All Americans should be able to walk into a store, buy a gun, buy some bullets, insert the bullets into the gun, place the firearm on their person and walk out. Just like that. Of course, I would NEVER suggest that criminals or mentally challenged people should be able to buy a gun. Protecting the weakest members of our society from the strong is what separates us from despotic governments and/or total chaos. Or so I’m told. Anyway, a concealed weapon a bit like Furry Fandom: if you don’t understand, it it’s not for you. I repeat: a hidden gun is not for everyone (although God knows we have enough of them to go ’round). Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t carry a gun . . .
1. Your Threat Level is Low
Guns are dangerous. As you mother would say, you can put your brains out with one of those things. That said, if guns weren’t dangerous, they wouldn’t be much use. There’s only one good reason to take the risk and carry a gun: the danger of not carrying a gun is greater than the danger of carrying a gun.
Good luck making that calculation.
To complete a personal threat assessment you have to crunch more variables than Apollo 13’s flight planners. (And we all know how that turned out.) You have to consider your income level, neighborhood, the monetary value of your possessions, your known and unknown associates (i.e. your associates’ associates), your travel habits, recreational drug use and on and on.
And then what? Determining when your risk level justifies a concealed weapon is about as easy as determining when it’s time to give up blue jeans or blond hair dye. Have a look around. Plenty of middle-aged people missed that moment by decades.
Some people come at the “to carry or not to carry that is the question” question from the lightning bolt perspective. They understand that encountering a threat necessitating a firearm is less likely than getting hit by a bolt of lightning. But they want to be prepared for the worst. Especially when it comes to their family.
As is their right. Who am I (or you or the government) to ban concealed carry because the risk of a spree killer taking out someone’s progeny is a thousand times less than the chances that their child will be killed or seriously injured in a car accident? As far as I know, not one of the framers of the U.S. Constitution was a statistician.
Then there’s the other side of the equation: the danger posed by having a gun on your person and, thus, around your house, hotel room, car, etc. Gun control folks have this one right: you can’t have a negligent discharge from a non-existent gun. Common sense says concealed carry increases a firearm’s inherent danger by upping palm time with your weapon (so to speak).
Your gun storage and handling skills, or lack thereof, are key to our calculations. Will you put your gun away in a locked safe EVERY TIME? Will you ALWAYS check the chamber EVERY TIME you handle the weapon? Will you KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER AND THE MUZZLE POINTED IN A SAFE DIRECTION 24/7?
Again, you may not be the best person to make that call. Show me someone who says “I’m unsafe around guns.” Someone? Anyone? Bueller?
As I said at the start, I’m not in favor of deferring this “shall I carry concealed?” decision to the police or a duly elected or appointed member of our federal, state or local government. But if your threat level and/or firearms experience are both minimal, give serious thought to not carrying a concealed weapon.
2. You’re Not Prepared to Train
If you’re beginning to get the idea that concealed carry is PITA that requires significant commitment, true dat. Not shooting someone you shouldn’t shoot in the normal process of storing and handling your weapon is just the half of it. The other half is not shooting the wrong person if you DO use your gun.
Or shooting the right person in the wrong place. Or not shooting the right person soon enough. Or too soon. Or not being able to shoot anyone because you forgot to take the safety off. There are dozens of ways to screw up a gun fight. And lose.
Training is the only way to minimize your potential F Ups. I’m not talking about standing still and firing a gun at a paper target. For example . . .
In a gunfight, the first best hit wins. Logic says you’ve got to actually get your gun out from your holster, in your hand and aimed in the right direction. So why aren’t all these concealed carry folks practicing their draw? I have yet to see a civilian practicing drawing their carry gun from a concealed holster at the American Firearms School.
Bottom line: if you’re not going to train the how, what, when, where and why of concealed carry, maybe you shouldn’t do it.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m all about the right to bear arms. Hundreds of thousands of poorly trained people do it every day. I’m entirely open to the possibility that it may be better to have a gun than not—even if you’re clueless on the gunfighting front.
But it may not. People tend to get pissed off when you shoot them. Cops aren’t the only ones who get shot with their own gun. You could shoot yourself.
Anything worth doing is worth doing well. If you’re not prepared to do the concealed carry thing well, given the risks, maybe you shouldn’t.
3. You’re pro gun control
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has not one but several armed bodyguards. As does New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Both staunch advocates of gun control have helped their supporters get otherwise unobtainable concealed carry permits. That ain’t right.
Nor is it right for someone who believes in gun control to carry a concealed weapon. It’s the worst sort of hypocrisy—the sort that has life-threatening consequences for other people.
You gotta walk the talk. Otherwise, your whole belief system is a complete and utter sham. You have no credibility whatsoever, on anything, ever. Just like a politician. You wouldn’t want that would you?
As for those who espouse gun control lite—favoring only those gun control laws that don’t exclude them from concealed carry—try again. Before you strap on a deadly weapon, use your experience to gain a better understanding of the purpose of the Second Amendment, and the motivations of those less financially or intellectually gifted than yourself who seek to exercise their right to bear arms.
At the end of the proverbial English day, a concealed carry gun is an enormous responsibility. In many places in these here United States, you have the freedom of choice. Carry or don’t carry? Don’t discount either possibility.