Monday, August 18, 2014

Concealed Carry: Off Body Carry (OBC) Risks

I have strong opinions about carrying a firearm. I think it should be allowed almost anywhere. By almost I mean there is always some situation where it might not be so good. But those are few and far between. I also am not an advocate of open carry. At least not yet. I believe there could be a time when open carry might make us all safer. But I don’t think that time is now. Ask someone in law enforcement and most will tell you the first guy to get shot in a bank robbery is the guard. Why? Because the guard is the obvious threat to the robbers. That’s how I feel about open carry. I want surprise on my side. I want someone who would do me harm to wonder, “Is he armed?” Open carry takes that from me. Unless everyone is armed, like the old west, then open carry does not give me a tactical advantage. I also feel some concealed carry permit holders may be a little dangerous out there. Many do not practice very often. If you take the responsibility of carrying a firearm, not only should you be very well versed in safety, but you should know that weapon inside and out. You commit a disservice to everyone if you do not improve your skill with your carry weapon. If you do not practice, will you endanger those around you? I have similar strong feelings about off body carry (OBC).

OBC is carrying a gun in something not attached to your person. Usually that would be a purse, bag, case, or backpack. I have a difficult enough time wondering if I can present and use my weapon in time for an attacker to be stopped without putting the gun in a more difficult place to draw from. There are purses, backpacks, fanny packs, and bags that are made specifically for concealed carry so they have a holster. This is better than rattling around the bottom of a bag, but I still have my doubts. I have a problem with being in a position to draw my weapon if it is in its holster on me leave alone a bag. Some people have a situation where carrying in a bag is their only option. I always say it’s important to bring a gun to a gun-fight, so that would be important.
Another problem I have with OBC is the security problem. If you have your weapon in a bag then I hope that bag is with you all the time every time. If not, you risk leaving your bag in a bathroom, on a subway, or worse, in the hands of a criminal. It’s very hard to keep control of something that is not on your person. Also, bags, purses, and backpacks are there for the picking from any purse-snatcher. If someone tries to take you bag do you now fight him for it? What if he has a weapon? Your weapon is in the very bag you and the criminal are fighting over!

OBC may be needed under certain circumstances but there are very few. I will admit that it’s better to have a gun in a purse or bag than to not have one at all. If you feel you have to do this know the risks you are taking both in weapon retention, and lack of access to your weapon. If you find yourself in need of OBC then to better your success at defending yourself get a bag or purse designed for concealed carry. There are many out there and their designs vary. Practice drawing from various positions and circumstances. Give yourself the best possible chance and do your homework. Even a fanny pack is on your body. There are under garments with holsters built into the garment. Shoulder holsters are a good alternative to waist carry. There are also thigh holsters and ankle holsters available. Women may find a bra holster convenient. Look at the alternatives before deciding on OBC.

Bottom line: a gun carried in something that is simultaneously easily taken and difficult to get into is not ideal for self defense, and should only be chosen after exhausting all other possibilities. (And don't neglect the training!)

Semper Paratus