Concealed Weapons Permit Holders Must Practice to Save Lives

Concealed Carry Field Etiquette

What does the phrase “armed and polite” really mean? It’s a controversial topic in the concealed carry community. Many gun-toting members state that it gives them a huge sense of responsibility that is not to be taken lightly and they are therefore are more likely to seek other options before resorting to deadly force.

Other firearm aficionados claim that if an adversary knows they’re carrying, then the situation is much less likely to become volatile.

Back in the 1980s, when lawmakers first started bandying back and forth over potential concealed carry legislation, there was talk of a return to the Wild West mentality with shootouts at high noon on Main Street.

Of course, none of these fears were ever realized, but the “armed and polite” motto became a rallying cry for concealed carry legislation supporters.

But even while it should be evident that rudeness is not an excuse for deadly force, incidents occasionally occur that seems to indicate the opposite. For example, a Florida theater-goer was fatally shot when he and another patron got into an argument about texting.

Author Kevin Michalowski points out the flawed logic behind these types of incidents in his article “Armed and Polite: What Does That Mean?” on USConcealedCarry.com

“Anyone who knows and understands the laws surrounding the use of deadly force should know that rudeness does not provide justification for the use of deadly force. So you should know that you can't use deadly force no matter how rude someone gets.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

Knowing and using other options before resorting to deadly force should be the primary focus and course of action. Most in the concealed carry community agree that other members are generally calm, polite, and respectful when socializing with each other. However, this may not always be the case in the world at large.

It’s much safer to avoid confrontation at the outset than it is to deal with all the physical, emotional, and legal ramifications that arise from using deadly force to settle a dispute. By avoiding sketchy areas, calling for help in an emergency, or even seeking cover, many responsible concealed carry owners can remain “armed and polite.”

Self-Defense Doesn’t Come Naturally For Everyone

When carrying a firearm for personal protection, have you thought about how far you’re willing to take things in an emergency? Are you mentally prepared to use lethal force if necessary?

Despite the fact that they’re carrying a tool designed to kill, some people aren’t willing to use their weapons.

Deep down, they know they can’t or won’t be able to pull the trigger and potentially take a life, even if theirs is on the line.

Author Kathy Jackson focuses on this question in her article “Finding Your Reason” on USConcealedcarry.com:

“But the mere presence of the gun is no magic bullet. Without the mental willingness to use the gun in the final extreme, its usefulness is strictly limited.

So how do you come to the place where you are willing to risk killing someone who is trying to kill you?” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

One way to look at the act of using deadly force to defend yourself is to liken it to purchasing life insurance. You don’t buy life insurance for yourself. Instead, you buy it for those who survive you.

You have life insurance so people you love will be comfortable and won’t have such a heavy financial burden to bear after you’re gone. It’s all about them.

The same can be said for carrying and using a firearm for protection. What if you died because you couldn’t or wouldn’t defend yourself to the bitter end? How would that affect the people closest to you?

Your death might leave behind a spouse, children, close friends, and even pets. Your absence will create a significant vacancy in their lives and is almost certain to cause unforeseen hardships. This alone is often more than enough reason to fortify your resolve to defend your own life.

Defending yourself is not selfish or contrary to any religious beliefs. It’s taking the steps to arm and train yourself and self-defense is the most responsible thing you can do. Why should you let a violent stranger have their way?

However, getting to the point where a person is able to take the life of another human in self-defense does not come naturally.

This natural resistance is so strong that people will sometimes back down or unconsciously sabotage their own defenses to avoid killing someone else even when their own lives are at risk.

No one is immune from this response. The good news is that with the right training, mindset, and thinking beforehand, you can develop a warrior mentality that you can call upon when you have to defend your life and safety from those who seek to take it away.

Practice Makes Perfect


Whether you are just getting your concealed weapons permit or have had a license for some time, one of the most important things you can do is keep up your skills by practicing. The main reason most of us choose to conceal and carry guns is be able to protect ourselves and our family members in the event we are attacked. Carrying a gun will only help you do that if you are comfortable drawing and shooting the weapon. This comes with practice, practice, and more practice.

When you practice enough, your body will instinctively know what to do. This is referred to as ‘muscle memory,’ which is something you experienced when you learned to ride a bike or drive a car. With enough practice, you no longer have to stop and think about what you must do next, like you do when you first begin. This is true with using your gun as well, and should be the goal of every concealed weapons permit holder.

One thing that helps with this is to use the same gun all the time. Driving three or four different cars when you are first starting out makes it take longer to learn how to drive. Once you mastered how to drive one car, it was easier to transfer that knowledge to another vehicle. The same thing is true with firearms. Some people who get a concealed weapons permit want to have a variety of weapons for different situations, or even for different attire. By frequently changing weapons, they do not give their bodies the chance to get really comfortable with the gun. The problem is that this can slow their response time in the event of an emergency because they have to stop to think about which gun they are using and where they are carrying it.

Another thing that people should practice when getting their concealed weapons permit is firing their gun from a variety of positions. Attackers are not likely to give you ample time to get into the standard firing range stance. Get comfortable and proficient shooting while standing off balance and even from lying on the ground. You can safely practice at home without your weapon just by holding your hands out and pointing your finger. Be sure to get plenty of practice while holding the gun however. That is the only way to become accustomed to the weight and feel of it.

Sometimes it is helpful to take a variety of self-defense classes in addition to shooting at the range. The classes may not cover firing a weapon, but they can assist you in learning to assess the situation and become more aware of your surroundings. This is beneficial to any concealed weapons permit holder as it will make it more difficult for an attacker to catch you off guard.

Hopefully you will never be in a situation where you must take advantage of your concealed weapons permit and fire your weapon. However, by practicing and being comfortable with your weapon and your abilities in a variety of situations, you can carry confidently knowing that you can protect yourself and your loved ones should the need arise. Bottom line, that is what having a concealed weapons permit is all about.

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Concealed Weapons Permit Misfire in New Hampshire


The New Hampshire state Senate is still looking at a bill that would do away with the concealed weapons permit. That legislation and others that affect gun rights in the Granite state have not cleared the latest hurdles after passing the House.

Concealed weapons permits are currently required in New Hampshire in order to conceal and carry firearms in the state. House Bill 536 would have eliminated this requirement, making it the fourth state in the Union to allow citizens to carry without a permit. Currently only Alaska, Arizona, and Vermont do not require a concealed weapons permit. Following the lead of Alaska and Arizona, the New Hampshire bill would still keep the permit process as an option for gun owners who wish to travel to another state with their weapon through concealed carry reciprocity agreements.

House members shot down HB 1375. Law enforcement officials led the charge against the bill which would have allowed certain felons to own weapons, saying it would legally put guns in the hands of former drug dealers.

Although there is no federal regulation of concealed weapons permits, there is the federal Gun-Free School Zones Act, which bars all firearms, including concealed carry, from within 1000 feet of an elementary or secondary school. Looking to further reduce the federal government’s power over the state, HB 125 seeks to exempt firearms manufactured in New Hampshire from any federal regulation. This proposed legislation is among the list of gun bills sent back for further study.

Issuing of concealed weapons permits in New Hampshire is currently impacted by both local and state agencies. In recent years, some jurisdictions have passed regulations that restrict concealed carry in parts of the state. HB 334 is an effort to make the concealed carry laws uniform across the state. This bill has also been sent back for further study.

If enacted, HB 334 would give the state authority to regulate guns on public lands. This authority would extend to buildings that are owned, or financed by, the public, except for courthouses. In the past, colleges and universities had the power to regulate guns on their campuses, overriding the state’s authority. This legislation broadens gun owners’ rights by opening the door for anyone with a concealed weapons permit to legally carry in athletic stadiums, the State Hospital, state parks, and in private companies who lease space from the state.

Governor John Lynch has vowed to veto the numerous proposed gun bills if they pass both the House and Senate. The veto threat is not the end of the line for the legislation. Proof of that was last year’s successful veto override of the New Hampshire “Stand Your Ground” bill which eliminated the requirement that citizens attempt to retreat prior to shooting in public when they feel threatened. New Hampshire was only the second state to enact such a bill, but currently twenty states have similar legislation.

The Granite state is among the leaders of gun rights’ laws. 2012 may see additional gun laws enacted and restrictions lifted, including the requirement for a concealed weapons permit.

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