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In an ever-changing world, you want to ensure that youíre adequately prepared and armed with the correct tools and knowledge to protect yourself and your loved ones effectively. Are you thinking about getting your license to carry a concealed firearm or weapon? Or are you nervous about taking a class because youíre unsure what you should expect in the classroom? If those thoughts have crossed your mind, then youíre in the right place. If neither of those applies to you and youíre not considering getting your concealed carry license, you may have a change of heart and decide to get yours after reading this. A difficult question to ask yourself is: If a situation occurs, will you be prepared to be your own first responder? This article will cover why someone may want to get a concealed license, how to find a concealed carry class near you, what you can expect to learn in a concealed course, and concealed carry terms to know. Hopefully, once youíve completed this article, youíll follow the steps to carry a concealed firearm legally. Letís start with mindset. Itís essential to know your why. As a firearms instructor, this is something that I go over in my classes. Knowing why you want to get your concealed carry license and carry a firearm for personal defense should help minimize the instances when you donít feel like taking your gun and want to leave it at home. Donít get me wrong; there will still be days where you may not want to carry your firearm, dryfire or go to the range and train. If you live in South Carolina and are looking for a PSA Defense Class or more defense information, Palmetto State Armory can help. MY CONCEALED CARRY JOURNEY I started carrying a concealed firearm in 2015. In 2015, I moved from a smaller town with very low crime to a larger city with many serious crimes. At that time, I already possessed my concealed license but never embarked on the journey of carrying my firearm. When researching where I worked, lived, and my children attended school, it was very apparent that crimes were happening all around us. I knew that I couldnít avoid it or control it. At that time, my children were 4 and 7. As their mother, I knew that my responsibility was to keep them safe. The best way to do that was by having a firearm with me. After years of my husband asking me to carry a gun, it finally clicked for me! I decided to start carrying a gun for personal protection. Being a mother, I would never want my children to be in a situation where they witnessed someone harm me or were injured, and I could not protect them. We all know that things happen when you least expect them to. The decision to carry a firearm is very personal, and everyone has their unique reason behind why they start. Regardless of what you say, if a person is not ready to carry, they will not carry a firearm until they are ready. The reality is, there are bad people in the world who want to hurt people. The United States has 329 million people, with at least 21.5 million individuals possessing a concealed handgun permit or license of some sort. Each state is unique and has its own local state laws surrounding the requirements for concealed carry. However, not all states issue permits. Some states make it extremely difficult to get them. In turn, residents fail to get their permits out of frustration. In some states, residents can openly carry a firearm in a manner visible to others. While in other states, youíre only allowed to carry concealed. As a reminder, local legislation can impose laws as well. HOW TO FIND A CONCEALED CARRY CLASS NEAR YOU If you need to find a concealed carry class close to your location, you can open up your internet browser and type in ďconcealed carry classes.Ē Many organizations host classes and have them listed on their websites along with interactive maps. Classes are available at many local gun stores and gun ranges. If youíre familiar with the gun stores and ranges in your local area, you could always go to their location and inquire. Another option is to contact them by phone or their website and ask about their services, along with prices. When selecting a conceal carry class, there are many things that you should consider. Instructors nor classes are a one size fits all. When searching for an instructor, you should select the best instructor for you and your needs. Finding a quality instructor that is certified in your state is essential. Not all instructors are created equal. Do a little research by reviewing their website. A lousy training experience can damage how a beginner views the entire 2nd Amendment community. Another way to find a class is to ask your friends, family, and individuals you trust if theyíve taken a class. Can they recommend one for you, and what was their experience and opinion on the instructor and class? Asking someone you trust can ensure that the person recommending the course has your best interest at heart. WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT TO LEARN IN A CONCEALED CARRY CLASS Although laws and requirements to carry concealed firearms and in some states, weapons vary depending on the state. The majority of the states require you to take some form of formal training, apply for the license, pay a fee and pass a background check to obtain your license. Some states require the applicant to demonstrate competency with a firearm. While other states require the applicant to take an in-person class for a prescribed amount of time, complete a range qualification, and obtain a passing score. Once youíve met all their requirements, you can submit your paperwork to apply for your license formally. Some courses may take one day, while others can take several days to accomplish the requirements. You can reasonably expect to learn the legal requirements to carry a concealed firearm or weapon in your state. Your class may include covering situations you may encounter while carrying a gun and when itís appropriate to use it. Additionally, the amount of time each license is valid. For example, in Florida, the license is valid for seven years. Basic firearm safety, basic marksmanship principles, how to load and unload a firearm, safe firearm storage, safely carrying your gun in different environments, situational awareness because sometimes just being aware of your surroundings can keep you out of harmís way before something terrible happens. The correct way to fill out your paperwork to submit your concealed license places that you can carry your firearm, along with gun-free zones like federal buildings. For example, in some states, you have to inform law enforcement officers if you have a concealed firearm, while in others, you do not have to notify them. At a minimum, the concealed course should give you a better understanding of local legislation requirements. While also informing you of when and where you can legally carry your firearm and the circumstances surrounding when you can legally use your firearm in self-defense. CONCEALED CARRY TERMINOLOGY Below are critical terms that you should be familiar with once you become a gun owner. These are terms you should especially be familiar with when you embark on your concealed carry journey. Keep in mind that different states may refer to things differently. The best practice is to go directly to the source to answer your questions. For example, when inquiring about South Carolinaís concealed carry requirements, you should go directly to South Carolinaís official website for concealed carry. Keep in mind that things can change frequently. Third-party websites should not be your first stop due to the information not coming from an official source. Furthermore, third-party websites may not be able to quickly push out the information for you to be informed and stay in line with the most up-to-date information. Castle Doctrine - This means that an individual has a right to be safe and secure within their own home or ďcastleĒ and should not have to retreat from their home to be safe. Castle doctrine is typically limited to real property, including a personís home and property. Some states incudes a personís cars or place of business. Depending on the state, an individual may have the right to protect themself, other people, and their property by force. Keep in mind that this centers on your home. Deadly Force - This is an amount of force that, when applied to an individual, the level of force is likely to cause grievous bodily harm, injury, or death. You may also hear this referred to as lethal force. Duty to Retreat - States when a person is under an imminent threat of personal harm, they must make a reasonable effort to avoid confrontation when possible. A person may attempt de-escalation or leave the area where the imminent threat is occurring. Keep in mind; deadly force should be a last resort. Duty to Inform - State or local laws may impose a duty to inform. Duty to Inform means you are obligated to disclose the presence of your firearm when making contact with law enforcement. Some states require you to inform law enforcement immediately upon contact, and some states have no duty to inform laws at all. While some states stipulate you are only required to notify law enforcement when asked. Stand your ground - Stand your ground allows armed individuals who believe they are in imminent danger to use deadly force in certain instances without first attempting to retreat. Constitutional Carry - Some states utilize Constitutional Carry. In these states, anyone who can legally own a firearm may carry a gun without going through a concealed carry class and obtaining a permit. Reciprocity - This means that one stateís concealed carry permit or license is valid beyond that stateís borders. States that have reached agreements on recognizing each otherís concealed carry license share reciprocity. Some states have different requirements for resident conceal carry permit holders and non-resident holders. When researching requirements to carry a concealed firearm, I highly suggest that you stay familiar with reciprocity for the states you visit frequently. Some exceptions do apply, such as in Florida, the minimum age to get your Florida concealed weapons handling license is 21. In Georgia, the minimum age to get a concealed carry license is 18. However, Georgia and Florida share reciprocity. If someone were the age of 18 and met the minimum age requirement per the state of Georgia, they would not be allowed to carry concealed firearms or weapons in Florida. Due to not meeting the minimum age requirement in Florida to obtain their license. You should always follow the laws for the state that you are carrying the firearm or weapon in regardless of the laws mandated by the state that issued your concealed carry permit. For example, if I were issued a concealed weapons license for Florida and Iím physically in Texas visiting, I would want to ensure that I followed Texas non-resident concealed carry laws. Keep reciprocity in mind when youíre traveling. Whether youíre driving or flying, you must know the laws of the state youíre traveling to and the states youíre traveling through. When going through several states, ensure that you review the regulations for each area before traveling. The key here is that you should identify if your credentials are valid before traveling. Otherwise, you may find that youíre breaking the law and may encounter serious trouble. When reviewing Castle doctrine and stand your ground laws, you may see that they are in many ways quite similar. The key difference is where each of them applies. Castle doctrine is limited to your property, which may include your home or place of business. In some states, it may also apply to an individualís car. CONCEAL CARRY LAWS As previously stated, all states have laws on concealed firearms. As a reminder, local legislation can impose regulations as well. Do your due diligence and research such laws so you can be up to date. In conclusion, if you were on the fence about taking a concealed class or if youíre the type of person that needs more insight on what to expect to help ease your nerves. Hopefully, this article provided more insight on concealed carry classes and what you can reasonably expect. Which in turn eased your nerves while also bringing you one step closer to pulling the trigger and deciding to take a class, get your license, and carry a firearm for personal protection. This decision is not one to be taken lightly. The reality is there may come a time when you must use your gun to defend yourself or your family. Are you willing to possibly take a life in defense of your own? Regardless of your answer, Iím proud of you for standing in your truth. If youíre not willing to, please know that itís okay. Many are not willing to take that step. On the other hand, if you are willing to make that decision, I applaud you; this is extremely important. When faced with a life-threatening situation, seconds matter, and you want to have the ability, means, and confidence to spring into action and be your own first responder.

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