Concealed Means Concealed. Unless it’s not.
Don’t brag, and resist the tendency to show off your gun.
First of all, let’s be honest: Carrying a gun on your person is an empowering act. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t improve our chances of coming out on the winning side of a lethal force encounter by carrying a gun. Duh. However, that empowerment isn’t equipped with an on-off switch: There will always be a temptation to use that power unwisely, and brag about carrying a gun or show it off to others.
There’s at least two reasons why this is a bad, bad idea.
Unless you’ve done something wrong and are in a bad place at a bad time with bad people all around you, the only people who should know you’re carrying concealed are the people who saw you dress that morning. You’re not carrying concealed to let others know you’re carrying concealed, you’re carrying because you want to be safe on the worst day of your life.
Leave the bragging and showing off for the playing field and the hip-hop stage, your job is to keep yourself and your loved ones safe, and that job is not enhanced by you bragging about your gun.
Know more than the law, know your community
There is a big difference in how carrying a gun is perceived in rural Arizona versus downtown Portland, Oregon. While it may be perfectly legal to carry in Portland (and if you CAN carry there, do so), how people will react when they find out you are carrying may be different than if you were in other, more gun-friendly climes. Which bring us to the very touchy subject of open-carry.
As a comparison, let’s roll back the clock a few decades and talk about custom motorcycles. Owning a tricked-out Harley used to be the exclusive realm of outlaw bikers, but today, bank presidents and accountants ride bikes that wouldn’t look out of place at a Hell’s Angels convention. What moved custom motorcycles from the realm of “scary thing to own” to “Hey, my Dad has one of those” wasn’t laws or government edicts, it was the actions of people who rode those motorcycles.
Seeing the connection to open carry yet?
If we want to make the carrying of firearms (concealed or not) to be as common-place as the owning of a Harley, we need to not only meet but exceed the standards of politeness for our community. The reason for this is simple: A jerk with a pistol on his (or her) hip makes guns (and gun owners) seem scary, but a polite and smiling person who just happens to have a sidearm visible makes people treat gun owners like the nice people we really are. If you can carry openly in your community, and are comfortable doing so, do so. If not, don’t. Nothing more needs to be said.
Next up: To draw, or not to draw, that is the question.
Secret #5: Learn To Defend Yourself Without A Gun
Secret #4: Become A Peacemaker Without Ego