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Concealed Carry Law and Understanding Rules and Terms

Before you consider concealed carry of a firearm and heading cross-country be sure to familiarize yourself with the rules of firearm carry.

Brad Fitzpatrick

 

When Illinois was ordered to overturn its ban on concealed firearms due to a decision by a federal appeals court in 2013, it became the last state to adopt concealed carry legislation. Although every state now has specific language that covers CCW (or CCP, or CCDW, or whatever your state calls it), the lack of federal laws provides legislative elbow room when it comes to specific state laws regarding concealed carry. That means every time you cross a border you may be playing by a new set of rules, and it’s your responsibility to know them.

With more than 8 million CCW permit holders across the country, websites and books are now available that helps those traveling from state to state stay inside the legal lines. And while it would be impossible to cover all of the state laws in a single article, let’s focus on some of the key points that vary from state to state. This will help you better understand the law as it pertains to concealed carry.

Concealed Carry Glock and Kydex Holster

                            An Inside-The-Waistband Holster for Concealed Carry Made by Ares Armor 

 

Shall-Issue Versus May-Issue: The vast majority of states are known as “shall-issue” permit states. That means that anyone who meets the criteria to earn a carry permit will receive that permit based upon state law. That doesn’t mean that every state has the same requirements, though. Background checks are common in many states, but the level of training required to earn your permit is stated in the law and anyone who meets those requirements shall receive a permit.

May-issue states are different. In these states, you must show cause to the governing body (usually local law enforcement) why you are qualified to carry a firearm and they may or may not issue a permit. Simply put, there are no guarantees of issuance. The ultimate authority lies with local law enforcement, and there can be great disparity from district to district regarding the number of permits issued. Currently there are only a handful of may-issue states including California, New York, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia, but this legislation can change quickly. All other U.S. states and Alaska are shall-issue.

Reciprocity: Some states honor permits issued in other states, and other do not. Furthermore, some states honor carry permits that are issued in certain states but not others. The topic of reciprocity can be very confusing, but you need to be certain that you know which states allow you to carry concealed with an out-of-state permit.

Rather than rehash the stats for each state, it’s much simpler to head to usacarry.com, which has an updated, interactive map of the states that offer reciprocity with the state that has issued your permit. My home state of Ohio, for instance, has reciprocity with 39 other states, the exceptions being California, Hawaii, Oregon, Illinois, and several northeastern and Atlantic states. This allows me to immediately recognize where I can carry and stay out of trouble.

For years, states like Florida have been issuing carry permits to non-residents who met the criteria for a Florida permit. The reasoning behind this is that a Florida permit has more reciprocity than other states, but time has leveled the legislative playing field and the majority of states now accept permits from other states. Still, be sure to check before you travel.

Restricted Areas: This is where the waters get murky because states laws governing restricted areas varies. In most states, for instance, elementary and secondary schools are considered restricted areas, though some states do have laws that allow for carry during drop-off and pick-up of students. Most state and federal government buildings are restricted, as are some establishments that sell alcohol. In some states, bars that serve food and single drinks are not restricted, and in some cases percentage of profits from alcohol products are used as a gauge. Nevertheless, knowing the restricted areas in your state is critical to staying out of trouble with the law.

Clearing the Caliber Confusion: .223 Wylde vs. 5.56 NATO

Though they share identical case dimensions, the .223 Remington and 5.56 NATO are slightly different—and the .223 Wylde makes the most of both of these loads.

Brad Fitzpatrick

 

The 5.56×45 NATO broke cover in 1957 as a military cartridge, and since that time it has served in multiple campaigns and conflicts around the globe. The 5.56×45 offered a lot—it was a flat-shooting, fast cartridge with minimal recoil and minimal weight (read: you can carry a lot of them). So great was the 5.56 that it soon followed in civilian garb as the .223 Remington, a cartridge that has remained viable and popular since its release date.

There are some that will tell you that a .223 and a 5.56 are the same cartridge. Well, in terms of case dimension, that is true. So, how do they differ?

 

 

Technical Dimensions of the .223 Rem vs. the 5.56 NATO Cartridges

Technical Dimensions of the .223 Rem vs. the 5.56 NATO Cartridges. Image credit: here

 

The short answer is that they differ with regard to pressure and chamber dimensions. Pressures in the 5.56 cartridge are higher than the .223, and as a result the chamber of the 5.56 is different as well. There’s more throat length in a 5.56 barrel—about .077 inches—and the angle of the throat is different to accommodate increased pressures. It is, therefore, alright to fire a .223 cartridge in a 5.56 chamber, but going the other way can cause pressure problems. Simply put, the .223 doesn’t perform as well in 5.56 chambers as it could. If you have two cartridges that are so similar in external case dimensions why not have one chamber that makes the best of both loads?

Enter Bill Wylde. Bill had the idea to create a chamber that would serve the 5.56 and the .223 Remington equally well. The .223 Wylde has the same chamber angling as the standard 5.56 chamber, so there’s no problem with pressures, and it also has a .2240 freebore diameter. The result? You have a chamber that is sufficient to handle the hotter 5.56 load without concerns about pressure and you get the gilt-edge accuracy that’s common in many quality .223 rifles.

 

The .223 Wylde Chamber Dimensions

The .223 Wylde Chamber Dimensions

 

Is there a compelling reason to switch to a Wylde chamber? Well, the most obvious reason is that you can fire .223 ammo without giving up accuracy and 5.56 ammo without worrying about excess pressure. Sure, you can fire .223 ammo all day from a 5.56 without worrying about pressure problems thanks to generous chamber size, but if you really want to tighten those groups that .2240 freebore diameter helps. In fact, .223 Wylde chambers are known for extreme accuracy, which is better on the whole than what you can expect from a standard 5.56×45 chamber.

Better accuracy, more versatility with ammo—so what’s the downside? Well, right now that can be cost and availability. The gains that the .223 Wylde provides haven’t prompted a whole bunch of companies to swap to that chamber, but there are certainly .223 Wylde-chambered target rifles out there. Do you need a Wylde? No, but it will help your long game and will make your AR rifle even more versatile than it is now.

 

 

The Blame Game and Gun Control

The first step to securing our rights is to truly understand who is at fault when a crime occurs.

Brad Fitzpatrick

October 27, 2015

Several of the current frontrunners for the 2016 Democratic presidential candidacy have emphasized their support for legislation that would allow individuals impacted by a gun crime to seek financial compensation from firearms manufacturers in civil court. In short, in the event of a shooting gun companies could be held liable. Many gun control proponents are, as you might imagine, in favor of this legislation.

Anti-gun legislation is nothing new, but perhaps this particular topic sheds light on a much broader and more dangerous attitude regarding firearms and crime in America—many voters seem to have a great deal of trouble identifying who is really at blame when a gun is mishandled.

Let me provide a simpler example. Several months ago, I was researching the best holsters to wear while exercising and, during the course of that research, I came upon a running forum that addressed the topic. A young woman—new to running but familiar with firearms—asked which holsters were best to wear while exercising. It seemed a logical question to me; runners are frequently the target of assaults, and many holsters simply wouldn’t stand up to the abuse. Instead of addressing the woman’s question, the responders took this as an opportunity to attack her. The first response to her question read, “Maybe if you think you need a gun you should find another place to run.”

There was general agreement with the “find another place to run” response on the forum, but that comment infuriated me. Although it may seem benign, this is the type of attitude that abdicates criminals for their actions and levels a measure of guilt on victims. There are several fundamental problems with the “maybe you should find another place to run” attitude, and here are a few:

  1. Violence Only Occurs in “Bad” Places: The notion that you know where crime will occur is absurd. Sure, there are statistics that show that certain areas have higher rates of crime than other areas, but that doesn’t mean you are completely safe in your suburban neighborhood where folks are watering their lawn or shooting baskets in the driveway with their kids. Crime is everywhere, in every community, good and bad, poor and rich.
  2. Avoidance Is An Effective Means Of Crime Prevention: No one in their right mind (save first responders, who risk their lives for others on a daily basis) would seek out violent confrontations. But don’t mistakenly believe that avoiding crime will protect you from crime. One of the most frightening things about violent encounters is that they happen at any time, anywhere—at your kid’s soccer game, while you’re on vacation, when you’re walking from your driveway to your front door. If your sole protection against crime is avoiding crime you will fail.
  3. Carrying a Gun means You’re Looking for Trouble: I don’t carry a gun looking for a conflict. I carry a gun because I don’t want to be a victim of violence, and if every other option is closed off to me then my last resort will be a firearm. Whether I’m at the store, on the road, or, yes, jogging on a trail through a park, I carry a gun because I may have no other option but to use it.
  4. The Victim of Violence Shares in the Blame: Let’s be very clear about this one—when a crime occurs it isn’t the fault of the gun company, the community, the current economical condition, or the victim. It is the fault of the criminal alone. The victim of a crime isn’t at fault because she ran in the wrong area, because she got lost in the wrong neighborhood, or because she stopped at a rest area on the highway alone at three in the morning. Instead of warning victims against running where there is a remote chance that a criminal will attack them, let’s issue this warning instead—if you are a criminal and you choose to harm another person be prepared for them to exercise their Second Amendment rights, which may mean that you get shot. Magazine restrictions, civil litigation against firearms companies, and warnings against running in certain areas of town are all methods by which the uninformed point the finger of blame at law-abiding citizens. The battle for gun rights starts with a clear understanding of who is at fault when violence occurs, and that is criminals.

The Politics of Gun Control

What candidates—and statistics—say about gun violence in America.

With the 2016 presidential election on the horizon, candidates from both parties have developed stances on gun control and Second Amendment rights. As you might imagine, these stances vary greatly, and the recent Democratic debate sparked controversy over gun rights in America. Of particular interest to candidates on both sides of the debate were “assault” weapons bans, magazine restrictions, and universal background checks.

At the forefront of the debate was the notion of an “assault” weapons ban. Both Martin O’Malley and Hillary Clinton support legislation that bans or severely limits the sale of “assault” weapons, but the very term “assault weapon” is ambiguous and could open the door to the regulation of a wide variety of firearms. The sale of machine guns, short-barreled shotguns and a variety of other weapons has been regulated since the 1934 National Firearms Act, and today most candidates use the term to describe semiautomatic weapons like AR-15s. But the NRA-ILA contends that banning these firearms would have little effect on crime rates and would unfairly restrict American citizens from purchasing firearms designed for hunting, sport shooting and home defense.

hillary-clinton

photo credit: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

 

“ ‘Assault weapon’ is the term that gun control supporters use to malign general-purpose rifles like the AR-15,” says the NRA-ILA website. “Americans now own five million AR-15s, the number is growing by several hundred thousand annually, and the nation’s murder rate is down by more than half since 1991. They’re commonly used for home defense, sports (such as the NRA’s National Defense Match, NRA High Power, and Three-Gun), and hunting.”

The increase in the number of state-issued concealed carry permits and a growing number of right-to-carry laws has coincided with a significant drop in U.S. homicides—a fact rarely addressed when stricter gun control laws are being pushed.

“Forty-two states have Right-to-Carry laws, and 48 states prohibit cities from imposing gun laws more restrictive than state law,” says the NRA-ILA. “From 1991 to 2012, the total violent crime rate declined  49% to a 42-year low, and the murder rate declined by 52% to a 49-year low.”

pew research gun crime reduction

Magazine restrictions, often erroneously referred to as “clip restrictions” by gun control advocates, are recommended by O’Malley, Clinton and others. Many self-defense handguns have magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, and these firearms would, under these proposed laws, be considered unlawful to own. But the NRA contests that magazine restrictions are not an effective means by which to control gun violence but rather another restriction that is aimed at gun owners and manufacturers.

“Most modern ammunition magazines designed for defensive purposes hold more than 10 rounds for handguns and 20 or more rounds for rifles,” says the NRA-ILA. “Not surprisingly, gun control supporters who claim that firearms aren’t useful for defensive purposes, claim that such magazines are also not useful for defense, but are instead only useful to criminals. The congressionally-mandated study of the federal ‘large’ magazine ban of 1994-2004 found that such magazines had only rarely been used in crime, a subsequent study found that revolvers were more associated with criminal gun injuries than semi-automatic pistols, and the official report on the Virginia Tech shooting concluded that a 10-round magazine limit would have not made much difference in the outcome of the crime. Americans own well over 100 million ‘large’ magazines and the nation’s murder rate is nearly at an all-time low.”

The issue of background checks has also taken center-stage in 2015, and several candidates are pushing for “more thorough” checks. But according to the NRA’s findings, background checks are not an effective means by which to control violence but rather a further restriction on gun owners. Current federal law requires anyone who purchases a firearm to be screened through the National Instant Criminal Background Check, or NICS, and felons are currently prohibited from owning firearms.

“Gun control supporters demand that sales and trades of firearms that don’t involve dealers be subject to NICS as well,” says the NRA-ILA. “They claim that such a law would prevent criminals from getting guns, but most criminals obtain guns from theft, the black market, or ‘straw purchasers’—people who can pass a background check and who buy guns for criminals. Furthermore, none of the high-profile crimes that they cite involved guns bought without a background check.”

The rights of America’s estimated 100 million gun owners are at stake, and legislation that, in effect, restricts or limits gun owners and does little to address the root causes of violence, serves little purpose in making American streets safer. The notion that purported “gun control” measures will help make the United States a more secure nation has not been backed by statistical evidence. It’s more important, then, that American gun owners understand that our rights as citizens must be preserved and that other significant issues in our culture like concerns over mental health are need to be addressed immediately. Taking firearms out of the hands of American citizens is not the answer to decreasing violence and preserving our rights.

 

-Brad Fitzpatrick

Writer/Contributor

October 22, 2015

More Strange at Arizona Gun Range

london-bridge-shooters-az-gun-rangeCheck this out. It’s another edition of “Strange at an Arizona Gun Range.” One minute a shooter is picking up brass. The next minute he was probably at the closest store picking up a new, clean pair of underwear.

Here’s what happened earlier this week, and why it’s important. To the gun friendly Republic of Arizona we go.

Lake Havasu City is located about 200 miles northwest of Phoenix. It’s also about 100 miles southwest of tiny White Hills, Arizona. You may recall White Hills from last summer as the home of the Bullets and Burgers Arizona Gun Range. This was where a 9-year old girl lost control of a mini-uzi and accidentally killed her range instructor.

Luckily, in this new Arizona Gun Range true story, no one was killed. The only thing hurt was surely some feelings.

The incident was during a shooting competition at the London Bridge Action Shooter Club in Lake Havasu City. (The Arizona city has actually re-assembled the original London Bridge which spanned the River Thames in London, England until 1967). Anyway, a range safety officer allows a new stage to begin running. The shooter routinely goes about his business. He’s actively engaging targets around barriers with his trusty pistol.

Then it gets interesting. The shooter suddenly notices something unusual.

One of his fellow competitors downrange is still on the course and in his line of fire. While he is picking up brass, the person seems clueless that another shooter is firing off fresh rounds, and he could soon be a target.

Here is a statement from the London Bridge Action Shooters Club:

During our last match, we experienced a very serious safety incident. A shooter was allowed to make ready and begin shooting a stage, while a person was still downrange. Fortunately, the person was spotted, the shooter stopped, and the incident concluded with no one being hurt or worse. We all should recognize a stage has poor visibility, or if an RO is being less-than-diligent. We should all do what we can to improve the situation — an extra set of eyes. There are not enough people who routinely shoulder this burden. Everyone needs to be involved.

Don’t worry about the anti-gunners or liberals. This Arizona Gun Range accident wasn’t sensational enough for them to take it and cry bloody murder again. Ares Armor is sharing the news as simply an important real-life reminder that there are no off-days when it comes to safety and diligence.

Joyce Wilson, the director of the International Defensive Pistol Association summed it up well, “This event serves as a reminder that complacency is the enemy of safety.”

Before you watch the video below, remember this Dear Friends of the Second Amendment… Even experienced shooters can make a mistake. So, wherever you’re shooting this weekend, make it a fun and safe one.

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