9 Things You Should Know About Concealed Carrying to Avoid Going to Jail

Whether you are new to concealed carrying or a seasoned veteran you may not know that you could be fined or even arrested for doing some of the items listed below. Unless you want to go to jail you probably don’t want to do anything illegal. So, we created this guide for newbies and veterans alike to make everyone aware of things that, depending on your state, could land you jail time.

Before we begin, we are a holster company, not a legal team, and do not know every single law for each state so please check your state’s laws for specific information about each thing mentioned below.

And with that, let’s get right into it!

1. Brandishing Can Be Illegal

First of all, what is brandishing? Displaying a weapon in a threatening, angry, or unlawful manner while in the presence of another person. In most states this is illegal.

Imagine you are in a grocery store and you notice someone come in but don’t really pay much attention. Eventually, you are checking out and the person who came in early comes up to you and starts telling you to give them your wallet. While they are doing that they have a gun pointed at you and are in a way waving it around. They are brandishing their gun at you.

States that have brandishing laws can sometimes be vague so it is best to just not pull out your gun unless you feel as if your life is in danger.

If you are questioning whether you are breaking a brandishing law or want more information about the details of brandishing we suggest checking your state’s specific rules and regulations regarding the topic.

2. There Are Certain Places You Can’t Carry

You have a concealed carry permit so that means you are allowed to carry a gun with you anywhere, right? WRONG! There are a few places that you are not allowed to carry in period and others that may vary by state.

First up, schools and federal buildings. These two are pretty standard across the country. You are not allowed to concealed carry in any school. Elementary, middle, high school, and college; if it’s a school you can’t carry on that property. The same goes for federal buildings. You cannot concealed carry in any federal building or property such as courthouses, city hall, or any government building.

Second, these two have some exceptions and could vary by state, but typically you can’t conceal carry in churches and state/federal parks. In some states you are allowed to conceal carry in a church whereas in others you are not allowed. As for federal and state parks typically you are not allowed to carry but you may be allowed to if you are camping, fishing, or hunting.

So, you might want to think twice before going to that school function for your daughter or son with your conceal carry system on. Keep in mind we only listed a few places where you may not be able to carry, for a full list please check your states concealed carry rules and regulations.

3. Some States Have A Maximum Capacity

Want to carry a 15 round Glock 22 in Massachusetts with an extra magazine? Think again. Massachusetts is one of a few states in the U.S. that has restrictions on the maximum capacity you can conceal carry.

Quite a few states in the U.S elected to put magazine capacity restrictions on handguns.

The majority of the states who put this into place choose a 10 round limit with handguns. So, if you live in a state that has this regulation in effect like Massachusetts, New York, or Colorado, be sure to check the capacity of the gun you want to purchase before getting caught with a high capacity gun and risking jail time.

In general, it is best to check your state laws on concealed carry and gun ownership before purchasing a new pistol or weapon.

4. Some States Require You To Register Your Weapon

Just like you have to register your vehicle some states require that you register your guns too.

Registration requirements vary by state. For example, some states require all firearms to be registered like California and Hawaii. Other states only require handguns to be registered. On the other hand, there are some states that actually don’t require a firearm to be registered like Florida and Georgia.

The Giffords Law Center provides more information on firearm registration that you may find useful, but as always if you are looking to purchase a gun check with your state’s specific requirements for registering a firearm so that you don’t end up in jail or with a large fine.

5. Not All States Have Reciprocity

You might be wondering what reciprocity is and how it relates to you, and we are going to get to that. But first, imagine you are going on a family vacation and want to conceal carry so you know your family is safe. You live in Florida and are traveling to North Carolina. How does traveling through states with a concealed carry weapon and permit work?

Some states have a reciprocity agreement allowing out of state permits to be honored. Not all states have these agreements and some states have further requirements for the concealed carry permit to be honored.

States like Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, and a few others will not honor permits from any other state. Whereas states like Alabama, North Carolina, Ohio, and many more will honor any U.S. issued concealed carry permit. Other states like Florida, Georgia, and Washington to name a few, only honor permits from a select group of states.

GunsToCarry created a guide with a lot of information on reciprocity among the various states that you may find helpful. In general, it is best to review your specific state’s rules and regulations regarding reciprocity and if you are traveling you may want to look up the states you will be going through as well.

6. You May Have An Obligation To Disclose That You Are Carrying

Also known as a duty to inform, this means if you encounter a law enforcement officer and are concealed carrying you may have to tell them you have a gun on your person or in your vehicle. And of course, this can vary by state.

In some states like California, Michigan, and Nebraska among others, you are required to inform the officer that you have a firearm on you. In others like Florida, New Jersey, Missouri, and many more you are only required to inform them if they ask.

There may be more specific rules and regulations per state as to when you do or do not need to disclose that you have a weapon on you. So we urge you to look up your state’s laws on this subject so that you don’t risk endangering yourself or others, or even jail time.

7. You May Be Prohibited From Drinking Alcohol While Carrying

Thinking about going out with friends and will most likely be drinking? You may need to make sure you aren’t carrying while you drink. Some states have restrictions on drinking alcohol and carrying. Other states don’t mention drinking alcohol while concealed carrying at all.

A few states explicitly mention a ban only on consuming alcohol while carrying like Arizona, California, and others. Other states like Florida, Montana, Texas, and more mention you can’t carry while you are intoxicated or under the influence.

The last batch of states restrict both consuming while carrying and carrying while intoxicated some of these states are North Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah. Any state that mentions intoxication provides a definition and it can vary from state to state.

For more specific information regarding the rules about drinking or intoxication and carrying in your area check your state’s concealed carry laws. In general, it is best to carefully consider drinking and carrying before doing so. When you are under the influence your judgment and reaction times can be impaired. You don’t want to risk breaking a law and wind up spending some time in jail or paying a hefty fine.

8. There Are Some Instances In Which You Aren’t Allowed To Carry

Sometimes the location isn’t the defining factor as to whether or not you can conceal carry. The type of event you are attending can also play a role in concealed carry restrictions. Of course, like most rules and regulations related to concealed carry, these can vary by state.

Florida among other states prohibits carrying a weapon while attending any school or government meeting, no matter the location, and while attending any school or professional sporting event. Other states may have similar restrictions and some could have additional events in which you would not be allowed to concealed carry.

Another common event in which you are not allowed to concealed carry is a polling place. Oftentimes polling stations can move and are set up in a temporary location. No matter the location if it is set up for official polling you are not allowed to concealed carry while in attendance.

You probably don’t want to end up in jail for a mistake as simple as forgetting you have your concealed carry weapon on you while you are voting, so make sure to check your state’s rules and regulations on when and where you can concealed carry.

9. Firing Warning Shots Is Illegal

As a concealed carry permit holder you are accountable for every shot that leaves your gun. So while you may have seen warning shots happen in the movies are they really a smart action to take? No.

We all know how gravity works, right? What goes up must come down. So, that bullet that you fire into the air as a “warning” is going to come back down and land where? Most likely you aren’t going to know, it could hit you or another unintended target.

Additionally, the time it takes you to fire a warning shot could be the difference between life and death. A warning shot can actually be considered deadly and illegal.

So, if you ever think about taking a warning shot make sure to check with your state’s laws before doing so. And consider what or who that bullet might hit when it comes back down.

Just remember we are not lawyers. These are just some of the things you may want to be aware of if you have your concealed carry permit. For more detailed information about the concealed carry laws for your area please review your state’s rules and regulations.

Looking for belts or holsters? We recommend visiting our Vedder Holsters website for all of our belt and holster options and for more information to help you choose the carry system that works best for you. Like everything we sell, our gun belts are covered by a Lifetime Warranty and 30-day money-back guarantee.


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