Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Concealed Carry In The Suburbs

     I'm licensed to carry concealed in my home state of North Carolina. I was licensed to carry concealed in South Carolina for 15 years before moving to North Carolina with my job. I would say I carried on average of once or twice week for all of those years. I didn't carry everyday because the places I worked did not allow firearms on their premises. I usually carried on the weekends, or if I went out after I got home from work, or if I had a day off.

     A Non-Permissive Environment (NPE) is a fairly common obstacle that concealed weapons holders encounter in the suburbs. There are three types of Non-Permissive Environments (NPE's) that I have encountered:
  • Carry prohibited by statute - places where the concealed law specifically prohibits concealed carry. Banks, Schools, Bars, etc. Violation results in arrest and prosecution.
  • Carry prohibited by premise - places that post signs specifically prohibiting concealed carry inside their premise. Violation results in arrest and prosecution.
  • Carry prohibited by policy - Companies make it a violation of their policy for employees to posses firearms on their premise. Violation often results in termination. Often combined with prohibition by premise.
     This can be a real issue for concealed firearms carriers (CC'ers). For example some stores in a mall might prohibit firearms, while others will allow it. What if you stop to get a hamburger in one of the mall restaurants and that restaurant also serves alcohol? A CC'er could end up in a NPE entirely by accident and end up in jail. Anti-gunners get extremely nervous around people who have a gun on them, especially if their children are present. It's an irrational fear, I get that....I really do. But understand that if they call the cops, and you're in the wrong....even accidentally, you will most likely go to jail.

     We can spend hours constructing scenarios. You can't plan for everything, you simply can't. If you know ahead of time you're going to end up in an NPE, don't carry. It's as simple as that. But how many times have your plans changed mid-stream? Lots if you have a wife/husband and kids. Things NEVER go as planned. So, lets look at some best practices that can help resolve these issues, or possibly even prevent them from occurring in the first place.

      You may remember my "rules" for a gunfight. Here they are again, for a quick review:
              1- Don't be there when it happens.
              2- If you break rule #1, have a gun
              3- Be the one who fires the first accurate shot.

     Lets focus on the "have a gun" part. Since we're not expecting a gunfight, and we're just hanging out with our family. Conceal your gun well. Dress in layers, it's easier in the winter for obvious reasons. In the summer carry a smaller weapon inside the pants or in the small of your back. Don't be one of those tacti-cool, mall-ninja idiot types who thinks it's "cool" to print so others can know you're carrying without actually seeing your weapon. Don't invite trouble. The view is NOT worth the climb on that issue.
     Use a good carry holster. Nothing amuses me more than a guy who spends $1,000 on a custom .45 ACP. Then carries it in a $20 nylon "one size fits most" holster. If the weapon isn't secure, or the holster is uncomfortable to wear, you won't carry very often....or at all. Don't break rule #2. A holster is one of the two critical pieces of your carry gear that makes the whole thing work. What is the second piece you ask?  A belt. Like the holster...get a good one. My preference for holsters is AHolster. You can check one out here: AHolster     My preference for a belt is the 5.11 Trainers belt. Check one out here: Trainer Belt.

     If you encounter an NPE, return your weapon to your vehicle, enter the NPE, conduct your business there and leave. Return to your vehicle and re-arm. I have had to do this many times. I wasn't comfortable leaving my weapon in the glove box of my car. What if my car got broken into, or one of my kids got a hold of my weapon, or anything like that? I ended up buying a Nano Vault 200. It's a small lock box that fits under my truck seat. It's secured to the metal seat frame, and has a key lock. It's large enough to hold my G23 and an extra magazine. You can check one out here: NanoVault 200.

     Get some training, and practice as often as you can. I can't tell you how important it is for you to get some quality firearms training. It is your Constitutional Right to have a firearm, it is also your responsibility to own it responsibly. Take a high quality class in your carry gear with your main carry gun. Learn how to clear stoppages, and perform emergency reloads. Learn how to shoot with a flashlight in your weak hand, and how to shoot your weapon with your weak hand. These are the things that will save your life.

One last thing. Know the laws in your area. It's up to you to know WHEN to pull the trigger as well as HOW to pull the trigger. You can be assured that every bullet fired in a public place will have a lawyer attached to it. I'm not talking about defense of yourself and your family inside your home. I'm talking about defense of yourself and your family in public. There is a huge difference. In your home, an intruder has no legal right to be there. In public both parties had a legal right to be there.  The laws are probably different in your area, it's up to you to know them.

     Again, I'm not an expert and I don't play one on the Internet. Survive to fight another day.

     Comments and suggestions for topics are always welcome. You can leave them anonymously if you wish. Thanks again for checking in and reading my blog.


  1. Well written. Good points, lots to think about.

  2. Sounds like well thought out system. Thank you. Have to get something like nano box for my car. Good idea.

  3. I have my cwp in SC. I should, but I don't, carry my Glock on me. It's too bulky for me. If I go out of town, especially with the family, it's always in the car. I can't think of anything worse than something happening to them and me helpless to help. Great info on your site. Thanks.