So you‚Äôve been through the mandatory concealed weapons class, watched the videos and shot a weapon at a gun range.¬† You’ve taken the time to fill out all the required state paperwork, including background checks and finger prints, packaging them all up to be sent to Tallahassee along with the $100.00 + dollars required to¬†pay for the permit.¬† Then the wait, and more wait and then even some more wait. If¬† you are¬†not a patient person your may be in for a shock as to how long it will actually be before the day finally comes that your permit arrives.¬†Four to five months is not unusual. A lot of people here on Amelia Island have applied for the permit in the last year.
So, now that you have your permit you feel empowered, safer somehow now that you can carry a concealed weapon, either on your person or in your car.¬† Things are good right?¬† It’s all legal. What could possibly go wrong now that you have the permit?¬† I can sum that up in two words,¬†‚ÄúA LOT‚Äù.¬† For most of us having the freedom to carry a gun is relatively a new thing.¬† I have talked with people who seem to be as comfortable packing a concealed weapon as they do with car keys in their pockets.
Here‚Äôs where things typically go bad with those of us who have a permit but lose focus on the huge responsibility that comes with it.¬† First we forget that the permit should be on us at all times when we are actively carrying a gun.¬† This may sound like a natural, but I have several friends that confided losing their permit, but are in the belief that if there‚Äôs an issue, the police can always perform a quick check up to verify, that they are legal to be packing.
In a conversation recently with a senior officer¬†of our local law enforcement agency,¬†he assured me that this was not the case at all.¬† The law clearly states that having the permit with you is a requirement.¬† Should you have the need to produce it but can’t, things may get a little hairy for you.¬† I asked if a copy of the permit was allowed and his statement was it was better than nothing but the original needed to be close by at all times.
Another problem area with a newbie who carries a gun in a car is that they tend to forget about the weapon, especially¬†when they have other occupants in the car, or even worse, kids curiously digging through the glove box in search of gum or candy and come across a loaded weapon.¬† This could happen even if you’re not in the car at the time and guess what, you¬†will be¬†the one liable, because it‚Äôs your weapon.¬† Having a permit is just the beginning when it comes to responsibility¬†for those who elect to carry a weapon.¬† You should be constantly aware of the do’s and don’ts and all the places and circumstances that even a permit still won’t permit you to carry a weapon.¬†Be responsible by keeping guns safely away from small children and anyone you associate with.
Remember that the burden and responsibility lies completely with you at all times,¬†regardless if¬†you‚Äôre actually¬†¬†carrying the gun or just storing it.