Events can be tricky to navigate, even without a concealed carry firearm. With the chaos, crowds, and noise of black tie affairs and the utter madness of carnivals, county fairs, or any gathering of more than 30 people, staying protected is necessary, but difficult to maneuver.
If you have decided to carry a concealed firearm, managing events requires a good deal of knowledge, care, and responsibility.
You need to be aware of not only laws and legislation. You also need to know the best practices for keeping your firearm concealed and accessible. After all, the point of carrying a concealed weapon is that you have the advantage of surprise on your side.
The following six tips can help you safely carry your concealed handgun at your next event in an open public space.
Know where you can and cannot carry
Owning a concealed carry firearm comes with a great deal of responsibility. One of those responsibilities is knowing when and where you can carry your handgun.
You are not permitted to carry a firearm in certain designated areas even with a concealed carry permit. Each state has its own laws concerning locations where carrying a concealed weapon is prohibited. This means not only must you be fully aware of the laws in your own state, but if you take a concealed carry over state lines, you need to know the laws of that state, as well.
Always check before you go, but, generally speaking, certain events and locations universally prohibit the carrying of a concealed weapon outside of police forces and security.
Any type of elementary and secondary school, detention facility, or meetings conducted by elected officials for the public do not allow the general public to carry concealed firearms. Federal institutions, courtrooms, mental hospitals, and TSA and security checkpoints are other typical “Hot Zones” where concealed carries are restricted.
Have the correct permits
It is a legal requirement to have your concealed carry permit with you while carrying, except in constitutional carry states. Regardless, it is always a good practice to have your permit on hand.
For your sake, do not keep it on the same side of your body as your weapon. For situations in which security or police personnel request to see your permit, you don’t want to alarm them and look as if you are reaching for your weapon when you are retrieving your permit.
If you often travel to another state for work, make sure your permit allows you to carry in that state or consider applying for a non-resident permit. To ensure you have a safe, enjoyable trip, check these requirements well in advance.
Avoid drawing attention
The whole purpose of carrying a concealed weapon is that no one outside of yourself and perhaps your family is aware you are carrying a firearm.
Avoid drawing attention to yourself by keeping your hands away from the gun. That means no random adjustments in the middle of a crowd. If the firearm shifts or needs to be resettled, go to the bathroom or find an isolated corner. If necessary, inform security of your actions and display your license, so they do not become alarmed.
Check well beforehand that the gear you are using is comfortable and will remain in place. Never take to an event a firearm that you have not practiced firing and drawing. Practice handling the gun and moving in ways that maintain the secrecy of your weapon.
Failure to conceal your weapon in a crowd may incite panic. Explaining your indiscretion to a law enforcement officer may not be enough, as some states mandate that exposing a concealed firearm is an actionable offense.
Finally, revealing the firearm in a mildly threatening manner, even as a joke, is never okay.
Wear proper clothing
For casual events, you can wear exactly what you would normally have on to conceal your weapon. A sturdy belt and a loose shirt should suffice is all you need to conceal an inside the waistband (IWB) holster.
Fortunately, if you are at a black-tie affair that permits concealed carry, there are various formal clothing options for concealing your weapon. In fact, concealing a firearm beneath a suit coat works surprisingly well.
For ladies, an inner thigh holster paired with a loose dress or skirt can be a good option for concealed carrying with formal wear. Look for dresses that do not have copious amounts of fabric, so the skirt is easy to maneuver for maintaining access to the gun on your thigh.
Have the right gear
Having the right gear is one of the most important parts of successfully keeping your weapon concealed.
While there are several places to carry your firearm, inside the waistband holsters are the most popular method. With the number of great IWB Kydex holsters available online, finding the right one for you is easy.
If you do decide to carry at the waist, you need to invest in a sturdy belt. If your belt is too weak, the gun will begin to sag, which will be uncomfortable and may expose your firearm.
Be aware that you will feel the weight of your gun when carrying. Wear the unloaded weapon around your home. Doing that will help you get used to its feeling and weight.
A good-quality holster will completely cover the trigger, preventing accidental discharge. Your holster should also properly fit the firearm and hold it securely in place to keep the gun from becoming dislodged or falling out entirely.
Finally, the holster should be comfortable to wear while still being durable enough to protect the firearm. Look for reputable brands that are 100% made in the USA and offer a lifetime warranty to ensure the quality of your purchase.
Use common sense.
Keep your eyes open and assess every situation before reacting, especially if it might require drawing your handgun.
If a situation at an event goes bad, know that law enforcement will be racing to the scene. You will need to keep a calm and level head to so you don’t look like a threat. Your actions need to convey that you are not one either.
To carry at crowded events and in public spaces, you must be thoroughly comfortable with carrying your concealed weapon. With the proper training, clothing, and know-how, your ability with your handgun you can make concealed carry at events successful. It will also increase your safety and the safety of those around you in any situation.