Carrying a concealed weapon in public is permitted in all 50 states as of 2013.  Illinois became the last state to enact concealed carry legislation. Forty-two states have “shall-issue” laws.  This where concealed weapon permits can be issued as long as someone meets minimum requirements.  These include minimum age, no prior felony convictions, and no recent commitments to a mental institution. Eight states have “may issue” laws.  This is where concealed weapon permits are approved based on the discretion of local police departments or governments.

Carrying a concealed firearm is a big responsibility.  It is also an amazing privilege if you meet the requirements of your state. Here are 10 reasons why you should consider getting a concealed carry permit.

  1. It’s your constitutional right. The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” It doesn’t get much clearer than that!

  1. To protect yourself.  We live in an increasingly dangerous world where crime and attacks can happen anywhere. According to a study by criminologist Gary Kleck, PhD, robbery and assault victims who used a gun to resist were less likely to be attacked or injured than those who used any other method of self-protection. A study published in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology found that when someone draws a concealed weapon in self-defense, the criminal retreats 55.5 percent of the time

  1. To protect your loved ones. It’s a great feeling knowing that if a dangerous situation arises, you have a way to protect those you care about.

  1. To protect others around you. There are countless examples of potential mass shootings that have been stopped by someone carrying a firearm. This Buzzfeed article details 10 such stories. The NRA’s Armed Citizen column includes hundreds of instances where various crimes and attacks have been halted by — you guessed it — armed citizens.

  1. It’s better to have a gun and not need it than to need one and not have it. It’s like having insurance: You hope you won’t need it, but if disaster strikes, you’re prepared. According to American Police Beat, the average response time for an emergency call is 10 minutes. When time is of the essence, the police may not be fast enough. Having a concealed handgun could literally save your life.

  1. Your loved ones will feel assured knowing you have a way to defend yourself. If I’m traveling for work or if I’m out late at night by myself, I know my family can rest a little easier knowing that I have my gun in my purse.

  1. You’ll learn a lot about gun safety and self-defense. You’ll have to go through some pretty extensive training and/or classes in order to apply for your permit. Any questions or hesitations you ever had about guns or gun safety will be answered.  You’ll also learn the ins and outs of self-defense. You’ll also learn all about the gun laws of your state. Those around you will also be able to rest assured knowing you have passed the requirements to prove you know how to handle a firearm responsibly.

  1. Concealed handguns are proven to deter crime. States that implemented “shall-issue” concealed carry laws reduced murders by 8.5 percent, rapes by 5 percent, aggravated assaults by 7 percent, and robbery by 3 percent, according to an analysis of FBI crime data by economist and political commentator John R. Lott Jr., PhD. Conversely, states with more restrictive concealed-carry laws have gun-related murder rates that are 10 percent higher, according to a 2013 study in Applied Economic Letters.

  1. Carrying a gun makes you extra careful. Many people who carry concealed firearms say that when they carry, they have increased situational awareness. In order to defend yourself, you have to be aware of your surroundings. Carrying a gun gives you a reason to have heightened awareness of what’s going on around you.  You become more alert and more aware of your surroundings.

  1. Carrying a gun gives you extra confidence. A study by the National Opinion Research Center found that 59 percent of people who carried a gun reported doing so because it makes them feel safer. Carrying a concealed handgun can increase your sense of security when going out alone at night or in dangerous areas. I don’t feel scared when I go out alone or at night.  I know I have a way to defend myself against an attacker.

There are countless other reasons why people choose to carry a concealed weapon. I encourage everyone to consider taking advantage of this amazing privilege we have as American citizens. You might just save a life someday!

Anna K
FFL Contributor