NOTE: USCCA Customer Engagement team members get a lot of questions, and they pass a good number of them along to Concealed Carry Magazine Senior Editor Ed Combs. If you have a question, you can either ask it below or email it to [email protected]. We, of course, cannot guarantee answers to all questions — Ed’s a pretty busy guy — but we’d love to help you out with whatever’s stumping you.

Jared Blohm
Managing Editor
Concealed Carry Magazine

What Are Some Items to Keep on Hand in the Home for if the Power Goes Out?

One of your main concerns during a power outage will be to not get injured within the first minute. Stay with me here.

Picture wherever you spend the bulk of your time in your residence. Whether we’re talking about a recliner, a couch or a desk, if the power goes out and leaves you in darkness, where is the nearest flashlight?

If your answer wasn’t “right in front of me,” you might want to make some changes. If you roll an ankle or, even worse, break something in a fall within a few seconds of the lights going out, you’re in real trouble. Hedge against this kind of accident by keeping small flashlights within reach of the places you spend most of your time.

After you have a functioning flashlight in hand, you can get to work on staying calm. That will, realistically, be the most important action you can take. Leave the refrigerator and freezer closed; they’ll keep everything colder (and therefore safer) for longer if you do not open them until after power is restored. If you rely on medical devices that require electricity, switch them over to a battery backup system. If you require such devices but do not have a battery backup system, ask around at your local hospitals or community centers on how you could get such a setup in place. If you rely on refrigerated medication, you will have to get on that immediately.

Keep several of the reusable ice-pack-type cooler inserts in your freezer and keep a small cooler in your garage or storage area. In the event of a blackout, it may be necessary for you to transfer your meds from the refrigerator to a cooler, and this will be a lot simpler if you have the necessary units already frozen to keep your meds at the proper temperature.

After you have the immediate life-or-death (or extreme unpleasantness) stuff handled, it’s time to get updated on what’s happening. If your cell phone isn’t cooperating, use a battery-powered radio (you have one of those, right?) to find out what the situation is.

Do You Have Any Pointers on Social Media Use and How Any Interactions You Have Could Be Used Against You in Court?

The toughest part here is that we haven’t yet decided whether posting something online is saying something or doing something. Just saying something is just saying something; DOING something is a different matter. You can apologize for an errant comment a lot more easily than you can for a statement that required more movement than a loose tongue.

Either way, I just don’t see an upside to arguing online. Pointing out hypocrisy has literally never changed anyone’s mind. Explaining your case in a calm, measured manner has a dismal track record in any context other than face to face. Angering the wrong faceless psycho in a comment thread can result in getting your very own (and very real) nemesis, someone who enjoys such hobbies as tracking down and publishing you and your loved ones’ phone numbers and addresses and declaring you worthy of visits from others of like mind.

Most importantly, remember that some individuals are getting physically high from arguing on the internet. Their brains receive a dopamine hit from their righteous indignation. Deny them this. Just as you would swiftly cross the street to avoid a wild-eyed lunatic screaming obscenities on a street corner, do the same on the web. If you leave threatening, argumentative comments in your wake every time you log into your social media accounts, don’t be surprised if that is brought up in a criminal or civil suit (about anything, let alone a self-defense incident.)

What About Wearing a Mask and Concealed Carry?

The USCCA Gun Laws Map has excellent information on state-specific laws regarding how masks and concealed carry mix. Some of you are already up to speed on this one, but some of you are brand-new to gun ownership and concealed carry. So let’s have a look.

Some states had what were known as “anti-klan” laws back in the old days that banned the wearing of masks in public. While these evolved as Halloween and trick-or-treating gained popularity in the middle of the last century, they’re again relevant as concealed carriers wonder what they’re to do when they either want to wear or are mandated to wear a mask.

Before you do anything else, go to your state’s Department of Justice website and see if there is anything about concealed carry and masks on their “Frequently Asked Questions” page. There will often be information regarding current events on such pages, and they are as good a place to begin as any.

Next, you’re going to want to reach out to your county’s sheriff’s department and your municipality’s police department (if one is present.) If any of the aforementioned entities tell you that you are, in fact, allowed to carry concealed while wearing a mask, ask them if you can get a quick printout of that declaration on official paper. If they say that they won’t do that, politely suggest that they type one up and put it on their FAQ page. Tell them that you’d like to do everything you can to follow the law, and that it would be very helpful were you to be able to print off the exact law and carry it with you at all times. Also point out that it would make shifts a lot easier on their officers, since it will help everyone be a lot clearer about what is and is not legal.

Like everything else in concealed carry, the risks are too high to go this one blind. You need to reach out to your local law enforcement and find out exactly what the expectations are, and then be able to show them to any officers with whom you may have contact.