Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure your friends and family, your work colleagues and your fellow sports team or congregation members are the nicest in the world.
Heck, I’m sure you could trust them with your life.
Actually, scrub that last sentence.
Which brings me to the point of this article. The future is uncertain. Today’s friend is sometimes tomorrow’s foe. Or today’s friend remains tomorrow’s friend too, but happens to share something personal about you with someone else you don’t know and might not care to tell your closest secrets to. And that person tells another person, while getting the story slightly wrong in the process. And so on and so on, and before you know it, all of Facebook believes they know something about you which is either something you for sure don’t want to share, or is something totally wrong and different from the truth.
One of the reasons we choose to carry concealed, even in states that allow open carry, is so we have the benefit of surprise. Think in particular of Nevada – anyone, from any state, can open carry in NV, but if you want to have not just a firearm but also the benefit of surprise, and so you want to conceal your firearm, then you need a permit, and NV is a bit tough at issuing permits (you even need to pass a range test as well as sit an exam on knowledge too) and doesn’t recognize a lot of permits from other states (tip – get an easier to obtain AZ permit which NV does recognize).
I’m as big a supporter of the Second Amendment as there is, but I almost never open carry. Open carry gives the bad guy a head’s up and an advantage. You don’t know who in the crowd might be a bad guy, but all of a sudden, all the bad guys around you know who you are. And your gun may focus their attention on you rather than make them pass you by.
Or, even worse, some drunken jerk decides to pick a fight with you, based on seeing you having a gun, and ends up backing you into a corner, both figuratively and perhaps literally too, daring you to shoot him, and threatening you with negative consequences if you don’t. Sounds ridiculous, right? But it does happen.
Visible handguns are magnets that irresistibly draw bad guys and idiots to you. To say nothing of ill-informed police officers who might not fully appreciate your right to open carry, and exposing you to claims of being threatened by other citizens – ‘Officer, the man looked at me threateningly and then moved his hand to his gun suggestively, and I was in fear of my life’.
Don’t open carry, okay?
But, back to the topic of the moment. There’s one thing even worse than open carry. That is concealed carry where you think other people around you don’t know you have a firearm, but in actuality, they do know. At least, when open carrying, you know the other guy knows and you plan your behavior from that understanding. But if you are carrying concealed, you base your actions on the assumption that people around you don’t know you’re carrying concealed. If that assumption is incorrect, all sorts of unexpected (and bad) consequences may occur.
How to prevent this? Easy. Don’t tell anyone you ever carry a concealed weapon. Don’t even tell your spouse, your siblings, your children or your parents. And don’t ever tell anyone how you carry it concealed, either.
If people know you support concealed carry rights, and if they know you have a concealed weapons permit, they’ll probably wonder, and might even outright ask you questions on the topic. Don’t tell them if/when you are carrying, and don’t also tell people if you are not carrying. Be like the US Navy was, back in the ‘good old days’ when our ships may or may not have been carrying nuclear weapons – refuse to confirm or deny the presence of a pistol on your person.
If the topic comes up, you should go vague and say something like ‘Yes, I like to keep a gun reasonably accessible to where I am on occasions when it is convenient or appropriate to do so’.
I know some people who occasionally carry concealed places where they shouldn’t. If no-one else knows, that’s usually not a problem. Maybe they are just rushing into the post office to drop a letter in the mailbox, or maybe they are briefly in a bar, or school zone, or in a mall with ‘No Firearms’ signs posted, or whatever/wherever.
But if you sometimes do this, and all your friends know you are carrying, then you can guess what happens. Maybe you go to the Post Office with a friend, and when you get there and are waiting in line, your friend sees a sign advising that all weapons are forbidden inside (and outside too) the federal building. He turns to you and in a big loud voice says ‘Hey, Bill – see that sign? Does that apply to your .44 Magnum revolver you’ve got under your jacket?’ What happens after that doesn’t bear thinking about.
Or word gets out uncontrollably to other people, with who knows what consequence. You’d told a friend, and then one day you meet him somewhere socially, and after you part, he turns to the people he is with and says ‘See that guy I was just talking to? He’s got a Glock pistol under his shirt – if you look carefully, you can see the clips of his inside-the-waistband holster on his belt – see’. He points at you, and half a dozen people all turn and stare at your belt. Then one of them comes up to you, while you’re talking to someone else, and says ‘I’ve just gotta ask, is that really a Glock you’ve got under your shirt? Joe said those clips on your belt are from its holster.’
What happens next depends on the function you’re at and the other people in the room. Let’s hope the people around you when the unwelcome other guy comes up and blurts out his nonsense aren’t gun hating people you were trying to impress! Even gun neutral people will start to look at you a bit strangely, and wonder what color of paranoid to ascribe to you.
And that’s not all. Maybe one of the temporary staff hired to cater the event overhears the discussion, and tells his not so nice friends to watch out for you as you leave the function. They jump you, take your gun, your wallet, and hopefully leave you unharmed in the process (but maybe not). Your gun has made you a target and a victim, rather than what it was intended to do – protect you.
Maybe you work in a slightly risky environment, and maybe some bad guys are researching your place of work with a view to doing something bad to it. If their research causes them to learn that you’re probably armed, you’ve suddenly gone to the top of their target list when they invade the building.
Maybe a former girlfriend invents an untrue allegation about you threatening her with your pistol, and describes to the police both where/how you carry the gun and what it looks like. That’s a lot more credible than an empty claim ‘well, yes, he threatened me with his gun, but I’m not sure where it came from, where he put it afterwards, and I don’t remember even if it was shiny mirror finish, pink, or dull black.
Not to boast, but I’ve dated women and bedded them regularly while always carrying, and they never knew I had a gun. It is possible, if you’re careful and discreet, to prevent even people who know you extremely intimately in other respects from knowing if/when/where you have a gun.
I’ve regularly carried in every sort of business and personal situation, and no-one has ever known. I don’t even talk about it with my wife – she knows not to ask or enquire. And my children don’t know about it either.
That’s the way it should be for you, too. If you’re the sort of person who feels the need to boast about carrying concealed, then you know what – you’re not really the sort of person who should be carrying concealed in the first place. Feeling the need to boast is only one small step removed from then ‘brandishing’ the gun in public to ‘solve’ an argument.
The only person who should ever know about your concealed firearm is the bad guy, fractions of a second before he either has a sudden and profound change of plan, or, if he continues with his evil plan, fractions of a second before he gets a series of very nasty surprises in the center of his chest.