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Eric Hung writes:

What piqued your interest in getting your permit to concealed carry? Are you freaking out about riots springing up and want to have a fighting chance to defend yourself? Or are you traveling for work and want to protect yourself no matter where you are?

For me, I like to camp and backpack. Some of the areas where I camp are prone to bears and other big things that might try to eat me. My motivation to get my concealed carry permit was to carry my GLOCK 27 only when I was in God’s country and needed the protection.

But that changed when I actually took the course and had the permission of the great state of Wisconsin to concealed carry. Here are some situations you might not have thought of that you should definitely keep in mind if you are thinking about getting your concealed carry permit:

1. Feeling Like Everyone is Looking at You
When you legally carry your firearm for the first time, you’re going to feel like everyone is looking at you.  Remember that big zit you had in high school and everyone was looking at you? Yeah, it’s not that bad, but it’s the same sort of feeling.

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You’ll realize though, that virtually no one notices. However, you will have to modify some of the ways you do things depending on where on your body you like to carry.

For example, if you carry your gun at the 4:00 or 5:00 o’clock position on your hip, your gun may print (show the outline of your weapon) when you bend over to get something off the bottom shelf at the grocery store.

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To remedy this, you can either stop buying the cheap cereal in the bags the stock on the bottom shelf or you can squat with your back straighter to minimize the bulge.

2. The Responsibility
This may seem like a given, but now more situations require you to keep a zen-like calm about you.

Think about those times you’ve been cut off when driving and your blood pressure skyrocketed. If you get into an argument and someone sees you have a gun, they could feel threatened.

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You can’t flash your gun to win an argument. If you remove your gun from your holster, it has to be because you genuinely fear for your life. It needs to be a scenario where it’s a you-or-them outcome. If it’s not, there are legal consequences you may face like charges of assault with a deadly weapon, or at a minimum, brandishing a firearm.

That’s not something you want to deal with. Ever.

3. All of the Places That Are Off Limits When You are Carrying
When you aren’t carrying a weapon, you pretty much go anywhere you want. When you’re carrying, you need to be a little more cautious. Those no gun signs are your Kryptonite.

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You’ll learn pretty quickly there are a lot of places with no gun policies. Places like churches, state or federal buildings, pretty much any place that has anything that has to do with children, movie theaters, many stores, bars, and event venues are no-go zones when you’re armed.

4. What to Do With My Gun When I Can’t Take In a Store With Me
Unfortunately, this happens a lot. You’re out running errands and you come to a store with a no guns allowed sign on the door. What do you do?

You have a few options.

First, you can choose another establishment. As you can tell by watching the news, spineless bad guys love to target “gun-free zones.” Going in leaves you unable to protect yourself. Many uneducated business owners believe the sign on the door will keep the bad guys out.

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The second option is to lock your gun in the car. This is the most frequent go-to option, unless someone who wants to steal your gun knows you have it in the car.

Keeping your weapon secure while it’s in your vehicle isn’t as easy. Sure you can put it in your glove compartment or center console. More and more though, car manufacturers are removing the locks. And even when they’re there, the locks are easily popped with a screwdriver.

A good alternative is a personal sized safe that installs in your vehicle. Nothing’s foolproof, but at least it’s a metal structure with a lock and provides a little peace of mind for the times you can’t take your gun with you.

The third choice option — and the least comfortable for most carriers — is to leave your gun at home if you know your destination is a no-go zone. If you’re taking your kids to the waterpark, it’s a pretty good bet you can’t carry there. It’s a decision each concealed carrier has to make for himself.

5. The Problem of Reciprocity
One thing I did look into before I took my CCW class was where my Wisconsin permit would be valid. I found that if I go to Minnesota, they don’t recognize my permit, and therefore I can’t carry there.

In this situation, you have a couple of choices. If you frequent another state that doesn’t have reciprocity with yours, you can get get a permit from that state. Some states offer non-resident CCW permits. The other option is to take the class for a state like Utah that has a widely accepted permit.

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If you decide to go the Utah route, keep an eye on which states accept still recognize the permit. In my case, Minnesota no longer accepts the Utah permit. There are many easy-to-use reciprocity maps out there to help you check which states accept your state’s permit.

6. How Much of a Pain It Is to Travel
Traveling while carrying adds inconvenience to your trip. Most states allow you to keep a weapon — some even allow you to carry it concealed, in your car while you drive as long as you’re in your vehicle. Others require you to keep it locked and unloaded as you drive through.

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Make sure you know the transportation rules of the states you’ll be traveling through. It will help you avoid an incident if you have an unexpected meeting with law enforcement. You don’t want to rely on the “I didn’t know that wasn’t legal here” plea.

Flying is another consideration. Take an already inconvenient process and make it more time complex and consuming… no thank you. That said, the TSA has gotten better in dealing with the firearms check-in process. If you’re going to fly with your gun, just be sure to know and follow the TSA rules for storage, locks, etc.

7. Training and Practice
While these aren’t mandatory, if you aren’t an accurate shot or freeze if and when you have to defend your life, there’s no real reason to carry a weapon.

Most cities have an area where you can shoot. You may need to drive 30 minutes to get there, but you should be able to find one.

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You want to create good habits and muscle memory. You need to be able to draw your gun from your holster and bring it to the exact same shooting position every time. You need to do this over and over again. Practicing your draw with an empty gun at home is a good idea, too.

Going to the range regularly will let you get a feel for your trigger, the recoil, reacquiring your target after you fire a round and more. There is no substitute for live fire training. You might be one hell of a shot in video games, but it’s very different squeezing the trigger on a real firearm. The more and better you practice, the less you’ll need to think about it in the heat of the moment.

Be A Responsible Gun Owner
Your life will change when you decide to exercise your right to bear arms and carry every day. You’ll find yourself being more observant and aware of your surroundings. You’ll also find yourself avoiding more potential drama than you did before you decided to carry. Know the four rules of gun safety and practice them. Be an example for other gun owners and — maybe more important — non-gunowners, demonstrating what responsible gun ownership looks like.

What were some things you found out after you started concealed carrying regularly?

(This article originally appeared at pewpewtactical.com and is reprinted here with permission.)

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57 Responses to 7 Things I Wish I’d Known About Concealed Carry

    • “movie theaters, many stores, bars, and event venues are no-go zones when you’re armed”

      That’s cute. I agree with Mark, concealed means concealed.

      I will follow the law with regard to the bar area of restaurants etc by always asking to be seated in the restaurant area. I rarely have cause to be at a school.

      Company policy on customer guns means diddly squat and I will happily ignore it. My right to self-defense > right of a business open to the public to be hoplophobic.

      • Another person that doesn’t understand freedom. You do have a right to self defense and to bear arms to facilitate said defense. However, you do not have a right to enter private party, with a gun or without. If the property owner (i.e. a business) invites you in, you are there as a guest and are accorded to follow the rules that property owner sets. If you don’t like them, you can leave. But you do not have a right to violate their property rights on the basis of your misunderstanding of your 2nd Amendment rights. The 2A (and everything else in the constitution for that matter) governs the relationship between the citizen and the state, not between citizens. As a property owner, I no more have to respect your second amendment or first amendment rights on my property than does the government of Botswana. Too many “people of the gun” completely forget that property rights (to include one’s person) are the bedrock of a free society. Advocating for people to ignore a business’ gun free sign undermines the principles of liberty and your own arguments for gun rights. So no, your right to self-defense does not trump the right of a business open to the public to and be hoplophobic. I bet that sounded good when you wrote it, but it is dead wrong.

        • I don’t care if it is wrong. I’m going to do that anyway. How’s that for freedom? You say my right to carry doesn’t trump property rights. Well, technically. But I will trump it on a personal level. What’s he going to do? Sue me? What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. He can’t claim a loss just because I had a pocket pistol. Your argument is useless until this becomes a legal issue. I’ve already come to terms with the morality issue. File this one under “NOT A PROBLEM”.

        • You seem to have forgotten that there is a difference between someone’s home and someone’s business. When a place is open for business, that means the invitation to enter has been extended TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC. The decision to prohibit guns, even concealed guns, at private businesses is nothing but a politically correct “statement” being made by liberals like the Minnesotan who happens to own Target, for example. I ignore their psychological hangup and carry anyway on their premises. If I’m asked to leave for some reason -I never have been- I will comply. Only if I refuse that request, though, do I cross the legal line by trespassing, and only under that circumstance will government (the cops) intervene. So either just ignore the signs posted by pantywaist libs at stores if you think you must patronize them, or even better, boycott these prissy lib establishments altogether as a silent protest against their prejudice, and buy elsewhere. (You’ll generally find liberal owned establishments are inordinately and unnecessarily expensive anyway. They seem to think they are so much better than the rest of us that we should pay a premium just for frequenting their businesses.)

        • Target does not prohibit firearms. They “request” that you leave them outside but do not post. It was their way of telling you that they don’t want see the gun so just carry concealed. Too many PoGs have reading comprehension problems.

          And to those believe that their right to self defense on someone’s private property is protected by the Constitution I suggest you display your gun and then refuse to leave when the property owner tells you to. It’s called trespassing and you get arrested for it except in Minnesota where you get a ticket.

        • @ John, I am not confused about the distinction between a personal residence and a place of business. Private property is private property regardless of its use. There are too many people out there (including some that comment on this blog) that think that laws are the driving force for societal peace and prosperity. Negative. Societal peace and prosperity starts and ends with the common man choosing to respect his neighbor and that starts with you and me. For my part, I am going to respect no guns allowed signs and not bring my gun onto that property…by not going there at all. The force of law and legalities of ignoring a no-gun sign are irrelevant to me. Even if a business doesn’t give me respect (doesn’t allow guns) is no reason for me to disrespect them. That childish response is petty and only makes society a worse place. By respect, I mean that I will not bring a gun in, which means I will not go in at all. And I am probably better for it. I haven’t been in a Buffalo Wild Wings in years. I also won’t shop at AutoZone after they fired an employee that ran to his car, retrieved a gun and defended his manager from a perp with a gun trying to rob the place. Businesses like that won’t get my money. But, I am not going to lower myself to their level and not respect their private property rights. You can do as you please, but I have principles that I stick to even when it inconveniences me and have to drive further to find a gun friendly or neutral (i.e. no sign) establishment. Why would you want to give businesses like that your money when you don’t have to?

    • I obey the signs where disobedience has legal consequences, such as courthouses and schools. Usually there are metal detectors in such places anyway.

      As for private property signs, I follow a policy of “pistol ambiguity”, similar to the Israeli position on nuclear ambiguity: I will not be the first person to introduce a weapon on the premises. Whether or not I actually have a weapon on the premises is not something they need to know.

    • A benefit of Colorado is that a sign on a private business has no force of law. I view it as a request that is denied.

      • Yes, same here in Nevada. The only places you can’t carry are schools (unless you have written permission), State and Federal buildings. As you said, everything else is a request. The only thing they can do is ask you to leave.

        • Yeah, that’s all the establishment can do. Of course I’ll tell them I will after I’m finished conducting my business and if they say that’s not good enough, I don’t give them my money.

      • The sign has no force of law in and off itself but you are exposed, asked to leave and refuse you are committing trespass and can be arrested. All the law says is that ignoring the signage is not a crime but failing to leave when asked is.

        • “The sign has no force of law in and off itself”

          PEOPLE! THIS IS DEPENDENT ON THE STATE YOU’RE IN!!! Quit saying this without any qualifications, or you’re going to get someone who believes you into big trouble one day.

    • I carry everywhere. Period. The only reason my gun would become public is when its life or death. And at that time the point is moot. Gun free is for those free of guns.

      Court houses, not so much given the insistence of checking to see if all those who entered have abandon hope. Schools? All day long!

      And why? Well if you need a reason, then you are one of the antis. Simple as that.

    • I take it a step further: been carrying at work for years now even though it’s against policy. Truck breaks down bad part of town, seen drivers being pulled out of their trucks and beaten. Not gonna happen that way with this driver.

  1. “Flying is another consideration. Take an already inconvenient process and make it more time complex and consuming… no thank you.”

    Actually, I’ve found it very easy to take my guns along when I fly. The check-in process takes no additional time at all, and I usually get a pre-check pass when I check in my guns.

    I guess that TSA has figured out that if you check your guns, you’re not much of a threat.

    • That is my experience as well. The last time I flew they checked the wrong box when I checked my gun. They thought I was a LEO and I got the royal treatment.

    • Try flying out of San Francisco , they slapped almost 20 bright red unloaded firearm stickers on my pelican case wouldn’t let me bring my ammo unless it was in its own metal locked case & took about an hour , then I was “randomly” selected to go in the bomb sniffing wind tube which went berserk probably from all the reloading I was doing the night before and pretty much treated like a criminal the entire time .
      On my way back I flew out of some random airport in Wyoming and asked where to check my guns and they pretty much just said place it on the belt & have a nice day .

      • Next time have a print out of the airline policy and TSA rules (this is a good idea no matter where you ar flying from). You always have a chance of running into someone at the counter who has not idea, or even worse, thinks they know the rules. The printouts are also nice to have for yourself so everything is packed correctly on your end.

      • Better than Redding. I nearly missed my flight because I had a rifle SCOPE in my carry on, after I checked the gun.

    • Just hope you never get rerouted through NYC as you can pick up a felony charge if you have to move your luggage I believe

      • Right, so just don’t touch your luggage if for whatever reason you are held over in NY. The airline cannot force you to take your bag in the event that you don’t immediately move on to you next flight, so don’t.

        • “Right, so just don’t touch your luggage if for whatever reason you are held over in NY.”

          Abandon the luggage with firearms in them?

          Hindsight being 20/20 and all, the smartest thing he could have done in that instance would be to get you luggage and get out of the airport.

          Find a box-shipping place and mail you gun home…

    • “I guess that TSA has figured out that if you check your guns, you’re not much of a threat.”

      They actually give your checked bag more scrutiny if you put your hard case inside your luggage. Actually, at some airports, Atlanta being one, they physically search and chemical swab any over sized bags. While I am standing there as they unpack my bag that I put my gun case in, I see them pulling everything out of every golf bag.
      I didn’t know ISIS were such avid golfers. The funny thing is, they never once look inside the gun case but they go through my underwear like they lost a contact lens in there or something.

  2. 8. Having to carry my Concealed Carry Permit with me everywhere I go in my home state of Idaho…wait a minute, never mind.

  3. “Be an example for other gun owners and — maybe more important — non-gunowners, demonstrating what responsible gun ownership looks like.”

    The entire point of conceal carry is that NOBODY knows what it looks like. You are not winning favor with the community by concealed carry, and if you are known to carry, those aren’t the people you need to demonstrate your good citizenry to. All concealed carry does is win votes for officials to take away rights while making gun ownership more obscure and something be frightened of by hiding the reality that guns around most of us every day do not cause deaths.

    People that want their guns will conceed to concealed on fear of harsher regulations, and any of the under educated folks that live in false terror of guns will vote for the children…

    • It’s not a porta-john. He’s trying to hide his arms in case HRC gets elected.

      He doesn’t want to be a victim of Australian style amputation.

      • Seems I can’t reply to your other jerk off of a msg. I was being nice and I meant tribal lands not being in the subject matter. A lot of folks forget that. Not all tribal lands allow it. Rather than ask a question, you would rather treat me like trash. FLAME DELETED People like you are why Democrats feel superior to us.

  4. “What piqued your interest in getting your permit to concealed carry?” Uh, … I have always carried a handgun in my vehicle. Even before I got my CHP. In my state my vehicle is an extension of my home, and therefore immune to firearams restrictions. Why did I carry? I dunno. Because I have always done it? Because I have kids? Because I can?. Does it really matter???

    Charlie

  5. Eric:

    Unless the business uses signage that conforms with the Wisconsin statute, I.e, it must be at least 11 ×11, it does not have the force of law. The mall code of conduct sign doesn’t count. If they see your gun just leave.

    It is easy to get a Minnesota permit to carry. Take the course and pay your local Sheriff $100 cash. My permit was issued by the Winona County Sherriff.

  6. So much depends on where you live. I live in NYS, not known as a great state for gun owners . Yet in 30 years of concealed carry I’ve seen ZERO signs restricting gun carry, I can carry in bars, movie theaters , playgrounds and on and on.

    Never had to take a class, or renew it.

  7. If worried about printing, don’t carry IWB or on the torso. I absolutely convinced that IWB is overrated as a carry method. Pocket and shoulder carry are best for comfort and concealment.

  8. It’s guys like this that will gladly turn in their guns and gear when Hillary becomes president “because it’s the law”… they will be lauded for setting a good example, “for the children”. I got my first permit in 1985 after surviving an attack by brutal thugs. When I moved to my current state, there was no such thing as a ccw. I carried here without one for the next 26 years. No one knew, except me. I’ve had lots of training and practice. When I found my penalty was a low level misdemeanor if caught, I decided it was worth the risk. Now I’m supposed to listen to these holier than thou jagweeds lecture me on my right of self defense? Screw that. I’m getting 2 additional state permits to be as covered as possible, and I will avoid hell holes like NJ, NY, MD, DC and CA, but I pay no attention to gun free zones, unless it’s a school or govt bldg.

  9. That I have to worry about laws telling me how and where to keep my gun as I cross state lines is a big message that this is no longer a free country.

  10. Except Utah no longer allows people from out of state to get a UT permit without already having a permit from their state unless you are from a state whose permit Utah doesn’t recognize. This has been the case for years now, but despite it changing more than half a decade ago, people haven’t gotten the message.

    • We don’t have grizzlies in Wisconsin so anything caliber starting with a 4 or two digits is good enough. Yes, I know black bears have been killed with 9mm, They also have gone down via 22 rimfire but it’s optimal.

      I suspect most Wisconsin residents get permits because you need one to carry when you bow hunt. It might surprise many people but the state has both wolves and mountain lions. There were two wolf encounters with bow hunters last year.

  11. In Florida no gun signs have no force of law
    I carry in the movie theater, symphony and mall
    The only time I ankle carry is those placed where I will be sitting, like the movies
    If you are asked to leave because of your gun, then you must leave or you can be arrested for trespass after warning.
    Schools, courts, polling places and Federal buildings are different as it is a crime to carry there
    I stay out of them as much as possible

  12. 4. What to Do With My Gun When I Can’t Take In a Store With Me

    Nothing. If I walk up to a store and there is a sign telling me I’m not welcome, I walk away. Unless the store specializes in Mongolian Yak Hair Prayer Blankets, I can find what I want somewhere else.

  13. The “where you can’t carry” and “no gun signs” advice of this article is very dependent on state laws. In some states, the sign has no weight of the law and you have additional “options” when you see them.

  14. I seriously question the IQ of a person who goes through the process of becoming qualified to carry concealed and then bemoans the responsibility that naturally goes along with it.

    My question is “What the Hell did you expect?”.

    Along with increased ability comes additional responsibility. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen and don’t carry.

  15. A good app I found if you carry and travel is ” legal heat” written by lawyers. Simplifies the state laws for all fifty states good on I-phone or android. I’m not affiliated with them but just bought the app for .99 cents. It has free auto updates as the laws and reciprocity agreements change.

  16. I wish it would be OK for a permitted carrier to carry in the box area of a Post Office, when it is separate from the actual mail transaction area.

  17. This is a “tread lightly” scenario. Forcing my right to carry on a business or place that clearly doesn’t want me to do so is simply asking for an argument that fuels the anti-gun rage. The thought of some lunatic liberal going berserk in a store after seeing my gun imprint isn’t a situation I want to be in … I’d rather shop elsewhere. On the other hand, if I truly felt the need to protect myself, I have plenty of other nasty, innocuous things at my disposal: key chain force multiplier, tactical pen and tactical flashlight. The 6 x D battery Mag-Light in my vehicle is a damage dealer in its own right. This is the compromise I’m willing to make to avoid keeping my right to carry out of the headlines; Iview discretion as a good thing.

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