  2. When I first started carrying it was such a dominating presence on my mind and for some reason I felt like I just HAD to let someone know. I told one friend and got that out of my system and now I never talk about it. Not even my parents know I carry when I go home.

  3. You never know what intentions someone may have…or more plausible, if you reveal to someone you carry, they WILL share that info with others. That’s why I didn’t participate in the BUYcott @ Starbucks…while the baristas might be nice, upstanding people, there’s no guarantee their friends, or their friend’s friends are too.

  4. I don’t broadcast it but it’s not like it’s a dirty secret. I’m amazed at how frequently I get into casual conversations about guns with acquaintances and I’m perfectly comfortable sharing that I am/do carry if it comes up or if they ask. I also tell them about sites like OFCC forums and this one. Every time I do I feel like I’m doing my part to spread the message and normalize guns and carrying.

    But, to each his own.

  5. Most of the people in my office carry so we all talk about TTPs. I have lived in the same house for 28 years so my immediate neighbors know I shoot and hunt and in the past have worked in the intelligence community. Given popular perceptions about what people in the intelligence community do I am sure they have always thought I walk around like 007.

  6. Plus one on just family and close friends. Although, I am concerned that those in the “circle of trust” will blab to others not in the circle. You cannot control absolutely everything.

    I do not keep telling the circle that I carry. We had the conversation once and there is no need to have it multiple times; however, if you are going to an area where carrying is not permitted such as a recent graduation on a college campus, I had to excuse myself for a moment while I secured my weapon so I would not be breaking the law while at the event.

    Other than that, it does not pay to advertise in that scenario.

  7. Since it’s almost impossible to get an unrestricted pistol license in downstate NY, most of us don’t have that problem.

  8. I barely tell anyone that I even OWN guns. I tried making casual conversation with friends about buying a new one, or target practice or such, but around here people just mostly get freaked out. (OMG! Crooks are going to steal them! OMG!!)

    If/when I get a CCW only me, hubby, and my one gun-enthusiast friend will know about it.

    On a side note, one of those friends who freaked that I own guns changed her tune when her husband and then her teenage son bought one. Then she came to me for reassurance! I took the opportunity to share with her the 4 rules of gun safety (thank you TTAG for teaching me those), told her where to get a pamphlet on CA gun laws, and told her how much fun target practice is. Baby steps…

    • Best rule is to say nothing to anyone who doesn’t absolutely have to know. And that holds for simple ownership as well as concealed-carry. Once your “secret” is out, it’s out and running loose — and you have no control over where it goes or who hears it.

      This is one of those subjects where a little paranoia at the outset will serve you well.

  9. Well I pretty much only hang around with “gun people” and anyone who knows me and has an IQ bigger than their shoe size knows I own guns.

    How are we going to normalize gun ownership and get rid of the perception that all gun owners are scary, tin foil hat wearing, paranoid, and just waiting to start shooting people if we all hide in the shadows?

    • Dawg, you’ve hit on a conundrum. I don’t talk about my guns because the social climate is not yet gun-friendly enough for my taste. However, how can I improve the social climate without talking about guns?

  10. I do but shouldn’t. Not that it’s a conversation starter but if I’m asked I reply in the affirmative. Most times people respond with “how can I get a permit and carry too?”

  11. Learned the acronym “Cant” from my CHL instructor and took it to heart: Carry Always, Never Tell. It’s my response to anyone who might ask if I carry, I simply say ” I Cant.”

    • So you would rather people think you are a convicted felon and can’t own firearms than that you carry?

    • So you would rather people think you are a convicted felon and can’t own a firearms than that you carry?

  12. Only about holsters and technique in friendly circles. Never that “I am” or “I am not” in a particular instance. I really think flying under the radar is the greatest advantage.

    -D

  13. I rarely disclose my concealed carry license or carry status to friends or acquaintances. And the only time I have disclosed to complete strangers is when it made sense as part of a social transaction (e.g. purchasing a firearm or asking about concealed carry holsters at a store).

    Why? I want to maintain the element of surprise if a violent attack should occur. And I want to avoid the hassle of arguing with people who are irrationally afraid of firearms.

    It is also important to be discrete in case you are ever involved in a non-violent confrontation. If the other person knows that you are armed, they can call law enforcement and claim that you brandished your gun or even drew it and pointed it at them. As you might imagine, that will be a big hassle at the very least. But if the other person has no idea that you are armed, they would rarely make such a false claim.

    And I do not disclose to any extended family members any more. One aunt learned about my carry status through another family member and asked me to leave my handgun at home when I visit. Never mind the fact that I am very discrete, never handle it, never show it to anyone, and she has never seen it. That is another hassle that I don’t need in my life.

    All that said, there is a potential benefit to carefully disclosing to acquaintances in the right circumstances. If an acquaintance has been able to get to know you over time and see that you are a balanced, self-controlled, decent, upstanding citizen, you have an opportunity to win them over. People on the fence or with a mild aversion to concealed carry need to see that decent people carry and actually enhance public safety. In my experience many people are of the “seeing is believing” mindset. When they actually see that these decent armed citizens are making the public safer, they often jump on board and at the very least become supporters of concealed carry. And some of them even go all the way to get their concealed carry licenses.

  14. I do and I don’t. It depends. I’m naturally an outspoken guy. So, I LIKE talking about it, and I think it’s good to “normalize” it. I’m a very “normal” well-educated professional. So, it goes against the conventional wisdom that a guy like me would carry concealed. On the other hand, we need to change that conventional wisdom.

    Do I tell everyone? Nope. Do I tell family and friends? Some of them. Do I tell acquaintances and professional contacts? Sometimes. It depends on the context of the conversation. It depends on my “read” of the person I’m talking to.

    So, I don’t make it a “top secret” issue. It just depends.

  15. I do understand the “concealed means concealed”, but there is a time and place to share with people that you carry. There must be a balance! You have to be smart about it of course, who and where you share this, but how else are we supposed to enlighten our fellow citizens about the importance of the 2nd Amd and a duty to protect yourself/loved ones? I am a career firefighter and a good portion of my fellow firefighters know that I carry. Some laugh and joke, but I do trust those with whom I’ve shared this with. And it has led to some great discussions and a handful of LTC’s, especially where the Police Chief next door won’t let them fully exercise their right (I moved out of town long ago….). I do agree with having the tactical advantage and I do not want people to pushed to the front if there is some type of confrontation in the midst of “knowing sheeple”. But I believe that it is ultimately hypocritical if we do not spread the good word about firearms, why we protect ourselves, and to use our rights that would otherwise be taken away.

    • Broadcasting to the public the fact that you carry is like open carry, it puts a target on your back. Concealed carry is what it is for a reason: to keep those who don’t know you from getting bent out of shape that you have a gun on you, to keep the element of surprise on your side, and to keep you from being target #1. Obviously, among your peers and friends the sharing of such information can be a necessity, but to share your carry status with the general public is downright irresponsible.

  16. I have been asked on occasion. My response is “If I was, and I told you, then it’s no longer concealed, is it?”

  17. The Epicurean slogan “live inconspicuously” makes sense to me. There seems a downside to talking about guns around strangers much less talking about carry. Why risk stumbling into someone’s hoplophobia? Around acquaintances general gun talk seems OK and I’ve taken a few curious folks to the range. But carry talk is reserved for folks who I know to be like minded.

  18. Three people know about our guns. Our good friend who used to live with us, another friend who babysat while we were in concealed carry class and my best friend. That is all.

  19. I don’t discuss my current carry condition with ANYONE. If asked, my response is “I don’t talk about that”.
    Several years ago when Jesse Ventura (coughdouchebagcough)had been elected Governor he was on the Sunday AM show that had Sam Donaldson (coughbiggerdouchebagcough) as one of its moderators. The issue of concealed carry came up since the fact he had a carry permit had been in the news. Donaldson asked him if he was carrying right then and Ventura responded that he wasn’t. I have wished to this day that he had told Donaldson that it was none of his damn business and what did Donaldson think he had to fear from him if he was. Oh well, an opportunity lost.

    • Saying I don’t talk about that is the same as saying yes.
      No one who doesn’t carry would have a reason to say that.
      Those who don’t carry say no.

      • A number of people have made this observation (which I think is valid). But what’s your point? That one should lie and say no? Just say yes? What?

        • My point is simply that any answere except yes or no will be interpreted as an attempt to avoid answereing the question.
          Only those who carry will attempt to avoid.
          Those who do not carry will answere no because they have no reason not to.
          Therefore a vague answere will be understood as yes.
          This is true of all subjects where the obvious response is yes or no.
          Answere any way you wish, just be aware that any answere except no will be interpreted as yes by the inquister.
          As for my personal view.
          I have never been approached in public and asked if I carry, but if I were, I think I would just give a ” what are you, some kind of nut “look and walk away.
          While making a mental note to remain aware of this person.
          When engaged in polite conversation ( or not so polite) I have no problem making my views known.
          One of which is that I support and practice CC.

  20. Most who carry concealed probably do so because they can’t open carry (e.g., Florida) or are paranoid about the reaction they’ll get if they open carry. But certainly open carrying is obvious to all, so why such a big secret about carrying concealed? Besides, maybe there’d be fewer hoplophobes and anti-2A types if guns were noticed to be commonly around. People are often afraid of what they’re unfamiliar with. Frightened people vote for legislators who promise them security (in exchange for a little loss of liberty, usually, right?) I would encourage people to freely discuss carrying firearms.

    • If crime was on my mind, I would encourage people to make it known if they are carrying concealed, makes it easier to know who to shoot first………Open carry, so much easier to spot.

    • B-I-N-G-O, my friend.

      I’m a lifelong Floridian, just got my CWFL last month, and I would MUCH rather have Constitutional Carry here (it’d have been a lot cheaper and quicker for me, that’s for sure!) or, failing that, the option to OC with my CWFL. Seeing as how I don’t have either and CC isn’t the first thing on my mind I’ve got no problem with advertising the fact that I carry. If you want to get folks used to your point of view/way of life you’ve gotta show ’em it’s not entirely abnormal – just look at how far the progressives/anti-gunners have pushed the political “norm” from what our country originally was!

      I’m thinking about buying a shirt that just says “I carry” on a plain background, or something of the sort, but I haven’t found anything that suits my fancy just yet.

      That said, if CC is your purpose then advertising the fact you’re carrying – when you’re carrying – is pretty self-defeating.

  21. “…acquaintances wondering what you’re so scared of…”

    What am I, a concealed carrier, so deathly afraid of?

    Absolutely *nothing*, my friend. Absolutley nothing.

  22. You broke your own rule. By blogging about it, you’re talking about it. A random reader would assume that you conceal carry by reading between the lines. You just blabbed the fact to the world.
    “I’ve texted the local media dude and advised him to STFU about his gun habits.”
    Aren’t you the busybody?

  23. Disclosure depends on to whom I’m talking. I’m prudent about disclosure, and when I do disclose, it’s for a reason other than hearing the sound of my own mellifluous voice. As far as advertising to the world at large, no, never. Which is why I choose not to post my last name or photo on this site, as it might tend to make my home a tempting target for burglars.

    • Right on, Ralph! (Of course, I never even disclose whether I’m wearing boxers or briefs, or even boxer-briefs–and I certainly hope I’m not “printing!”)

  24. If a permit is required for CCW, the issuing authority will know.

    If you had to get formal training or got it voluntarily, your instrutor will know. Other class members will kow but probably won’t remember you if you keep a low profile.

    If you have a wife or roommate, you might as well tell them since they will inevitably find out.

    It can get sticky if you have kids. The best you can do is instruct them never to tell anyone. If an authority figure like a teacher persists in asking, they should refer that figure to their parents.

    Otherwise, tell NO ONE!

  25. I believe that carrying a firearm for protection is a good idea.
    I believe in the right to bear arms.
    I believe that the more responsible law abiding citizens exercise their 2A rights the better it is for all of us.
    I believe in doing all that I champion our cause.

    I got my CHL in 1995. Since then ( and many years prior) I have had a great many discussions about the meaning of 2A. Living in a state that allows CC and being openly pro 2A. It is impossible for me to deny that I carry.

    When asked if I carry I say yes.
    I do this for three (3) reasons.
    1. As with most things, vague answeres mean yes.
    I can’t tell you = yes
    I don’t discuss that = yes
    It’s none of your business = yes
    Why do you want to know = yes.
    When asked, people who don’t carry say no.
    They have no reason to say anything else.

    2.When there is a pro / anti discussion, I always get involved. I consider it my duty. There is no way that I can argue the benefits of the 2A, CC, self defense, responsibility for one’s own safety and gun issues in general, then deny that I carry. In fact, the fact that I carry is assumed much more often than asked.

    3. Many times, when socializing, I am sought out by people who are on the fence about CC or buying their first gun.
    The first thing I tell them is that I am very far removed from an expert.
    If they persist, I try to find out if they are good candidates.
    If I believe they are, I try to give them the benefit of my mistakes.
    I never tell them what to do, I hope I can advise them on what not to do.
    I try to stress the responsibilty that comes with gun ownership and CC.
    If they decide to move forward I advise them to get as much training and practice as finances and time restraints will allow.

    At times I do advise against buying a gun. People who are unsure about taking a life or harming someone. Those who express or show fear of guns.
    The ones who seem afraid or express fear I invite to shoot with me. I let them use my guns (9mm & .38).

    I have carried since 1995. I have never denied that I carry and it has never been the cause of any kind of problem for me.
    I know that I have brought many fence sitters over to our side and hope to bring many more. I believe that I have helped one or two in their decision to buy and or carry.
    I could not have done so by denying who I am or keeping quiet.

    • Mentorship into firearm ownership, and concealed carry. Well done, sir. My friends know that I CC, and that I am a productive and reasonable member of society. Many LEO’s carry off duty. The secret is harder to keep in that situation, but life goes on. I’m a gun advocate, a shall-issue advocate, and a concealed carry advocate.

      There are times to walk softly and carry a big stick, and there a times to advocate responsible firearm ownership.

      • +1 to both comments above. I’ve found a lot of people hesitant about getting a permit because they don’t have someone who has one to talk to. Whether it’s just to know they’re not alone or to ask questions and get plain English, not legal mumbo jumbo, answers.

        It’s not for everyone, but we do need people willing to be public and set a good example.

    • Ron, if you are not wanting someone to know you carry, even if they ask, why not just skip the vague answer mumbo-jumbo posted above and… …wait for it… …say “no”? If it’s difficult, I might recommend you practice in front of a mirror by just looking yourself straight in the eye and say “no”. Try it! Heck, you can even learn to lie more effectively with a bit of a light hearted quip after the “no”, like “I’d shoot my eye out!” with a little bit of a smile. Practice, practice, practice. We can go on with mumbo-jumbo here all day long, but if the person you are talking to is someone you’d rather not inform of your CCW status, then do the Hillary and “just say no”!

      • Hi Tuts40,
        So far I have never had a reason to deny that I carry.
        Hope I never do.

        As for that lying thing, I tried it once. Didn’t fool anyone.

  26. Only if I’m in an environment of like minded people, like here. I will talk in general about the shooting sports and hunting.

  27. I talk about carrying with my dad, my father-in-law, and my two brother-in-laws mostly. And of course my wife. I am trying to teach them what I know about CCW and also normalize it and, hopefully, get them into it more.

    I made the mistake of telling one of my coworkers that I carry when I can. He is apparently not a gun person and is related to several other coworkers here, so I’m sure they know too. He reacted pretty poorly to the conversation and made some comment about it not being the wild West anymore.

    Oh well, learned my lesson.

  28. Carry? Yes. Discuss the fact that I do? Only with family. If someone asks me if I ever carry a gun and i do not know them, or are simply a coworker or such, I say something like “what, I’d shoot my foot off! I don’t care if someone carries a gun though and it wouldn’t bother me if you did, but I haven’t thought about it much”. However, I will tell them I own a handgun and a rifle and do go shooting once in awhile at our local indoor range or outdoor gun club. That allows me to continue the conversation to ‘feel out’ their real attitude towards guns, perhaps by asking them if they own a gun… However, I’ll never admit to CCW to someone who is not a trusted, lifelong friend or family regardless of any verbalization of pro-gun or pro-CCW comments. I’m not going to give up that “intel”.

  29. I always respond with a, “Doesn’t everyone?” And if they press I say, “No, but a lot of people here in Florida do.”

  30. My rule: Your concealed carry weapon is like your d*ck.

    You leave it in your pants unless you’re either getting undressed or ready to use it. And it’s uncool to go around talking about it.

    • … unless it’s amazing, in which case y’gotta flaunt it a bit – not necessarily showing it, but definitely leaving the hints. (Provided we’re following the analogy all the way through.)

    • Very good reply Andrew . The only people that needs to know if you have a gun, is LEO, where required, and the “bad guy”.

  31. 1. In Texas telling someone that I’m carrying is illegal.
    2. However, I’m an instructor, so lots of people figure I carry. I’ll discuss specifics with my classes, but in public I stick to generalities. Like the myth of the “bad place where you need to carry.”

    • Hi Larry,
      ” In Texas telling someone that I’m carrying is illegal.”
      Could you direct me to where I might read this law?
      I am curious as to how it is worded.
      I googled Texas Concealed Handgun Laws 2011-2012 but could find no reference.
      Thank you.

  32. Talking about it is entirely a personal preference. Dan has valid reasons for never wanting to talk about carrying. On the other hand some people want to raise awareness that people can legally and responsibly carry a gun without being a hick from the boondocks. How else do you plan to acclimate people to guns as has been stated as a goal on this website before?

  33. Fortunately, a large group of friends, coworkers, family, and myself carry, go to the range, and discuss firearms.

    Unfortunately, a large group of friends, coworkers, family, and myself carry, go to the range, and discuss firearms.

    The info is out there. I don’t talk about it with anyone new, or anyone not part of the “group”, but what’s done is done.

    TF brings up a valid point. Fight Club got to the size it did for a reason. 😉

  34. Stranger: “Are you carrying a gun?”

    Me: “I’m not at liberty to discuss that with citizens.”

    Ok…I don’t really say that. But I’ve always wanted to…

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