Guns and Weapons on the Road
By Kent Butterfield
Reprinted from Fulltime Families Magazine
So you looked at all the information, your situation and decided to carry a weapon. What next? More decisions of course. Where do I want to get my concealed carry permit? What do I carry? How do I stay safe? How do I stay legal? What if I have to use my weapon?
If you have decided to carry a weapon only in your RV for when you are parked, then you need to make sure your weapon is legal in the state you are visiting and that you transport your weapon legally until you set up your RV on site.
If you have decided to carry your weapon on your person or in your vehicle then it would be wise to obtain a concealed carry permit valid in the states you will be visiting. No permit is good in all states and some states do not allow anyone to carry concealed. Therefore you need to obtain the permit that will give you the broadest coverage and supplement it if necessary. Florida permits are good in 34 states if you are a Florida resident or 30 states if it is a non-resident permit. Utah permits are good in 32 states for a resident permit or 28 for a non-resident. Both states require handgun training prior to issuance of a permit. Permits can be obtained without visiting the state.
The most fun and the most difficult decision may be what to carry. Here are some basics. The bigger the gun is the harder to conceal. The smaller the caliber is the less effective it generally will be. The balancing act of big vs effective can be a difficult one. An easily concealed .22 cal pistol can be effective at short range if you are an excellent marksman. A .45 cal pistol may be more effective but can be difficult to conceal and use. Most concealed carry these days range from a .380 or a 9mm to a .40 cal or a small .45 cal. Your personal preference will be the most significant factor. A slightly larger caliber in a smaller frame is popular. You may opt for a smaller caliber if that is more comfortable. If you are open carrying you need a comfortable holster that fits your weapon. If you are carrying concealed you need either shoulder holster with a jacket, a beltline holster, a pocket holster, a fanny pack or an ankle holster. These all have pros and cons and you must do the homework to decide what best fits your situation.
One of the significant considerations for concealed carry is how do I carry so that no one accidentally sees the weapon? This is a critical question since a concealed weapon must be invisible to the public. Even the shape of the weapon on your clothing (called imprint) is not to be visible. This requires either bulky clothing, a covering jacket, an inside the pants holster or a fanny pack. Once again your personal use requirements and preferences will contribute to your decision.
Staying legal also requires you to do some homework regularly since laws change frequently. Legal references should be checked frequently. The official sites of many states may also have update information that should be checked prior to entering that jurisdiction.
Carrying a weapon for protection is not for everyone. It is a serious decision that needs to be made only after serious consideration of the requirements, the individual’s capabilities, temperament and the laws of the area. It requires persistence of research, training, maintenance, and awareness. Do your homework, be thoughtful, focused and aware of yourself and your surroundings and you will be much better prepared to carry. Remember, YOU are responsible for knowing the laws and YOU are responsible for what happens with your weapon. Neither these articles or nor any training can absolve you of the personal responsibility to know what is and is not legal