No guns allowed

If you follow my twitter feed (and why don’t you?) then you would have known that last night I was the (mis)fortune of attended a concert by former American Idol champ David Cook.  (hey, the tickets were free, sue me)  My previous concert going experiences have all been at “serious rock shows” like X-fest, Warped Tour, Green Day concerts, etc so I’m used to a specific sort of clientele that attend these shows.  In addition, I’m accustom to a specific type of security, namely the sort of searches that make airport security look non-intrusive and polite. So it was with memories of Warped Tour 2003 fresh in my mind that I prepared for the David Cook concert by leaving my pistol, spare ammo, and pocket knife locked in the glove box of my car.

I got to the door of the theatre where he was playing, and the young security guard asked me “do you have anything in your pockets?” I said yes, showed him my iPhone and car keys, and they let me in – no pat downs, no frisking, no nothing. I could have been carrying my 625 in an IWB holster and gotten through that security.

While it’s a mildly amusing anecdote on the surface, it also serves to illustrate a common dilemma faced by people who carry but also wish to participate in “group social activities” like concerts, football games, etc. While some things are easy to figure out such as sporting events (no guns, not now, not ever) other events like concerts are a little more difficult, especially when the venue doesn’t have an explicitly written “no weapons” policy.

Ultimately, the burden is on us – the people with carry permits – to determine whether or not a location or venue is going to be CCW friendly or not. In the event that it’s not a “friendly” venue, we’re then left with the decision on how to proceed. Do you carry anyway and hope security is lax, do you disarm yourself and adhere strictly to the rules, or do you simply choose to “not go”, because they bar firearms? Depending on the circumstances, I’ve used all three approaches, although the first one is generally a poor idea and can land you in trouble with the law, as such it’s not advisable. The 2nd and 3rd and both weak options, because one involves not carrying any sort of defensive tools, and the other involves missing out on what could be a fun event.

In the end it’s a situational decision – what is best and fitting for you may not be best and fitting for me. I advise compliance with the law and wishes of the property owner however – it’s the best way to keep out of trouble, and keep your carry permit.


  1. I prefer sporting events from the comfort of my own living room, so that’s not generally a problem.

    As for concerts, there’s something else to remember. I treat concerts like I do amusement parks – I *can* carry, but don’t. I mean, in case of a true SHTF scenario, there’s going to be thousands of panicked people running every direction. Getting a shot off without hitting an innocent is going to be damned near impossible. And, for the most part, useless.

    In a situation with that many people, a handgun ain’t going to amount to jack sh!t. If there are terrorists with AK-47’s just shooting the crowd, sure, maybe you’d help, but in real life that’s just not common enough to warrant the risk.

    Sure, there’s the trip twixt the car and the theme park, but you have to balance the reality of something happening at that exact point with the hassle of having to explain to the cop in the cartoon character outfit why your piece fell out at the first loop-de-loop.

  2. No binding signage in Mass (or much of New England at that) so I try and scout the place beforehand to get an idea of security (there are lots of “No Weapons” places that have no security at all or minimal so I don’t hesitate to carry there) if I knew there was going to be a pat-down, or binding signage (ie the Post office) I just disarm or choose not to go. There may be a time when I might have a plan with my party in the event I might get made, or preemptively leave before going through a security screen. But that seems like a generally lame way to end a day.

  3. The last concert I attended, they patted everyone down at the gate. I knew this going in, so I didn’t attempt to carry (it would have been illegal anyway). But when I pulled out my pocket knife, I was told that I wouldn’t be allowed to carry that in either. Carrying a knife into a concert venue is not illegal in Missouri, but apparently not allowed by the property owner. Next time, I’ll stuff it in my shoe or under my hat, two places they didn’t check….. or not attend a concert at that venue which is more likely going to be my solution….

  4. It’s getting to where you are faced with this decision even as you go about your daily routine. People are so misinformed when it comes to concealed carry. I do not carry to protect myself at ballgames, concerts or in restaurants. I carry to protect myself in parking lots. If you are walking from a prohibited area back to your car and you are accosted, hate it for ya. People that post signs prohibiting me from carrying my weapon in an otherwise place I can legally carry, should be held responsible for my security and liable for anything that happens to me or my family because I am unable to defend myself.

  5. This is why it’s good to not be a one-trick pony, relying only upon a gun as your sole means of self-defense. Other weaponry study is good, but if you can’t carry one weapon you’re likely not able to carry any. Knowledge of empty-hand skills is useful, but moreso, the useful thing is using your brain. We all love working on our shooting skills, but being trained and aware in street smarts and how to avoid trouble in the first place… these will take us further, especially when we cannot be armed.

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