Note: This article does not constitute legal advice, and is for informational purposes only. It is recommended that you conduct your own inquiries into the legality of any issue contained in this article.
I was visiting my old man this past weekend. He’s responsible for my affinity for firearms. He was military, Marines and Army, and then went on to do a stint in law enforcement. From an early age, I was introduced to firearms and taught a healthy respect for them. However, despite this, I never noticed him having carried a concealed carry badge in all those years.
While I was down to visit him, I noticed a concealed carry badge hanging on the back of his chair. It made me wonder, why do people use a concealed carry badge? A badge of any kind tends to put folks at ease. Having a badge represents an authorization by a higher power to those around you. It indicates that you have fulfilled the necessary requirements to carry a concealed weapon (CCW). However, some people use the badge solely as a mark of distinction. If this is the only reason you are choosing to display a concealed carry badge, then please do the world a favor and just don’t.
So, at this point, you’re probably wondering if carrying a badge is a good idea. I’ll explain when a badge is appropriate and when it is not, and the potential problems you may face.
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What Are The Requirements To Carry A Concealed Badge?
To my knowledge, there’s no requirement by any state in order to carry such a badge. In fact, you don’t actually have to be licensed to conceal carry in order to purchase one. I do not carry one personally, but I went through the process for online purchase. At no point up through entering my billing details was I ever asked to provide my permit ID, or any government information, in order to obtain. Full disclosure, I did not complete the process so that step may appear later on.
Also, I’m not aware of any state that recognizes such a badge as a suitable substitute for your actual permit. You’ll still need to carry the permit along with a government-issued identification card. My assessment is that carrying this badge is purely decorative, with no actual tangible value in terms of the law. Any benefit is purely incidental under a specific set of circumstances. It can actually be illegal in some states to use a concealed carry badge. Such is the case with New Mexico, which states:
“Only a law enforcement officer may carry a badge, patch, card, or any other indication of authority to carry a concealed handgun in New Mexico […]”
Why Carrying A Concealed Badge Is A Bad Idea?
Alright, we’ve established there is no legal benefit to using a concealed carry badge. However, I haven’t gone into why using one could actually be detrimental.
The primary reason why a concealed carry badge is a bad idea is that it effectively takes the “concealed” out of concealed carry. Wearing a badge around your neck that screams “hey, I am carrying a gun” takes away any advantage conceal carrying provides should you have to use your weapon. I’ve discussed in several articles that anything that draws attention to you in that type of situation is going to work against you.
Secondly, a concealed carry badge can actually cause more harm than good. I’ve explained that people tend to see a badge, and assuming they aren’t involved in illegal activity, are put more at ease. Simply wearing a badge tends to indicate to people that you are somehow involved in law enforcement. For this reason, some police officers may believe you are attempting to impersonate a peace officer. In case you were wondering, that’s a crime. A heavy price to pay for “looking cool” when you go out around town.
Finally, to those in the community, you don’t look cool. In fact, you look the opposite of cool. To me, it displays that you, in fact, are not concerned with protecting yourself, loved ones, and strangers. Instead, it indicates that you see your concealed carry permit as a social status to be achieved, not respected.
When A Concealed Badge Is A Good Idea?
But didn’t you say your father who was in the military and law enforcement, carries one? You’re absolutely right. While I don’t agree with his choice to wear one, I do understand it. My father is pushing 70 years old, and he’s no spring chicken. While he often carries concealed, he sometimes carries openly. Using his badge as a way to indicate he’s licensed to carry, concealed or otherwise, may make his life easier around town.
My father has bad knees, back, neck and the list goes on, from his time in the service. I’ve gone out with him in knee braces, but have also had to push him around in a wheelchair. He doesn’t print when he carries, but occasionally when he moves to get out of the chair, he unintentionally flashes his everyday carry pistol. Rather than have someone scream “he’s got a gun” he’d prefer to do all he can to deter panic.
While his mobility is limited, he can still drive himself around town to run errands. Displaying his badge around his neck is a kind of courtesy to law enforcement should he get pulled over. I’ve had police officers come up and ask me if I am carrying concealed at the time of the traffic stop. Running plates I suppose indicates to the officer you are licensed to carry. Whether the officer asks or not, his badge reminds the officer that he is carrying a concealed weapon.
If nothing I’ve said deters you, or you fit into a small subset of society who may benefit from the badge, getting one is relatively easy. There are a bunch of sites that will print you the pretty badge and offer a bunch of different accessories.
I suggest if you’re going to use one of these badges, that you simply open carry. Because there are potential legal ramifications, and a concealed carry badge is likely to cause more harm than good, I highly recommend against the use of one. Do you use a concealed carry badge? Do you agree with my sentiments? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.