Our founder/managing editor/etc. RF penned a thoughtful, well-reasoned argument for why you should NOT carry a concealed weapon. I’d like to play Devil’s Advocate and present the flip side of why you SHOULD carry a concealed weapon (and why you should be licensed to do so).
1. You Never Know When Trouble Will Rear Its Ugly Head
Walk into a convenience store. Make a deposit at a bank. Drive down the street where you live. Every day activities, right? Threat level at zero or near it. But in any one of these situations, someone, someday could change that threat level to “Danger Will Robinson” in the blink of an eye.
Problem is, it can be all but impossible to tell the difference between “it’s safe” and “somebody’s about to change my life, for the worse, forever” ahead of time. How much advance warning do you think the bad guys plan to give you, before they try to carjack you, rob you, assault you or otherwise turn your sunny day into an experience you’ll be lucky to live through?
If you want to level the playing field, carrying a gun is a good start. It’s not a “get out of Hell free” card. At least it can give you a fighting chance. Remember: a gun that’s not cocked, locked, loaded and on your person is statistically the same as having no gun at all. And without a gun, you’re right back to playing the part of unsuspecting victim.
2. Carrying Will Make You Situationally Aware
There’s something about carrying a gun that makes my Spidey-Senses go all tingly. (Which, I might point out, is nothing like the tingle Chris Matthews’ leg felt when Obama won.) The feel of around 30 to 40 ounces of steel (and optionally polymer) against your hip, in your pocket, or wherever you carry is a constant reminder of the fact that you’re going in heavy.
It’s human nature. Conceal carry and you’re constantly aware of not only your own gun, but of the fact that anybody else could also be carrying. It’s only a hop, skip and a theoretical leap of faith to extend that awareness to “threat assessment.” The more situationally-aware you are of your surroundings, the better your chances are of anticipating/dealing with any threat.
3. I’d Rather Have It and Not Need It…
Several days ago, I learned that a woman I know had been murdered by her estranged husband. First (inaccurate) reports suggested he’d shot her. When the facts were later revealed, it turns out that he’d attacked her from behind, and strangled her with his bare hands.
Now having a handgun might not have saved her life. But she was apparently aware her life was in danger. She’d contacted the police and I understand had found that the authorities did not extend a restraining order against her spouse. Since she was on the phone when she was attacked, it’s anybody’s guess that, had she owned a gun, if it would have been accessible.
But I’m betting that if she’d had a gun, she might have been more situationally-aware, (see point #2 above) and might – might – have been able to avoid a situation where she became a victim.
4. It’s Empowering
Back in the day, some wag said “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil…because I’m the meanest S.O.B. in the valley.” That’s flip – and funny, but there’s something about owning/carrying a gun that can give you an attitude adjustment, turning you away from the victim mindset of a sheeple, towards a Man (or Woman) of Action.
Of course, if you fall prey to the idea of gun ownership, as opposed to the practical aspects of owning a gun, you may go too far on this one and assume that owning a gun makes you invincible/invulnerable/omniscient. That just isn’t so. But the cure for overconfidence is getting your Alice B. Tookas to the range and sending a bunch of rounds downrange.
As RF points out, carrying a gun is an enormous responsibility. It only takes one screw up on your part to turn “gun owner” into “Irresponsible Gun Owner of The Day.” Or worse. But I believe the advantages of enabling your own self-defense abilities far outweigh the disadvantages, responsibilities, and risks.
Your results may vary.