Women in this day and age are busier than ever. With society trending more and more towards equality for women in politics, culture, and the workplace, the historic “cult of domesticity” is breaking down and allowing women to become increasingly involved in new and exciting opportunities. However, this growth in opportunities has also led many women to ask about the best way to safely and legally protect themselves and their loved ones during everyday life.
“A Woman must not depend upon the protection of a man, but must be taught to protect herself. ”
Susan B. Anthony
How Busy Women are in the USA Today
The expectations for modern women in the workplace is massive. A 2015 study from the University of Kansas indicated that women felt more overloaded than their male counterparts. Another 2016 piece from Fast Company reported that working women are expected to be so “connected” to their work that they have a higher rate of work-related burnout. It must be noted that women’s workload, plus greater responsibility to their family than men, were contributing factors to these results. These studies prove that women today are busier than ever before.
With so much on the plate of the modern American woman, self-defense is a major topic of conversation. One method of self-defense that many women are interested in is concealed carry. Unlike self-defense classes or other forms of empowerment and protection, it is crucially important to understand how to safely, legally, and effectively carry a concealed weapon for personal defense.
Today, more women than ever are asking these vital questions. According to a study conducted by members of the Crime Prevention Research Center in July 2015, handgun permits among women rose by 270% since 2007, coinciding with a drop in murder rate. In fact, the study proclaims that rates of violent crimes dropped proportionally to the increases in permitted handgun holders on a state-by-state basis during the period mentioned above. In 2016, The Guardian released a piece detailing the profile of the average modern gun-owning woman based on a survey, called “the most definitive…in two decades.” The results revealed that women on average are likely to own only handguns, and reported as owning them for self-defense more than men. Also, women who own guns are statistically less likely to have grown up in an environment that encouraged firearm ownership and education for females.
This evident rise in self-defense firearm carrying among women, coupled with the fact that these women are more likely to be newer to the field of gun ownership, means that education and training on skills of safe and effective concealed carry is of the utmost importance for women. Unfortunately, there are still very few resources tailored explicitly towards women on how to concealed carry daily. We hear at Outdoormethod.com want to change that.
Factors to Consider
Before all else you need to know how to shoot a gun safely and effectively plus determine which caliber is right for you. Once you are ready for concealed carrying, there are a number of things to keep in mind. Busy women in the United States have a myriad of tasks and responsibilities in their daily lives, and protecting themselves with a concealed weapon through as many of them as possible is a common goal among interested women. For example, when going to work or to drop children off at school (or any event involving children), one important thing to look out for is areas that restrict the carrying of even legally permitted firearms. Many places of business have enacted official policies preventing guns, and while there is no steadfast legal definition of a “gun-free zone,” it is important to follow all laws and regulations regarding concealed carry.
Gun-Free Zones and Federal Property
In most states, a private business declaring themselves a gun-free zone carries no rule of law. So chances are the worst that can happen is being asked to leave by management. Federal property is another big area to look out for, as an overwhelming majority of it is entirely gun-free by law (at least for civilians).
Some laws and suggested legislation have relaxed a select few of the stringent gun laws on and in federal lands and buildings. Yet, as a general rule of thumb, one should avoid bringing a concealed weapon to any federally owned or monitored area.
While at first glance, this may seem obvious and mostly irrelevant, as the average American woman probably does not frequent the Department of Homeland Security. However, “federal” property is far more expensive than it may seem. When running errands or taking trips either alone or with family and friends, one can easily find themselves on federal property where concealed carry is illegal, including but not limited to the post office and parks. Also, according to federal law, civilians may not legally carry a firearm in schools from Kindergarten through 12th grade, and similar requirements exist on most college campuses. While the original version of the bill was shot down by the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Lopez, and cannot apply to civilians with legally acquired concealed carry permits, many states have laws in place to almost entirely uphold the initial bill, introduced first by Joe Biden.
This means that you must be careful carrying concealed weapons onto to school priority, which includes your vehicle, even with a permit. There are a few states where the firearm can be taken in your car on school priority. For example, in South Carolina you can carry in your vehicle on school priority if it is carried in a closed glove compartment, closed console, closed trunk, or in a closed container secured by an integral fastener and transported in the luggage compartment of the vehicle unloaded and contained in an approved container not near accessible ammunition. We recommend you review your own state laws and ask some of your range friends what they do.
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Conceal Carrying Over Interstate Lines
When in a car, most states allow for a permitted handgun to be transported while loaded and within reach of the permitted user. Most states also have no laws explicitly requiring a person carrying a concealed weapon to report it to law enforcement when pulled over voluntarily. However, the weapon should not be in plain sight, and if asked by law enforcement about firearms, one should always comply with all requests and present a valid concealed carry permit. The Firearm Owners Protection Act makes it legal for a gun to be transported through a state with stricter laws than another as long as the weapon is not loaded, is in an approved case, and there is no accessible ammunition. It is vital to note the emphasis on through, as the law only applies when the carrying party does not stop for any longer than necessary to eat and refuel. It is also important to note state law enforcement may not always honor the federal statute, so keep this in mind and always check state laws
States Honoring a Conceal Weapons Permit from a Different State
The murkiest part of concealed carry permitting laws on the state level is whether or not a state will honor the permit of another country. This is far more complex than can be explained entirely here. You would need to check the laws in the issuing state, and any state you plan on entering at any time. For example, the state of New Jersey is notoriously strict on granting concealed carry permits, and therefore it would stand to reason that a vast majority of states would honor a New Jersey permit.
However, shockingly, more states do not honor a New Jersey concealed carry permit than those that do. Alabama, in contrast, consistently ranks near the top in states with the highest percentage of permitted firearm carriers, yet a majority of states accept an Alabama permit. Some states, such as New Jersey, will not allow a permit from any other state. While there are several states such as Alaska, Kansas, South Dakota, and New Hampshire that operate under “Constitutional Carry,” or the absence of restrictions for residents to carry concealed weapons without permits. Not all of these states allow non-residents to carry without a permit, and most still issue permits on a limited basis for residents to carry out of state (but again, these are not always honored).
Some Ways to Conceal Carry
When in an area that is open to concealed carry, there are several ways to carry a firearm for protection safely. While any concealed carry method will work, unique forms of concealed carry tailored more towards women have become very popular. Many women think the only way they can conceal carry is in a purse, but what may come as a surprise is that approximately 95 percent of women’s outfits work well with on-body concealed carry without making any alterations including pants and skirts designed for concealed carrying.
Some of these methods include ankle carry, belly band holsters, corset holsters, specially designed clothing, inside the waistband holsters, and carry purses. Ankle carry holsters are very versatile, comfortable, and discreet, and are fantastic for places where one is concerned about protecting themselves from an attack that does not require instant access to a weapon. Belly band holsters, corset holders, and specially designed tops and other forms of clothing, as well as traditional style inside the waistband, carry holsters, are for the opposite type of situation, where the gun needs to be accessed quickly and with less effort and movement. These forms of concealed carry all keep the firearm near the midsection and within arm’s reach.
However, if you choose to conceal a firearm, it is of vital importance that it is done safely and following all laws, including municipal, state, and federal. This is often best done by choosing the right form of the holster or concealed carry method and purchasing it from a reputable and trustworthy source.
Just as there are different ways to carry a concealed firearm based on preference, there are also different ways to carry based on situations and activities.
Conceal Carry at the Gym
When going to the gym, the NRA Carry Guard recommends using a holster specially designed for workouts. These include belly bands and under wraps are an extremely comfortable and versatile method of concealment. They can be used effectively by women at the gym or when dressed for work, and basically have two components to them – heavy-duty elastic and Velcro closure.
You can wear them high under the breasts or low on the hips, and some even come with several pockets to conceal other essential things such as credit cards, cash, and slots for spare magazines. A word of caution when wearing belly bands or under wraps is to holster your weapon before putting them on to avoid adjusting or re-holstering once the band or wrap is in place. The advantage with this method is, of course, having the firearm on yourself while working out.
Your other option is to keep the firearm in a gym bag or other form of off-body carry. This advantage is to maximize safety and ensure that the gun does not go off or cause any issues while exercising and sweating.
Things to keep in mind
- Does the gym allow firearms on the premises
- Are you in direct control of the weapon
- Which direction is the muzzle pointing
- Firearm safety still applies
- Exercise in well-lit areas
- Be able to hear your surroundings when wearing headphones when running in urban areas
- Carry a cell phone if running outside
I carry a weapon. I death threats a few years ago and was really scared. But I don’t want bodyguards. I am my own security.
Conceal Carry around Children
We will discuss how to conceal carry while dropping off your kids to school or daycare a little later on. This section focus on how to conceal carry while around children. We will get right to the point. The best place to conceal carry when around kids is on yourself because it keeps the firearm safe, and significantly lowers the risk of your kids seeing it and reaching out to grab it. When carrying your child on your hip, place the concealed weapon on your other hip, or considering using a shoulder holster on the opposite side of where you are carrying the child.
As an alternative, wearing your baby, or having them in a stroller instead of holding them will not only keep them secured but will keep them out of harm’s way if, God forbid you to have to use deadly force to protect both of your lives.
We recommend when carrying around children, using a holster with a trigger guard to prevent a child from finding the firearm and accidentally firing it. If you prefer to conceal carry in your bag, refrain from using your everyday purse because the gun does tend to bounce around.
But concealed carrying in a purse requires a bit more attention around kids because they’re always curious to know what’s inside mommy’s purse. So, if you’re going to carry a weapon in a purse around kids, make sure that it is zipped and locked.
When all is said and done, determining the best method to conceal carry around kids does take detailed planning and practice. Also, it is essential to start training children at an early age about gun safety. Last but not least, never leave a gun unattended around a child even for a few seconds. It is also critical you learn about Project Childsafe and how to sucre your firearm while not in use.
Things to keep in mind
- Do not carry in your regular purse, but buy a purse specifically designed for concealed carry and make sure your child cannot get to it.
- If you still carry your child around, consider carrying on the opposite shoulder or hip from the side you hold your child on.
- Wearing your child or putting them in a stroller will prevent them from finding your firearm, and keep them out of harm’s way if you ever have to defend yourself.
- Plan and practice prioritizing securing firearms from children but allowing it to be easily pulled by yourself.
- Teach children about gun safety and discipline at an early age.
- Never leave a child unattended around any firearm, it only takes a few seconds for something to go wrong.
Conceal Carry in the Car
Given that we all spend a lot of time in our vehicles, from taking kids to school and driving to work and back home, there’s even a more significant reason to conceal carry. But stowing a handgun in your car can be tricky, most notably because it should be out of reach of passengers and children, and also out of sight from law enforcement until you’ve handed them your concealed carry license
Concealed carry in the car is about learning how to keep it secure and readily available. When carrying a defensive pistol in a vehicle, we typically have three options – secured in the car or ourselves, or in a conceal carry bag (e.g., purse, bookbag, or briefcase).
There are several positions to keep a handgun in a vehicle such as under the driver’s seat, along the driver’s side of a console or under the dash. Gun mounts for this purpose can be easily installed by drilling a couple holes and then securing the handgun in place.
If you don’t like the idea of drilling holes in your vehicle, check for mounted holsters that can be mounted under the steering wheel, allowing you to draw quickly while seated. The key is to determine a safe and secure position that will enable you to easily access your firearm when you’re sitting in the driver’s seat.
Seat drapes are another popular choice among women looking to conceal carry in their vehicle, and hang down in front of your seat, with the firearm secured in a dedicated pocket holster. You can also invest in a gun safe for your vehicle, but this option doesn’t provide easy access to the firearm in case you need to use it.
If you do decide to carry on yourself, make sure your firearm is concealed and in a comfortable position when you are sitting and buckled up. It is also important to remember to ensure you can easily access your gun in this seated position.
Another great off-body concealed carry option is to place the firearm in a concealed carry bag. However, what makes them more vulnerable is the fact that they do not attach to your body, making it easier for thieves to snatch away from you. But all is not bad conceal carrying in a bag, and depending on the circumstances, this may actually be the best carry option for you while in the car.
However, as already mentioned, concealed carrying in a purse or any type of bag for that matter requires a bit more attention around kids, because they’re always curious to know what’s inside them. So, if you’re going to carry a weapon in a purse around kids, make sure that it is zipped and locked. Also, consider keeping things that you will use during your journey out of the locked purse such as cell phones and lipstick, which significantly reduces the need to access the purse or ask someone to hand it to you while driving.
Just like all other situations, we have already covered so far is to make a plan for conceal carrying in your car, and practice it. You also need to practice being able to access your gun and get it into proper firing position as safe, and quickly as possible.
Things to keep in mind
- Look into different oppositions for gun mounts inside your car
- Gun mounts should be positioned out of sight and out of reach
- Keep your purse or bag you are using to conceal carry secured from other passages
- If you must leave a firearm in your vehicle unattended make sure both your car and gun are secured and that the pistol is well concealed.
- Make sure if you keep your firearm on yourself while driving it is hidden and comfortable while sitting with your seatbelt on.
- Plan how you will conceal carry in your car, and be sure to practice to make sure you can withdraw your weapon safely and quickly if needed.
“I would like to see every woman know how to handle firearms as naturally as they know how to handle babies”
Conceal Carry at Home
The feelings are mixed when it comes to women conceal carry at home, where some may call it paranoia or extremism, those that have the knowledge and have been trained in self-protection that knows just because your home does not mean bad things will not happen there.
For example, statistics indicate that victims were home at the time of the crime in more than 26 percent of home invasions. Sure, that may not seem like a significant number, but there is still a chance this could happen to you and your family. And since home invasions can happen at any time of day, you always need to be on the defensive side in case the offensive strikes.
Another big reason you should conceal carry at home is to get used to your handgun and the clothing you wear along with it. Further, carrying a gun at home also lets you know exactly where it is, especially if you have several pocket guns that aren’t all locked away in a gun safe.
So, how should you conceal carry at home? The simple answer is just as you would when you’re out and about, in the same carry method and with outfits you usually wear when you go around town. However, it may be beneficial to wear a subcompact pistol at home for comfort reason.
Some people decide to place firearms throughout their house strategically, but this is actually not best practice. For example, imagine your doorbell rings you go to open the door and you are attacked. You have a better chance to defend yourself if your weapon is located on you rather than trying to run and grab a gun. You also get more familiar with your gun while carrying, and tend to practice more with it. Many people place a firearm in a safe and secure spot in their house and very rarely touch their gun. Then if the time comes to us it in an emergency situation, they have trouble using it. Valuable seconds will be lost in a case where the differences between a few seconds can mean life or death.
While going in bed, a nightstand that you can easily access is a great option to keep your firearm. Just be sure to secure from adults that should not have access to it, and children at all times. However, do not believe the movies and think it is okay to keep a gun under your pillow. This is setting yourself up for a disaster.
Also, remember it is perfectly legal to conceal carry within your four walls even if you don’t have a permit to carry in public, giving you yet another reason to safeguard yourself when at home. To some, we will sound like a broken record here, but it is essential to remember to create a plan and practice how you will conceal carry in this situation.
Things to keep in mind:
- Just because you are home, you never let your guard down. Home invasions DO happen.
- Carry a gun you’re comfortable with having on for long periods, not a massive weapon.
- Keep the gun within close reach in a nightstand drawer, but never under your pillow.
- Make sure firearms are secured from people that should not have access to them at home, including children.
- You may not always be able to get to strategically placed guns when needed. Pistol on yourself is best.
- You do not need your concealed weapons permit to conceal carry in your own house.
- Like always, it is essential to plan and practice.
Conceal Carrying While Out on the Town or at a Place of Worship
During social events, it is essential to know the laws of the state before bringing a permitted concealed weapon around any alcoholic beverages. Many states allow concealed carry in bars, restaurants, and other locations that serve alcohol, but an overwhelming majority of them do not allow the carrying person to consume alcohol while in possession of a concealed firearm, even when that person has a valid permit. Cases such as these, other forms of self-defense like pepper spray are essential to carry in case of emergency.
Note: It is essential to note, much like suspicion of drunk driving, a law enforcement officer has the right to temporarily revoke a concealed carry permit on suspicion and probable cause of consumption alone.
In a church or house of worship, most states treat concealed carry permits as valid unless explicitly prohibited by the church itself. Much like a private business (keep in mind, few states grant the rule of law to specific property prohibitions, but it is essential to check first). However, about one-fifth of states have laws either specifically barring concealed carry in churches, or require the church leader to grant permission for a particular church to be fair game for valid concealed carry permits. Again, plan ahead and practice how you will carry in these situations
Things to remember:
- Some states do not allow you to carry guns in establishments that sell alcohol so review your local and state laws.
- Police officers have the right to temporarily revoke concealed carry permits if they have a suspicion that you are under the influence
- Review your state and local laws regarding conceal carrying in a house of worship
- Speak and get permission from your religious leader if required by law before carrying in a house of worship.
- Plan ahead and practice with how you would carry in these situations
Women in the United States are busier and more involved than ever, and similarly, are seeking concealed carry permits for self-defense at a record-setting level, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, while our culture is changing, many women did not grow up in an environment encouraging them on gun education and ownership. So women must get the knowledge that is specific for their needs.
There are clearly many vital pieces of information you need to know before seeking a concealed carry permit, but these are the basics that you need to know.
- 1First, know and understand all laws and regulations of where you will be concealed carrying
- 2Never keep a firearm within reach of someone who is not trained and permitted to use one, and absolutely never keep a gun anywhere that a child could access it, either on purpose or by accident.
- 3Get a detailed plan on how you will conceal carry in certain situations
- 4Practice, practice, and again practice
For many women, they do not conceal carrying not because they are scared, or it is too much effort, but because they do not know-how. This is simply unacceptable because women have just as much right to conceal carry as men, and it is imperative that give women education tailored to their needs.
While reading carefully researched content will help you know the theory, nothing beats practice. The best way to really speed thru the learning curve of conceal carry is to find a local organization to join like TWAW Shooting Chapters. Again, you have just as much a right to defend your family and yourself as the next person. The hardest step is the first one you take…