Concealed Carry Considerations For Independence Day
There are some special considerations that a person should be mindful of if carrying concealed on July 4th. Holidays tend to attract very large crowds, especially if doing the traditional activities such as watching fireworks. There is also something of a summer festival atmosphere and everything that entails.
Concealing and carrying in this environment can certainly be done. However, it requires attention be paid to certain details and vigilance.
Concealed Carry Also Means Inconspicuous Carry
The point of concealed carry is to have a gun that other people can't see. This is fairly easy to accomplish, either with an IWB holster or high-riding OWB holster and most shirts. Yes, you'll print if you wear a bicycle jersey, but your average T-shirt won't print enough for anyone to notice.
However, what's something that will make a person stand out in a crowd? What will easily identify them as a concealed carrier? Gun culture accessories and clothing. A Multicam "operator" hat that says "MOΛON ΛABΣ," 2nd Amendment or other gun-related design T-shirt, BDU or obvious tactical pants, duty boots and so on.
Does this mean there's something wrong with wearing these things, or something wrong with people who do? Not at all. But do they scream "I probably have a gun on me"? Absolutely. The only way it could get more obvious is open carrying in a drop leg holster and tactical gear.
Situational Awareness Is Paramount
Large crowds in large public spaces are not ideal environments for concealed carry and situational awareness is paramount. There are multiple dimensions of the surrounding environment that one should be concerned with.
Be aware of the people around you. Keep an eye out for anyone that stands out. Is anyone wearing clothing that's obviously out of place for the time of the year? After all, wearing a bulky coat in the summer is a sure sign that someone is hiding something beneath it.
Does anyone else seem out of place? Are they, for instance, purposefully scanning the crowd rather than people-watching as some people do? Does anyone seem abnormally anxious, jumpy or behaving erratically? Be sure to keep an eye on anyone that is.
You may be in close proximity to people who are drinking. The 4th of July holiday is a summer holiday, and people like to gather in proximity to bodies of water to consume alcoholic beverages. If you encounter a boorish drunk who is looking for conflict, don't give in. If de-escalation is not possible, just walk away. If attacked, defend yourself, but don't try to escalate the situation - better to leave and let an idiot shoot his mouth off than anything else be shot off.
Ensure Adequate Holster Retention
Holster retention while carrying is critical, especially if carrying in an area that's populated by dozens, if not hundreds or thousands, of other people. That isn't to say holster retention isn't important while carrying if one isn't amid a large crowd of people, but that it becomes even more important.
Retention is vitally important in case of two scenarios: in case you drop or somehow lose your concealed carry gun, or it gets grabbed by someone.
In the first scenario, your ccw gun could fall out of the holster. If one is adrift in a sea of people, there's a chance a lost gun isn't going to be able to be found. It could be seized by police - and good luck getting it back - or picked up by someone else. A criminal could use it for their own purposes or sell it for a tidy profit.
In the latter case, there have been instances where guns have been stolen from the people carrying them. Effective concealment and a holster with good retention are the best counters. The former ensures you don't get identified as carrying and the latter ensures your gun won't come out easily. It would be a good idea to adjust your IWB holster for as much retention as you're comfortable with.
A Few More Tips On Staying Safe While Carrying Handguns On Fourth Of July
Carrying Concealed In Crowds — Printing, Retention, Staying Concealed
Be careful carrying a concealed weapon while around a crowd of people. Printing is egregious around others who might not be as comfortable as the concealed carrier is around firearms.
There are ways to easily avoid printing, if this is a concern for the concealed carrier. Think about how different movements will affect one's clothing.
The point of concealed carry is to completely diminish the appearance of a firearm — either its outline through the clothing or its visual exposure. Consider the drape of a shirt or piece of clothing over a holstered firearm.
Drape is affected by the weight and structure of fabric. Knits and wovens have different form factors. The overlapped horizontal (weft) and vertical (warp) threads/yarns in a woven structurally are stiffer than the interconnected loops in knit fabrics, with variation depending on fiber content. Does one (like a woven button up) print more than the other (like a cotton jersey knit tee)?
Yes and no. It depends on the fit of the clothing, fiber content and how it drapes on the body and over the firearm. Check your reflection in the mirror while doing various actions. Holster placement and firearm size play a role.
Brandishing a firearm is a similar concern. Intentional, unlawful display of a firearm to intimidate or otherwise threaten a third party without the presence of a lethal threat may result in a call to our brave men and women in blue.
Celebratory Gunfire Can Actually Do Harm
It's the gun owner's prerogative to choose whether or not celebratory gunfire is a good decision. Just know that it can still result in unintentional death, according to a 2004 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on New Year's Eve injuries caused by celebratory gunfire.
That study found that it caused 19 injuries and one death, with the majority of incidences occurring in public housing areas in densely populated, metropolitan areas.
Bullets returning to the ground can reach speeds greater than 200 ft./second, which is sufficient to penetrate the human skull. Between 1985 and 1992, doctors in the Los Angeles King/Drew Medical Center treated 118 people for falling-bullet injuries, with 38 patients eventually dying, according to a report in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.
Bullets in free fall are still dangerous, but when fired at an angle they maintain their angular ballistic trajectory and are more dangerous.
There are state laws throughout the U.S. pertaining to stray bullets. Arizona, for example, made it a felony offense to fire a gun upward into the air, according to statute 13-3107 which was enacted as Shannon's Law after a 14-year-old in Phoenix was killed by a stray bullet in June 1999. Other similar state laws exist.
Some Locations May Prohibit Concealed Firearms
Fourth of July could mean traveling. Note that states restrict firearms in specific locations and that state parks, as opposed to national parks, will be subject to state restrictions on concealed carry.
Congress passed the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act in 2009, and connected to it a provision that allows loaded firearms to be carried in national parks, subject to various state restrictions on carrying firearms. This amounts to concealed carry permits, and other state-based restrictions like age and background.
Carrying on waterways is another variable restriction, depending on the state. Maine, for example, has restricted zones on the Allagash Waterway.
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 include camping, hunting, concealed carry, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible..