Monday, February 7, 2011

Michigan Concealed Pistol License Class: How Many Guns Can You Carry?

As a Personal Protection/Firearms Safety Instructor, I routinely field and answer predictable questions from my students while they are enrolled in my Michigan compliant Concealed Pistol License (CPL) Training Class. My favorite question to answer - hands down - is "How many guns can you legally conceal carry with a CPL?"

Of course, my answer to that question is a non-definitive question lobbed back at them: "How many firearms do you feel like carrying around with you all day?" Loaded firearms have appreciable weight and can, at times, be a literal drag (pun intended), especially if you are legally carrying more than one.

Toss in a few firearms related accessories - such as holsters, extra magazines, and magazine carriers - and getting dressed for the day can literally add 20 pounds to your frame (another pun).

A state of Michigan issued CPL does not specify a limit on the amount of handguns you can legally conceal carry at one time. So, you can legally conceal carry as many or as little as you desire with a CPL.

Personally, my default status is always armed with two handguns unless my situation at the time necessitates a legitimate need for me to disarm myself. Depending on my mood and personal itinerary for the day, they may be both concealed, may be both openly displayed (does not require a CPL), or one may be openly carried while the other one is legally concealed.

My firearms instructors, who teach the CPL class with me, have all been legally carrying firearms for a while and have gotten pretty good - in my opinion - of hiding them "on or about their person." So, it shouldn't be a surprise when my students are usually amazed when my staff visually reveals that they armed with more than just one handgun.

Inevitably, the students in my CPL class then ask the obvious next question, "Why would a person desire to conceal carry more than one handgun?" Today's blog post will discuss the pro and cons of legally carrying more than one handgun.

For starters, having access to more than one gun means that you'll have additional firing capability. My handguns each have a magazine capacity of 16 rounds of ammunition in addition to the round in the chamber. So, when I carry my twin pistols, I have access to 34 total rounds firing capability.

Anti-gun folks, especially in the post-Tuscon, AZ Shooting era, openly question whether any one person needs that much fire-power. In fact, a few knuckle-heads even had the audacity to call for a ban on so-called high-capacity magazines.

In my opinion, their view is rather simplistic and myopic. In contrast, people who live in perpetually violent cities of our country where bad guys routinely travel in packs while looking for vulnerable citizens to victimize, feel that having more ammo than what is actually needed is preferred over not having enough.

In addition, having access to more than one pistol can mitigate the potential for having a handgun malfunction. Generally speaking, a decent quality handgun that is properly maintained should not fail to discharge. A handgun, especially a semi-automatic, is a mechanical device and can fail. Thus, in the event that one of your firearms whispers "click" instead of yelling out "Bang," you still have options.

Carrying more than one handgun does have its drawbacks. In essence, you are literally multiplying the issues of lugging around more than one firearm. For example, Pistol-FREE Zones (PFZs) immediately come to mind. Should you decide to enter one by disarming yourself first, you will now have to temporarily and safely stow away multiple guns.

Since parking lots of PFzs are exempt areas, you can legally leave your guns in your automobile. However, by doing so, you open yourself to the potential of losing two firearms - via theft - instead of just one. Of course, having a car safe can mitigate this risk but it is not fool-proof. The criminals may have just wanted to steal your entire car but now they have your guns as an unexpected bonus.

In a similar vein, if you are ever unfortunately forced to defend yourself from a violent and unprovoked attack, you risk having both firearms seized as evidence by the police until the shooting has been investigated. So, unless you already own more defensive handguns than you carry, the act of defending yourself may temporarily leave you defenseless.

Some people elect to legally conceal carry more than one handgun at a time. The benefits of doing so are more fire-power, an eliminated need to reload, and an added protection in the event of a malfunction. In contrast, the drawback of carrying more than one gun is the added responsibility of having another firearm to safeguard and having the potential of losing - permanently or temporarily - two guns instead of one during a theft or a seizure.

Which position is best? Like most things, that involve firearms, it simply boils down to personal preference. My preference is carrying two firearms.

How many guns do you legally carry?

You are strongly encouraged to not only conduct your own independent research but to also consult with a competent and qualified attorney before acting upon any information in this article. Laws covering self-defense, lethal force, firearms, and the Michigan Concealed Pistol License and their enforcement are always subject to change due to laws being amended, politics conducted in the Prosecutor's Office, and election results at all levels of government. Ignorance of the law, legally speaking, is not a valid excuse for running afoul of it. The penalties and fines imposed upon violators of firearms related offenses are stiff and severe.

About The Author
Rick Ector is a National Rifle Association credentialed Firearms Trainer, who provides Michigan CCW Class training in Detroit for students at his firearms school - Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit.

Ector is a recognized expert in firearm safety and has been featured extensively in the national and local media: Associated Press, UPI, NRAnews, Guns Digest, Tactical-Life, The Truth About Guns, The Politics Daily, Fox News Detroit, The Detroit News, The Detroit Examiner, WJLB, WGPR, and the UrbanShooterPodcast.

For more info about free shooting lessons for women and Michigan CCW Classes, please contact:

Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit
Phone: 313.733.7404


Unknown said...

I agree with you on carrying two fire arms as opposed to carrying multiple magazines, but myself carry one firearm and four mags, two standard and two high capacit1y.I carry a Glock 27 sub-compact, with two nine rd mags and two 15 rd mags, but thats my personal preference.

Brandon said...

Very useful information. It opens people's eyes.

OutlawJusticeDEA said...

4-5 depending on how i feel or if im wearing boots.... on my left side i carry an 1860 navy strongarm, as well as a chrome 9mm in shoulder harness, on my right i carry my 1858 new army, as well as the twin brother to my 9mm in shoulder harness. And sometimes i carry a pee shooter under my buckle. loaded all together my rig weights about 25lbs, but if you have some comfy leather after a while you don't know there there so to speak. Just think of it as wearing an exercise belt while you walk your favorite trails or sidewalks.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and the state of Michigan, to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."