This writer has been carrying concealed handguns for over half a century, starting young in the family business. Four of those decades have been spent working with law enforcement, where concealed carry is the practice among plainclothes detectives, undercover operatives and all the rest of the sworn personnel when off-duty. That provided a pretty deep pool of collective wisdom on the topic of carrying a handgun with discreet invisibility—while maintaining ready access. That’s where the following advice comes from.

Within The Law

When the point of concealed carry is defense of self and loved ones, don’t ruin your life and your ability to earn a good living for your family by committing a crime— to wit, the crime of carrying concealed illegally. In many states it’s a felony on the first offense, and in New York, you’re talking some three years in a mandatory sentence. As a convicted felon you will never again be allowed to carry a firearm to protect your family, or even own one for home defense. Not a good trade. In at least one state, the offense is a “wobbler,” meaning that the district attorney’s office has the option of charging it as a felony or as a misdemeanor.

Even in states where the first such offense is a misdemeanor according to the law, beware the advisor who treats it as if a misdemeanor was on a par with a traffic ticket or a slap on the wrist. “Only a misdemeanor” means “only 364 days in jail, and a ‘gun crime’ on your permanent record.” That sort of record doesn’t look good to the human resources director who was about to hire you for your next job on the way up your career ladder, and won’t bode well for the next carry permit you apply for, either.

There are some states where no permit is required for concealed carry, and in the majority of states “shall issue” policy makes the permit readily available to any law-abiding citizen who goes through the process. Realize that you can make a living in one of those places and legally protect yourself and your family with a concealed handgun when out and about in public.

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  • Mahtoofislooth

    Good tips. It’s a shame I have to carry illegally since my county in CA only gives out 100 or so permits a year in a county of millions, but I work in one of the most dangerous cities in the US and if I have to go to jail to save my life, so be it.