Friday, May 11, 2007

Guns: CCW printing, two ways

Most people who carry a concealed weapon worry about keeping it concealed. "Printing" - when your gun shows through your clothing somehow - is normally an evil to be avoided. There's no set formula for avoiding printing; every body, piece of clothing, and gun will interact differently, and what works for a day at the office may be ill-suited for hiking and cycling. (Note that in some states, you can carry openly, but I don't recommend this unless you have a retention holster and, more importantly, retention training.)

It's possible, though, to take such practices overboard. Since law-abiding people carrying guns are still (unfortunately) uncommon, especially in some parts of the country, there's little reason to be worried that everybody's noticing your gun. The vast majority of people are either too distracted or too self-absorbed to be looking at the slight bulge right behind your hip.

That's not to say, of course, that bragging about said gun is the right idea, either. The open discussion by some gun owners (and gun bloggers :-P) may or may not ease the populace into greater comfort with carrying a gun. In general, however, it's best to keep your mouth shut about your defense tools. I'm hoping this fact changes, but until it does, "concealed" still means concealed, mentally and physically.

In the same vein, "CCW printing" also refers to the unsavory practices of some bigoted anti-gun newspapers that publish lists of people who hold concealed weapons permits, often including their addresses. This sort of thing, unfortunately, is not isolated and gun bloggers from all over have covered these unfortunate incidents. I'm not sure what's next - a list of people who make over $200,000? A list of people with children under five? It's bad enough a government permit is necessary to lawfully carry in most places - do we have to compound that by alienating and potentially endangering permit-holders' lives?

There's a limit to freedom of information, especially when the people being listed have done nothing to deserve being singled out and conveniently categorized for any criminal wanting a list of targets. Thankfully, Florida law prevents people from obtaining CCW information without a court order. Some other states are not as lucky, and keeping slimy anit-gun newspapers from putting CCW permit holders in jeopardy is an ongoing battle.


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