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The purpose of this FAQ is to answer all your questions regarding concealed carry. These questions come up often, and this FAQ can be your first pointer to the best sources regarding carrying concealed. This FAQ will be updated as time and info permits.

1. What is the difference between Concealed Carry, CCW, CPL, CHL, LTC, FID, etc?

a. They are all acronyms for the carrying of a concealed weapon, usually a handgun, loaded, on your person or in your direct control outside of your home. Different states use different terms for this action, hence the different acronyms. In Arizona, it’s called a Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP), in Massachusetts it’s called a License to Carry (LTC). Generally, CCW is a catch-all acronym for concealed carry as far as forum discussion goes.

2. Which States allow CCW?

a. Most of them. There are 35 States that are “Shall-Issue” –i.e. they will issue you a permit no matter what, provided you pass the background check and state requirements.
b. Some states are “May-Issue”- i.e. they might issue a CCW if yoy meet their requirements, but they do not have to. MA, NJ, CA, NY, CT and RI are “May-issue” states. Some it is easier to get a permit, some (like NYC) it is quite impossible unless you have political influence.
c. Alaska and Vermont currently have no permit requirements at all to CCW. If you want to, go right ahead! :)
d. In just a few states, CCW is flatly illegal. These are WI, IL, Kansas, Nebraska, and Washington, D.C. However, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Kansas permit “Open” carry” i.e. unconcealed carry, subject to local city and town restrictions.

3. What is the best resource for concealed carry information?

www.packing.org is the most current, active user generated database on concealed carry in the United States. It lists rules, regulations, procedures, reciprocity and legal links for all states in an easy, readable format. Bear in mind though, that packing.org is NOT the actual legal letter of law, but it is a pretty good guideline. It is always a good idea to follow the links to the legal source and interpret the laws for yourself, or have a firearms friendly lawyer do it.


4. Is [carrying in a school, carrying in a bar, carrying under 21, carrying in a police station] legal to do?

a. All states have different rules regarding Concealed carry. Check www.packing.org for a breakdown of your states’s regulations.

5. Is shooting to wound a good idea?

a. It is generally accepted that shooting specifically to wound is a Bad Idea in a self defense situation, the logic being that if you use a gun in self defense, you are using what is considered a Deadly weapon. If you are not shooting to kill, why are you justified in using a deadly weapon? In other words, if you are shooting in a purposely non-deadly way, because you judge the situation to not require deadly force, then you have no cause to use deadly force (the gun) in the situation in the first place. Additionally, it is really really hard to hit a leg rather than the center of mass of an attacker.

b. In any self defense situation, you are using a gun to STOP an event, not to wound or kill, though those are often the result of a shooting.

6. How about “less lethal” ammo/loads?

a. This follows the same logical idea of the above question- if you are using non-deadly rounds because you judge the situation to not require deadly force, then you have no cause to use deadly force (the gun) in the situation in the first place. The rules are different for a civilian in a self defense situation than they are for police and military people, for whom less-lethal crowd control is sometimes part of their job.
 

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jamz said:
5. Is shooting to wound a good idea?It is generally accepted that shooting specifically to wound is a Bad Idea in a self defense situation, the logic being that if you use a gun in self defense, you are using what is considered a Deadly weapon. If you are not shooting to kill, why are you justified in using a deadly weapon? In other words, if you are shooting in a purposely non-deadly way, because you judge the situation to not require deadly force, then you have no cause to use deadly force (the gun) in the situation in the first place. Additionally, it is really really hard to hit a leg rather than the center of mass of an attacker.
Mostly good information. Allow me to refine #5 just a bit.

For clarity, I am a police officer with six years' experience, as well as a police non-lethal force instructor. In that capacity, I am also trained in knowing the difference between a non-lethal force situation and a deadly-force situation. There are no black and white absolutes, but there are some critical guidelines. I won't get into specific cases, or specific police related court cases (e.g. Tennesseee v. Garner, Graham v. Connor, etc.).

Back to #5, Jamz is mostly correct. The argument is semantic, but you'd be amazed at how one's post-shooting statements will be parsed for intent by the courts and the media.

Shooting to "wound" is a very bad idea, for the reasons Jamz outlined. If you are not justified in using force that may result in the death of your opponent, you should not be using force that may result in death. If you shoot somebody in the hand, and he bleeds out from an artery, you have committed manslaughter or murder.

The same applies to warning shots, to a lesser degree. The idea of putting a round into the sky, or into the ground, may seem to be an appealing way to get an assailant''s attention and show him that your gun is real, loaded, and that you know how to use it. However, you are responsible for every single round that leaves your weapon. Pistol bullets can go over a mile. Rifle bullets can go several miles. What goes up must come down. Do the math.* And any bullet can do strange things when shot into dirt, rocks, etc. Your ricochet could turn into an unintentional hit on a person. Just food for thought.

What I really wanted to cover was "shooting to kill." If you're not shooting to wound, you're shooting to kill, right? Wrong. If you tell the cops, the judge, a jury, and the newspapers, "I was afraid for my life, he had a gun and told me he was going to shoot me, so I had no choice but to kill him," you're sunk. It shows that you made the jump from self defense and decided to specifically try to end a human life. As I wrote, it's a semantic argument, but I've trained in a lot of this stuff, including post-event liability, and trust me, the argument will be over the minutiae of time, place, positioning, lighing, training, and especially statements.

Most current police and civilian firearms training emphasizes SHOOTING TO STOP the deadly threat. What's the difference? It's subtle and vast at the same time. If you have reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury or death (see my upcoming post on Ability Opportunity and Jeopardy), you have the right to defend yourself with force that MAY result in your assailant's death. The assailant decided to risk his life by placing yours at risk.

If you are justified under your state's laws in defending yourself with deadly force, and you choose to shoot an attacker, the instant the threat posed by your attacker is eliminated, you lose the right to continue to use deadly force. You can't finish him off with a head shot. You can't walk up and put one through his heart, as much as you'd like to do those things to a guy who just tried to kill you or your family. The only scenario that allows you to keep shooting is him continuing his assault on you. It can be argued that an assailant who is not actively shooting at you but is attempting to gain a position of cover and advantage could still be a deadly threat. You'll have to make that decision based on whtever situation in which you find yourself.

Maybe one shot will stop him. Maybe he won't stop after you empty your gun into him (meth, pcp, etc.). And if high center mass shots are failing to stop his assault, you are usually justified in head shots. In some scenarios / states, head shots might be justified right off the bat. Just understand that a head shot will be considered even-more-deadly force.

People who exercise their right to carry a gun are expected to be reasonably familiar with current standards of deadly force training and lawful, judicious self defense. Unless you're GSG9 or Mossad clearing a terrorist hideout, immediate headshots are not your primary target.

Accurate hits at high center mass with high performance expanding pistol ammunition is your best option. The upper torso contains the heart, lungs, major blood vessels and the spine. Hits in this general area are the most likely to produce rapid incapacitation (which may or may not result in death). Head shots are more difficult, as the target is smaller and often moving more than the torso. Again it can be construed that a head shot shows intent to kill rather than intent to stop.

High center mass shots with pistol ammo are no guarantee, but it's the most practical combination of ammo power and weapon portability. An 11" 3-round burst AR15 would be a great self defense tool but is completely impractical for civilian carry.

Feel free to pick away and make counterpoints. I have thick skin. I will post on AOJ at a later time. I may modify this post but will leave the original text and make any changes obvious.

*Final point: bullets shot into the sky will for the most part NOT come down at the speed at which they left the muzzle (e.g. 3,000 fps for some rifles). However, they can and sometimes do come at a speed sufficient to kill. This happens most often around New Years and the Fourth of July, when drunken idiots shoot their guns in the air. It also happens at Turkish weddings, occasionally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the input Fuzz, mind if I include it in the FAQ? I'd make the point about shooting to stop the threat rather than implying that killing was the intended outcome.
 

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Since you guys are little more familiar with the law. Your talking about head shots vs. center mass shots, as a police officer I'm sure you have first hand experience on stress shooting. Just because I can sit at the range and hit center mass all day, doesn't mean when its crunch time I'll be as sure of a shot as i am when i'm at the range. If by chance you do hit the intruder/rapist/etc. in the head, is this going to hurt you or is there a way to justify yourself?
(I'm playing devils advocate here as many people don't have the means or resources to train in stressful situations.) :twisted:
 

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Stressful situations can, and do, alter your shooting. You lose a lot of fine motor skills, so it becomes very important to make sure your training is up to date.

You can simulate stress through physical activity. Secure your weapon (in a GOOD holster, or on the bench at the range, and then do like 30 pushups and 30 situps then jump up and try to shoot a timed phase. you can also sprint 100yds or the like...

obviously check with your range if you go to an actual range, this may not be possible at an indoor range. But if you shoot outside in the country etc, you should be able to do this.
 

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Jamz, borrow, steal, plagarize to your heart's content. DY and others will keep us in line. SubEd?

Gun-Nut, to borrow from Massad Ayoob, one way to experience stress shooting is competition. I know, it's not real life shooting with somebody trying to kill you. Nothing can prepare you for someone trying to take your life, the adrenaline, the fear, the instinct to go fetal, whatever. But the pressure of performing in front of others, against other shooters scores and times, can be very stressful in its own way.

DY, I figure I got out of the academy in Nov 99, so the time starts there. I don't consider my hire date and being a n00b doing pushups to be street time. So yeah, coming up on 6.5 I guess.
 

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My question wasn't on how to practice stress shooting. It was if you miss your intended target area,(center mass) and accidently make a head shot are you going to be faceing criminal charges i.e. murder or manslaughter?
 

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Gun-Nut said:
My question wasn't on how to practice stress shooting. It was if you miss your intended target area,(center mass) and accidently make a head shot are you going to be faceing criminal charges i.e. murder or manslaughter?
I would not admit to aiming for the head.

Thats gonna generally be seen as bad in court be it jury or judge, never mind a politically powered DA.
Now if multiple shots to the torso and/or pelvis was not stopping the threat (e.g. body armor) then yes as a measurre of last resort I'd go for the head but even then only in specific areas such as the eyes and nose triangle or to the side of the head if thats available.

Now if you were aiming for the upper chest cavity and by chance happened to throw one or two through the face and a single to the neck/or chest then well that'll be an easier action to defend under stress of a prosecutor second guessing the situation.

Regardless of what actually happened everyday regular people see head shots as being executions, and it's everyday regular people who commonly serve jury duty.

- Janq
 

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part of ccw or whatever the name is continued training - it doesnt stop with the issue of license and range time.

leo's train all the time and still make mistakes

so as a civi i still take defensive pistol classes and such



its a huge responsiblity and if it comes down to it, you had better be on par or things could get ugly quick.
 

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For what it's worth...

If you're a civilian and you pack heat, you might as well be packing the wrath of God....lol. Really though, you have the ability to save your life and the lives of others and at the same time a much greater chance of destroying your life. It's a huge responsibility. Not only will you loose your freedom, you'll loose your house and any cash in your bank account after you get your pants sued off of you.

If you really feel the need to pack, remember the golden rules:

Did the person(s) attacking you truly show the intent to kill you?
Does the person(s) attacking you have the ability to kill you?
Is your life in immediate jeopardy?
Finally, did you exhaust all other opportunity to prevent the person from killing you just short of shooting him/her?

The last one is sometimes overlooked. But important to define in a report. Did you have the ability to remove yourself from the situation? Run away?

So after you smoke someone with your .44 you'll have TONS of time at the station to think about how your report is going to be written. Cover your bases.

I used to pack everytime I went into S.F. or Oakland when I had to commute to work in those areas. Especially after a friend of mine got mugged. But since I no longer have to go to those areas I haven't the need to go a pack'n.

Finally, unless you spend hours and hours at the range, chances are, under stress you'll miss your target. I'd be willing to be a months salary that you will. It would suck bad if that stray bullet hit someone else. Congratulations, you've just destroyed your life. Worse yet, the lives of the people related to your un-intended target.

I know I sound like a paranoid ass. The truth is I'm pro-gun. I'm around guns all the time. Big guns and little guns and I'm not even in the army anymore. You can never be remined too much of how responsible you have to be when carrying a gun.
 

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One more thing....don't be a hero.

If you're in Burger King eating a Eggnormous Sandwich and some bozo decides to rob the joint, just do what he says and make sure you're a DAMN GOOD WITNESS for the police.

There was a true story in a recent Police Magazine where an off-duty officer was in just such a situation and sent his family out the door while he decided to take the suspect on. They got in a gun battle in which he did kill the suspect, but in the melee one of the suspect's misguided rounds hit a young girl, killing her.

It's just not worth it in some circumstances. Make sure it's worth it before you go yanking out your Roscoe.
 

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Damn Yankee said:
One more thing....don't be a hero.

If you're in Burger King eating a Eggnormous Sandwich and some bozo decides to rob the joint, just do what he says and make sure you're a DAMN GOOD WITNESS for the police.

There was a true story in a recent Police Magazine where an off-duty officer was in just such a situation and sent his family out the door while he decided to take the suspect on. They got in a gun battle in which he did kill the suspect, but in the melee one of the suspect's misguided rounds hit a young girl, killing her.

It's just not worth it in some circumstances. Make sure it's worth it before you go yanking out your Roscoe.
Thank you DY!!!!
I've been trying to find that story since November!!!

That guy was a SWAT officer as I recall and I'd referred to it in an OT thread ages ago advising the exact same thing you did but then was unable to locate the article...and thus folks thought I was FOS. :(
I couldn't for the life of me recall what site or source I'd read the story and searched for 2 hrs. trying to find it.

If you happen to know of the URL would you please share it so i can go back and vump that OT thread...

- Janq
 

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Damn Yankee said:
I read it in the actual magazine, but you can check their webist at www.policemag.com and browse the archives. I think it was in their Shots Fired column.
Yeah I tried to find it but haven't come across the right series of keywords to result in a hit.

Argggh...I hate when this happens.
I know something as fact but can'tfind 'Googleable' evidence to support it upon being challenged to provide as much.

- Janq
 
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