carrying a gun etiquette

Etiquette For Carrying A Gun In Public

Unfortunately, carrying is not universally supported and that imposes on those who do certain obligations, namely open and concealed carry etiquette. Gun etiquette dictates that you do have to comport yourself with great care, else you be a lousy person in general and/or wind up liable for criminal charges.

First Rule Of Carrying Etiquette: Know Where It’s Acceptable To Carry

The first thing that you have to know about carrying etiquette is that regardless of the right/wrong or anything you, me or anyone else thinks about it, not everyone is in favor of it. Thus, you’re obligated to know where carrying is welcome and where it’s not.

Some areas legally forbid carrying firearms, such as government buildings and schools. In most states, you can’t be served alcohol if carrying.

Businesses may not welcome those openly carrying. If that is the case, you have to either conceal (if legally permitted to) or not frequent that establishment. A private property owner doesn’t have to justify themselves regarding their carry policy, so there is no recourse if armed citizens aren’t welcome.

In some states, business owners are legally mandated to post signage if that’s the case. Obey them. If not required in the area you are in, it may do to ask. Take a look at this list to see where you can and can't carry: restricted premises.

Ask Friends And Family Members

carrying etiquette at dinner

Not all friends nor family think the same way about any one subject, including carrying. Thus, good carrying etiquette would dictate that you bear in mind how these various friends, family and otherwise feel about people carrying firearms when you’re around them or at their home.

Tell them you carry and you want to know how they want that dealt with. If they are averse, ask if they have somewhere secure, such as a lock box, locking cabinet or safe where you can safely deposit your firearm while there. If they don’t want guns anywhere near them, you may have to avoid going to their home while armed.

You could also just conceal and not say anything. It approaches a lie of omission, but if you never broach the topic, you have a certain amount plausible deniability since you never asked. Be sure to use common sense; if you conceal and go to a friend’s home whom you know doesn’t approve of carrying firearms and are found out, you’re being discourteous.

Carry Safely & Responsibly

There is no excuse for a negligent discharge. There may also be criminal or civil liabilities. Carelessness puts people in danger and there are few things as dangerous as a firearm in maleficent or negligent hands.

A cavalier carrier puts people around them in jeopardy, gives responsible gun owners a bad name and puts ammunition in the hands of gun control advocates. Radical elements of the latter group seize on anything to assert that firearms are too dangerous to allow people to have them, which can cause responsible gun owners to suffer if they succeed in passing local, state or national legislation.

This may be obvious, but it can’t be overstated. Anyone who carries owes it to themselves and their fellow citizens to conduct themselves safely and responsibly around or while carrying a firearm. If you discharge a round or worse, injure someone, due to carelessness, you deserve the consequences. The easiest way to avoid this is to carry in a high retention holster that covers the trigger completely.

Be Courteous and Avoid Arguments

gun carry etiquette

There’s a conundrum for those who carry. On one hand, you’re legally entitled to carry and bear arms. On the other, the presence of a firearm can frighten some people, the latter doesn’t outweigh the former.

Does that mean you’re obligated to make sure everyone around you is okay with you carrying in public? Not if you’re legally entitled to carry, not to mention that taking the effort would be unreasonable and completely impractical. However, does that mean you’re entitled to be rude if someone doesn’t like it? Not at all.

If somebody says something in public or anywhere else you’re allowed by law to be carrying, it’s best to be polite. You aren’t responsible for their emotional placation, but you are responsible for your conduct. If someone says something and is amenable to reasonable discourse, then by all means discuss it. If not, do your best to walk away. As Churchill said, it costs nothing to be polite.

Carrying etiquette is just common sense, for the most part. Know when and where it’s okay. Be safe. Be polite. Try not to be rude. In other words, just be mindful and be a good citizen. Everyone is better off when people do that, regardless of who they are.

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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