In 2006, the Kansas Legislature passed the Personal and Family Protection Act. Since July 2006, more than 80,000 Kansans have applied for concealed carry licenses. The first licenses were issued on January 3, 2007. My oldest brother, my son and several nephews were among the first to get their licenses in early 2007.
I have to admit that I was a little surprised that a law like this had passed, and that blood relatives of mine eagerly embraced this new opportunity. These events set me on the journey of inquiring for myself the relevance of this new freedom. I eventually got my license to carry a concealed gun in early 2009, and this is my story of how I got there.
Born and raised in Wichita, I was never bothered by the fact that people like Wyatt Earp earned their reputations here dealing with drunken cowboys and gamblers in our cow town days. To be sure, many members of my family have been in law enforcement, so seeing guns on their hips never alarmed me as is common in some parts of the country now. Neither I nor anyone I knew had ever been a victim of a violent crime so, my natural conclusion was always that the police did their job and I had no reason to be afraid. Not only that, why in the world would I want to carry a gun around?
First of all, I believe that our Constitution guarantees the right of the citizens to keep and bear arms, without qualification or restriction. The national conversation on this topic rages still, and my piece here is not concerned with this debate. Beyond my right to have a firearm and to use it lawfully, there are other considerations on my personal choice to carry a gun for self-defense.
Then, I ran across a legal case called Warren vs. District of Columbia. This case, and many others like it, affirmed from the Supreme Court of the United States that the police have no duty to protect one citizen from another.
My first thought was "If the police have no duty to protect me, who does?" The list got short in a hurry and at the end, there was only me stuck with this reality and responsibility for personal safety. I read "On Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs" (From the book, On Combat, by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman) In the context of this piece by Lt. Col Grossman, I realized that I was a sheepdog to my core, and with that, comes responsibility.
I enrolled in a concealed carry class and paid my fees. The class was taught by an active duty police lieutenant from our metro department. There was a lot to learn, but the two things I got out of the class was "If you can't articulate the grave threat to you, keep your gun holstered" and "If a bad guy selects you as a victim, you can de-select yourself with this [holding his gun up]". This officer also teaches at the police academy and always tells the cadets that the licensed concealed carry citizen is one of the "good guys" and that the new cop should not fear them.
After I sent my paperwork in, I had to figure out what to do with the time until I received my license... I have to admit that there was some excitement in trying to figure out what kind of gun I was going to carry. I joined gun forums, read reviews and watched YouTube videos until I bled from both eyes.
The first gun I carried, but not for long, was a High Standard Sentinel .357. A four-inch service revolver at just under 40 ounces seemed a bit much, but I was determined. That gun was replaced by a Sigma SW40VE. Next in line was a Ruger SR9C. My every day carry now is a Taurus PT709 and I carry it everywhere, all the time.
Feeling well armed at short range, I began to consider other scenarios, like a tornado [common in Kansas] or other widespread event that would disrupt the civility of life. Getting over the "tin hat" feeling that I might be becoming an extremist was the first step. When it dawned on me that I really needed a long gun of some kind it started a new search.
I did a lot of reading on the AR and AK platforms, but at the end of it, they just weren't for me. This brought me to the pistol caliber carbines and the benefits that they offer. I was pretty well convinced that I was going to get the Kel-Tec SU2000 for all the reasons that it is unique. My older brother and I were at a gun show and I had decided that I was going to come home with the SU2000. When we saw a Hi-Point 4095TS laying on the table, I thought to myself "what the heck is that?" It dawned on me that this was one of the carbines that I read about. My brother [yes, the one that if a gun doesn't say Smith & Wesson, he doesn't own it] says to me "Hey! Look at this. This would be a great gun for you." Needless to say, this carbine went home with me.
Shooting it sealed the deal for me and completed my "system" of self-defense. Having the Hi-Point Carbine has filled in the gap of my plan to take personal responsibility for my own safety, and the safety of those close to me.
In closing, I really have to share a conflict that I carry every day that I leave my house and have a gun on me. I hope the day never comes when I come face to face with a deadly threat. If it ever happens, I would draw and fire to eliminate the threat. I would hope that my preparation and resolve would prevent any hesitation. I also know that taking a human life, however necessary, changes a person forever.
Author Bio: Mike Smith "mawguy" is 63 years old, married and a lifelong Kansan. He has been a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator for 40 years. He loves handguns and has recently been infected by the Hi-Point carbine virus.