Since the nation is seriously divided on several critical issues, many people have worried about the potential for civil unrest. Although it’s not an immediate threat, you may have wondered whether there might come a time when you need to defend yourself or your family.
If that time should come, you’ll need a self-defense handgun. If you’ve never purchased a firearm before, it’s crucial to have a plan ahead of time for how, when, and where you’ll carry and secure your gun.
If you’ve been thinking about buying a handgun, but have yet to make a purchase, here are six essential details to consider.
1. Do you plan to carry your handgun in public?
Do you foresee a need to carry your handgun in public? For most people, this probably won’t be an issue. Only a handful of firearms owners have a pressing need to carry a firearm in public.
Examples would be stalking victims and persons who have a history of being the target of domestic violence. Both often choose to carry in public.
However, you don’t require a pressing reason to carry. You might feel more comfortable or secure if you carry a gun in public.
Whatever your reason, you have to know your state and local laws first. Then, choose your handgun based on how you plan to carry. If you plan to carry the firearm openly, you’ll need different gear than if you plan to carry concealed.
If you expect to apply for a CCW license, you may want to stick with a lighter, smaller firearm. But again, this primarily depends on your personal preference.
2. Do you need a license to own your handgun?
It’s critical to follow your local licensing laws. If you don’t obtain a required license, you could be charged with a felony and lose your right to own a firearm altogether.
Some states require a license just to own a handgun, and others only demand a license to carry in public. Research your state’s gun licensing laws before you make your purchase.
If you are expected by law to possess a license to own a gun, you won’t be able to complete the purchase until you have your license.
3. Do you need a license to open carry your handgun?
Some first-time gun owners automatically think they can carry any gun in public anywhere, but that’s certainly not the case. Several states have open-carry laws you need to know about, because if you live in one of those states, you could get in serious trouble for breaking the law.
For example, in California, Florida, Illinois, and the District of Columbia, open carry is utterly prohibited. In New York and South Carolina, you cannot openly carry handguns, but you can openly carry long guns. In Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Jersey, you may openly carry a handgun, but not long guns.
Even when a state allows open carry, there are usually restrictions on where you can do it. For instance, you are not allowed to open carry on school grounds, any location where alcohol is served, or on public transportation.
4. How will you secure your handgun in your home?
Storing your handgun securely in your home is essential, even when you live alone. If you don’t want to store your self-defense weapon in a large safe or use a trigger guard, you have other options.
There are boxes on the market that make it easy to secure your handgun and still have swift access to it via a simple code or your thumbprint/palmprint. If you have children or live with others, you should devise a plan to secure your handgun before making the purchase.
5. Do you need a locked box for your car?
You also need to think about whether you’ll need to disarm yourself before going into a building. For example, if you openly carry or carry concealed, there will be times when you can’t bring your firearm with you into certain structures, such as a courthouse.
You need a backup plan at such times to secure your firearm legally in your vehicle where it’s out of sight. If you’re unfamiliar with car gun safes, check out these car safes made by firearms experts from Hornady.
6. What ammunition is available to purchase?
Since ammunition remains in short supply, you may want to choose your handgun based on readily available ammunition. You can get most types of ammo in bulk online, but you may not have $500 to $1,000 to spend on ammunition.
Whichever dealer you patronize, ask them what kind of ammunition they have in stock. Get their opinion on which firearm would be the best choice, given the ammo they can dependably supply.
Handguns are an affordable form of protection
If you end up not liking your handgun, you can always buy another one. They’re relatively cheap and there’s nothing wrong with owning more than one.