Unsafe Behavior With Concealed Carry
Just as with anything in life, there are certain unsafe behaviors when it comes to concealed carry that should be avoided. It's one thing to have somewhat sloppy habits, like slipshod concealment, but it's another thing entirely to be unsafe.
When you acquire your carry permit, you take on a responsibility to yourself and to your fellow citizens to be safe. This is why it's necessary for everyone to take concealed carry training or some sort of gun safety course at the minimum so that they know what safe handling and carrying consists of.
While carrying, there are certain behaviors you need to avoid and others to watch for. Not only that, others should be reported as a person who puts themselves and others at hazard is not fit to carry.
Unsafe CCW Actions To Watch For
Everyone makes mistakes, but there are certain unsafe actions while concealed carrying that go beyond a mere slip-up or momentary lapse of mindfulness. Even the most responsible concealed carrier can do something untidy every now and again, but certain things are a sign that a person is not safe to carry a firearm. Here are some things to watch for:
Handling a pistol in public is to be avoided at all times. A gun should go in a concealed carry holster and stay there. There are a few instances in which a bit of handling may be necessary - say you keep your carry gun in a car holster and then place it in a carry holster when you get out of the car - but outside of that...if more handling is necessary, a person clearly doesn't have the right equipment.
A bit of adjustment here and there is normal. Constantly handling a firearm is not.
Another unsafe behavior is outright brandishing. There's a difference between printing, an occasional slight reveal and actual brandishing. The difference is that actual brandishing is intentionally showing a firearm to someone for the purposes of intimidation, which is a crime.
Related to this is a person that makes threats to others, such as mentioning that they're armed in the course of some stupid argument. A disagreement over the kind of inanities that people get far too upset over should not involve mention of violence, let alone armed violence. Such a person is clearly unfit to carry.
Also, if a person you know to be armed looks for conflicts or to escalate them, they are a danger to themselves and others.
Unmindful Concealed Carry Vs Criminal Recklessness
There is a dividing line between a person who is unmindful and a person who is reckless, or for that matter criminal recklessness. Being unmindful is when a person either doesn't know or forgets principles of safe conduct, though they do so innocently. Innocent intentions don't exculpate a person if they aren't observing proper gun safety or carrying in an unsafe fashion, but it does mean they did so without meaning to. Such a person may need a bit of training or a good reminder.
However, a person that is reckless - criminally or otherwise - is a person that doesn't care if they're being unsafe. In other words, the difference between the two is the latter has no concern for others, whereas the former does even if they acted improperly.
Another difference between the two is that a person who is concerned but has the odd lapse of mindfulness may only need a good talking to or perhaps some training to correct the issue. A person that is reckless shouldn't be carrying in the first place. A person who is reckless and prone to violent outbursts and behavior...is an active danger to themselves and others.
How To Report Unsafe Behavior
Unsafe behavior that poses a clear and present danger to others should be reported to authorities. A person who cannot conduct themselves safely has no business carrying a firearm.
If you see someone in public that is loudly threatening people that they have a gun, or worse pulls one in what is clearly not a self-defense situation - say you witness a road-rage incident where someone pulls a pistol - you should definitely report that person. DO NOT attempt to confront them; you may escalate the situation which may BECOME a life or death situation and that is the height of stupidity. Carrying concealed is to have a pistol to use as a last resort, not to become a police officer.
If you must report someone to authorities, provide as much relevant information as possible. Physical description, name and address if you happen to know it, the vehicle they are/were driving and the license plate if you can get it. Alert authorities discreetly, as announcing that you're calling the cops can likewise escalate the situation.
Lastly, if you see someone acting unsafely while carrying, try not to be around that person. Leave the area if possible.
There's no excuse for unsafe behavior while carrying or handling firearms. A person who owns, handles and carries guns has a duty to themselves and others to be as safe as possible, at all times. Anything less than a diligent effort to stay safe while doing so is unacceptable.
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.