The Gravity of Owning and Carrying a Gun

 

On my walk this morning, I was wearing a neon pink t-shirt. As often happens, I approached two women with their dogs; we always exchange pleasantries and I get my dog fix (scratching dog ears). Suddenly one of the women looked at my t-shirt and said, “Isn’t Smith & Wesson a gun company?” I answered yes, and followed with my first stupid comment, “Yes, I own a gun.” She responded, “Oh, you were the last person I would expect to own a gun!” Second stupid response: “I promise not to shoot either of you,” as I walked away.

Okay, okay, I made some foolish comments in a record period of time. First, wearing the shirt publicly wasn’t the best idea, although I often wear it to my workout facility where no one has said anything. Second, after answering that Smith & Wesson was a gun company, I could have smiled and walked away. (Hey, it was 7:00am!) Or I could have said, “Yes, why do you ask?” and been open to a careful but friendly conversation.

But no-o-o-o-o-o! That was clearly more than my brain could manage. My plan for future walks is to never wear the shirt (unless it’s under a jacket). Besides, trying to pursue an intelligent conversation, when my goal is to complete my walk in record time, is not wise.

In my defense, I may be a bit nervous about my plan to pursue a concealed carry permit here in Florida. I’ve read the Concealed Carry information, and have a better idea of what I’d be getting myself into. Most of all, even though I’ve practiced on a gun range regularly for a couple of years, I understand viscerally that a gun is for more than target practice. As one of my favorite judges on the TV show, Forged in Fire says, “It will kill.”

My husband was kind enough to organize the key information for me that I could study even before I take the Concealed Carry class. The sections that jumped out at me made me realize that carrying a gun could be a life-changing experience, in many ways. I already knew that I didn’t want to use the gun unless there was really no alternative; the threat to my life should be imminent. I knew that it made sense to practice with the smaller gun that I would carry (which I’ve owned for a while because I originally bought a smaller gun because it was lighter) so that I could anticipate how the gun would respond to being shot, and how I would respond to its reaction. And there were many other points that were familiar from the last couple of years since my husband and I are preoccupied with gun safety. My favorite trilogy: assume the gun is loaded, point it in a safe direction, and keep your finger off the trigger unless you’re shooting at something.

The points that shook me were that it was possible with a smaller gun for the person threatening me not to be deterred by being shot for a number of reasons, including thick winter clothing. One set of instructions suggested that if after two shots the person isn’t stopped, shoot for the head. Oh my.

Another suggestion was to keep my talking to a minimum after the shooting. Since I can be a blabbermouth, that might be a challenge. Then again, I suspect my reaction to shooting someone might be silence. The third suggestion was to have a lawyer ready. We have that availability through a program to which we belong. How sad to think that the threat to my life doesn’t stop when I shoot the gun; instead, I will likely be in a position of needing to further protect myself after the deed is done.

So I’m finding the whole process rather daunting. Maybe that’s a good thing. It shows how seriously I take carrying and what is at risk.

Meanwhile, we’ll see how the women act toward me on my next morning walk . . .

Published in Guns
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There are 67 comments.

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  1. Rodin Member

    I understand your inability to engage in a serious conversation early in the morning. And, sadly, that is what seems to be required in our society today if you support gun ownership and rights. At least you weren’t walking in San Francisco (where hip waders would be required for the human detritus, illegal alien felons “mishandling” a firearm is not an offense even when it kills someone, and the local government considers lawful gun owners “domestic terrorists”).

    • #1
    • September 10, 2019, at 1:02 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Rodin (View Comment):

    I understand your inability to engage in a serious conversation early in the morning. And, sadly, that is what seems to be required in our society today if you support gun ownership and rights. At least you weren’t walking in San Francisco (where hip waders would be required for the human detritus, illegal alien felons “mishandling” a firearm is not an offense even when it kills someone, and the local government considers lawful gun owners “domestic terrorists”).

    So true, @rodin, so true. [shudder]

    • #2
    • September 10, 2019, at 1:06 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    Miss Incendiary here focuses on the pink t-shirt. Wear it with pride, you don’t have to answer to anyone. Exactly what does it say?

    • #3
    • September 10, 2019, at 1:06 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Miss Incendiary here focuses on the pink t-shirt. Wear it with pride, you don’t have to answer to anyone. Exactly what does it say?

    It looks like the large letters–“M & P”; underneath it says, “Smith & Wesson.” I don’t own either. The t-shirts were give-aways at the Hillsdale Shooting Course for Couples. The color is awesome. I can wear it, but a proper response would be called for. My husband doesn’t like the exchange I had (especially the part where I said I own a gun).

    • #4
    • September 10, 2019, at 1:17 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  5. Seawriter Member

    I never volunteer whether I do or do not own firearms to even casual acquaintances, much less strangers. The only answer I give any stranger (or even a casual acquaintance) who asks me “Do you own a gun?” Is “I might.”

    Nope. Not gonna volunteer information. I prefer to keep the world at large guessing. They may assume you own guns or even that you are carrying, but they cannot be sure. To which I say, good. They are less likely to rob me if they think I might be, but they are also less likely to burglarize the place to get a gun collection that might be there because they cannot be sure there is a gun collection to be burglarized.

    Does he own a gun or does he not own a gun. How lucky do you feel?

    • #5
    • September 10, 2019, at 1:25 PM PDT
    • 18 likes
  6. EODmom Coolidge

    @susanquinn You raise really reasonable questions – I’ve had similar experiences (about T-shirts, not that particular one) and thought through whether to carry or not. I’m equally prone to talking first and thinking second and am also frequently in reeaaallly liberal environments. I sympathize completely. I’ve adopted the practice of making eye contact first when someone comments on attire, then saying with big smile “Thanks!” And nothing more. Unless prompted. It takes practice but boy are there some spontaneous talkers out there and I don’t think well when interrupted. I’m completely direct and specific about owning weapons and being capable when the subject arises. No apologies, no explanations, no debates.

    My son and daughter in-law (highly trained professionals that they are) were really helpful in getting to my decision not to carry. My daughter in law in particular because she does carry and knows the logistics. She asked if I was prepared to always carry, make it a habit and make the adjustments to attire and daily living that it requires. If not, her opinion was that one cannot be prepared and practiced enough to be reliable, predictable and no risk to myself or others. And I’m not. So I don’t. I do however shoot regularly and stick with a 45 and a 38: I might only get one chance at a shot, so I will use something substantial that will stop the threat. In our home and I believe our lives are threatened. And that’s the only thing you say to anyone afterward. You’ll know what’s right for you and your family. 

    • #6
    • September 10, 2019, at 1:37 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  7. SkipSul Moderator

    As I said in one of your posts several weeks ago, the responsibilities of carrying were one reason I stopped carrying. I simply was never making it to the range to maintain any kind of proficiency. The irritations of Ohio law, and all the times and places I can or cannot legally carry, or even have it in my car, also greatly increased the odds that I would be one of those absent-minded fools who was “made” carrying where I shouldn’t have.

    Carrying requires doing so responsibly – you owe that to yourself, and to other gun owners too. “Don’t be that guy” as I have said to friends when taking them out on the range. “Don’t be that guy who accidentally ruins things for others.” Well, I didn’t want to be that guy either.

    • #7
    • September 10, 2019, at 1:39 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  8. Barfly Member

    Carrying a firearm does focus one’s attention, doesn’t it? That’s because in so doing one assumes an adult level of authority and hence responsibility.

    Don’t overthink it. Too damn many people go about their business with no attention to what’s going on in the reality about them, always thinking about what some other people are thinking, and generally getting that wrong. They’re free riders, the people who really don’t build all this. Nothing wrong with that I guess; it only takes 10 percent to hold it together if everything else goes right.

    On the other hand, I do think a lot of LE people overstate the degree of skill and training needed to carry a firearm responsibly. The notion that one has to carry every day to do so responsibly is, well, rather fat headed. I imagine she thinks very well of herself.

    Learn to hit what you aim at, twice in a row. Carry the gun unobtrusively when you need it. You know what it can do if handled carelessly. No, you don’t have to become highly proficient, nor do you have to be on duty when you don’t want.

    • #8
    • September 10, 2019, at 2:23 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  9. Front Seat Cat Member

    Good grief! All that from an early morning walk? I didn’t know that Smith & Wesson sold pink t-shirts, but I don’t typically order anything from them – sheesshhh! Do you feel the need to carry a bigger weapon in your area? I know that’s a stupid question….I’m trying to reconcile the former Buddhist turned practicing Jewish woman and maybe there is a need. At least Code Pink isn’t the only ones with pink t-shirts, but wear it proudly – don’t hide it under a jacket. That is more an intimidating gesture than the post!

    • #9
    • September 10, 2019, at 2:36 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  10. David Carroll Thatcher

    @susanquinn Just curious. Are you sure the question and comment was hostile? Florida is generally pretty gun friendly.

    • #10
    • September 10, 2019, at 2:37 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  11. GrannyDude Member

     I don’t carry a gun, but I am trying to be more proactive in being “the person they didn’t think would do/say/believe/vote X” more boldly and bravely. It’s good for liberals to realize that they are making assumptions about others, and that Nice Normal People Just Like Them vote Republican (or Trump, or whatever). And practice a nice, cheerful conversational gambit:”Oh, yes I love guns! Well, it’s the feminist in me: Nothing like a sidearm to even the odds for a middle-aged woman jogging alone, right sisters?” And off you go.

    • #11
    • September 10, 2019, at 3:32 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    I never volunteer whether I do or do not own firearms to even casual acquaintances, much less strangers. The only answer I give any stranger (or even a casual acquaintance) who asks me “Do you own a gun?” Is “I might.”

    Nope. Not gonna volunteer information. I prefer to keep the world at large guessing. They may assume you own guns or even that you are carrying, but they cannot be sure. To which I say, good. They are less likely to rob me if they think I might be, but they are also less likely to burglarize the place to get a gun collection that might be there because they cannot be sure there is a gun collection to be burglarized.

    Does he own a gun or does he not own a gun. How lucky do you feel?

    @seawriter, this makes sense to me. It’s not anyone else’s business whether I have a gun or not.

    • #12
    • September 10, 2019, at 3:43 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    EODmom (View Comment):

    @susanquinn You raise really reasonable questions – I’ve had similar experiences (about T-shirts, not that particular one) and thought through whether to carry or not. I’m equally prone to talking first and thinking second and am also frequently in reeaaallly liberal environments. I sympathize completely. I’ve adopted the practice of making eye contact first when someone comments on attire, then saying with big smile “Thanks!” And nothing more. Unless prompted. It takes practice but boy are there some spontaneous talkers out there and I don’t think well when interrupted. I’m completely direct and specific about owning weapons and being capable when the subject arises. No apologies, no explanations, no debates.

    My son and daughter in-law (highly trained professionals that they are) were really helpful in getting to my decision not to carry. My daughter in law in particular because she does carry and knows the logistics. She asked if I was prepared to always carry, make it a habit and make the adjustments to attire and daily living that it requires. If not, her opinion was that one cannot be prepared and practiced enough to be reliable, predictable and no risk to myself or others. And I’m not. So I don’t. I do however shoot regularly and stick with a 45 and a 38: I might only get one chance at a shot, so I will use something substantial that will stop the threat. In our home and I believe our lives are threatened. And that’s the only thing you say to anyone afterward. You’ll know what’s right for you and your family.

    I’m very impressed at how carefully you’ve looked at the issues, @eodmom. You give me a lot to ponder. I’m sure I’m going to keep my gun; conceal carry is still a question for me.

    • #13
    • September 10, 2019, at 3:44 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Good grief! All that from an early morning walk? I didn’t know that Smith & Wesson sold pink t-shirts, but I don’t typically order anything from them – sheesshhh! Do you feel the need to carry a bigger weapon in your area? I know that’s a stupid question….I’m trying to reconcile the former Buddhist turned practicing Jewish woman and maybe there is a need. At least Code Pink isn’t the only ones with pink t-shirts, but wear it proudly – don’t hide it under a jacket. That is more an intimidating gesture than the post!

    Maybe I wasn’t clear, FSC. I have a gun at home that is comfortable for me to use, and it’s the one I regularly practice with. The smaller gun would be to carry. Thanks for the input!

    • #14
    • September 10, 2019, at 3:45 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    David Carroll (View Comment):

    @susanquinn Just curious. Are you sure the question and comment was hostile? Florida is generally pretty gun friendly.

    I’m pretty sure these two are Lefties; I don’t know for sure, but from everything I’ve picked up from them in our encounters over the last couple of years, I’m pretty sure. Not only that, she wouldn’t have acted shocked at my t-shirt if she liked guns; she would have seen me as a colleague. And trust me, she couldn’t believe that sweet Susan was a nasty gun owner! Thanks for asking, though, @davidcarroll.

    • #15
    • September 10, 2019, at 3:47 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  16. Doug Watt Member

    On your morning walk I would suggest wearing a Miami Dolphins shirt, and a paper bag over your head. You will be greeted with empathetic condolences, and by the time you get home you might need an insulin shot to balance out the sweetness and love. Your neighbor’s might even assume you’re a season ticket holder.

    • #16
    • September 10, 2019, at 3:58 PM PDT
    • 14 likes
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    On your morning walk I would suggest wearing a Miami Dolphins shirt, and a paper bag over your head. You will be greeted with empathetic condolences, and by the time you get home you might need an insulin shot to balance out the sweetness and love. Your neighbor’s might even assume you’re a season ticket holder.

    Doggone it, @dougwatt, I had mouthwash in my mouth and almost spit it out all over the computer!! You have made my day. Thank you so much. And no, I won’t wear a Dolphins t-shirt; I’ve been a Denver Broncos fan for years and I think abandoning them means the death penalty! Too funny . . . .

    • #17
    • September 10, 2019, at 4:06 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  18. James Gawron Thatcher

    Suzy,

    I don’t like all the talk about how divisive our society is. When one side isn’t capable of responsibility, not morally, economically, or socially, then the other side is forced from time to time to confront them because of the serious nature of their false beliefs.

    However, it is the simple things and situations of life that make one wish for a better society and a better debate. Perhaps they were shocked perhaps not. It’s too bad that one must think twice (sometimes three times) before one expresses one’s beliefs even in the most benign way.

    Maybe Gd wanted it to happen for a reason that as of yet has not been revealed to you.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #18
    • September 10, 2019, at 4:27 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  19. Doug Watt Member

    On a more serious note you can carry where and when you feel most comfortable with carrying a concealed handgun. You should understand that displaying the pistol might not be enough to discourage an attacker. You might have to pull the trigger, you do not want to lose your gun to some dirtbag.

    God forbid you find yourself in that situation, but if you do remember that you might have to pull that trigger multiple times. My recommendation is that you request an attorney before you answer any questions from a police officer. Police officer’s do the same thing when they have had to pull the trigger.

    Do not discuss the incident with friend’s and neighbor’s. Your life will be turned upside down for a bit, it is no different for police officers. If at all possible find an attorney that has represented police officer’s that had to shoot someone. Do not discuss tactics, or training with anyone but your attorney.

    • #19
    • September 10, 2019, at 4:32 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  20. Kozak Member

    Susan Quinn: “Oh, you were the last person I would expect to own a gun!”

    And that’s the point.

    • #20
    • September 10, 2019, at 4:35 PM PDT
    • 13 likes
  21. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    On a more serious note you can carry where and when you feel most comfortable with carrying a concealed handgun. You should understand that displaying the pistol might not be enough to discourage an attacker. You might have to pull the trigger, you do not want to lose your gun to some dirtbag.

    God forbid you find yourself in that situation, but if you do remember that you might have to pull that trigger multiple times. My recommendation is that you request an attorney before you answer any questions from a police officer. Police officer’s do the same thing when they have had to pull the trigger.

    Do not discuss the incident with friend’s and neighbor’s. Your life will be turned upside down for a bit, it is no different for police officers. If at all possible find an attorney that has represented police officer’s that had to shoot someone. Do not discuss tactics, or training with anyone but your attorney.

    Fortunately many of your suggestions were in the material I read. I so appreciate your validation of that information. 

    • #21
    • September 10, 2019, at 5:17 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  22. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Suzy,

    I don’t like all the talk about how divisive our society is. When one side isn’t capable of responsibility, not morally, economically, or socially, then the other side is forced from time to time to confront them because of the serious nature of their false beliefs.

    However, it is the simple things and situations of life that make one wish for a better society and a better debate. Perhaps they were shocked perhaps not. It’s too bad that one must think twice (sometimes three times) before one expresses one’s beliefs even in the most benign way.

    Maybe Gd wanted it to happen for a reason that as of yet has not been revealed to you.

    Regards,

    Jim

    You could be right, Jim. Thanks. 

    • #22
    • September 10, 2019, at 5:19 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. The Reticulator Member

    I find gravity a deterrent to carrying any heavy objects on my person.

    • #23
    • September 10, 2019, at 7:20 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  24. Bruce Caward Thatcher

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I’ve been a Denver Broncos fan for years and I think abandoning them means the death penalty! Too funny . . . .

    And I thought I only adored you for your perspicacity and attitude! 

    I lived in Denver back in the 70s, when the Broncos went to their first Superbowl. You either were on board, or you shut up. Go Craig Morton and Orange Crush!

    I moved back to upstate NY a few years later, but could never shake the Broncos imprint on my psyche – go Shanahan and Elway!

    Living in NY for so many years after, I thought I should finally move on, follow a team I could see play more often. I mean I’m right here in the midst of the Giants, the Bills, the Jets. But I just couldn’t find the path to how one gives up a sports team loyalty. Couldn’t do it. So I’m here.

    Then we started banging out Superbowl wins, Elways and Mannings. I am the happiest Bronco fan in NY State.

    • #24
    • September 10, 2019, at 7:24 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Bruce Caward (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I’ve been a Denver Broncos fan for years and I think abandoning them means the death penalty! Too funny . . . .

    And I thought I only adored you for your perspicacity and attitude!

    I lived in Denver back in the 70s, when the Broncos went to their first Superbowl. You either were on board, or you shut up. Go Craig Morton and Orange Crush!

    I moved back to upstate NY a few years later, but could never shake the Broncos imprint on my psyche – go Shanahan and Elway!

    Living in NY for so many years after, I thought I should finally move on, follow a team I could see play more often. I mean I’m right here in the midst of the Giants, the Bills, the Jets. But I just couldn’t find the path to how one gives up a sports team loyalty. Couldn’t do it. So I’m here.

    Then we started banging out Superbowl wins, Elways and Mannings. I am the happiest Bronco fan in NY State.

    Good man!

    • #25
    • September 11, 2019, at 4:51 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  26. EODmom Coolidge

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Bruce Caward (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I’ve been a Denver Broncos fan for years and I think abandoning them means the death penalty! Too funny . . . .

    And I thought I only adored you for your perspicacity and attitude!

    I lived in Denver back in the 70s, when the Broncos went to their first Superbowl. You either were on board, or you shut up. Go Craig Morton and Orange Crush!

    I moved back to upstate NY a few years later, but could never shake the Broncos imprint on my psyche – go Shanahan and Elway!

    Living in NY for so many years after, I thought I should finally move on, follow a team I could see play more often. I mean I’m right here in the midst of the Giants, the Bills, the Jets. But I just couldn’t find the path to how one gives up a sports team loyalty. Couldn’t do it. So I’m here.

    Then we started banging out Superbowl wins, Elways and Mannings. I am the happiest Bronco fan in NY State.

    Good man!

    This is so funny – how loyalties come about. I started following the Patriots when our son went to high school in NH in 2003. Had to have a team – I didn’t care much about football but you have to keep up. Because I have family in New Orleans my back up team were/are the Saints. Also because of New Orleans family and having met the Mannings – very casually, a nephew went to Tennessee same time as Peyton – my next back up were the Colts, until Peyton went to Denver. Then the Broncos became the next backup. But I’m fickle and have dropped the Broncos. We don’t watch the games – boy do I dislike the NFL – but I really love high level athletics. I follow the games online. I know – it’s silly.

    • #26
    • September 11, 2019, at 5:35 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  27. Songwriter Member

    An excellent post. And it might be the launching pad for a related post — Wearing Clothing That Makes a Political Statement. 

    • #27
    • September 11, 2019, at 5:54 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  28. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    EODmom (View Comment):
    This is so funny – how loyalties come about. I started following the Patriots when our son went to high school in NH in 2003. Had to have a team – I didn’t care much about football but you have to keep up. Because I have family in New Orleans my back up team were/are the Saints. Also because of New Orleans family and having met the Mannings – very casually, a nephew went to Tennessee same time as Peyton – my next back up were the Colts, until Peyton went to Denver. Then the Broncos became the next backup. But I’m fickle and have dropped the Broncos. We don’t watch the games – boy do I dislike the NFL – but I really love high level athletics. I follow the games online. I know – it’s silly.

    It’s not silly at all, @eodmom. And the fun part is that we can be as arbitrary and fickle as we want! We used to have friends in Denver who would go nuts when the Broncos lost. We’d kind of shrug our shoulders. The best part of the Bronco season was being WARM in our family room with the fireplace going, eating nachos and hot chocolate. I admit–we don’t follow pro football much anymore. But I’m still a Broncos fan!!

    • #28
    • September 11, 2019, at 6:01 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  29. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Songwriter (View Comment):

    An excellent post. And it might be the launching pad for a related post — Wearing Clothing That Makes a Political Statement.

    Go for it, @songwriter! I promise to read it!

    • #29
    • September 11, 2019, at 6:02 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. Front Seat Cat Member

    David Carroll (View Comment):

    @susanquinn Just curious. Are you sure the question and comment was hostile? Florida is generally pretty gun friendly.

    She’s in the liberal part of the state I think…

    • #30
    • September 11, 2019, at 6:06 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
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