Are Shoulder Holsters Considered Concealed?

Gun laws can often be a rather touchy subject. Since they can vary immensely from place to place it is important to use caution when traveling across borders. Not only National and State borders but gun laws also vary across different cities and counties. In addition, the way you carry can impact the legal status as well, especially with a shoulder holster. I was shocked to learn something as simple as getting cold and putting a sweater on can change if some ways to carry are legal or not. Are shoulder holsters considered concealed? The answer depends on if the gun you are carrying is visible. If your holster is under clothing such as a jacket, then it is concealed. With that being said if you are walking around wearing a T-shirt with a holster on top of it and you are not trying to cover it up at all then this is open carry.

Why carry openly? It’s hard to imagine but concealed carrying was not always something people did. Before WWII the size of handguns was larger, so they could not be hidden as easily. In the west, it was more common to see people carrying guns on their hips than anywhere else. You could even wear a longer gun strapped to your back without any question because you have the right to protect yourself. Historically, hiding guns would make people suspicious that you were going to commit criminal activity rather than something people just did. People who open carry often do it for rather practical reasons.

Why Open Carry?

You might object to the fingerprints and background checks for permits since these are not required to use any other constitutional rights. Maybe you wish to avoid paying fees for a concealed permit. You might also feel like it’s an expression of your rights and a way to support them. Finally, open carry is most often associated with being a deterrent for crime.

Where Can I Open Carry?

Although counties and cities sometimes have special restrictions, many states allow open carry. Even knowing this, it is extremely important to check the local laws before taking your gun out of your house. The following is a summary of open carry laws in the USA states and territories. There are five main categories for open carry laws. The first one is Permissive; this means unrestricted within reason. Second, permissive with local restriction states are self-explanatory. Third, in licensed open carry states you are required to have a license. Fourth, anomalous open carry states allow you to open carry selectively. Finally, the fifth type is non-permissive areas which either forbid open carry or severely restrict it.

The permissive open carry states typically allow any citizen who is the legal owner of the gun to carry it unconcealed. The wording of the law varies but it is essentially saying you can either have the gun on your person or visibly in your vehicle. There are select states that count partial coverage of the gun as concealment, but many do not. Open carry is illegal in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, main, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

 In many areas, the law is considered unconstitutional so sometimes it is not enforced. The states and territories with permissive and local restrictions are Ohio, Oklahoma (not in effect until November 1st, 2019), South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming and in Colorado you can open carry everywhere except Denver County and city. In Iowa, you can open carry outside cities without a permit but inside I need city you need a permit. In Missouri, the laws are rather complicated because in some cities and counties they restrict you from open carrying and require concealment, but you don’t need a permit for concealed weapons. If you have a concealed carry permit you might be exempt from open carry restrictions, but you should always check local laws everywhere you go before taking your weapon out of your house.

In Nebraska, you can open carry without a permit anywhere except for Omaha. In Oregon, you can open carry without a permit except for in the places that have a restriction on the open carry of a loaded gun. In Pennsylvania, you can open carry without a permit except if it’s in your car you need a permit. In Philadelphia, you are required to have a permit regardless. In the American Samoa which is a licensed open carry territory, only shotguns and rimfire rifles have been permitted since 1991.

In the states and territories Connecticut, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Dakota, and Oklahoma you will only require your permit until November of this year. In Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, California, non-permissive states and territories, American Samoa, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, New York, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, the US Virgin Islands, Maryland, Hawaii, New Jersey, and anomalous states all technically allow open carry by permit. In practice, you can often expect your request for a permit to be denied.

What Happens if You Violate Open Carry Laws?

Almost all gone violations will result in a felony. The exact penalty will depend on your specific situation and even just having a gun with you can upgrade a crime you are involved in a “violent”. In addition to this, you will have to learn your states current laws if you want to know what the consequences are. It is very important that you call a lawyer right away once you are charged with a gun crime. Even if you were not doing anything wrong it is much better to be safe than sorry.

Look up your local laws to make sure you are carrying legally and if you need a permit go get one right away. The reciprocal carry laws can help you if you cross a boundary with a gun when you have a concealed or open carry permit. To summarize your CCW may be respected by another state without requiring you to apply for a new permit just for travel. Many times, having a gun permit will allow you to choose your mode of carrying.

How Do You Wear a Shoulder Holster?

You either love or hate wearing a shoulder holster everyone has their own opinion on the accessory. Many gun users Find complicated or too uncomfortable to wear. A shoulder or armpit holster is an excellent way to carry your firearm despite what many people say adjusting it isn’t as difficult as it seems. First, to adjust your Rig properly You should empty your rig. This might seem obvious to some people, but it is important to note but you should never adjust the fit of a holster well the gun is inside. This is absolutely necessary for your safety. Next, you need to put your arms through one side at a time and then slide the holster loosely into place. The straps should cross high on your back and nothing should be twisted. 10 you need to adjust the fit of the cross pad; this is often worn about 6 inches below the neck, but you should adjust it where it feels right for you.

If your holster has shoulder pads this is the time to adjust them, they should be centered front to back and near the neck. Finally, you need to adjust the straps so that the whole rig fits tightly, it should be snug, but it should not make you uncomfortable. One way to test that it’s not too tight is to move around in is to twist, bend, and maybe even to jumping jacks and arm circles. This will assure that you have the rig on properly.

Once you have the rig on the next step is to load your gun into the holster. You need to make sure that the safety is on and also move around again to see if there are any changes truth of fit once the whole store is full. If it is necessary for you to adjust make sure you pull the gun out first. If it doesn’t feel right at first it can take some time to get used to it. It is definitely worth it to take the time to make the adjustments. This is not like a belt holster so does not ‘plug and play. But it is possible you will like it much better. There is no perfect adjustment because it is different for everyone so it’s important to try on different shoulder holsters before you choose the one you like the most. Click here for more information on my personally recommended shoulder holster. 

Final Thoughts

sometimes concealed, sometimes not, a shoulder holster can be rather complicated. There are many cases when making a minor change can affect the way the defines something. The only way around this is to make sure you are a responsible and informed citizen. This means that you need to check your local laws and national updates on a regular basis and make sure you do not cover up your shoulder holster unless you have a CCW. 

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