I live in a state that just recently switched over to constitutional carry. Before that, you had to talk to your police chief to get a permit. The police, in this state, are thankfully pretty good about giving the benefit of the doubt when they see a handgun print on a belt line but I’ll share a story of when having my concealed carry permit came in handy.
Long ways back, I had just broken up with my girlfriend. It was one of those long summer relationships that faded away with the warm weather. I was more than a little stuck in my head. One overcast day, I decided to walk along the beach and let my thoughts drift. It was October, and the beach was all but abandoned except a few stray runners with their shaggy beach dogs.
At that time, I carried a Glock 19 in an inside the waistband holster. It didn’t print too badly – especially with a flannel over the top. With the beach breeze pushing in, my right side had a noticeable outline. Where I live, it’s not too much of a deal. As the morning drifted into the afternoon and the afternoon into early evening, I realized I had damn near walked down to the border of Massachusetts. Realizing I was somewhere hovering around the border, I wisely decided to head back to friendly territory.
Unfortunately, on my way back, I think a senior woman called the police.
In New Hampshire, before constitutional carry, you can carry a concealed handgun so long as it is unloaded. That said, I had a permit.
A Seabrook police officer rolled up on his four-wheeler and pulled up alongside me. At the time, I was under no suspicion that I did anything wrong or even potentially illegal, so I regarded him much in the way anyone would when they see a police four wheeler rolling down the sands.
They do have sweet four-wheelers. A bit jealous, really.
When he stopped by me, I waved. He motioned me to come over, and I did.
“Sir, do you have a weapon on you?”
“Yes, I do, officer,” I replied.
“Where is it located?”
I didn’t grab it but just told him where it was.
“On my hip.”
“Do you have a pistol, revolver license?”
“Where is it located?”
“In my wallet in my back pocket.”
“Could you get it out for me?”
I slowly pulled out my wallet and leafed through to where my permit was located. The officer didn’t even ask to see my driver’s license but, in hindsight now, I feel like he was just checking off the boxes regarding determining whether or not the complaint was at all valid.
He examined my pistol/revolver license, saw it wasn’t expired.
“You mind me asking what you’re doing out here today?”
“Going for a walk. Nice day.”
The air had a slight chill and bite to it. It was an overcast, glum day for sure. He looked me over and then handed the license back. I felt out of place in this interaction. I didn’t understand why I was being stopped and, more importantly, why, on an empty beach, I was being asked by a police officer whether or not I had a permit.
“Sir, if you don’t mind me asking,” I jumped in. “What was the reason you stopped me?”
The Seabrook police officer seemed a bit annoyed more than anything by the question — but it’s hard to tell whether that’s just general annoyance or pointed. He didn’t even turn around when he said, “someone called in and said that maybe there was a man with a gun on the beach.”
“Did you tell that person that we’re allowed to carry?”
He shot me a look that gave me the impression he wanted to waste not even a second more of his time with me, this beach, or this complaint.
“Have a good day, sir,” I said as he drove off across the sand.
Now, some beaches in New Hampshire pointedly prohibit carrying firearms. There are also private beaches. It just so happened I was on neither. And this is an example of why it was a good idea to carry my permit on me — even though I did nothing wrong.