An estimated 37% of Texans own firearms. Are you one of them?
If so, you might be curious about how and where on your body you can legally carry a gun. And, you might also be wondering what will be most comfortable for you – open carry or concealed.
In this article, we’ll go into all the details about open carry vs concealed carry to help you make a decision. Read on for all that you’ll need to know!
Open Carry vs Concealed Carry and the Law
Since September 1, 2021, Texans over the age of 21 can legally carry a firearm without a permit. But, some exceptions do apply.
For example, you’ll need a clean criminal record to qualify. And, you may be barred for issues like substance abuse or addiction.
It’s also important to know that there are places in Texas where you can never carry a gun, including airports, schools, bars, and sporting events. Both open and concealed carry might also be prohibited on some private property.
Keep in mind that you might still want to get a license to carry, or LTC. During the permitting process, you’ll take an informative class that teaches you about gun ownership, shooting, and care. You’ll also need this license later if you move to a different state where it’s a legal requirement.
Pros of Open Carry
Personal protection is the top reason why gun owners report that they carry a firearm. So, how does keeping it in plain sight help you feel safe?
In some cases, letting criminals know that you’re armed could be enough to make them think twice. After all, it conveys a clear message that you won’t be an easy target.
This strategy might also prevent crime close to you. If a criminal enters a space where they see citizens openly carrying firearms, the chances are good that they’ll look elsewhere to conduct their illegal activities.
Open carry can also keep you safer in the wilderness during activities like hiking and biking. No coyote or mountain will patiently wait while you search your backpack for personal protection.
Keeping your handgun close and in plain sight might also help you draw it more quickly and effectively in a robbery or attack.
Cons of Open Carry
One of the biggest reasons that many gun owners prefer to conceal their weapon is the amount of attention that it attracts. You may notice that some people are nervous around you if they can see your firearm. Others might even be hostile if they don’t share your opinions on what has become a highly polarizing subject.
In certain circumstances, carrying your gun might make you more likely to experience an event like an accidental discharge. Keep close watch over your weapon and never let anyone touch or handle it. You’ll also want to choose a secure holster and keep your safety engaged at all times.
It’s also important to remember that carrying your gun openly all day doesn’t change how you should safely store it at home. This can help prevent theft and is especially important if you live in a home with kids.
Pros of Concealed Carry
Some gun owners are more comfortable carrying their weapon in a way that keeps it out of plain sight. This could mean wearing it in a concealed holster under your clothes or storing it elsewhere on your person – for example, in your purse or briefcase.
In some cases, keeping your firearm hidden will make the people around you feel calmer. Those who oppose your views won’t know that you’re carrying – and other people who are unfamiliar with guns won’t worry as much.
Concealed carry might also be better for self defense. It gives you the element of surprise should something go wrong close by. And, it also makes it harder for a potential criminal to disarm you.
Lastly, keeping your firearm out of sight makes it less likely to get stolen. A hardened or violent criminal who can’t legally purchase weapons won’t be looking at yours and dreaming up a way to get their hands on it! Instead, they’ll go on about their day, never knowing how close they came to your secret weapon.
Cons of Concealed Carry
Depending on how you carry your firearm, concealing it might slow your response time. Consider how practical your holster and placement are before going out in public. And, practice drawing and firing at your local range if possible.
Based on how large or small a person you are, carrying a firearm undetected might also force you to purchase a smaller gun. Otherwise, keeping it hidden on your body might prove to be impossible!
While smaller guns can still stop a criminal in their tracks, they aren’t always practical for personal defence. Experts suggest a larger round like a 9mm or a .45 over something tiny like a .22 or a derringer. So, keep this in mind both while shopping for a gun and deciding how and where to carry it.
Which Is Right for You?
How you carry your firearm is a highly personal decision, and nobody but you knows what is best. So, don’t worry if it takes you a while to choose.
With this article as your guide, you’ll be starting off on the right track. And, you don’t have to make one final decision that you stick to forever. Many gun owners have experience with both kinds of carry!
Are you still weighing all the pros and cons of open carry vs concealed carry? Then, why not get in touch with your local expert?
Contact Texas Gun Club or call 832-539-7000 today. Our friendly and helpful team is standing by and ready to help with whatever questions or concerns you might have.