A fairly common question we get asked is…
“Should I get a concealed carry badge?”
Well, that’s tough for us to answer for you. Our first instinct is to respond with, “No! You should not get a concealed carry badge.”
However, there’s at least one reason we’ve heard that a little bit of merit (barely).
Let’s explore the pros and cons of a concealed carry badge and you can make your mind up for yourself.
Concealed Carry Badges
Concealed carry badges can be purchased online with no proof of even having a CCW.
In most cases. someone who has a CCW badge carries it hidden within a wallet or a badge holder and only intends to take the concealed carry badge out to show it to someone to prove that they have a concealed carry permit.
As we’ll discuss below, there’s one justification we’ve heard for carrying one like this.
We love the idea of concealed carry and we strongly recommend getting a concealed carry permit in your state if one is available/issued.
We even recommend getting additional CCWs from other states to help when you are traveling. There’s even an option to get a CCW online that allows you to carry in over half the country.
It’s also popular to subscribe to a self defense legal protection plan, typically referred to as “CCW Insurance” (even though it’s not tenchincally insurance).
However, some concealed handgun permit holders decide to wear their badge on their belt or around their neck. We think this is the WORST option if you are going to have a badge for your concealed carry permit.
This often makes the badge-wearer seem as if they are trying to look like a law enforcement officer – not a good idea.
These badges can sometimes be customized with a specific state or even a badge number to make them appear more authentic.
It is important to note: concealed carry badges are not official and they give no authority to the possessor.
So, should you get a concealed carry badge?
Reasons Not to Get a Concealed Carry Badge
The fact that we’re covering the arguments against getting a CCW badge first should make it clear where we stand on the issue.
Our first concern is questioning the motives of someone getting one. We’re not sure, but it seems as if people get concealed carry badges because they are trying to seem “official” at best or appear to be law enforcement at worst.
Having one of these badges may make the holder tempted to show it in certain situations to get out of trouble or impersonate a cop. Both are bad ideas!
Also, much of the gun community (our circle of friends, at least) look down upon these badges as a fake attempt to look important. Again, we’ll discuss below why that may not be the case, but we think that you should be aware of how others (pro and anti gun folks alike) perceive you and your attitude around firearms.
The second issue is what happens if you don’t intentionally show it but it is seen by a real cop during a traffic stop? Is the cop going to think that you’re trying to get out of trouble? Are they going to think that you’re going to try and impersonate being a cop?
We know of a federal agency (we’ll keep it a secret) that had “emblems” on an ID holder that looked fairly close to a badge. One of the non law-enforcement employees “flashed” it during a traffic stop to try to get out of trouble. It caused such a storm that everyone in the entire department (hundreds) had to turn in their “emblems.”
Even someone in a store might see it and later explain to a cop that you were trying to flash it to impress people or that they thought you were a cop. You never know who will see it and misunderstand it.
Yes, the concealed carry badges we’ve seen clearly say “concealed carry badge” instead of “police officer,” but they CLEARLY are designed to look just like a real cop’s badge. That isn’t a coincidence.
Third, what happens if you do have to use your firearm in self defense and this is brought up in court against you? Can you imagine how easily it could be spun that you were a vigilante trying to be a cop and therefore weren’t really acting in self defense?
We think a great defense is to have a valid concealed carry permit – more than one is even better because you show that you’ve bene vetted by more than one state. It also helps to cover you in case you travel to another state!
If you’ve already got your home state’s CCW, great! If not, or if you’d like to get coverage in more states, please check out getting a Virginia Non-Resident (or resident) CCW. You can qualify for it online (yes, really) and apply for it and get it no matter which state is your home state.
And, do not make the mistake of thinking that you’re protected legally after a shooting because of a badge – this is NOT legal protection. If you’re interested in that, check out our Best Concealed Carry Insurance article.
We digress – let’s look at the best argument we’ve heard for getting one. If this doesn’t apply to you/you don’t agree with it, then that’s our fourth argument against concealed carry badges – there’s no good reason to get one.
Benefit of a Concealed Carry Badge
The best argument we’ve heard for getting a CCW badge is for identification after a justified use of force with a concealed handgun.
The scenario we hear is generally: you just used your firearm to defend yourself and a police officer shows up on the scene and sees you with your gun. If you pull out a concealed carry badge the cop might see that you’re a “good guy” and not mistake you for the bad-guy.
This might have some merits, but not for us.
It is not clear whether most cops will think you’re a good guy. After all, we already explained that ANYONE can get a concealed carry badge. This includes the bad guys. Therefore, if the cop knows it’s a CCW badge, it doesn’t prove anything.
The only time it could work is if the cop thinks it’s a real badge. Well, we already covered the problems with that above.
So, if you like the idea of trying to identify yourself as a good guy after a justified shooting, who are we to argue? It could definitely work.
However, please be careful with it and don’t let it be seen by anyone until you’re absolutely sure that you want them to.
So, What Should You Do?
We recommend spending your time and money on training and getting a quality firearm, holster, and ammunition.
If you’re interested in the online CCW we referenced above, you should check out ConcealedCarry.com.
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