I happened to catch the re-run of “The West Wing” in which the show takes its pot shots at “shall issue” concealed carry. After a fictitious shooting at a church, the president attempts to get his vice president to attend a gun control rally to express the president’s opposition to “shall issue.” The vice president is reluctant to go because he doesn’t share the president’s anti-gun sentiments, and he doesn’t think it is a wise move politically. They engage in a lop-sided argument about the merits and liabilities of “shall issue.” President Bartlett makes the point, “If firearms are a deterrent for crime, what’s the point of concealing them? Shouldn’t they be carried for everyone to see?” The vice president replies weakly, “I don’t know.”
While the imaginary vice president may not know the answer to this question, I do. There are three primary reasons that concealed carry is preferable to open carry.
First of all, most people are actually more comfortable with concealed carry than they are with open carry. It’s more comfortable to wear a gun concealed just because you don’t have to deal with the emotional heat from people who aren’t comfortable with guns, and yet, you have your gun in case you need it. People who don’t like or know guns are scared of people wearing guns. The gun control fanatics are all wrapped up with their dark projection fantasies which hold that every gun owner is a psychopath hunting for his next venue for a massacre. With the guns out of sight, they don’t have to deal with that. They can pretend, as they always have, even long before any concealed carry laws, that the guns aren’t there even though they are and always have been. We know that one day they’ll get mugged or threatened, achieve enlightenment, and develop a whole new appreciation for our ugly old guns, but until that day comes, why upset them? Concealment makes everyone more comfortable.
The second issue is tactical and has two parts. You never want to give your adversary any information on your capabilities. What he doesn’t know won’t hurt you. If you know something that he doesn’t know, you have a distinct tactical advantage. Closely related is the fact that some types of criminals will target a person if they know they have a gun for the purpose of stealing the gun. If they don’t know, they won’t try something.
The third primary reason that concealed carry is an advantage is that it is a psychological “force multiplier.” The fact that personal defense weapons are concealed means that the bad guys don’t know who is and isn’t carrying a gun. This means that every potential victim may be armed and ready to resist in a “shall issue” state. The uncertainty created by concealment multiplies the deterrent effect on criminals of concealed carry. One could say that a single concealed handgun protects a thousand unarmed citizens. Concealment is a force multiplier.
Comfort, tactics and force multiplication make concealed carry the preferred mode for the carry of personal defense firearms.