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Concealed vs. Open Carry

I teach the Tennessee Handgun Safety Course (Course to obtain a permit to carry a loaded handgun) and I encourage my students (once they obtain their permit) to carry their weapon concealed. I know some people upon reading that first sentence will become distraught and say “Why carry it concealed?” Tennessee law allows for open carry.” Yes it does but let me offer some reasons why you might want to carry your handgun concealed.

First let’s define concealed carry of a firearm. Briefly it means that if you are carrying concealed that someone looking at you cannot tell that that you have a firearm. An example of what is not concealed was where a person had a shirt stretched over their gun and or/ gun holster and it looked like they had a gun with a shirt stretched over it. This actually happened and the Officer answering the suspicious person call phoned me about it. This person was not arrested as open carry (where the gun is visible on the person’s body) is legal in Tennessee as long as you have a permit. However if this person was carrying their weapon this way in some states they would most likely be cited to court or arrested.

So let’s get into the reasons to carry your gun concealed.

One: If you are in a bank, convenience store, pawn shop etc. and a robber/s come in they may immediately shoot you because they see your weapon. If your weapon is concealed you can just observe and if you feel you must act to avoid someone being caused death or great bodily injury then you may decide to use your weapon. Obviously if a terrorist or deranged person intent on killing people came into the business where you were then again you would be the “first target” if your weapon were not concealed.

Two: If your weapon is concealed in a situations or scenarios as in reason 1 then you can act with the element of surprise.

Three: People frequently see permit holders openly carrying their weapons and call the Police. The Police will respond to a call of a “person with gun”.  This may lead to an experience that may vary from calm to exciting and/or embarrassing.  You will have to produce your Handgun Permit. Realize that not all officers in Tennessee may be versed in the fact that you may carry your weapon openly with a permit.

Four: Related to number 3. Some people are afraid of guns and if you are in a business with the weapon in the open they may complain to the management. If the business gets enough complaints the management may decide that allowing open carry is bad for their business and prohibit all weapons carry on their property.

Five: In many states that recognize the Tennessee Handgun Permit  “Open Carry” of your firearm is not permitted. Thus if you are carrying your weapon in the open and travel into a state where it is prohibited and you encounter law enforcement then you likely will be cited to court or arrested.

Recognize that I am just encouraging permit holders to carry their weapons concealed. I realize that they may legally carry their weapon in the open. That is how Tennessee law makers wrote the law and as I tell people all the time “Tennessee is still the land of the free.”  Tennessee permit holders have the right to make their own decision regarding open or concealed carry. Ultimately it is up to the individual permit holder to make their own decision.

Fight for your 2nd Amendment rights. Join the National Rifle Association.

Exercise your 2nd Amendment Rights. Shoot straight, shoot safe and shoot often.


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