The decision to carry a concealed firearm is an important, deeply personal one. You are carrying. You are responsible for your gun and what you do or don’t do with it if you, your loved ones, or other innocent life face a credible, imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm.
No one else can make the decision to carry for you. But they sure can make it difficult.
If someone close to you is anti-gun – whether it’s a significant other, a friend or a colleague – telling them you’re carrying a gun can be awkward. Or, in some cases, downright confrontational. Here are three tips for coming out of the concealed carry closet.
1. Don’t do it
You have a natural, civil and Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. As we’ve been saying for years, the right to armed self defense is subject neither to the democratic process nor to arguments grounded in social utility. Nor should it be subject to someone else’s opinion about whether or not you have a right or even a “need” to carry a firearm.
You are under no obligation to inform anyone else of your concealed carry handgun (except for law enforcement officers in a few states).
The gun community has an expression: concealed means concealed. Telling someone you have a gun violates that principle, designed to maintain what gun gurus call “operational security.”
There are plenty of ways to conceal a firearm so that no one knows you have it: ankle holsters, pocket carry and other comfortable carry systems (holster and gun). You’ll still have to master some awkward moments. Going to the bathroom, returning to your car after or choosing not to enter a “gun-free” zone can be challenging. But you can do it.
No matter what, your friends don’t have to know. Your boss doesn’t have to know. Your dry cleaner doesn’t have to know. Workmen in your house don’t have to know. Your babysitter doesn’t have to know. If, however, you live with someone who’s anti-concealed carry or even downright anti-gun, well, that’s a different story.
In that case . . .
2. Discuss personal safety
I hate to say it, but fear is your friend. Have a talk with your significant other about personal safety, a discussion designed to show them the problem with not having a gun.
Lead them. Put the whole discussion in question form. If you don’t have a handgun at home, start with home defense rather than concealed carry.
What would you do if someone attacks you, me or little Michael? Where would you/we go? How long would it take the police to arrive?
Move the talk towards weapons. If you had to defend yourself with a weapon, what would you use?
Don’t be afraid to introduce the specter of serious injury or death. What would happen if someone raped me or you? Or, yes, killed one of us?
Don’t hurry. It could take several of these conversations over several months, perhaps using news stories to revisit the topic. If this concealed carry campaign leads to arguments – “You’re obsessed with guns!” – so what? Is there anything worth arguing about more than life or death?
You may want to get a gun into the home first. Keep it locked up and take it out every now and then. That way your significant other will realize that A) there is such thing as a gun B) there’s a gun in your shared world and C) it doesn’t hurt anyone. Then you can move on to concealed carry.
If you already have a handgun in the home, ask, What would happen if we were outside and we were attacked? Use specific examples. What would happen if someone attacked you in the supermarket parking lot? After work? Notice that you’re talking about your significant other’s safety, not your own. They are more likely to approve of your concealed firearm if it’s used to defend them or the kids rather than yourself.
You might want to say that you’d like to have a concealed carry firearm for certain situations (e.g. when you’re going out to dinner). Again, we’re talking about normalization here. Carrying every now and then leads to carrying all the time (which is exactly what you should do).
Remember: you’re not easing your SO into “allowing” you to concealed carry. You’re helping them accept your decision, your inalienable right to armed self-defense. Be calm. Be resolute. Be patient.
3. Just do it
There are times in every relationship when a man or woman’s gotta do what a man or a woman’s gotta do. Some say the correct expression here is “put your foot down.”) You can come out of the concealed carry closet all at once with no prior discussion.
I’ve decided to carry a concealed firearm to protect myself, you, our friends and family and (perhaps) other innocent life. This is my gun. This is my holster. This is my gun safe. Deal with it.
That can be a little more jarring and may lead to more intense follow-up, but there you go. This approach has the benefit of being quick and honest.
Carrying a concealed firearm is a life-affirming decision. Once you’ve made it (or as you make it) have the courage of your convictions. Don’t take no for an answer. The life you save may be the life of the person who rejects, ridicules or seeks to restrict your decision.