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Ask Ed: Concealed Carry FAQs — January 2021


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 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

Do you have any concealed carry tips for those who are impaired or disabled?

I do, but they are frustratingly sparse.

Without knowing more about a particular individual’s condition, all I can offer is that the main accommodations the shooting industry makes for physically challenged shooters revolve around making magazines easier to load and pistols easier to run. As for the former, companies like Maglula manufacture devices that facilitate loading magazines for autos. As for the latter, Brass Stacker, ArachniGRIP and others produce devices that can be added to firearms to make racking them easier.

On the gun front, Smith & Wesson’s EZ series of pistols is a lot more accommodating to those with reduced hand strength. Taurus’ American-made TX22 is about as simple of a pistol to run as I’ve ever encountered. No, .22 LR is not ideal for self-defense, but we’re not talking about an ideal situation here.

As far as wheelchair carry goes, a friend of mine who was confined to a chair for a few years is adamant that affixing the firearm to the chair itself is a no-go. Your gun needs to be connected to you personally. To him — a longtime concealed carrier and gun-shop employee — that gun needs to stay with you if, God forbid, you and the chair get separated.

This is complicated by the fact that all components of your EDC must be accessible from the seated position, which can make traditional 4 o’clock carry (for righties) not as appealing as it would normally be. It may be time to look into belt-pack carry, shoulder rigs, cross-draw holsters, belly bands or even some of the Kydex snap-on trigger covers from companies like Clipdraw. They allow you to carry a firearm with nothing but the trigger covered and the trigger-cover anchored to your clothing or bag by a lanyard. When you draw, the trigger cover pops off and is retained by the lanyard. The trigger cover works in almost any kind of clothing or luggage. And speaking of lanyards, a coil-style pistol lanyard that will keep the pistol anchored to the carrier even when dropped might also be a fine addition.

Beyond that, I would need to know a lot more about a particular individual’s situation before I’d be able to offer much else.

What’s the process for passing down or inheriting firearms?

This is going to be anything from a non-issue to something you’ll literally have to go talk to the cops about.

In some states, such as my home state of Wisconsin, inheriting a non-NFA firearm is as simple as grandma saying “grampa wanted you to have this” and handing you the gun in question. Since my state does not have any laws barring private transfers of firearms or requiring firearms to be registered to owners, if memaw wants to give you pawpaw’s 1911, it can be as simple as that.

In other states, you will be required to transfer a firearm with a Form 4473, just as you would when purchasing a new firearm. The list of permutations of what bureaucrats may make you do just to inherit an heirloom from a beloved relative is far too byzantine for me to try to unravel here, so your best bet will be to consult the USCCA’s Concealed Carry Reciprocity Map and Guns Laws by State page or to reach out to our award-winning Member Services Team at 1-800-674-9779.

Whatever you end up learning though, I cannot overemphasize the importance of following the law. The $50 you might save deciding to just act like you didn’t know you had to go do a transfer at your local FFL won’t be worth the trouble you’ll find if, in the wake of a self-defense incident, it turns out you are in unlawful possession of a firearm. And if you are on the giving end of the equation, you are going to have to know — for fact — that the individual to whom you intend to give this firearm is legally allowed to possess it. Handing a felon a firearm can not send him or her back to prison but also land YOU in hot water.

Your state circuit court access website is your friend on this one. Sure, it’ll hurt if you find out that your grandson had a felony conviction for 3rd offense OWI. But it won’t hurt as much as it would hurt to have your late husband’s guns seized and possibly even destroyed if your grandson gets arrested again.

What are the best ways to prevent home invasions?

The biggest threat to most homes are unlocked doors and an American’s neighborly inclination to open up whenever anyone knocks.

I understand that a certain kind of citizen detests the fact that it is necessary to lock his or her doors. I understand that to him or her, doing so just feels wrong; that this isn’t the way it should be. I get that, and I might even agree with it. But that doesn’t change the fact that you should always — and I mean ALWAYS — secure the door behind you. Last one through the hatch locks it; this will address almost all of your security issues.

After keeping the doors and windows on your residence locked, the next most important action to take will be to resist the urge to blindly open the door whenever anyone knocks or rings the bell. Think that’s a silly statement? Think again; millions and millions of Americans are so socialized to open doors when someone on the other side indicates they’d like to come in. A good number of victims let their attackers in without a fight or even a question. This means installing a peephole if you do not have a way to see who’s on the other side of your door, and it means reading up on how home invaders most commonly perpetrate their crimes. If you’re the tech-savvy type, you could also look into the remote-camera doorbells that have gained great popularity over the last few years. These allow you to see, on your phone, images and even live video of who’s standing at your entryway.

Yes, lighting is important. Yes, you should trim shrubs away from windows and keep your EDC on you whenever you’re not sleeping or bathing. Consider getting a dog and do everything else you’ve read about to harden your residence against invaders.

But the gun only works if you load it, and the door only works if you lock it.

About Ed Combs

Ed Combs is senior editor of Concealed Carry Magazine and a former educator and law enforcement officer.

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