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6 Places to Avoid if You Concealed Carry a Handgun

by Ben Jimenez 3 min read

gun free zone sign

If you've recently decided to carry concealed, you've likely gotten your license or some training, your handgun, and the best-concealed holster for your needs. You're probably expecting to be able to protect yourself in public no matter where you go. However, there are certain areas you are not allowed to carry concealed, along with other public spaces where it is a bad idea to have a handgun. 

It's important to brush up on your local jurisdiction and state's laws to ensure you are not carrying concealed in an illegal capacity. While you may be a law-abiding gun owner, if you make a mistake or have ignorance of local laws, you are likely to be convicted of a gun crime. Review these laws monthly to ensure they have not been changed or updated.

1. Federally Mandated Gun-Free Zones

While states may differ on some gun-free regions, there are common areas governed by federal restrictions across all states where guns are not allowed to be carried concealed. Beyond carrying restrictions, many of these properties don't even allow guns on the property which extends to parking lots. The buildings and properties which are off-limits include:

  • Federal courthouses and federal buildings
  • School zones, including within 1,000 feet ofany school
  • Post offices (which includes the parking lots and drive-up mailboxes)
  • Visitor centers and ranger stations on any federally owned national park or forest
  • National cemeteries
  • Federal prisons
  • Airplanes and airports
  • Military bases 
  • Any property maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers, including dams 

woman with gun in purse
2, Retailers, Restaurants, and other Privately Owned Businesses

In the wake of the publicity from mass shootings, many privately owned businesses have instituted company policy about carrying firearms on their properties, even if you are legally licensed in your state. Most of these businesses post a policy on their doors. 

The following is a list of retailers and types of businesses which generally have a no-carry policy in place:

  • Most movie theaters, including AMC and Regal
  • Most shopping malls
  • Many chain restaurants, including Buffalo Wild Wings, Qdoba, Waffle House, Chili's, Outback, and Bonefish Grill
  • Many supermarkets, including Whole Foods and Safeway
  • Most major retailers, including Target, CVS, IKEA, and Walgreens

iwb holster

3. Concerts, Festivals, and Sporting Events

Unfortunately, concerts and festivals have been the target of some of the deadliest mass-shooting events in world history, including the Las Vegas and Paris, France attacks. The crowd is unarmed due to very strict prohibitions on firearms being brought into most public venues. You will not be able to bring your concealed carry handgun into most concerts, public festivals, sporting events, parades, marathons, or other events with a high concentration of people. 

4. State-Restricted Gun-Free Zones

In addition to federally prohibited buildings, you can expect restrictions in most common state-owned buildings across the country. These buildings may include:

  • Public libraries
  • City hall or town hall
  • State, district, and county courthouses
  • State government buildings, including statehouses and legislatures
  • Childcare facilities
  • Sheriff offices
  • Bars (with the exception, in some states, of bars that offer food)
  • Demonstrations or funerals

Additionally, many states have laws on the books which state that you may not carry concealed if you are drinking. If you use your weapon, even if you've consumed only one beer or drink, you may be held liable for carrying a concealed weapon while under the influence. 

5. Indian Reservations

Indian reservations are governed by their own laws and are extremely strict when it comes to bringing firearms onto their properties. Since many casinos are also covered under Indian reservation laws, it's crucial to find out whether your local casino allows concealed carry firearms by properly licensed gun owners before visiting. 

6. State-to-State Travel

Your concealed carry permit, if your state requires one, likely has reciprocity with other states. However, traveling through a state which does not have reciprocity puts you at risk for being convicted of a gun crime if you are driving through while carrying concealed. Some states even have restrictions regarding traveling with a firearm that is not concealed. 

It's essential to find out the laws governing concealed carry and traveling with a firearm for any jurisdiction you plan to travel through with your firearm.

Final Thoughts

Familiarizing yourself with the laws in your state will help protect you from prosecution. Even in areas where you can legally carry. Invest in the best IWB holster or custom Kydex holsters to keep your gun in place so that you don't draw attention to your firearm. Discretion is always best when you're carrying concealed in public.

Ben Jimenez
Ben Jimenez


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