Four Principles of Concealed Carry Commitment

By Bob O'Connor

Carry Commitment
Carry Commitment

USA – -( The concealed carry COMMITMENT is a pledge to yourself and those around you to be a responsible carrier of your firearm. I believe that commitment for concealed carriers can be broken down into four principles, being MINDSET, EDUCATION, TRAINING, and JUDGEMENT. In the coming weeks I will present my perspective of these principles, but first I wanted to discuss what the concealed carry commitment means to me.

Often over the past several years, when I have been in social settings, and people around me learn I am a career investigator and firearms instructor, the conversation inevitably turns to concealed carry. I always like to talk about how people approach their own reasons to carry, but I have become frustrated and concerned with the overall lack of understanding even those who have a concealed carry permit have about their personal responsibilities relative to this important privilege.

Let me be clear here. I know I am writing for an “audience” of folks who already carry concealed (and in some states, carry open). Hence, you already have a license if required in your state. Good for you for exercising your Constitutional right to own and carry. Nonetheless, like anything else, it’s always good to review the circumstances under which you carry, know why you carry and under which you might give advice to someone who asks about it. Now, back to the social setting.

Typically, the first question I get is something like, “I am thinking about getting my CCW permit. Should I?”. My almost immediate reply is, if you have to ask me, you have not made your mind up to be a responsible concealed carry permit holder, and you are not ready for concealed carry. No one can answer that question except the individual him- or herself. There is so much that goes into the decision to carry concealed and to do so for the RIGHT reasons. I tell them it is not just a decision to carry; it’s a COMMITMENT to carry. That is what I want to discuss in this essay.

As I was thinking about what to write for CCWSAFE, I thought “start at the beginning,” go to the basics. Why do we carry concealed? What are the essential elements for concealed carry? Yes, gun ownership is one aspect of the question, but concealed carry goes beyond mere gun ownership, and there are aspects of concealed carry that must be addressed beyond the hunter, the competitive shooting sportsman or the collector.

I focused on what I would tell anyone who asked about carrying concealed. I looked at my inner self and the reasons I stayed in my career for 40 years, and why I became a law enforcement firearms instructor. I looked at the dozens of LEO-involved shooting investigations I had participated in over the years and how those officers acted and reacted. I looked at my own use of force situation in 1991. I looked at the investigations of civilian use of force I had conducted. I looked at why I carry.

After much reflection, I determined that concealed carry is a COMMITMENT. Now, sometimes I can be old school. I like the feel of a book rather than an electronic device, so I went to my old paperback Webster’s. Yellowing, dog-eared pages. Well-worn from being leafed through over the years. I bought it when I first entered law enforcement. It’s something I have carried in my patrol car or had on my desk for over 40 years for guidance (that’s a hint, dear readers- a COMMITMENT to use that book whenever I needed it. Like a good partner, it’s never failed me). My Webster’s provides a simple definition of “COMMITMENT”: …to bind, as by a promise. To pledge. We bind to one another in marriage. We pledge to love, honor and stay COMMITTED to one another. We pledge allegiance to our flag. To live up to the laws, morals, and values of a nation. A solemn bond to one’s self or another.

Concealed carry, as we shall discuss throughout in this series, requires so much more than a mere decision to carry and meet your state’s requirements to do so. So many things can go wrong if you aren’t prepared with the proper set of values as you embark upon or continue your right to carry. Your state permit process doesn’t teach you the subtleties of what type of mindset you need to be safe and make proper use of force decisions. The government doesn’t show you how to train. The license vendor doesn’t teach you about laws from places you might want to travel to, and in some cases may not address your own state laws of use of force and self-defense. And merely possessing your state’s concealed carry license certainly does not automatically bestow upon you a higher level of maturity and good judgment.

Mindset. Education. Training. Judgment.

These are all principles we will review in the upcoming installments. I hope you’ll keep reading. For some of you, this will be old news. If so, make it available to someone you know who is just starting and thinking about concealed carry. Be a friend. Concealed carry is not for everyone. Let them know it’s ok not to carry if they aren’t prepared to live with the COMMITMENT to do so. For some, I hope it opens the door to the mind and makes you think about why you carry and how you act when you do. When you carry concealed, you have made a COMMITMENT, a social compact to do so safely and maturely, to stay trained and educated, and to be the best ambassador you can be for concealed carry.

Remember, the concealed carry COMMITMENT is a pledge to yourself and to those around you that should revolve around these four core principles. In our next installment, we’ll examine the element MINDSET and why it is important for concealed carriers to adapt or to prepare themselves for the worst-case scenario.


Bob O'Connor is a highly experienced criminal investigator, and has had the opportunity to be involved at both the investigator and major case supervisory/management roles in multiple high profile, media-intensive investigations during his career. Those cases and the various assignments over a 40-year career provide Bob with a unique perspective of the criminal justice system and the interaction between the police and the public. He has worked at the local, county, state and federal levels successfully, using multiagency cooperation as the basis for mutual accomplishments.

  • Retired FDLE Special Agent Supervisor
  • Former Florida RDSTF/5 Intel & Investigative coordinator, 4.5 yrs
  • Involved in the establishment of CFIX, Orlando regional intel fusion center
  • Former Support Services/Investigative Captain at Sanford Police Department, Sanford, FL.
  • JTTF/ state/local supervisory role, Orlando
  • DEA Task Force, Orlando
  • Multiple other Federal/State/Local Task Force Ops

About CCW Safe, LLC:

Founded by former police officers and attorneys who have all worked on local, and federal levels of law enforcement, CCW Safe, LLC offers legal service membership plans for concealed-carry permit/license holders and law enforcement officers. Two of the founders, Mike Darter and Stan Campbell, have spent more than 20 years each in law enforcement and have been a victim of federal lawsuits themselves from shooting and use of force incidents as police officers.  General Counsel, Kyle Sweet, is a former police officer and current owner of Sweet Law Firm, representing hospitals and health care professional across the United States.  With a strong membership base in 50 states, CCW Safe will have the most experienced attorneys in the jurisdiction of the incident handle members’ cases. Learn more on how to become a member at CCWSafe.Com.

  • 10 thoughts on “Four Principles of Concealed Carry Commitment

    1. I look forward to next installment and tapping into your experience Mr. O’Connor, not only for myself, but as you alluded to, for others in my circle of influence. I’ve carried for almost ten years, and when/if people find out, most of them ask the same question (especially in recent years).

    2. Thank you, Mr. O’Connor for the great lead into your upcoming series. I’m looking forward to reading and learning from them (you).
      I believe that well written information, such as you propose, seriously applied, will go far in support of 2nd Amendment rights.
      Once again thank you.

    3. When a person tells me that they are going to get a conceal carry license, the first thing that I ask is…”Are you ready and willing to shoot another person?” If they hesitate answering that question, I tell them that they are not ready to be a conceal carry person.

      1. Yup, being he has been government leo employed most if not all his life, it is not surprising he views us mere people as “privileged” should the gov allow us to carry concealed. Pretty typical.

        Having said that, and having received training as a Peace Officer years ago, I agree with him that many people do not think through all the many considerations involving every day carry of a firearm. There can be dire consequences for not having done so.

        I look forward to his further thoughts on the matter.

    4. Very nicely done! You are spot on about the thought process and the commitment.

      Looking back over some 25 years, in different states, I have been CCW. When in social venues and the subject comes up, I have noticed most people do not understand what is required mentally and emotionally to carry.

      If someone does not understand these fundamental characterizations of CCW and worked though the “what if” situations in their heads they probably should not CCW. It does take a commitment!

    5. One thing I like about CCW Safe, and one of the reasons I use their service, is that their articles are very informative and not lightly disguised spam.

    6. I have carried concealed for 25 years and have owned and used handguns for 50+ years. To me, concealed carry is a lifestyle choice which requires the same dedication from the carrier as someone who trains in an Oriental Martial Art. The training involves not only the body, but the mind as well. As a concealed carrier, you adopt a certain way of life which involves discipline, responsibility, judgment, and preparation. This is not a decision to be approached lightly. In many ways, the self-discipline required to carry concealed serves to make one a better person.

    7. I have carried concealed for 42 years. Been a handgun owner and user for 50 years. Retired six years ago after 22 & 1/2 years as a Federal LEO. Only pulled a gun twice (both as a “civilian”), the last one was last January. Never fired a shot. Maybe I’m just lucky. I have always said I’d rather be lucky than good any day; and I’m pretty good. I just knocked on wood by the way.
      Looking forward to the other installments.

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