When and where to not carry concealed firearms


I sometimes see signs like this on the entrances of businesses and restaurants. Banks, hospitals, schools, and even The Cheesecake Factory prohibit firearms on their premises. Is it outright illegal to carry a gun in these places or just their company policy? Will disobeying these signs result in a felony, a misdemeanor, or just being asked to leave? 

The bad guys who are going to shoot up a place are not going to care if there is a sign on the window or not and might even target these locations knowing that all the good people inside are going to be disarmed. Weighing the pros and cons, I am leaning more to conceal carrying in my purse and worst case scenario being asked to leave rather than be left vulnerable against an active shooter like what happened in the Brooklyn subway the other day.

It probably will depend on the state or city you are in, so there might not be one overall right answer, but if you have any thoughts I’d like to hear. 


  • Comments (22)

    • 4

      I personally ask forgiveness, not permission. If you properly conceal it should never be an issue. There’s an old saying “better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6”

      • 2

        Be careful of these kind of cavalier attitudes. If you’re going to concealed carry know your state laws. Have a plan. Remember that shit happens. No excuses for ignorance (the “law” doesn’t care if you didn’t know).

        But I agree, if you properly conceal it shouldn’t be an issue — if they see your gun you’ve failed and need to leave immediately if asked. 

      • 1

        I’ve talked about it on other posts here before, and not to incriminate myself online but I’ve carried in many places where it wasn’t “acceptable” to carry. Your attitude and the way you present yourself means just as much for concealing as the physical concealment itself. There was another post on here where we went into more detail about body language while carrying, I’ll try to find it and link it.

        Edit: found it. It was actually a post I had done on Grey Man vs Hard Target strategies 


      • 3

        Solid thread, I hadn’t seen that one before.

        And I do agree with you about carrying, no argument from me there — I’m sure we’re very similar about how we handle it. 

        I just cringe when people throw out cliches, and seem nonchalant about knowing their local laws. In this day and age if you mess up carrying a gun around it can cause a lot of unneeded trouble. 

    • 4

      Wikipedia’s article on Concealed Carry in the United States suggests that you’re right — it depends on the state or city that you’re in. Skimming this blog post makes me think that it has some of the considerations that you’re looking for on both sides of the argument to help you make up your mind on how you want to proceed.

      • 1

        That blog post made me realize that I need to look into my state laws and figure out what the consequences would be. It said that in some states you would just be asked to leave, where in others it’s a felony. If I’m in one of those felony states, then I will be much wanting to avoid the gun-free zones because if you are caught then that is goodbye to all your firearms.

    • 2

      That made me think over the laws of my city and state. I don’t usually carry my firearms everywhere, but my wife has always her Sig Sauer P365 in her purse. I don’t want her to get in trouble

    • 5

      For anyone who carries a concealed handgun or is considering it, I would highly recommend the “MAG40” class taught by Massad Ayoob. The classroom portion is heavily focused on what to expect from the legal system AFTER you’re involved in an incident involving a gun. It was very eye-opening & very informative.

      If you’re not familiar with the name, the instructor is a retired cop who’s earned a national reputation as an expert witness & firearms instructor. In the class, he covers what to do & say (and what NOT to do & say) after you’ve had to defend yourself: from the time “bang” happens to the point that you’re facing a jury (if it goes that far). He also addresses the mental anguish and how to defend yourself in the court of public opinion, so you can have some semblance of a private life after an incident.

      If you’re involved in an incident where there’s a gun in your hand, your job is at risk, your friendships and family relationships will be tested and the legal costs are staggering – even if you’re exonerated. If the incident has racial implications or the prosecuting attorney is anti-gun, your out-of-pocket costs will easily be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and the public backlash may force you to move.

      I’m not an attorney, so I had no idea about any of this before I took the class. (I took 70 pages of notes in two days. My hand hurt from all of the writing…)

      Bottom line: keep a cool head when you’re carrying and know your state’s laws so you can keep yourself out of court. And seriously consider CC insurance…

      (I’m not affiliated in any way with the instructor. I’m just a satisfied participant.)


    • 5

      You’ve got to read your own states laws. Go to the actual criminal code, it’ll say something like “Weapons prohibited in certain places”. Don’t take someone else’s word for it, just don’t. 

      In Washington state, according to the our state laws in the RCW (Revised Code of Washington) it says you can’t take a “weapon” (which is defined and includes firearm) into: jails, courthouses, schools, mental health facility (some exceptions), bars (exceptions to employees), or certain parts of airports. 

      That’s the only place you legally can’t conceal carry with a permit (in WA). If there’s a sign, it doesn’t have any legal standing. If they happen to see your firearm (failure on your part) they can ask you to leave — if you don’t leave you can be charged with trespassing. 

      • 2

        That is very good advice to go to the source and read the state laws. And also to leave when asked so you don’t get charged with trespassing.

        Thank you all for your wise advice

      • 2

        This website might help you Megan: https://www.usconcealedcarry.com/resources/ccw_reciprocity_map/

        Don’t trust it 100% and get stopped by a police officer and say “But usconcealedcarry.com said I could”. Could be a helpful guide to get you started on your research though.

    • 3

      In the UK it is very different, you need explicit permission to enter another person’s property while carrying a firearm or the offence of “armed trespass” is committed. There are other offences such as “taking game without permission” but I get what the original poster is talking about. In the UK it isn’t really an issue except for recent changes to carrying an otherwise legal folding knife in some public spaces such as schools or colleges. 
      The place where I live is rural, there is a much more relaxed attitude to long firearms but in the city’s it would draw unwanted attention just carrying a gun slip or rifle bag.

      • 1

        That is a very different attitude and set of rules than here in the USA.

        So in the UK, did they just make a new law making it illegal to carry a folding knife in a school or college? I wonder if that is just the larger ones or even a small 1 inch one on a keychain that could be used as a box cutter.

      • 3

        The 2018 change in knife law (not allowing knives in schools or colleges of further education) applies to all folding knives. Locking blades, butterfly knives, disguised knives and blades over 3” were already illegal.

    • 3

      In my state, that sign “properly” displayed makes it a felony. Of course properly is rarely done well. But like others said, def know your state laws. On the other hand if it’s properly concealed and no one knows it’s there, how do you get charged… got to weigh your risks and options. 

    • 2

      It depends on the jurisdiction whether those signs carry force of law. In places where they do not, getting caught gives them the right to ask you to leave. Then you aren’t breaking gun laws, but you are guilty of trespassing, and doing so while carrying a weapon could come with extra penalties. In short, it depends.

    • 1

      It is important to understand the laws and regulations regarding concealed carry in your area and to use good judgement when deciding when and where to carry a firearm. In general, it is advisable to avoid situations where carrying a firearm may be seen as provocative or may escalate a situation unnecessarily.

    • 1

      Whether the sign has the force of law depends on the jurisdiction. In Nevada, for example, these signs have no force of law, but a property owner has the right to declare you a trespasser if you get caught carrying without permission. In that case, if you don’t comply with a request to leave, you’re committing trespass *and* doing so while armed with a deadly weapon. 
      I’d check local laws. 

    • 0

      You risk being charged with trespass and other violations if you carry, even conceal carry where signs prohibit it, because it’s usually private property. And there are activists out there just waiting to make a legal point when you wander in carrying heat and someone notices or an accident happens. I’ve had experiences with both sides of this problem. At one place I worked, the lawyers told us “don’t ask, don’t tell” in hopes of avoiding legal entanglement. At another place, the boss was a jerk looking to score political points and really hoped and prayed some idiot would come in while carrying so he could call the cops on them. If you are finding yourself in places where you routinely feel threatened and feel the need to carry all the time, perhaps a change of venues is in order. I must admit these days I feel like I should be carrying full time but I also know my temper….so I do not. 

    • 1

      Keeping a firearm in your purse (backpack, etc) does keep it concealed, but remember that bad guys also tend to snatch said purse (backpack, etc) when you’re distracted.  And if it’s like my backpack, I’d have to fumble through a couple notebooks, some USB cables, and a partial pack of crackers to get to my weapon.  Hold on there guy, I got it somewhere.  Even then I’d end up yanking it out with my headphones dangling from it.  Take that, evildoer!