Why Did You Decide to Start Carrying a Gun?

 

dressing-concealed-carry-gunSimple question, isn’t it? Why did you decide to join thousands and thousands of other people like yourself and purchase a firearm for self-defense?

If you’re like me (and I know I am), it was because of a real threat (a psychotic relative) and a perceived threat (a rise in violent crime in the Phoenix area). Either is a very valid reason to arm yourself and your family against the threat of grievous bodily harm, and if you’ve done so already, congratulations, you’ve made the most adult decision you’ll ever make in your life.

But what are you willing to defend with your gun? Your life? You family’s lives? Your co-worker’s lives? The life of a random stranger on the street? Your car? Your stuff? Someone else’s stuff? These are all questions will you need to answer before your gun is in your hand, because there will not be time to answer them when the shooting starts.

Let’s look at a recent very high profile court case, the trial of George Zimmerman. I’m not going to try to break down what happened that night and how it might apply to you: Massad Ayoob (who literally wrote the book on armed personal defense) already has done that for us. Instead, let’s look at the decisions made by Mr. Zimmerman before that fateful night. By volunteering to be a Neighbor Watch patrolman, Mr. Zimmerman made the decision that he was willing to intervene in the affairs of others (his neighbors), and by carrying a pistol while doing so, he decided he was willing to use lethal force to defend his life and the lives of his neighbors if needed.

Were those the right decisions? Not for me to say: I wasn’t in his position, and a jury of his peers has exonerated him of any wrongdoing that night. I do know that I decided what is and is not worth my involvement when I started down the journey of concealed carry, and I heartily suggest everyone else do that as well.

Get a book on the firearms laws of your area and read it cover to cover. Consult with a lawyer. Get training. Consider buying self-defense insurance. Talk with your spouse or significant other about what they consider is worth defending with your lives. Ultimately, you should consider what is important and irreplaceable in your life and what is not. For me, I can always by another TV set or car, but I can’t replace my wife and children.

Your gun is not a talisman of self-protection and the more you know now about when and if you’ll need to use it, the quicker and more effective you’ll be, if, God forbid, you need it to save your life or the life of someone else.

There are 22 comments.

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  1. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Kevin Creighton: Your gun is not a talisman of self-protection and the more you know now about when and if you’ll need to use it, the quicker and more effective you’ll be, if, God forbid, you need it to save your life or the life of someone else.

    Well said. Being armed security for our nation’s best weapons kept the right use of deadly force at the forefront of my thinking for many years. Now that I’m a civilian I can eliminate many of the situations under which deadly force would be authorized. One thing, however, will never change: its use is justified only under conditions of extreme necessity and as a last resort when all lesser means have failed or cannot reasonably be employed.

    As important as it is to know when deadly force is appropriate, knowing how to never get in such situations is just as important.

    • #1
  2. Byron Horatio Inactive
    Byron Horatio
    @ByronHoratio

    I didn’t start carrying for any particular reason or perceived threat. But just following the logic of being prepared for the worst case scenario. It took on a more urgent meaning when I got engaged at 21 and realized that I wasn’t the only one counting on myself to stay alive anymore.

    But good lord was I ignorant when I started. My first carry pistol was a Single Action Peacemaker remake that I wore under my coat. A few weeks of that, and I got wise and bought a 9mm.

    • #2
  3. Klaatu Inactive
    Klaatu
    @Klaatu

    Simply because the idea of not being able to act if the need arose kept me up at night.

    • #3
  4. Rapporteur Coolidge
    Rapporteur
    @Rapporteur

    Sobering questions, Kevin, and I’m glad you posted them. I fear that too many folks obtaining their concealed-weapons permits don’t think these things through ahead of time, figuring that they’re level-headed enough to make the right call in a crisis situation.

    • #4
  5. Probable Cause Inactive
    Probable Cause
    @ProbableCause

    I started carrying because I was tired of hearing about mass shooters.  Intellectually, I know that the chances of me being there to stop one are basically zero.  But the President and I do agree on one thing — we have to do something.

    And that’s it.  If I’m in the presence of an armed robbery or some other lesser crime, I’m not getting involved.  I don’t have the training, and I’m not willing to assume the legal risk.

    • #5
  6. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    Concerns about my personal safety when making regular visits to Laredo, Texas more than a decade ago, given the burgeoning violence and lack of border security.

    • #6
  7. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    To answer the title question, I’ve recieved a few actual threats… And we live in a high-gang-activity area. Sometimes knowing too much about the crime in your area makes you a little paranoid.

    But I already know that I would not use it to protect anything except actual life, and only then as a last resort.

    I do subscribe to the idea that we are all first responders, and heaven forbid any sort of shooting or terrorist scenario… But as a gun owner, I do consider it a responsibility.

    • #7
  8. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    Probable Cause:I started carrying because I was tired of hearing about mass shooters. Intellectually, I know that the chances of me being there to stop one are basically zero. But the President and I do agree on one thing — we have to do something.

    And that’s it. If I’m in the presence of an armed robbery or some other lesser crime, I’m not getting involved. I don’t have the training, and I’m not willing to assume the legal risk.

    And that’s an excellent reason. I totally agree.

    • #8
  9. Quietpi Member
    Quietpi
    @Quietpi

    An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.” Robert A. Heinlein

    I’ll skip my reason for carrying a firearm – my occupation probably says enough.  I agree with those who consider the above quote to be a horrible commentary on modern society.  Well, yeah, it is a commentary on any society.  What interests me are the studies that show that people who are armed are far less inclined to become involved in any confrontation at all than the general public.  I believe there are two reasons – the knowledge of the possible outcome if any situation becomes deadly is sobering, and makes any sane individual much more eager to avoid anything of the sort.  Second, anyone who recognizes his/her moral obligation to be trained and proficient, if one is to possess the ability to use deadly force, will as a product of that training be more aware of his/her surroundings, more attuned to what might constitute danger, and how to avoid it.  That is, I’m less likely, not more likely, to go down a dark alley if I’m armed.  Col. Jeff Cooper’s “color code yellow” is real.

    • #9
  10. wilber forge Inactive
    wilber forge
    @wilberforge

    Prior to the consternations of the current time, many either carried and were armed in the home, without question in large part and educated in the Laws and use of firearms.

    It happened to be a normal thing in most venues until constipated thinking became the Norm. And Yes,  dissmiss this old soul as is usually the case. Times do change as they do, yet surrender and fear are not freinds.

    Situational awareness and preparedness  is no different then than it is now.

    • #10
  11. Steven Potter Thatcher
    Steven Potter
    @StevenPotter

    I took up concealed-carry because I came around to the idea that my security is incumbent on me and no one else.  Sure, law enforcement will do their best to keep people safe, but they are not 24/7 bodyguards.

    I don’t think I’ve ever been in a situation (and hopefully never will be) where I had any reason to fear for my safety.  But, if a situation were to occur where myself or someone with me was in mortal danger I want that option.

    • #11
  12. Pony Convertible Member
    Pony Convertible
    @PonyConvertible

    I carry for the same reason I wear a seatbelt and have fire extinguishers in my home.  If I need them and don’t have them, it is too late.  My wife carries because of a scary situation with a small pack of stray dogs.

    I would never use a gun to protect stuff, nor is it legal to do so in my state.  As far as protecting strangers, it depends on the risk to myself and my loved ones.  I am not going to confront an armed mob to save you, if I can flee.  If the odds are better than I will.  It is situation dependent.   Strangers have to same right as me to arm themselves.  I don’t feel obligated to protect them if they choose not to.

    • #12
  13. John Seymour Member
    John Seymour
    @

    Two reasons:

    1. The attempted attack on the “Draw Muhammed” contest in Dallas.  I read broadly and I will not permit anyone to tell me what I can and cannot read.  If I chose to re-read Rushdie’s Satanic Verses on the train on my commute through Little Mogadishu, that is my right.  But I would be foolish not to recognize that some of those who object may, in the current environment, think about doing something to express their disapproval.
    2. The attack in San Bernardino.  As others have said, the odds of one happening near me are close to zero, but if it did, and I survived, and anyone close to me did not, I could not forgive myself for having done nothing.  And if enough people “doing something,” then there is a better chance of someone being there.

    I am trying a variety of handguns for fit and feel.  I am seeing significant differences in result based on what seem small differences in design.  So far the Sig 239 works best for me, but it is pricey.  Once I get the gun, I will work on shooting skills until I feel comfortable.  Only then will I get my carry license.  But in the meantime, I am thinking about all of the other questions you raise.

    • #13
  14. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    I earned my CHL in 2002. I don’t recall a single specific reason for pursuing it. I believe every able mind/bodied American should be responsible for their personal security and responsibly exercise their 2nd Amendment rights.

    • #14
  15. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    I was raised around guns.  My family was in construction, land development and property management.  There were always somebody upset because we were developing land around them or they were being evicted for not paying rent or some such reason. Some of these people would threaten our family and some of those did so with guns.  Thus I was raised to have one around me, how to handle them and became comfortable that someday I may need to use one to protect myself or mine with one.  Later when my first jobs involved travel I took the practice with me and it has saved my health / life on more than one occasion.  A lone traveler is a target in many ways, if people think you can not protect yourself you are a marked target.

    I really did not think my life experiences were that much different than most people so it comes as a surprise to me that many on Ricochet do not have guns and have never needed one.  What a protected world you folks must live in.

    • #15
  16. Tom Riehl Inactive
    Tom Riehl
    @TrinityWaters

    Having a CC permit enables one to be fully functional.  Here in a sanctuary zone in Oregon, gang activity is rife.  But the basic reason is sufficient: I don’t want some idiot controlling my life, literally.

    I’m not anxious to use my weapons, so have highly visible external Swann cameras on my house, and prominently display bright blue 2nd amendment stickers on a couple of windows.  Politeness reigns.

    • #16
  17. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    BrentB67: I earned my CHL in 2002. I don’t recall a single specific reason for pursuing it.

    NICS waiver. That was the major motivator for me. I’m not good at buying things then waiting a week to get them, especially if I buy local.

    • #17
  18. Locke On Inactive
    Locke On
    @LockeOn

    I stepped into defensive firearms ownership a number of years ago when events (Katrina, terror attacks, etc.) made it obvious that the cavalry was not going to be coming or even useful in the event of deadly threat due to attack, disaster or disorder.  Living at the time a whole 3 miles from the San Andreas fault, the conclusion was fairly obvious.

    Having now moved to a state where it’s not necessary to kowtow to get a CCL, both my wife and I have done so.  That’s a statement of willingness to take risks to defend neighbors or even general public in the case of necessity.  I’m not going to bat for anyone’s stuff, even my own, unless there’s also a credible deadly threat – that’s what the cops really are for.

    • #18
  19. Wordcooper Inactive
    Wordcooper
    @Wordcooper

    I was hesitant about concealed carry until I had kids. Now I feel a little more confident that ‘in extremis’, I will be a bit more prepared. I let my license lapse last year until San Bernardino and then renewed it rather quickly.

    • #19
  20. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Steven Potter: I took up concealed-carry because I came around to the idea that my security is incumbent on me and no one else. Sure, law enforcement will do their best to keep people safe, but they are not 24/7 bodyguards.

    These two points Steven made cannot be understated:

    Personal security (and by extension family security) is a personal responsibility.  How we choose to exercise this is a freedom of choice issue.  If an individual wants to leave the protection of himself and his family up to the state (via 911), this his choice—just don’t use the force of law to make it my choice.

    However, Steven’s second sentence is my second point, and it’s key. You are right there during a moment of crisis—law enforcement is not.  Sadly, the authorities may not even arrive until several minutes after the 911 call—after your wife is murdered, your daughter is raped, and you had to watch it all because you were tied up in a chair at gunpoint and forced to watch.

    I’m sorry, all you liberals out there. Borrowing a phrase from an NRA program, I refuse to be a victim.

    • #20
  21. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2016/01/15/bill-allows-suits-over-gun-free-zone-incidents/78862948/

    I am glad to see this legislation proposed.  (see link)

    Sponsored by Sen. Dolores Gresham, R-Somerville, Senate Bill 1736 has a very specific purpose.

    “It is the intent of this section to balance the right of a handgun carry permit holder to carry a firearm in order to exercise the right of self-defense and the ability of a property owner or entity in charge of the property to exercise control over governmental or private property,” the bill states.

    It enforces what I feel should be the law of the land.  As a property owner you have the right to ask me to give up my weapon.  When you do you have made me defenseless and from my point of view have taken upon yourself the responsibility of my safety.  This has been the custom throughout history.  It still is custom in may cultures.

    I doubt this law passes, but it should.

    • #21
  22. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    This had to do with the troubles in Cologne, but it applies:

    israel

    • #22

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