Carry Concealed, Always?
I recently took a vacation to The Keys; a beautiful little spot with a lot of history but also now many bars and a rapturous nightlife. Going with friends we planned on a weekend of drunkenness and debauchery. I had debated on whether to take my sidearm with me but felt somewhat uncomfortable; where will I keep it when we go drinking? Will it be safe in a bag at the beach or if we go out on a diving excursion? It was quite the dilemma. The thought of leaving my gun somewhat unattended or at risk of being stolen was unsettling. But then again what if I didn’t take my gun and this was the one time I might need it? I had heard of several recent incidents on i75 where carjackings were occurring around the Miami area and I didn’t want to be caught out by not having my weapon. What could I do to ensure I had a fun trip but still had protection if I needed it…
Lately I’ve been on a gun-fever-ravaged spending spree and let me tell it has been amazing! Pistols, rifles, optics and other accessories have been piling up… The thrill of the missus almost finding my latest cache of weapons has been a thrill. But I’ve neglected something very important; a portable safe. Most gun owners have the big safe at the house but what about when you’re traveling? I hadn’t been on vacation for a long time (so I was overdue to say the least) but I was found to be totally unprepared. I’ve never trusted the safes that are provided in hotels. You hear the horror stories of staff doing away with your belongings and quite frankly the idea of keeping your more expensive belongings in a place everyone knows where to find them (in the closet) unsettles me. A safe like the Vaultek V20i or similar alternative would be perfect for storing precious belongings when taking them out with you for the day is a not possible. The benefit to this is you can hide it basically anywhere in the hotel room so if someone did break in they would have to search a lot harder to find your stuff; remember any safe is generally a resistance factor, it won’t stop a well-prepared thief.
I didn’t have a safe and so the next thing comes to mind that reminded me of my youth; what if I get denied access to a bar after an “ocular pat down” from security identifies I’m packing? While many of the bars doubled as restaurants in that area (making my carrying legal) they can always turn you away for any number of reasons – I can hear it now, you can’t see it when I’m carrying concealed blah blah blah… ok Mr. Badass Operator Hero, ok. Or what if the females in the group had some spontaneous desire to do something like skinny-dipping and I had to leave my gun on the beach unattended while we swam in the twilight? FYI it didn’t happen, but you just never know. It seemed that having my gun may cause some restrictions as to the activities we could partake in on any given day. Best advice for this is to plan ahead so you know what you’re doing; then you decide if the Glock can accompany you for the evening.
Understanding The Law
You can’t legally carry a firearm where the primary purpose of the business is to serve alcohol. If the premises is also a restaurant that is fine, but if you enter a bar carrying you are breaking the law. Bar and other nightclubs have been known to give pat downs prior to allowing entry and the risk of bring caught is a lot higher… Don’t be that guy. Either avoid the place entirely or leave your gun at the hotel. It’s not ideal but it’s a choice you have to make.
Bottom line you have to weigh up the pros and cons of taking your gun with you on a beach-type vacation. There are plenty of excursions you will go on where carrying your weapon will be absolutely fine and then others where it is not ideal. While we all like to think when we carry concealed nobody can see it the reality is that none of us are perfect and the chances of being detected is only one print or shirt move away. Take your gun, keep it in a safe when you can’t have it with you and keep your wits about you. I took a risk but it paid off; next time I’mm take my own portable safe.