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In the last two days of a three-day gun workshop, I haven’t killed anyone yet. Of course, the instructor made sure we took special precautions. But as some of you know, I posted about my dilemma of trying to decide if I should conceal carry. I have discovered through this entire experience that my own thinking was unclear about what concealed carry would mean to and for me, and this workshop has expanded my understanding of concealed carry, its benefits and limitations, and what it would mean for me as a citizen of the United States to carry a gun on my person.
I realized early on that this was a very personal and individual decision. I am a small, senior woman. For a person looking for a victim in a situation where he or she may have a few choices, I could be a primary target. Since there is nothing I can do to change any of those factors (unless someone invents the Fountain of Youth), it was sensible for me to consider those conditions.
We also learned many techniques that we had a chance to practice. Our instructor, Steve, made clear that we would learn and also gain some muscle memory, but the techniques would only serve us well if we practiced. We discussed with Steve the techniques that he thought would be most valuable to practice regularly—draw and re-holstering, point shooting and getting off the “x”, subconscious site, half hip and retention, and walking and shooting. There are other techniques included in those categories. In particular, I have had longstanding concerns about keeping my finger off the trigger and now have a “checklist” to remind me quickly to move my finger.
We also discovered early that in spite of my enjoying the Glock, a Glock 19 is too large for me—too large a grip, heavy, and a recoil that may be too much for me. I plan to try out a gun tomorrow that feels great, a Glock 42, and if they have 380 ammunition, I’ll try to shoot it. I learned the 380 recoil might affect me less due to its smaller size.
All of those opportunities have gradually lessened my resistance to conceal carry a gun. But aside from my personal vulnerability, three. other things have contributed to my decision.
The first is that I feel more competent already, and more knowledgeable. That includes taking steps to prevent a bystander from being shot and possibly killed. I realized that killing an attacker was not a concern—I believe I will be able to do that, although a person can never be certain. But I feel much better prepared to take on this serious responsibility.
Second, and as a result of my first point, I am more confident in many ways. I am more confident about my physical, mental, and emotional ability to make what could be a life and death decision.
Third, and finally, I’ve felt for a long time that I should be contributing more to dealing with the turbulence in our country. I am frustrated that I must depend on so many others to defend this country. I feel responsible for at least being able to take care of myself if events go awry (and am well aware that one strategy is to leave the situation). There are small things I do to contribute—my writing, my support of others who love this country and verbally defending the foundations of America. But by carrying concealed, I feel as if I’m doing more: I am making a patriotic decision to not only defend myself but to stand up for the Constitution.
So I will join the ranks of those who conceal carry.
It is one small patriotic commitment I can make.
(Thanks to everyone who participated in the original discussion for your suggestions, perceptions, and encouragement. You were a significant help in my decision.)Published in