Those who concealed carry are, at some point, bound to be asked their opinions on concealed carry. The question is, how will you respond? Someone noticing that you’re printing may force the subject, but it’s also likely to come up in general conversation (at least for myself and those around me, gun control and firearms in general seems to be the subject of more regular discussion of late). There are two questions in particular that you may want to ponder how you’ll respond before the time comes. Ultimately, it is your choice how you’ll answer, if any of these questions arise, but I’ll at least start a dialogue on the subject here.
The first question I’ll address is simple: do you carry a firearm? The response to this question may be subject to how well you know the person asking, and the environment in which you’re being asked. If I know it is going to be an issue for me to answer that question in the affirmative (for example, if a stranger were to ask me), I may be inclined to not address the topic at all. In that situation, I’d prefer to end the conversation and ask whoever the individual to stop talking to me because I didn’t know them and they were making me feel uncomfortable. More likely, though, if someone has thought to ask me if I have a CCW permit and exercise it, they at least know me well enough to be aware of (and even share in) my interest in firearms.
For a fellow concealed carrying friend, I’m more comfortable with answering the question openly, but it’s more likely that I’d simply respond by saying I carry as often as possible. When answering this question, there is an additional aspect to consider: if I admit that I’m carrying concealed, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of concealed carry? To some degree at least, yes. Granted, admitting to one person doesn’t necessarily communicate that someone has a firearm on their person to all within sight (as open carry does), but you cannot absolutely guarantee that the person you have told you’re carrying won’t express that to others (who you may or may not be comfortable with having that information).
Therefore, if you choose to answer this question in the affirmative, it may be advised to first evaluate the risk to personal security. And, although it is legal to open carry in my state, I choose to concealed carry instead. For that reason, I am reluctant to reveal whether or not I have a firearm on my person.
If the first question has already been asked, and your response indicated that you do carry a firearm, you may next be asked if you would be willing to show that firearm. When I answer “no,” however, I often receive the followup question of, “why not?” My response is that, when I’m not in a self defense situation, there is no call for me to display my firearm. Even among fellow concealed carriers, I am still reluctant to show my firearm – even while holstered.
My mindset with that is that, firstly, even in a gun-friendly environment (for example, when in the company of fellow firearm enthusiasts), I can’t control my surroundings (such as, someone new bursting into the room, or someone I didn’t at first notice standing at a distance, but still within sight of my person). And, secondly, because I carry a pistol as a self defense tool, I keep it fully loaded with a round in the chamber. Being responsible about my firearms handling leads me to handle my carry gun as little as possible, unless a self defense situation were to arise, as until that kind of circumstance presents itself, I have no intention to fire.
When being questioned about whether or not I concealed carry, and from there, if I’m willing to display my carry gun, I first evaluate my audience. That includes the person (or persons) requesting that information, as well as those around me within visual and audio range. I also determine if answering those questions presents an [acceptable] threat to my security. For example, there is a difference between my dad asking if I’m carrying before we’ve left the house to travel somewhere and an acquaintance from work expressing their curiosity on the subject. That difference factors into how I may respond.
If someone asked if you concealed carry, how would you respond?