Licensed vs. Constitutional Carry

In some states, you have a choice. Choose wisely.

In the past few decades, when it came to carrying a weapon in public, it was unheard of. In the past 30 years or so, it started being treated somewhat like a car. Because drinving is a privledge (it says so right there in the front of your state Driver's Manual), the drivers license has been proof that at some time in the past, you successfully performed the skills the State deems necessary to safely operate a motor vehicle on the public roads. So, the states, started treating guns like cars, for restriction purposes. Prior to Bruen, states like Hawaii and New York had a licensure process in place, they just never issued any.

Over the past 30 years, the restrictions have loosened in a lot of states. Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) licenses have gone from "may issue," where the issuing authority (usually the county sheriff) can but does not have to issue a license. It is solely at their discretion, to "shall issue," which means the license must be issued unless the issuing authority has a clear, acceptable and documented reason to deny the license.

Right now in many states, there is the policy of "Constitutional" or permitless carry.  As the Founding Fathers would have intended it. Constitunal Carry (CC) allows any adult who is legally purchase or possess a handgun to carry it about.  And because these are state laws. the rules will vary. Some states allow CC for either concealed or open carry, some states allow you to concealed carry but not open carry.

Now, here's my position on this and why. Go through the effort and get the license. The reasons are very clear:

1. Like in Drivers Ed, you're given information that is critical to you pertaining to the legal operation of your weapon, and to demonstrate a basic proficiency in it's operation.

The class contains information that you wouldn't likely go and find out on your own. Things that will earn you a life-sentince in prison if you don't know them. Things like the threat facing you must be:

  • Immediate
  • Unavoidable (subject to Castle Law or "Stand your Ground" laws)
  • Reasonably evident the threat will cause death or great bodily harm to yourself or others
  • And there is a large disparity of force against you.

An old man in a wheelchair threatening to kick your ass for whatever you did to piss him off is not a threat. Up until he pulls out a sawed-off shotgun, or you know he used to spar with someone like Evander Holyfield. Another guy with about the same age, size and condition as you that wants to "throw hands" with you is not a legal justification to shoot him. If you know he's a professional MMA fighter, then there is a great disparity of force that you can only make up with your weapon.

2. Know where you can carry. In my state, when you see a sigh like this with specific information (notably the Tennessee law) on it, you cannot legally carry there. If store personnel catch you armed, you can be arrested by the police.

No Gun Allowed TN

In the case of Elisjsha Dicken who stopped a mall food-court shooter in Indiana, That state does not have the same law. The mall did post "no guns allowed" signs that do not have the force of law. If Dickens had been discovered to be armed by staff, all they could do is ask him to leave.

3. Reciprocity. In my day job, I routinely travel around West Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas and even Missouri. If I were to travel armed, my Tennessee license allows me to legally carry in all of those states. If I depended on CC, my ability to carry at all ends at the state line. While all of these states have CC, only Missouri allws non-residents to CC.

4. It can calm the police during an encounter. I specify "CAN" calm the police because some police are idiots, either because they don't know the law, or go about their job with a mindset of "Constitutional Carry means you're a criminal," like "if they don't have a permit, that means they can't get a permit." And while not having the spare cash to get the license falls under that criteria, the officer is thinking more on the order of "you're a felon." So, a license produced at the appropriate time can show that I'm a "good guy" and the officer has nothing to fear from me.

In the end, I would love to see and be able to CC in all 50 states. Until then, the advantages of a CCW license make it the prudent choice.

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