Going armed, in some case, means restricting your movement. “No-Gun Zones,” or “non-permissive environments,” have to be on your radar or you can land in a heap of legal trouble.
- Carrying a gun requires a life adjustment, not only in acclimating to the firearm being on your person, but also in understanding where it's legally allowed to be carried.
- In most places, carrying in non-permissive environments is a misdemeanor, but one that can cost a concealed carry permit and result in jail time.
- It is tempting to flout these laws because the gun is concealed, but this runs headlong into property owners' rights and will not end well for the law breaker.
To get an idea what it will feel like carrying a gun in public for the first time, think back to when you were a child and got your first wallet or purse. For a week or more, you probably felt like a large wallet or purse with a small child attached. “If I lose this, boy am I gonna be in trouble! What if someone takes it from me? Hey, this ain’t comfortable or convenient!”
But, after that week or so, you acclimated. Eventually, it became a part of you. A “new norm.” The final adaptation was when you realized that when you were out and about without it, you were acutely aware of its absence. You knew that something was missing that you just might need if things didn’t go as planned and hoped.
Carrying the gun is very much like that.
Unlike a wallet or purse, there will be places where you can’t carry it. This will depend not only on current state law, but sometimes on city ordinances as well. In jurisdiction A, a “No Guns” sign may have the power of law, and carrying the weapon there can result in arrest and a heavy conviction. In jurisdiction B, the law may say that if your gun is spotted and you are asked to leave, you have only to peacefully depart and the matter ends there…but if you don’t leave, you are subject to arrest for Trespass After Warning.
Carrying in different levels, if you will, of “Gun Free Zones” may carry different penalties, even in the same city and state. For example, Charles Cotton, a Texas attorney famous for his knowledge of gun laws there, points out that ignoring a “no guns” sign in the Lone Star state is a relatively minor class C misdemeanor, but refusing to leave such premises when asked jumps up to a Class A misdemeanor, which can bring up to a year in jail and a four- or five-year loss of license to carry.
Some say, “It’s only a misdemeanor.” Those who work in the criminal justice system realize that “only” a misdemeanor is “only” up to a year in jail, and a gun-related crime on your record.
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People who carry regularly use the term “NPE” which stands for “non-permissive environment.” This is the situation where it is particularly important for the firearm to go undetected, or the carrier may suffer unpleasant consequences. As noted above, those consequences may involve serious legal penalties. Or, it may simply be that where you work, the company policy is “no guns.”
Let’s look at that particular situation a bit more closely. There are some who will say, “Concealed means concealed. If no one sees it, there’s nothing to worry about.” And there are those who’ll say, “My right to live supersedes my boss’s right to forbid guns in his workplace. I can always get another job, but I can’t get another life.”
All those sentiments are understandable…as far as they go. But there are other considerations, too. One is the simple matter of property owners’ rights versus the right to keep and bear arms. Consider, though, that when one is fired for illegally carrying a gun, that will probably be mentioned by the now former employer whenever contacted for a reference by a prospective future employer. “He only obeys the rules he likes” is not the sort of glowing recommendation that is likely to secure a new position.
Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from Deadly Force — Understanding Your Right to Self-Defense.