The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Having the constitutional right to carry a firearm is a privilege that most US citizens have. Most states allow gun owners to apply for a permit that allows firearm carriers to conceal their weapons from being seen by potentially threatening people. Unfortunately, there is an abundance of misconceptions that surround the regulations for carrying concealed. It’s critical that these myths are exposed and accurate information is presented in its place. Here are five common myths about concealed carry.
There is an extremely popular belief that if you find yourself in a situation that warrants the drawing of your concealed weapon, you should first fire a warning shot into the air to frighten and thus deter the threatening party from coming any closer. Albeit a sound theory, in the eyes of the law, the owner of a firearm is fully liable for each round of ammunition that’s discharged from his or her weapon. That holds equally applicable in court for cases where someone was shot directly and where an innocent bystander was struck by a bullet that ricocheted off of an overhead platform.
Before this myth gets spread farther or gets farther from accurate information, it’s important to mention that you DO, of course, have the right to protect your vehicle and the contents and passengers therein. That includes being able to legally carry a concealed firearm while traveling. However, the local laws and state rules regulating the roads are often different than those in effect regarding residences. In other words, the laws concerning weapons, whether concealed or not, often vary between those that apply to automobiles and those that apply to a home. Be sure you do some research and educate yourself on the variation between the two.
This could not be farther from the truth. Going through a handgun training course that’s offered by a reputable organization is a critical step in ensuring safe and effective use of any handheld firearm. In fact, many states require documentation that certifies an individual’s competency in using a handgun before that individual can obtain his or her carry conceal permit. Fortunately, there are places that provide this training in every state. Some states even offer virtual options for these classes such as the state of Florida which offers Florida concealed carry courses online. This leaves gun owners no good reason to deny themselves the experience of legitimate training.
Myth # 4: If You Have a CCW Permit, then You’re Not Required to Tell or Show the Location of Your Firearm(s) to Anyone, for Any Reason, Including the Police
Having permission, by the local and state government, does not in any way place you or your firearm above the law. If an officer of the law requests that you reveal the whereabouts of your weapon, then you have the legal obligation to do so. If law enforcement becomes involved at all, no matter what the case may be, it is strongly advisable to be forthright with information about your weapons and documentation: what you have (both the firearms and the permits attached to each of them) and where you have it or them. There are three practical and critical reasons to volunteer this information immediately:
- Solidify your integrity as a law-abiding citizen. By being upfront about having and practicing the rights that your CCW permit allows, you maintain an honest disposition to the police officers involved.
- Legally covering yourself in the event that police were called after an altercation,
- Helping protect the safety of an officer who may need to search your property, possessions, or person.
Thinking that you’ll have enough time or level-headedness to chamber the first round in an intense and stressful situation that places your life and the lives of those around you in danger is about the same as believing you’ll have plenty of time to strap your seat belt on the instant you become aware of an oncoming car crash. If you can acknowledge the ladder as foolish, then relate the prior situation in the same respect. When faced with immediate life or death circumstances, you need to be able to act with speed and clear thought. If you’re not comfortable with carrying a gun that’s loaded and that has a bullet ready for fire in the chamber, you’re probably not really prepared to carry that weapon much less use it in such a situation.
If you know people who still believe these myths for facts, take time to correct them. It could have a life or a lawsuit. Keep yourself educated and informed on state and local regulations about gun safety and practice firing your weapon in a safe environment on a regular basis. Stay safe and keep your eyes open.