concealed carry in the car

Do You Have A Car Gun?

Before legal concealed carrying became much more widespread, most people who were armed for self-defense outside the home had a car gun, usually a pistol tucked in the dash or under the seat in case things went sideways. A lot of people still do.

Granted, things have come a long way since the days when the default personal defense pistol was a snubnose .38 Special, and now plenty of people have gotten their CCW and carry on their person with a holster and a stiff leather gun belt. That said, the car gun definitely still has a place.

Why Some Will Tell You Not To Have A Car Gun

carrying a car gun is a good idea

The conventional wisdom is that a dedicated car gun is a bad idea. If you're going to carry, you should carry everywhere and all the time, or else what's the point? Furthermore, if you leave your pistol in the car, it could get stolen - either by thieves looting your car for your stereo and anything else or by the car itself getting stolen.

Another thing to consider is the legality of a car gun. Not all jurisdictions allow for the transportation of a loaded firearm in a vehicle, though many do allow one to do so if the driver/person that has the pistol in the car has a concealed carry permit.

If you're considering employing a car gun, it may do to get a CCW license, if you haven't done so already. Firearms offenses are not overlooked by the judicial system. Filling out a few forms and paying the state a little bit of cash is not too much to put up with to avoid the whole court and jail thing. Court is not fun and jail is a real buzzkill, so don't do things that will put yourself there.

Why A Car Gun IS A Good Idea

gun in car holster

Ask some older folks about whether they had a car gun, and you're likely to find a few people who kept/still keep a snub-nose revolver in the dash or center console. A Saturday Night Special tucked away in the car somewhere was the first implement of personal defense for a lot of people.

The "carry on your person" crowd has a point. However, being able to easily draw from a holster while standing does not translate to being able to easily draw while sitting, let alone while also belted into a vehicle. Having a dedicated car gun within easy reach BESIDES a carry gun on your person allows a person to respond quicker to a threat - say a road rage maniac or would-be carjacker.

Also, not all places of employment permit employees to concealed carry, but do "allow" people to keep guns in their car. It may not sound like much, but even having a gun in the car can make a difference.

Take the case of Joel Myrick, for instance. Myrick was the assistant principal at Pearl High School in Pearl, Miss., in 1997 when a student - one Luke Woodham - started carrying out a school shooting with a rifle, killing two students and wounding seven more. When the shooting started, Myrick (who also happened to be an officer in the Army Reserve) retrieved a pistol from his car and - with help from some incredibly brave students - stopped Woodham from fleeing the scene. Woodham was peacefully arrested and is serving three life sentences, plus 140 more years.

Does this mean having a gun in the car will turn anyone into a potential hero? No, and if Myrick had been permitted to carry on his person, he could have responded much more quickly. However, if he hadn't had a gun in his car, Woodham would have gotten away, and may have committed more atrocities.

If You Must Car Carry, Do It Right

car carry safely

If you're going to car carry, it's imperative that you do so safely, as gun safety is the responsibility of everyone who owns or handles a firearm.

First, get a car holster. There are a number of car holsters, including many models that mount to various parts of the car, such as under the steering wheel or somewhere to the dashboard.

A holster should, at minimum, completely cover the trigger guard. Even a simple pancake holster - like the kind sold at most gun stores for only a few bucks - can get the job done, and is adequate so long as the pistol is stored somewhere safe from excessive jolts. Simply jamming a pistol between the seats is NOT safe - something could snag the trigger and cause a discharge.

Also, consider a gun safe for the car for safe storage while not in the vehicle. There are lockboxes and gun safes that are made specifically for use in vehicles; these can lock the gun away and keep it secured and hidden while one is away from the car.

Another tip is that if you ARE going to have a car gun, you will have to consider that theft is a risk. Therefore, you should probably put a pistol in the car that won't kill you to lose, in case it is stolen.

Sam Hoober  

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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