Why conceal your gun?

I’m not sure if this is the best place to post this query, but I know the subject generally tends to devolve into purple-faced arm-waving and shouting. So here goes:

There are those who steadfastly claim that citizens who own and carry a firearm are better able to defend themselves and more likely to stop a crime than are their weaponless peers. Guns have been called the ‘great equalizer’ in the hands of a woman who has the ability to stand up to a man thrice her size.

Fine. I won’t argue these points, though I realize they are far from agreed upon. But given that these statements are true why are gun advocates so hung up on concealing their guns?

As far as I know, the Second Amendment protects the right of every adult in each state, county, city, town, and jurisdiction in our country to walk down Main Street with a pair of .45s slung across his hips and a shotgun strapped to his back. There are, of course, exceptions; schools, prisons, courthouses, airports, and the White House spring immediately to mind. But my point stands that an adult can carry a legally bought and registered gun just about anywhere.

So why are so many people hellbent on concealing their weapons? If ‘gun nuts’ are as adamant about protecting their and others’ safety as they claim, then a holstered gun in plain view would do them worlds more good than one hidden at the bottom of a purse or tucked into a briefcase. Not only is it more readily accessible, but it also serves as a deterrent - likely keeping an attack against their person from ever happening in the first place!

Your thoughts, please.

~ Complacency is far more dangerous than outrage ~

Actually, STARK, you are (if I may venture to use the phrase in a gun debate thread), dead wrong.
Many advocates of gun rights and gun ownership do call for open carry. However, in many jurisdictions, even those that graciously permit the ownership and possession of guns by private individuals, have laws against the open display of said firearms.
The debate about the Constitutionality (and morality, and propriety, and…) of said laws will undoubtedly go on long after I have been lowered into my grave and the worms have had their way with my body. Equally certainly, if you venture to violate them, the local fuzz will drop on you so fast that Einstein will spin in his grave.

“Kings die, and leave their crowns to their sons. Shmuel HaKatan took all the treasures in the world, and went away.”

The corollary question is: If guns are such a boon to the prevention of crime, why are so many crimes committed with guns stolen from law-abiding gun owners?

Another question: why are so many gun crimes committed by criminals?

As the the original question…have you ever walked into a grocery store packing a 44? would you like to try it?

Didn’t think so.

Mr. Zambezi,
In response to your first question: I just don’t get it.

It’s axiomatic, Mr. Z. If you were trying to be a smartass, I’m sorry to be dense.

To answer your second question: no, never done it. But I have seen it done – or at least something similar. When I was waiting tables during college, a guy came in with a sidearm. No uniform, no badge; just an average guy exercising his rights. Let me tell you, Mr. Z, if I were planning on mugging someone exiting that restaurant, he’d be the last one I chose!

And yes, if I believed the NRA line that everyone carrying a gun was the path to peace, then I would have no problem doing so.

So what’s your problem with someone packing heat in a store? There’s nothing inherently illegal about it (again, as far as I know and Akatsukami’s statement notwithstanding), and I’m sure whoever did so would find him/herself the least-mugged person in town.

~ Complacency is far more dangerous than outrage ~

This is a very interesting question. I think you have a good point, STARK. I tried to stimulate some discussion about private ownership of firearms in the Great Debates forum with “Laser tag / paintball games / firearms ownership”, but few people were serious or interested. Maybe if we advocated people openly carrying paintball guns, we might generate more discussion. You know…we could use a paintball gun to mark the criminal…hmmmm, do we violate the rights of a purse snatcher if we mark him for the police to pick up later? Dang! We may be on to something here! I would probably advocate carrying a paintball gun that is painted wild colors so it wouldn’t be confused with a real gun. What could happen? I assume that a person would not get into trouble by carrying a non-gun, right? Man, just think of it: “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will be paint-splattered”!!! Hell, I can’t wait to mark that guy who keeps running the stop sign at the end of my street! And those stray dogs are gonna be going home purple or orange from now on! Wait, wait, this is starting to sound like too much fun! Somebody will probably come along and make it illegal…

All kidding aside, you make a good point. And I believe that all 50 states allow open carry of firearms. Local jurisdictions restrict carrying of firearms (in any manner) for specific, understandable reasons. I wonder if a grass-roots movement to openly carry firearms, where permissible, would cause some people to re-think the entire issue of private ownership; after all, some folks are just plain fearful of guns. I find this to be an irrational fear, but I understand it and have seen it displayed in many people. Maybe the first step is to make everyone more comfortable with the fact that a gun is an inanimate object, a tool with no life of its own. I mean, lots of people have a gas-fired BBQ grill on the porch right next to their home and they don’t get all trembly when they think about the fuel system, do they? But that propane bottle could do more damage than their minds could even conceive, if they had a fire on their porch. This is because we don’t think of everyday objects as being dangerous, even if some objects are inherently hazardous. Perhaps with familiarity, some of the fright could be removed from firearms.

I’ve read enough of these threads regarding the relative merits and drawbacks to private gun ownership, and said nothing about it…Time for me to go on record.

I have had the ‘opportunity’ of looking down the barrel of a gun, held by a man determined to kill me, on a couple of occasions. (No, I’m not a law enforcement officer of any type, and it was not during a military conflict.) I am happy to say that, in neither instance, did the crook get away with anything, and the situation was resolved without the necessity of deadly force. In both cases I was armed with a concealed Berretta 9mm with 16 rounds of B.A.T. ammunition.

As to the comments alluded to by radar ralf: I didn’t perceive them to be serious; and I’m sure that was the impression of others as well. I’d wager this to be the cause of what you believed to be lackluster interest.

I’m sorry to say, that the idea of using a tool that has all of the appearance of being a deadly weapon, to mark criminals for later apprehension, frightens me for painfully obvious reasons–I can’t think of a more foolhardy action. I prefer to hope that it was proposed as a joke.

A gun is a tool of LAST RESORT in a situation where lives will certainly be lost, or bodies maimed, if deadly force is not immediately implemented. I want you to read again the words: LAST RESORT, and interpret them in the appropriate context of common sense.

A weapon should never be brought into play unless it is clear that deadly force is unavoidable, and it is the intention of the defender to inflict mortally incapacitating injury to the perpetrator of a crime upon themselves or a loved one. At that time, the decision has already been made to kill. Not to intimidate, or frighten the criminal into cowering submission; nor to unnecessarily escalate the situation either.

I grant you that some situations unfold with rapidity, and decisions to defend must be made under the poorest of conditions; but the fundamental right to protect oneself does exist, and is protected by the Constitution. It is up to the individual to regulate their own actions.

Responsible gun owners are probably the group most concerned about the proliferation of guns into the hands of irresponsible individuals; inasmuch as the actions of an irresponsible gun-wielding person cast a negative shadow over the millions of individuals who act responsibly with respect to gun ownership.

There exist many reasons for personal concealment of a weapon by a responsible gun owner; however, I consider the imperative of maintaining possession and control of the firearm to be the most important of these reasons. An unconcealed firearm is a easy to remove from the possession of the owner.

The issues surrounding firearms ownership are necessarily complex, yet they are based upon the same premise: We don’t want guns in the hands of the incompetent or irresponsible, reserving such ownership for those who would use good judgement and restraint.

Taking a life is a grievious matter, and it should never be addressed in a glib or facetious fashion. I dread the day that I may have to take a life in my own defense, of in defense of my family, but I have made the decision that, if necessary, I will do so.

Did I rant? I think I ranted. Sorry for ranting…I think I’m better now.

(The Original EnigmaOne)
Common ¢ for all ages.

EO: Did you see that I had made two posts? Yes, the first one was TIC. I would think that most folks here would know my position concerning firearms. I have made several posts in many different forums about my views. Probably my most in-depth post (rather like yours, EO) was in “people hunting” by firetiger, IIRC. And you really should read “laser tag / paintball games / firearms ownership.” I am trying to find out if people who decry the private ownership of firearms are so filled with hypocrisy that they condemn on the one hand and enjoy “gun games” on the other. I have friends who say they hate guns, but they think nothing of loading up all the kids to go play “laser tag” or paintball games. I worked with some people in South America who were all from the UK - I was the only US citizen in the group. And since I am a supporter of the RKBA, I had some lively discussions with these folks. They just could not understand why private citizens would want to own guns. The funny thing was, after arguing long and hard with me about guns, I would arrange with the local military unit to fire some of the weapons in the armory and these same people would absolutely have a good time! At first, some of them seemed to be painfully fearful of even touching a rifle. But after some coaching and demonstration, they enjoyed themselves and actually became at ease about firearms. A few even talked to me after the range visit and said they understood that while some of their fellow countymen would never grasp the concept of RKBA, at least I had shown that guns are not “inherently evil”.

Radar Ralf–

Please check your state laws again. As a law enforcement officer, I know Florida specifically prohibits (FL State Statute 790.053) the open carry of firearms except as prescribed by law. Examples would be hunting or private armed security. The only weapons you can carry openly as a private citizen are non-lethal stunners and chemical spray. As a reference, www.officer.com, under Law Libraries will give you access to your state’s laws or statutes.

“…send lawyers, guns, and money…”

 Warren Zevon
      • Many states have laws against openly carrying firearms, and against concealed carrying of them as well. So you can’t do either.
  • The reason that concealed carry is so important is that it poses a greater risk to criminals. If a criminal knows who is carrying a gun and who isn’t, he will simply avoid the armed people. If he sees a guy in an expensive suit or a stacked lady, he can simply avoid them if he sees that they are armed and wait for other unarmed people. If the criminal doesn’t know who has a gun, he has to guess where his greatest threat will be from. Will it be the person he attacks? Or the guy walking next to him? Or the lady behind them? Or the person across the street? Or somebody driving by in a car? The criminal has to face the SAME UNKNOWNS that his victims face. You don’t know in advance who will try to rape or rob you - why should criminals know in advance who might shoot and kill them? And it isn’t even that the criminal would always be fatally shot, or even shot at all - it’s only that this is their greatest fear, of facing not a armed police officer (who will try to arrest them) but an armed ordinary person, who might panic and pull the trigger if the criminal sneezes. Concealed carry extends this deterrent to everyone, not just those that decide to actually arm themselves. - MC

My opinion of guns & gun control is, well, a little waffly. I personally do not want a gun in my house, and I don’t like to be around them. I just hear of too many accidents. I know that most gun owners are very safe, and know exactly how & when to use their guns. My ex-husband was a hunter, and we had two shotguns and a rifle in our house. He insisted I learn to fire them, “just in case.” I did, but I couldn’t do it now, and don’t want to.

One thing I won’t do, though, is infringe upon another’s rights to gun ownership, as long as they are safe & legal about it. I have no quarrel whatsoever with collectors and licensed dealers. The husband of my best friend, in fact, is a gun collector, and he’s got some pieces that are nothing less than works of art, if you could say that about a gun. But that still doesn’t make me want to own one.

When it comes to defending myself or my family, I’ve taken a few self-defense courses designed specifically for women, and they’ve been great. If I have to defend my children, in my home, I will do what I have to do. Just because I don’t have a gun doesn’t mean I won’t kill an intruder if I have to, with something else.

I can understand both sides of the concealment argument, though. I know I wouldn’t mess with someone if I saw right up front that they were carrying a weapon. But then again, concealing does equalize the playing field, doesn’t it?

In California (where I live), you can carry a firearm with you, but it must be unloaded. If the firearm is a handgun, it must also not be concealed. (California does not consider rifles and shotguns to be concealable weapons, and thus its concealed-carry laws do not apply to them.)

If you carry a handgun in a vehicle with you, it must also be in a locked container or locked in the trunk. And all firearms, handgun or not, must be locked up if you’re within 1000 feet of a school (even if you’re just driving past the school on your way home from a hunting trip).

I’m not flying fast, just orbiting low.

{{{Did you see that I had made two posts? Yes, the first one was TIC. }}}—radar ralf

Actually, I must have missed your second post somehow. I did have 5 children creating quite a ruckus in the house at the time I posted.

As my students used to say, “My bad.”

(The Original EnigmaOne)
Common ¢ for all ages.

As MC pointed out, concealed carry is a good deterrent. But there are other reasons:

Discretion Often, the best thing to do when confronted by a criminal is to not resist, even if you do have a gun. But if your weapon is in plain sight, do you think the criminal is going to give you that option? Or is he going to shoot you just in case you feel like “being a hero”? Once the criminal sees your gun, you’d better use it.

Accessibility Yes, an unconcealed weapon is more accessible. But that’s not necessarily a good thing. The easier it is for you to get it, the easier it is for someone else to get it. If it’s concealed, it’s pretty difficult for someone to grab it.

Convenience There are a lot more ways to carry a concealed weapon than an unconcealed one.

Societal stigma If you openly display a weapon, people tend to assume that you’re irresponsible/violent.

" ‘Ideas on Earth were badges of friendship or enmity. Their content did not matter.’ " -Kurt Vonnegut, * Breakfast of Champions *

  • EnigmaOne

Nice to see somebody else who understands the reality of self defense with a gun. Have you taken any courses from the Lethal Force Institute, by any chance? Great stuff. If you get a chance to go to any of them (they travel around a lot) definitely go.

STARK wrote:

Shouldn’t we first ask “Why are so many people hellbent on prohibiting others from concealing their weapons?”?

I’m not flying fast, just orbiting low.

Mr. Zambezi,
In response to your first question: I just don’t get it.

Why are so many … crimes committed by criminals? – Mr. Zambezi

It’s axiomatic, Mr. Z. If you were trying to be a smartass, I’m sorry to be dense.

Yes, I was trying to be a smart ass in response to pldennison’s post.

I am all for gun ownership, but let’s face it, as a self defence tool, a gun is not generally that effective…at least not for walking around.

#1 an openly carried weapon is an added danger. #2, you just can’t get to it that fast. For my money the best close range weapon is a very sharp knife. It does more damage faster.

Anyone who has taken a self defense class has learned that a gun just isn’t a good weapon at under 15 feet.

Tracer, you said:

While I do think we should ask that, I certainly do not think we should ask it first.

Advocates of concealed weapon carrying laws are asking that new legislation be written to bestow upon them additional rights in excess of their already-existing right to carry a gun. Because they are the ones pushing for new laws, it should be up to them to explain why such additional legislation is necessary.

Or, put another way, concealed weapon proponents are advocating for something different than current law. From a debating standpoint, those championing a break from the status quo bear the burden of showing why such a break should be made.

Only after advocates of change have presented their case should the defenders of the status quo speak up in opposition.

There may well be compelling arguments against the concealed carry of firearms, but I’ll reserve my arguments until the pro-concealed gun folks make their case.

~ Complacency is far more dangerous than outrage ~

STARK wrote:


They are asking that existing legislation restricting their ability to carry a concealed weapon be repealed.

Anti-concealed-carry laws, and increasingly stringent requirements for obtaining a CCW permit under them, are a relatively recent phenomenon.

I’m not flying fast, just orbiting low.