Whether you’ve been carrying a firearm for years or are looking into purchasing your first handgun, knowing how to carry safely and legally is of the utmost importance. There are state-specific laws and general safety guidelines you must always keep in mind when a weapon is on your person.
It Must Be Holstered at All Times
Whether it’s on your person or in your vehicle, your firearm must be in a proper holster at all times. Never keep your handgun loose in your bag or pocket. There is a wide variety of holsters for new gun owners and long-time gun enthusiasts alike, so shop around to find the best holster for your preferred gun model and carrying style.
Never Brandish Without Intent
Unless you’re about to use your handgun to defend yourself or a loved one, it should stay concealed and safe in its holster where it’s meant to be. Some states have open carry or constitutional carry laws that do not require the holstered weapon to be concealed, but you are still not permitted to remove it from its holster. If you want to show your gun off to your friends, do so at home, never in a public space.
Avoid Off-Person Carry When Possible
While it’s true that purse holsters are legal in most states and there are hundreds of purses, messenger bags, and handbags specifically designed for concealed carry, most gun safety instructors highly advise against carrying this way. Purses can be dropped, left behind, or snatched away by attackers far too easily, meaning your firearm is far less secure than it would be in an on-person holster.
Be Forthright When Engaging With Law Enforcement
Even if you have not broken any laws and are carrying safely and legally, always disclose that you are carrying a firearm to police officers, security guards, and state or federal investigators if they approach or question you. This includes when you are pulled over in your vehicle and the gun is in your console or glove box.
Lock Your Vehicle
If you are going inside a business, government building, your workplace, or another facility where carrying a gun is not allowed and you must leave it in your car, make sure your car is locked and your car alarm is armed. Consider investing in a car safe that can be installed in the door or glove box and kept locked.
Before buying and carrying a handgun for concealed carry, always be sure you are well versed on the specific lawn concerning firearms in your state.