Should You Carry?

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Should You Carry?

Should You Carry? - lklawson - 1-flag-gun-569.jpg

Let me preface this article with a statement. I am a big concealed carry proponent. I think that everyone physically, mentally, and emotionally capable should be allowed to carry (within the limits of the law) if they choose to do so. There are bad people in this world that mean to do harm; and thankfully the ability to defend and repel that kind of evil is guaranteed to us by the Constitution, and should be exercised. That being said, there are some things people should think about before carrying a gun (either open of concealed).

I was in a local gun store the other day to buy a holster, and I saw a lady I know. While waiting in line I saw that she was picking out a .22 LR pocket pistol. She told me she had just gotten her concealed carry permit, and needed something small to keep in her purse. Being concerned that a small .22 pistol might be a little anemic, I asked her if she'd considered something a little larger; maybe a .380, small 9mm, or .38 snubbie [Ed. "Snub Nosed Revolver"]. Her reply surprised me. She said "I'm not going to use it anyway. I just want it to scare the bad guys away. I don't think I could ever shoot anyone." Not knowing what to say, and being at the register already I simply said "Well, good luck", paid for my holster, and went on my way. I've often thought about that encounter, and wished I'd said something more. Although nothing bad has happened, ever since then I've had this nagging feeling that she might be putting herself in greater danger by having the gun than not having it. Maybe certain people shouldn't carry a gun.

Should You Carry? - lklawson - 2-corner-570.jpg

Simply having a gun is not going to inherently make you safer. Regardless of how fast you can draw, how accurate you are, or what caliber of gun you have, if you are unprepared to actually use it, or for some reason are unwilling to use it, a gun can become a liability instead of an asset. Truth be told, lots of concealed carry permit holders are not as safe as they feel. In most life threatening situations, a bad guy isn't going to stand quietly at 7 to 10 yards away and wait for you to unholster, rack the slide, take aim and shoot; nor is it certain that the act of pulling you weapon will scare him off. You need to be well practiced in handling and using your weapon. You also need to know your personal limits, and the limits of your weapon.

Remember, the purpose of defensive carry is not to scare off bad guys (although that can and does happen). It is a final option to avoid being killed, or to protect others in your care from the same fate. If you are truly concerned for your safety, and carrying a gun seems like an option, you must ask yourself "Am I prepared to kill another person in order to protect myself?" If the answer is "No" then you should not carry a gun. Sometimes the mere display of a weapon will deter a less than committed attacker; but if the attacker is truly determined, on drugs, enraged, or doesn't think you are serious, there is a good chance you will have to use deadly force, or face injury or death. If the answer is "I don't know" or "I think so", then you probably need to put some real thought into matter. If you hesitate, or have to stop and think about it when the time comes, it may be too late. If you have a weapon and don't use it, there's a very real chance that it will become a weapon used against you or your loved ones instead of for you.

If you are a person who wants or needs to protect yourself in public, the best option is definitely a handgun. If you feel that you are not emotionally at the point where you can pull the trigger in a self-defense situation though, you may want to consider other options. Pepper spray, batons, stun guns/tasers, martial arts training, tactical flashlights, knives, and other items can sometimes successfully be used for self defense. These options are not nearly as effective at stopping a threat at a distance as a gun though. They do, however, provide some level of protection if used properly. Probably the best weapon you can use is awareness of your surroundings and common sense. This holds true when you're carrying as well as when you're not carrying a weapon. If you're alert, and don't put yourself in a position to be a victim, you more than likely won't have to fight your way out of it. There are times, though, when events cause planning to go out the window, and you need to protect yourself in a hurry. At those times, the lethal force of a gun is the quickest and best option to stop the threat. If you don't feel you can do that, attack with any and all resources you are comfortable using. The bad guy isn't likely to share your respect for human life.

Should You Carry? - lklawson - 3-street2-571.jpg

A gun is not like a magic wand; you don't simply wave it, and all the bad things in life go away. You have to know yourself, know the law and possible liabilities, know your weapon, and know your surroundings. Carrying a concealed loaded weapon can be a huge asset in maintaining your personal safety, but it is also a huge responsibility; not to be taken lightly.


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6 COMMENTS
Posted: 
November 29, 2016  •  09:20 AM
I agree with the basic premise that if a person is going to carry a firearm for self defense, they need to be mentally, emotionally, and legally prepared to use the firearm as actual Deadly Force, not in an attempt to just "scare off" a potential attacker. This, of course, is accompanied by the requirement to only deploy a firearm when Deadly Force is legally justified.

That said, statistically speaking, firearms are successfully used for self defense without actually firing a shot, far more often than not.

I do not advocate or teach to try to use the mere display of a firearm to terminate a violent attack, nevertheless, it does happen.
 
Posted: 
November 29, 2016  •  11:10 AM
Food for thought.

Another good question is, "Are you willing to train with it, at least long enough to become comfortable using it?" Not saying you shouldn't have a gun if you are not willing to practice. But a gun without the ability to use it is almost as bad as a gun without the will to use it.

Jed
 
Posted: 
November 29, 2016  •  06:01 PM
I work in a gun store/range and see this stuff that is talked about in this article all the time. Excellently written.
 
Posted: 
December 7, 2016  •  12:57 AM
I agree with the principle that if you are going to use a gun as a use of self protection you need to educate yourself on the laws of your state that you live in and train with your weapon of choice. And that you need to do a complete conscience check. Are you willing/or capable and mentally able to handle the possibility of taking another human beings life. Some people can't and those are the ones that are actually a liability to the rest of us. They buy a weapon thinking that I'm going to protect myself and my loved ones. But in reality when the unthinkable happens they totally shut down/clam up and now because they have shown the perpetrator their intentions with a weapon they just made the situation worse they have now placed not only themselves in jeopardy but other innocent bystanders as well. Why, because they are unable to follow thru on their ruse to protect themselves or others.
 
Posted: 
December 9, 2016  •  10:41 PM
Great article, it really makes you think. Nice job
 
Posted: 
December 17, 2016  •  04:31 PM
Good, thought-provoking article! I broke down and bought a modern carry pistol since my 1911 kept pulling my pants down.

A Sig P320 Compact in a 357Sig caliber. I have probably put 2500 rounds through it and am comfortable as hell with it. My state says I can only have 10 rounds at a time but practice makes perfect.

Where I fall from the norm is that I do not practice the "draw". If I am in a situation where a quick draw is the only way out then I guess I am toast. If I am afforded the opportunity to "think" briefly and ready my weapon, the barrel comes up and the trigger gets pulled.

Excerpt from my submarine "Topside Watch" training.
"This is the 1911 .45. It is as accurate to throw as it is to shoot. Forget about the "halt-halt-halt" and the "warning shot" garbage. Draw your weapon and shoot to kill. There will be one less person at the inquiry. Any questions?"
 
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