I have a lot of friends who don’t have firearms. In some cases, they are interested in learning how to shoot, but they’re still wary about the unknowns. In other cases, well…let’s just not go there. In either situation, a lot of people bring up the question of what to do about guns and non-carrying friends. Specifically, they ask whether or not it’s okay to carry a firearm into someone else’s home. (What do the etiquette experts say about that, I wonder?)

There are some social and ethical (and possibly legal) elements at play with this dilemma. But here’s the deal: You have some choices. And while I can’t make the call for you, there are some things to consider.

One option is that you can simply and openly mention to your non-carrying friend that you have a personal protection firearm, just to see what he or she thinks. A few different things could happen. Who knows? This person may actually carry, as well, and then you’ve just discovered a new 2A friend…and a host of new things to discuss.

Maybe you will find out that this person does not carry, but he may be just fine with your gun, as long as he doesn’t have to see it (out of sight, out of mind, right?).

Or, you may find that your friend is uncomfortable; she may start to wonder about her safety or about the safety of her family. (I find that this happens a lot with people who don’t understand guns. Even my own mom was convinced that the gun could just “go off” by itself!) This could be a great conversation starter, an ideal time for you to explain how safe your concealed-carry option is…and how important personal protection is to you.

Of course, if you discover that your friend absolutely hates guns, she may insist that you do not bring a firearm into her home. This can present a sticky situation. Most responsibly armed people I know don’t remove their guns and don’t go anywhere without them. So, in this case, I would suggest that you meet up with your friend somewhere else. Choose your own home, or find a gun-friendly location. You don’t have to avoid this person, but you might want to avoid her home.

Say Nothing About Your Gun

Another option is to simply say nothing at all about your gun. Is that allowed? I’d recommend finding out what the law in your state says. It’s your right to carry your firearm, but it is their private property. If it is legal, then it’s not required that you announce your firearm. And as a responsibly armed person, you are not going to cause any problems or draw any attention to yourself or to your gun. Perhaps ignorance is bliss in this case? Just think about how many times we are out and about, mixing and mingling with who knows how many other concealed-carry gun owners and gun haters alike.

Oftentimes, I don’t say a word to my friends about my personal protection handgun because I simply don’t think about it in that way. Carrying a gun is a completely normal way of life for me. It’s nothing out of the ordinary, so I wouldn’t think to bring it up to anyone under these normal, everyday circumstances.

Always Keep Your Gun on You

Whatever the case, make sure that if you’re in another person’s home, and there are other people (kids or adults) present, keep your gun on you at all times. This is not a good situation for off-body carry, as you may not be in control of your purse or bag at all times. As well, remember to be sensitive and responsive to your non-carrying friends. Be ready to answer questions and possibly dispel myths. And be a good example of what a responsible gun owner should be.