Saturday, February 12, 2005

What's It Like to Carry a Gun

Bill and I think most people reading The Ten Ring already own guns. This post will be preaching to the choir. At this point, you gunnies may want to head to another post.

Still here? This post is for anyone who has never carried a concealed gun, but is thinking about it. I am not going to discuss the legalities of carrying since state laws vary too much to cover here and I am not a lawyer. For that check this site for information about your state. Instead, I will talk about some whys and wherefores as they say.

Do you carry a concealed gun? I have carried one legally since the late 1980s. I can't carry at work and there are other times I don't carry because I get lazy. I am licensed in the State of Massachusetts and New Hampshire and have carried in several other states when I lived in them. It is a choice I make.

Why carry a gun? This is easy. The police can't be everywhere and yet criminals can and do strike in nice neighborhoods, broad daylight, dark alleys--anywhere. To me it is like putting on a seat belt. I doubt I will need the belt this trip, but you never know.

Do only "anti-social" people carry a gun? Carrying a weapon doesn't mark you as anti-social. It means that you are a responsible person and aware there is some danger in the world. You should not play up the danger, but you should not fool yourself into thinking it does not exist.

How can someone carry, knowing a gun can kill? You are carrying something that you can use to kill another human being. You have to be sure you have the right frame of mind. If you carry to scare a bad guy, knowing that you could not pull the trigger, you are inviting someone to take the gun from you and maybe shoot you with it. Look deep inside yourself. If you realize that there is no reasonable circumstance that will cause you to kill, don't carry.

Does that mean you are a killer? I have seen evil close up and its messy results. I searched myself and realized that to avoid rape or death I could kill in my own defense. I believe I could defend another person facing extreme danger. I don't want to hurt or kill anyone, but I want to enjoy life until I die in my sleep of extreme old age. Some punk with a knife and a hard-on will not take that away from me.

Have you ever shot someone? No, but I have pointed a gun at people and I have saved my life or "honor" with a gun. I thank God I have never had to shoot anyone. May that never change.

What does carrying a gun feel like? At first, you will be conscious of the gun at all times. Your senses will seem to expand as you look to meet danger around you. That feeling will recede when you realize that you are not a danger magnet just because you are more ready to handle it. If you are smart, you will never seek out danger, you will just be more confident you can handle danger if it comes to you.

Will people know I am carrying? The more self-conscious you are, the more you will touch the gun to make sure it is there and concealed. A cop or other trained observer may pick up on these almost unconscious pats and may check you out. The more confident and practiced you become, the less you will check the gun. Buy a good holster and trust it, the gun will not jump out of it. Be confident in how you conceal the gun.

Should I tell friends when I have a gun? No, you are carrying concealed and that is the point. It is not their business. Too many people may be tempted to joke about your gun. If your state won't let you carry into a restaurant or a church and you need to disarm, do it as discretely as possible.

What is it like physically? This depends on where you carry. If you carry in a purse, your purse will be much heavier. If you carry on your ankle, you will notice the weight and it might change the way you walk. It takes a while to get used to it. The easiest way is on a belt or using an inside the waistband holster. The weight is better distributed and the gun is easier to get to.

Should I carry in a purse? I prefer a waist carry, but sometimes I carry in a purse because of the type of clothing I am wearing. Remember that your gun won't be as accessible and the purse could be a thief’s target in the first place. If you carry in a purse, get one designed for that purpose. You want to keep the gun ready and you don't need a lipstick or pen slipping into the trigger guard.

Should I carry without a permit? This is controversial with some gunnies. Some point out that a permit is an infringement on your rights. True. On the other hand, you cannot enjoy your Second Amendment rights if you are locked away and later stripped of your gun rights. I advise you to get a permit and carry legally. If you want to be a test case, more power to you, but this is your decision.

Should I get training? This is never a bad idea. Some states require training before you can get a permit. You might want to seek out other firearms training, but be careful how much you get. You want to strike a balance between looking competent and responsible, while still not looking like a paranoid who trained constantly to get ready to shoot someone.

What if I shoot a bad guy? I am not a lawyer and it might be a good idea to meet with a pro-gun lawyer and discuss this with him or her. Here is some advice I got, but remember it was for me and may not work for you;

  • Holster your gun if no other threat is imminent;
  • Stay at the scene if at all possible;
  • Call the police as soon as you can;
  • Don't let anyone touch the bad guy's weapon, your gun, the bad guy except for first aid;
  • If you can offer first aid safely and competently, do it. If not, wait for the ambulance;
  • Do not collect witness statements, but get names and car tag numbers;
  • When the police arrive keep your hands in plain sight at all times;
  • Do not touch your weapon unless the police ask you to;
  • Tell the police succinctly what happened and be completely honest (it is smart to talk to your lawyer before you even describe what happened);
  • Do not answer any questions from the police without a lawyer;
  • The police will take your gun, don't argue (you will probably get it back eventually);
  • If all goes well, you will not be charged, but you could face civil action from the dirt bag or his family.

  • Your life will change, you will give a lot of money to a lawyer, but you will be alive.

    Is carrying worth the potential hassle and effort? If it keeps you alive, yes it is.

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