Welcome back to another edition of Concealed Carry Corner. Last week, we looked at the rise in PDWs being carried by individuals and what that looks like in public. When it comes to carrying concealed, there’s a wide variety of situations and settings that make you stop and question if you should carry. It happened to all of us who carry on a regular basis where you have to make a choice whether or not to carry in a certain situation. People will occasionally send me a question about a certain place or situation to carry in so I figured we could take a closer look at some of these situations. Let’s jump into the complicated world of carrying in questionable places.
Legality and Consequences
One of the biggest questions when it comes to carrying concealed handguns is the legality of carrying in various places. Whether it’s a movie theater, a privately owned business, or a questionable place like a bar or club, it’s important to know what your state laws say about various settings with a firearm. Two states that I visit frequently are Michigan and South Carolina. Both states have reciprocity and are similar in laws but have differences when it comes to certain settings.
Settings like a bar or restaurant can be a tricky spot for certain people to carry. For example, South Carolina says you can carry in a bar or restaurant setting as long as you don’t drink any alcohol. However, in Michigan, you can only carry in a bar if the total sales of alcohol is 40% or less of the total revenue of the business. This is much more complicated than South Carolina’s ruling since you have to make a judgment call that could end up being different from the actual percentage breakdown.
This example is a perfect example of the large variations of laws each state can have. What makes this tricky is when you decide to travel from state to state. It’s always important to check out the local laws of your destination as well as the laws of states you are traveling through to be in compliance. South Carolina in this case has more freedom to carry when talking about bars and restaurants.
Privately Owned Businesses
Another big difference between the two states when it comes to carrying concealed is in the case of privately owned businesses. When it comes to Michigan law, privately owned businesses are alright to carry a concealed firearm in unless the managers or owners ask you to leave the property. If you refuse to leave the property after being confronted, then it will be considered a misdemeanor trespassing infraction. This allows people to carry without much worry of being arrested for carrying inside a privately owned business. It makes the business owner to actually see the carrier’s firearm to ask them to leave before there’s any potential repercussions.
South Carolina laws when it comes to private businesses are a different story. In South Carolina, there’s no requirement for store owners to ask you to leave if there’s a no guns allowed sign posted on the front of the business. It can automatically be considered trespassing with no need to ask the individual to leave. This is where knowing the local laws of the place you’re visiting beforehand really does pay off. The big decision to carry regardless of the consequences can land you in jail with a misdemeanor or more if you’re caught carrying a concealed handgun where you shouldn’t.
Risk Versus Reward
The obvious dilemma that presents itself here is the choice to carry a concealed firearm no matter where you’re going and risk getting the consequences or obey the boundaries without a firearm. The recent mall shooting in Indiana is a good example of the constant risk vs reward we face as concealed carriers. Elisjsha Dickens was in that grey area since most malls across the United States are self-declared “gun-free zones.”
Despite this being the case at the Greenwood Park Mall, Elisjsha still decided to carry which ultimately saved his life along with countless other lives. In that situation, I would say the risk was most certainly worth the reward but that’s not always how things work out. I cannot think of a worse feeling than being caught in a life or death situation only to realize you obeyed the laws and disarmed before going into a certain area. Sometimes we have no choice and have to avoid the area entirely if that’s a possibility.
Legally, it would be irresponsible of me to advise you one way or another, but hardly anyone talks about the countless times you will be put into these situations as a concealed carrier in your lifetime. There will always be choices presented to you where you may have to go into a self-declared gun-free zone or private property that is considered a gun-free zone. To be clear these are very different from the federal gun-free zones like schools and post offices but it’s still important to consider in the big picture.
It all boils down to what you see as an acceptable risk to carry in gray areas like privately owned gun-free zones. Whether that’s a mall, big box store or grocery store, it’s ultimately up to you to decide what’s worth it. In the case of the Greenwood Park Mall shooting, it looks like Elisjsha Dickens is going to be in the clear of any charges and will not get into trouble for carrying in a self-declared gun-free zone.
This isn’t exactly the reason why I wrote this article and depending on what state you live in, the outcome could be drastically different than it was in Indiana. I know what I do on a daily basis and I think most of you will make the same decision when presented with the choice. It’s important to have a well-concealed firearm and be confident in your ability to carry a concealed firearm. If you’re not comfortable with the potential consequences of carrying in gray areas then you know your answer as well.
When people first take their concealed carry courses, oftentimes the instructors will paint it as a very black and white situation for carrying a concealed firearm in public. This just simply isn’t true and there are so many situations where you will find yourself in the gray area having to make a choice about what you do. As time goes on, this decision becomes easier but it’s still important to take into consideration and talk about.
What do you guys think about carrying in questionable places? Let me know down in the comments below. I can see both sides of this argument and I honestly won’t be shocked if I see both perspectives in the comments but it’s still important to talk about! If you have questions about carrying concealed or firearms in general, feel free to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeopeartor. Stay safe out there and I will see you next week!
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