“Concealed is concealed,” is an adage believed by many in the self-defense community. The idea is that, if one’s personal defense tool is concealed, and no one knows it exists, than one could, theoretically, carry it anywhere. Each state has its own specifications for what concealed weapons are deemed permissible, and where it is allowed to carry those items. In the state of Wisconsin, the law requires public buildings like courthouses, jails, mental health facilities and schools as “gun free”zones (even for permit holders). Businesses and homeowners also have the right to prohibit concealed carry weapons either through signage or verbal request. Carrying on school grounds is a class I felony, while carrying in any other prohibited location is generally deemed a misdemeanor (read the full information on the laws outlining the restrictions for concealed carry in Wisconsin here.)
Out of respect for the laws that govern my state, I only carry when it is legally permissible for me to do so. However, not all permit-holders and concealed carriers are of one mind on this subject. Some find it uncomfortable, or simply impractical to carry all the time, even when (and where) it is legal for them to do so. On the other hand, some follow the “concealed is concealed” mindset and carry everywhere. While the former side of the spectrum only carries when they feel they absolutely must (for example, when they have to travel through a “rough part of town” for work, etc.), the latter takes comfort in the idea that, if no one can tell they are carrying, then no one knows they’re breaking any laws, and they have the self defense option if the need arises.
As my interest in obtaining my concealed carry permit was out of a desire to better my odds to protect myself, I want to be able to carry as often as possible. So, I find myself at odds when I want to go somewhere where bringing my carry piece along is not allowed, like the mall or the movies, for example. More often than not, I end up forgoing a trip to a business or other location that bans my otherwise legal concealed carry tool(s). As a law abiding citizen, I don’t want to put myself in a legally compromising situation (i.e., carrying where it’s forbidden), but out of my own interest in self preservation, I also don’t want to reduce my odds of being able to protect myself in the event that the worst should happen. Where do you carry?