Doh! You’ve been outed (legally) carrying a concealed firearm. Now what?

Concealed carry handgun

There you are, minding your own business while perusing the latest issue of Hamster Cosmetology Quarterly at your local bookstore. Suddenly, you hear someone shout, “He’s got a gun!” Looking around to identify the danger, you realize that everyone in the teen fiction department is looking right at … you. Unknowingly, your shirt rode up over the grip of your handgun, which you dutifully carry in a quality inside-the-waistband holster. Now you’re the center of attention and perceived as a dangerous threat to humanity — at least to those who are in the store.

This scenario can and does happen. It might be at a bookstore, coffee shop, big-box store, movie theater, restaurant, public bathroom or on the street. Once I looked out my car window and saw a guy riding his motorcycle down the highway, blissfully unaware that his entire handgun was exposed as his shirt and jacket blew in the wind.

Know that no matter how careful you are, it’s possible that someone may “out” you. What should you do if someone sees your concealed carry gun?

A black Smith & Wesson M&P model 9mm semi-automatic pistol lying on a white tile floor with black grouting and parquet.

One of the more common “outed” scenarios is a gun falling to the floor in a public restroom. Rather than worry about how to handle the aftermath, maybe it’s better to plan for that possibility in advance?

Be Calm

Before we get into any specifics, the most crucial part of your response plan is to remain calm. Freaking out, shouting at the “outer” to mind his or her own business or running away are all terrible ideas. You are innocent. You are not a threat to anyone. It’s critical that you act that way and project that image. Especially in the worst-case scenario, when someone screams or calls for police, you need to choose the high road and take whatever actions you can to de-escalate panic.

The rest of your responses depend on the specific situation. In some states, an accidental glimpse of your firearm is an enormous deal. In other places, it’s not so much a legal issue as one of mitigating fear and uncertainty for those around you. Here are strategies to consider.

The Law

One of the most significant responsibilities that concealed carriers must face is knowing the law — in advance. It’s up to you to know what your state (or local) government has to say about the concept of brandishing. While we may think of brandishing as waving around a weapon like the bad guys in cheesy pirate movies, it can be interpreted as showing your gun inadvertently, even if it’s not in your hand. As ridiculous as it may sound, someone spotting you by seeing the outline of a handgun under your shirt — printing — or when your cover garment rides up to show a part of the firearm can be construed as brandishing. Yes, this is extreme and not at all fair, but if you live in a place decidedly unfriendly to concealed carry, it may be your reality.

Read the rest: What to Do If Someone Sees Your Concealed Carry Gun – USCCA