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There, arguably, may be more than three laws, or absolute requirements
for legally carrying a concealed weapon, but if so, I argue that these are the top three.
Always carry where legally possible.
You are responsible for where all bullets stop that you fire from your weapon.
when you must not shoot.
Number One is more often not practiced than it is. There are many reasons people give themselves for not carrying. You can think of some, like, too uncomfortable, I'm just going down the block to the store, I will be in church, we live in a safe town/neighborhood/area, and many more. We've all had those thoughts. If you live in a low crime, small town, rural area there is not much likelihood of suffering a sudden home invasion. You have to decide whether
not much likelihood
is acceptable when you think about home carry. Is that the only possibility of being threatened with deadly force at home? Maybe. Maybe not. The simple fact is, that if you need to resort to your gun (more on this in number three, below) and you don't have it, or have quick enough access to it, that option disappears.
Number Two is true both morally and legally. Guns are dangerous. That is their purpose, but like any dangerous tool, consider chain saws if you will, it is incumbent on their owners to know this and be practiced and trained in their safe use. But with guns, a more important requirement is imposed on the owner and user, that of the absolute responsibility to not injure or kill an innocent person through neglect, inappropriate use, ignorance, lack of sufficient training, and so forth. It's a long list. Simply put, you are responsible for what happens when you pull the trigger, so you better be sure you know how to shoot safely and to be able to reliably hit only what you intend. This includes the responsibility, for example, of using the appropriate gun and ammunition. If you carry a .357 magnum with full metal jacket bullets and you shoot a bad guy, your bullet goes through him, through a wall and hits an innocent person, you are responsible, just as if you had shot and missed your target. If you had used, say, a regular .38 special, or perhaps a .380 self defense round, the chances of this happening are reduced. Something to think about. And, for the big caliber boys who love their .45s and .40s and other high-powered handguns, I would caution that you especially are at risk of a similar unfortunate occurrence.
Not every man has to have a big gun to be effective. Women don't have this problem.
Number Three is, in my view, the most important of the three 'laws' for the legal concealed carry person. I have had, and read through, many discussions and arguments on this point. I have a prior post here describing what I learned in a class about the Legal Aftermath of a Self Defense shooting. You should read it if you haven't, and if you have, you should probably read it again. It is vitally important to understand how this may affect you.
There is a school of thought on this that when a properly trained, and I mean by that trained in the use and safety of your gun, and also in your legal rights and responsibilities, a person is less likely to get involved in situation which might escalate to violence. Such a person is also more likely to have developed a heightened awareness of his or her surroundings and situations, thereby begin able to defuse, or avoid those that might escalate. Good in theory, but I find that in practice, this does not always work out as planned. For men. I suspect women will have a completely different, and likely more sane and appropriate response. For men, often the opposite but subtle influence of concealed carry on their psyches is the opposite.
Men are by nature more competitive than women. Doesn't mean we are better, but we have the tendency to be in competition with other men. If a man is in a situation in which the signals and signs are such that it is likely, or becoming likely, that a confrontation may develop, then for a man to bow out, apologize, perhaps take a load of crap from a loud-mouth jerk, is going against most men's belief in 'manhood'. You are taught to be brave, stand up for yourself, don't let a jerk push you around. Maybe this was good when you were a teenager or working on becoming one, but as an adult this will most usually lead to trouble. And if you happened to be carrying a gun, it can lead to the most serious of trouble.
Even though the knowledge is there, or ought to be there, in your consciousness that you are legally carrying a potentially deadly weapon and getting involved in an situation that may, or is, escalating toward physical violence, it may get lost in the male adrenaline rush. It's hard to back down and lose face, especially when this happens in the presence of friends, or perhaps your family. However that may be, the responsible and moral person who is carrying a gun must avoid, defuse or abandon such situations whenever and however possible. Slink away. Take the abuse. Be a pussy. Say, "I'm sorry." Say, "Please forgive me, it won't happen again." Say, "You're right. I'm wrong. So sorry."
Difficult? Damn right. Correct response? Damn right. What is the alternative? Escalate to the point where a fight starts, the guy knocks you down and starts to stomp your face and you get your pistol and shoot him dead. Or shoot someone else standing around? That's only one example of many, many possible bad outcomes for you and other people.
So your pride has been hurt. Your kids think you are a weenie, a coward. Better than seeing you hurt, dead, in jail and filled with remorse for the rest of your life.
Having a concealed firearm on your belt should be a constant reminder of the awesome moral and legal responsibilities you have accepted in so doing. Your legal requirements are clearly listed in your state's statutes. Find them. Read them. A number of times. Memorize them. They will state under what circumstances you are entitled to resort to your gun for self defense or the defense of others. They vary state by state. Don't seek out gun websites to tell you about this. And, never resort to gun forums. There is too much self-interest, ignorance and political crap out there as it is. Would you trust your future to some idiot with a screen name like 45acp to advise you on moral and legal responsibilities? I hope not.
You and I have the right to self defense for ourselves and our loved ones, and in most instances, those of innocent people who are in similar danger. Those rights are spelled out in the state law where you live, and where you are if such a situation develops. Learn them and remember them. They exist for your protection and the protection of other citizens who do not choose to exercise their Second Amendment guarantees.