A funny thing happened on the way to the Massachusetts Firearms Records Bureau. We pulled in for gas a few miles south of the LTC-givers’ edifice. Something wasn’t right. A couple of large teens on small bikes lingered on either side of the door. They weren’t paying the slightest bit of attention to each other. I looked inside for their “friends.” Hoodie boy was breezing down the end of the aisle, aimlessly. So much for buying a can of Coke Zero, then. As I turned back to the car, another teen biker arrived at the scene, both hands jammed into his hoodie, pedaling fast, eyes focused. It was 85 something degrees. As I upped the pace back to my car, in the few seconds that I was “caught” in the open, I thought . . .

Damn! I wish I had a gun. Not to draw, obviously. My life wasn’t in imminent danger. Imminence wasn’t imminent. But it looked liked things might kinda maybe I hope not head in that direction. And if I’m going there, I’d prefer to go there with the option of a gun—remembering that the best gunfight is the one you don’t have.

But I didn’t have a firearm. An RI resident with an RI license to carry a firearm (me) can’t carry in Massachusetts without a Massachusetts License to Carry (LTC). MA requires out-of-state license holders to jump through a bunch of hoops: forms, fingerprints, $100 (not a personal check) and a yearly interview. Even then there’s no guarantee you’ll get an License to Carry (LTC). Or that the LTC won’t be limited to target shooting and hunting based on . . . their decision.

Until I received my MA LTC, all of Massachusetts was a gun free zone. (Legally, I couldn’t even travel to a MA gun range with a gun.) Bottom line: I was gunless.

Which shouldn’t be such a big deal. And sometimes it isn’t; like when I took my posse to see Cirque du Soleil. Oh wait, the walk to the car park was a bit . . . fraught. But I’m not paranoid. I think.

Are there times when you didn’t carry when you thought it might be the biggest mistake of your life? How often do you carry, anyway? Do you carry at home? Do you live somewhere where you can’t carry? How do you feel about that?

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102 Responses to Question of the Day: Have You Ever Felt You Needed A Gun and Didn’t Have One?

  1. Wife and I went to a concert in Nashville, TN that was in the parking lot of the rescue mission. I was waiting on my CCL. Two days there was quite enough for me.

      • (grrr… ) Bitter, angry, hateful and resentful of all yous who live in free America.

        Thanks. I feel better now.

    • If you mean Long Island, New York, you’re absolutely wrong. It is relatively easy to get a CCW here, though for me as a retired cop it’s easier yet. I know a lot of “civilians”, including my ex-teacher brother in law, who have CCW licenses.

  2. Only once… was shadowed by someone at a local park. Didn’t seem mean or aggressive, kind of blank and expressionless (and clueless) as if he might have been drunk or high as well as in the mood to follow me.
    But the scary part is realizing he could have closed in and laid me low with a rock, stick or knife, and despite it being a fairly shallow (though heavily wooded) suburban park, the crime would not have been directly witnessed.
    I drove out of there a tad shaken and indeed wishing I were packing.
    (At the time I didn’t have a NYS pistol permit)

  3. Just about every time I walk out the door. I was glad I had a gun on me earlier this week….nothing happened, but I suddenly found myself (and my 16 month old daughter) in a weird situation.

  4. Every time I have to hit the ATM by work. Not a good part of town. I’ll blow right by if I see an audience, but still…….

  5. There were several such situations before I turned 21; many of them happened in the spring of 2010. The best single example that comes to mind is the day my subcontracting gig had me at Philly’s police academy all day. Getting there required taking a regional rail line into the city, and then another to the northeastern regions (R7). The walk from the train to the academy was around a mile, and involved walking directly past a penal institution. It wasn’t so bad in the morning, as it was before 09:00, and thus everyone operating on CPT (as opposed to EST/EDT) was still asleep, but going back in the evening–ballpark 17:00 give or take–required waiting at the train station for around 40 minutes. This was not a fun time for me, especially given my attire, and the highly ‘urban’ demographics of the area.

  6. Oh, boy. I made a wrong turn while driving in NYC and ended up in a bad place under a highway, surrounded by people who looked like they belonged in “The Hills Have Eyes” who were stripping abandoned or stolen cars (I didn’t ask which). My then-wife damn near had a coronary. I got out of there fast but I had to brandish a nasty looking hatchet to do it. I guess none of those mutants wanted to volunteer to get his head split open.

    How did I feel about not packing at the time? Not scared, not apprehensive, not paranoid, just really f^cking pissed, that’s how I felt. Like I wanted to grab the mayor by his little tiny non-working testicles and hang him off a ledge, that’s how pissed. I still get really pissed whenever I think about it.

    The MAIGs have 24/7 protection, armed escorts and guys carrying select-fire weapons and they tell us that we can’t carry a handgun to protect ourselves. How does that make YOU feel?

    • You sound like Sherman McCoy from Bonfire of the Vanities. Would have been a short story if McCoy had brandished a firearm instead of clumsily peeling out with his Mercedes…

      • I tried to read “Bonfire” once but found it excruciatingly boring. As boring as Ulysses, and man, that’s boring.

    • You keep a hatchet handy?

      Doesn’t the fact that you lived to talk about it indicate that in fact you didn’t need a gun? Doesn’t the fact that you and Robert and others are looking back on situations you all survived and admit that you wish you’d been armed, say something about your fear and paranoia and insecurity?

      I think it does.

      These are the worst kind of examples. These should be posted on my site as proof that you are paranoid. The ones you need here are the guys who were shot or killed when they were not carrying. Those would make your point for you. But what you’ve got here is quite the opposite.

      Do you realize how much of a fringe group you are really? Most men when faced with those situations get a little nervous, maybe change directions or plans, maybe even feel like wimps, but they don’t wish they had a gun. That’s most normal men.

      • I only carry a gun to protect my hatchet. So you keep your hatchet-grabbing hands away from it, you hear?

        I started carrying hatchets and such when I was driving a cab in New York during my college days. Back then, before anyone thought of installing partitions in taxis, cabbies were getting killed more often than cops. We armed ourselves the best way we could. Billy-clubs, hatchets, sawed-off bats, you name it, every cabbie had something he could use to defend himself. Every cabbie.

        So yeah, I have a hatchet. And also common sense. And mikey, you don’t have either.

        • Didn’t that Mussolini guy ban hatchets too? Too bad for him he didn’t ban rope.

      • No, most “normal men” realize that by the time they are shot and killed, it’s a little late to be wishing they had a gun.

      • Normal men don’t hang around firearm discussion blogs for the purpose of haranguing firearm owners. Your posts remind me of nothing so much as those militant atheists who repeatedly boast about how free they are of irrational attachment to religion, even though they spend hours each day posting to Catholic blogs about it.

      • The reason Mikey didn’t post during the London riots is because he was too busy looting shops and committing acts of vandalism. He doesn’t want his victims to defend themselves.

      • My wife and I arrived home at 11:15 to our suburban home, in a nice neighborhood. Two young mexican guys jumped out of the bushes and demanded our money. We didn’t fork over enough, and the sonsofabitches put two .38s in her, one in the back and one in the leg. We both survived, but I don’t think we’re paranoid for wishing I’d had a gun instead of just a knife.

      • mike, mike, mike…..having the gun does not mean you feel any less of a threat in certain situations. Even if I had a gun, given the chance I would still back-down in an uncertain situation. Sometimes you can’t back-down and there is no easy way out.

      • Of course mikeb302000 is ignoring all those cases where someone needed a gun, didn’t have one… and was killed. I lived in Detroit’s Cass Corrdidor for over a decade, when carry permits were only available to contributors to Mayor Young’s campaign. There were a lot of times I didn’t leave my apartment because I didn’t have a gun, and a few times when I risked carrying because I had no choice.

        • how am I ignoring them. I’m the one who mentioned them. You guys were ignoring them.

          I said all your stories disprove the need for a gun, but the dead guys’ stories are what you need.

  7. I’ve been all over, been to some pretty bad neighborhoods, and been in some pretty sketchy situations.

    The only time I’ve ever said to myself “I wish I had my gun.” was in Chicago. GO. FIGURE.

    Within 5 minutes of getting off the bus at the station, a drunk and presumably cracked out homeless man came running at me swinging a 2×4. I was sick, tired, and in a place i’d never been. Adrenaline started pumping, and I started thinking about how I was gonna avoid getting hit in the head with this 2×4.

    When the guy got about 3ft from me, he just stopped dead in his tracks, laughed, burped, and walked off the otherway.

    Figures that of all the places I wanted a gun, I couldnt have one.

  8. This one time my horny teenage friends and I decided to spend the summer at camp Crystal Lake, even though there had been reports of numerous murders at the place.

    Anyhoo, we all get setttled in, smoking pot, having casual sex, you know typical teen stuff, and some wacko in a hockey mask with a machete starts offing my friends. After the car wouldn’t start (Die Hard my ass) I managed to run about 5 miles through the woods on a sprained ankle after I tripped in a panic.

    I managed to make it to the main highway where I was picked up by the local sheriff who dismissed my entire story and locked me up for disorderly conduct.

    Anyway, looking back that was one time I wished I had a gun, though something tells me I would have probably just fired it in a blind panic, completely missing the psycho in the hockey mask. But hey, you never know.

    • So, I get this telepathic message from a young friend on mine. He and his parents were spending the winter in a lodge. His parents had gotten a job maintaining it through the winter. Well, the dad goes crazy from all the lingering souls in the hotel (not to mention he has writer’s block). One thing leads to another and I had to go up there on a rescue mission.

      I didn’t have a gun. It did not turn out well. Lots of property damage. In the valley of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. Well, in a gun free-hotel, the lunatic with a fire-axe is king.

  9. YES! I have been in that situation. I travelled to Little Rock, Arkansas, where my brother was getting married. Arkansas did have CCW reciprocity, so I packed up my EDC and went (by air). Upon arriving, I holstered up and carried everywhere I went. However, in Arkansas, carrying into a church is verboten. And, I’m a law-abiding citizen. The reception was immediately after the ceremony at another location (a converted historic mansion).

    So, at the hotel, I was debating whether to take my gun and unholster before going into the church and then reholster before the reception… or just leave the gun at the hotel (locked in a safe I bring for that purpose). I decided to leave it at the hotel. And, that might have been a mistake.

    Bear in mind that Little Rock has one of the highest crime rates and gang activity in the country. I didn’t realize it, but the mansion where the reception was held was in the middle of a VERY seedy neighborhood. We arrived at dusk. But, we left well into the late hours of the night. There was no “on-campus” parking at the mansion. We had to park on the streets surrounding the mansion… blocks away.

    I was asked to escort some people to their cars as the party died down. Holy crap… I’ve been ALL over the world, and I’ve never felt so “on edge” as in this part of Little Rock. It was very obvious that we did NOT belong in this neighborhood. There were all sorts of “characters” hanging out in the shadows. The only thing I had on me was my Spyderco Caly 3. No gun. And, I was regretting leaving it at the hotel in a BIG way. That’s the first and only time I’ve ever felt that way. And, I vowed to NEVER put myself in that situation ever again.

  10. i lived in nj from 81-86….no ccw….i carried every day……id rather be tried by 12 than carried by 6

  11. In 37 years I’ve never felt or thought that. I doubt any of you really ever needed a gun you were probably paranoid. Think about it…. You felt you needed a gun but didn’t have one however you made it out of the situation. Did you really need a gun?

      • What would you call it? Hey mister do you want to buy some knives that fell of a truck? Or how about the loitering hoodies at the 7/11? Those two scenarios definitely sound like instances where having a firearm would make a whole lot of sense. To answer your question you are PARANOID if you felt you needed a gun in those instances and didn’t.

        • @gangsta grillz Of course you don’t want people to have the means to defend themselves. You don’t want your fellow hoodrats to get shot dead eh? You just want to rob and pillage without ever worrying about getting shot by the members of the taxpaying productive class.

    • Gansta,

      The other night, I was driving on a country road. Now, I was going pretty fast, the speed limit was 35 but I was doing at least 60, maybe 70. Anyway, a deer jumped out and I had to swerve to avoid him. I went off the road but luckily there were no trees at the spot I exited and I managed to keep it from rolling. At the time, I thought to myself that I was going way too fast, I should have been wearing my seatbelt and I was lucky not to be dead.

      But your post makes me rethink this. Now I realize that because I walked away with my life, I don’t need to slow down or wear my seat belt.

      You have opened my eyes.

  12. Yeah, we all made it out without guns, regardless of the situation. So what? It’s an insurance policy. Why do people have health insurance? They don’t always get sick. Why buy fire insurance on your house? Are you paranoid that it could burn down? No. You’re cautious. You’re protecting yourself, your asset, the ones you care about. You’re giving yourself another option.

    Sorry about the sermon. Now…

    One night as I walked from my porch to my beat-to-hell ’86 GMC to head downtown for some one pocket, a shady dude headed down the middle of the street met meh at my truck. “Sweet truck man! You wanna sell it? Is this your place? You live here?” I graciously extracted myself from the situation while revealing as little information as possible about my home or myself. Also, my hand was on my knife the entire time. Nothing went wrong. No one got hurt. I still called the police and had them send a cruiser through my neighborhood… and I still wish I had been carrying.

    • No, not at all. Insurance works no matter where or what you’re doing. A gun however doesn’t. Leave your gun at home and you’re sol (maybe). Leave your insurance card at home and you can still drop into the finest emergency rooms and get serviced. Not the same thing.

      • The point is that CC is like insurance to the extent that you make use of it, but almost never need it, that’s all. The parallel is not expected to fit down the nat’s ass.

      • We were asked about a time when we wanted a gun but didn’t have one. We were not asked about the time when we needed a gun and did have one. We were not asked about the times when we had to deploy or shoot in order to stay alive.

        You failed the reading comprehension portion of the exam.

      • You need to read your policies.

        Your health insurance probably doesn’t cover you abroad at all. It probably has much less coverage out of network.

        Some insurance denies coverage for deliberate acts on your part. Life insurance doesn’t pay off if you take it out while you are intending to kill yourself, for example.

        Property insurance doesn’t cover acts of war at all or floods without special riders.

        Insurance doesn’t work everywhere or no matter what you are doing. Sorry.

      • Gnagsta, I think they’re right about the insurance. It protects against the feeling of insecurity and fear that some men have when unarmed. It provides them with much more than that even, the fantasy of blasting their way out of overwhelming situations like in the movies.

  13. Shortly after I took my CHL test, but before I was licensed, my family and I had to stop to refill our SUV in what my ex used to call a “transitional” neighborhood. I’d call it a slum. I’d already gone from “Condition Yellow” to “Condition Orange,” because of the location, the time (sunset) and the number of seedy-looking individuals about. I was pumping gas with my young daughter and then-wife in the car. I was constantly scanning (as unobtrusively as possible) for any threat. Took my attention away for just a second, as the gas pump clicked off – naturally without filling up the bloody tank.

    Without any warning I heard a voice, a guy trying to get my attention. I looked up, and he was in my personal space, with a box of steak knives. You know…the kind that “fell off the truck” and he was selling them “way below cost” with a “never-to-be-repeated price.” Yeah. Like that. I couldn’t believe how this guy – who’d I’d noticed before had been hanging out by the gas station door just seconds before – could cover that much ground, that quickly, nor how I could have missed his approach and allow him to get that close to me without detection.

    I waved him away, my hand instinctively going to my right pocket, where I kept my tactical folder. I saw a flash of recognition in his eyes, as my hand went to my pocket. I’ll never know if this was a semi-legit thing – some guy trying to make a buck selling cheap knockoffs (or stolen merch) or if it was a way for him to get close so he could scope out a potential target. He could have had helpers, too. It was enough, apparently, that my hand went to my pocket, to make him back off.

    It was at that moment that I realized how quickly things could go South, and why I really wanted the peace-of-mind just having a concealed handgun brings. Note, too, that I didn’t have to flash the knife at the guy. My body language was enough to get him to retreat. I’d imagine the same would be true of a gun. No need to threaten anybody…just looking as if I’m ready to defend myself was enough, at least in this case. Then again, I’m lucky. If it hadn’t been enough, I’d have been screwed.

    • You will have to forgive me for a small chuckle at your post. There is something about the mental image of a guy holding a BOX of knives getting backed off by a guy with a pocket knife that is slightly ludicrous.

    • I chuckled too but for a different reason. It reminded me of the first scene between Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy in Trading Places.

  14. Every time I drive back East to visit the family, I have to drive through the People’s Republic of Illinois. Illegal to carry, illegal to even stay overnight in a motel with your guns in the room (no FOID? you in a heapa trouble). You can legally transport your firearms through the state if they are unloaded in a locked container in the trunk, ammo in a different locked container. How’s that for handy when something gets dicey? You are probably a criminal if you even carry pepper spray.

    So I never stay overnight in the PRIll, I buy gas before I enter the state, carry my lunch in a cooler and keep the doors locked when I am stopped to eat, and only stop to pee when the alternative is a warm, wet “tingling down the leg”. You know, for some reason, I just don’t feel like playing the tourist and spending money in that state. My CCW permit is valid in every other state I drive through, but all gun owners in the PRIll (except politicians) are criminals unless they embrace their inner sheep-ness.

  15. Went to NewOrliens for a friends wedding.
    The motel was in a pretty seedy area, but I wasn’t paying for it,
    so I didn’t complain.

    Half way through the night, we were awakened by a guy who seemed to
    be knocking on every door of the motel, looking for, I assume,
    his girlfriend or wife.

    He chose our door to pound on, and try to forceably open.
    Why us, I have no idea.

    He was unable to get into the room, and was gone before the police arrived.

    I had a Buck Nighthawk with me, so I wouldn’t have been totally unarmed
    if he had been able to break in,
    but I still to this day never travel without a firearm.

  16. Q: Have You Ever Felt You Needed A Gun and Didn’t Have One?

    A: No. I live in a wonderful suburb of Houston full of million dollar homes (not mine) and we’ve had five armed bank robberies in the past two months, three of which took place in grocery stores. I carry concealed darn near everywhere I go these days as do most folks that I know. It may not be the “wild west” but it’s damn close.

  17. I’ve wished I had a gun while collecting rents a few times, but I always lucked out and nothing happened. My dad probably wished he had one about 15 years ago when he was collecting rents and a guy with a fake gun clocked him upside the head and robbed him. The fool got caught after a few more hold ups with a replica gun. I guess Mikeys right about me not being NORMAL, but who cares. “Do you realize how much of a fringe group you are really? Most men when faced with those situations get a little nervous, maybe change directions or plans, maybe even feel like wimps, but they don’t wish they had a gun. That’s most normal men.” Its a good thing that most of the people who visit TTAG aren’t NORMAL SHEEP likes Mikey describes in this quote. Some people like guns and some don’t, but that doesn’t mean they’re not normal just because mikey says so.

  18. Last Nov., I “volunteered” to run out for Chinese takeout supper. This was about 4 p.m., a few blocks from large state university. Went inside (only person in place due to time), placed order, sat to wait. A few minutes passed, door chime sounded, kid wearing a sloppy hoodie/sweatshirt came in with right hand plunged in the pocket……WHOOP,WHOOP, UH-OH! Butt of some sort of weapon JUST visible… He went to counter, asked if they served spaghetti, all the while looking over his shoulder at me, then he saw the two surveillance cams pointed at register….”NEVER MIND!” Stomped out to car parked at far side of building, sped off. CCW weapon was at home.

  19. First time I went camping in the Colorado high country we heard big cats all through the night. Next year I brough the 45.

    Mike: you obviously don’t understand what paranoia means. We only know ex post that there was no threat. Robert’s question is about the ex ante feelings. People who think everyone who disagrees with them have mental problems are usually the ones who are severely mentally ill. Mike you need to get help.

  20. “These are the worst kind of examples.” – Mikeb302000

    No. the worst examples are the people who needed the weapon, didn’t have it, and now aren’t aound to tell their stories. Would a gun have saved their lives? Who knows? Would they have had another option? Absolutely.

    Maybe that is an extreme example. Maybe I’m speculating and speaking in generalities. Sure – I’ll consider that. All I ask is that you consider all the examples posted by contributors to this site where just having the firearm was deterrence. Is it for everyone? Doubtful. Is it a good idea in a lot of cases? You bet your life it is.

  21. Every time I watch the evening news I feel the need to have a gun on me. Anyone that thinks bad things don’t happen, daily, to good people, is delusional. Anyone that thinks it paranoid, and disagrees with the founding members of this country and the rest of us folks with good sense, can find like minded people in Europe somewhere I hear.

  22. While true RI and MA do not honor anyone, 16 states honor RI, including VT. Same with MA except only 14 honor the MA license, resident or non-resident. USAcarry.com has a great interactive map but it’s still a good idea to check each state for reciprocity in which you plan to travel.

  23. “An RI resident with an RI license to carry a firearm (me) can’t carry in Massachusetts without a Massachusetts License to Carry (LTC). MA requires out-of-state license holders to jump through a bunch of hoops: forms, fingerprints, $100 (not a personal check) and a yearly interview. Even then there’s no guarantee you’ll get an License to Carry (LTC). Or that the LTC won’t be limited to target shooting and hunting based on . . . their decision.”

    MA residents have to go through the same hoops as non-residents. If you live inside the 495 beltway, it can be difficult to get an LTC because it is a “may” issue and up to the local police chief though you can appeal to the state firearms board. Many towns require written tests, questionnaire and range safety tests. Depending on the where the resident lives, getting a class A LTC without restrictions can be difficult.

    If you have trouble you might call this guy.

    http://www.homegunsafety.com/index.html

    • However, you cannot appeal a license restriction. There are very few places that will outright deny you. But there are plenty that will restrict you.

  24. Twice: both time on mission trips to Africa, carrying a lot of cashe. I have a CHL at home. Next time I go, I’ll figure a way to go packing.

  25. Inside Vermont, I can pretty much carry anywhere except on School grounds or a courthouse. I know what you mean about Massachusetts, I don’t travel anywhere near Boston, since I hate the place. I left Boston because I hated the gun laws, and Vermont does have “Vermont Carry”, and even though the taxes suck here, at least you can carry a Loaded piece even in the nasty places in confidence fully knowing you have the ability to end a hoodie’s life if you need to…

    • Vermont has nasty places? I don’t recall any, but had my Ruger Sp101 because I could. Carried into liquor stores in Rutland, ski shops in Stowe, etc…. No one blinked.

  26. Not me but the girlfriend stared down the barrel of a snub nose revolver and heard it go click click click. The guy was too high to remember to load it. Work rules prevented her from carrying while at work. She no longer works there. The Detroit police didn’t do a damn thing, even with the guy’s name and address. In a state where all handgun transfers go through the police with their permission, a known violent mentally ill felon still gets a handgun.

    So yes, I am an adamant concealed and open carry supporter.

  27. When I was in my teens, dogs hated me. I especially remember a black lab and two German shepherds. Of course, their owners said it was my fault, I was afraid of them. Damn straight! (Actually, the owners of the black lab just sat on the porch and laughed.)

    I suppose bear spray would have been a better solution, but they didn’t have bear spray in the Fifties. A gun would have caused all sorts of trouble, but it wouldn’t have involved me getting bitten.

    As people go, the one time I really was under threat, I was wearing a sword. Nice things, swords – you don’t have to worry about bystanders in the distance. (It was an art fair kind of thing.) They didn’t bother me, though they damaged a bunch of other people.

  28. Yes, when I was jumped in Boston near Boston Commons by a team of three.

    Back home I would have shot them like birds but since I was in Massachusetts I could not. No doubt that team went on to hurt others.

  29. I live in Albuquerque, NM and got a CHP (Concealed Handgun Permit). A year later, I had quit carrying (a relatively bulky 9 mm), and was held up at gunpoint in my garage. The way it went down (the perp, probably a Mexican illegal, stuck his foot under the closing garage door to get it to go back up), I would have had plenty of time to draw.

    It could have been worse. He just demanded my wallet, rather than forcing me into my unoccupied home. He then departed with his two young trainees. My cell phone was on 911 while they were still in sight. The cops arrived 25 minutes later.

    Now I have a .380 that I carry everywhere it’s legal. Never again!

    NM requires 20 hours of classroom and half a day at the range. The range practice is at 6 feet and 12 feet, with practice firing, reloading and firing some more. Very appropriate to what self-defense is really like. (And you really need 2 clips with a .380 submini.) More range time after 2 years and a repeat of the classroom and range at 4 years. The course work changes significantly in 4 years.

    P.S. The CHP went with the wallet. NM had a fresh one in my mailbox inside of 2 weeks.

    • Good post, docduke. When I took my NM CHL class a few months back, the range test was at three and seven yards. I just took a quick gander act the act, and didn’t find any specifications for the range portion (aside from having to pass), so I surmise that it is more-or-less up to the instructor’s discretion.

  30. I live in Kentucky, where you may carry a loaded firearm in the glove compartment of your car/truck if you so choose. Back in the eighties, I didn’t. Until a friend of mine and I were cutting firewood near dusk and his drunken boss/landlord came back and made a big deal out of it — in spite of the fact that we weren’t on his property, yada yada. Long story short — he ended up shooting my friend in the neck. It was a scary, bloody mess. My friend turned out to me only slightly wounded — but still, what a shock. So yeah, I probably would have liked a firearm that night. I started keeping a loaded pistol in my truck after that. I don’t carry much but when I do, it’s not because I’m paranoid.

  31. No. I haven’t had the experience of feeling I needed a gun with me for protection.

    But, my current position is that if I ever feel that feeling I will carry everywhere. For the most part I stay out of sketchy areas and I don’t ride public transit, and have never been afraid for my life. But the first time that happens, I will carry everywhere.

    However, I do make a point to carry on intrastate roadtrips with the family. Why not? But in town it is a hassle that I won’t bother with unless necessary.

  32. Lord, am I ever glad I live in Kentucky. Even before getting my CCW permit, I always had a pistol in the glove box which is perfectly legal in this commonwealth. In fact, KY is an open carry state. I can’t imagine living in one of those restrictive locales like NYC or Chicago. I feel for y’all that do.

    But to answer your question. no, I never have. Other than when I was an Air Force security augmentee on the perimeter of an air base in Northern Thailand in the 60s. At that time that Status of Forces agreement with the Thai government was that we couldn’t carry our M-16s in the open. They were kept in a patrol vehicle that checked on us about every 30 minutes or so. We had our 60 rds, bayonet and canteen on our web belt… but the weapon was in a vehicle somewhere down the road. That sucked.

  33. I got my first firearm after Hurricane Ike. There’s nothing like spending a couple of weeks knowing there have been looters about in your neighborhood, you have no power, and the police are preoccupied with other things, to remind you that you’re ultimately responsible for your own self-defense.

  34. I’ve never had that feeling. I live in Florida, a civilized place. Law abiding citizens are not left at the mercy of the lawless here. I have the right to own and carry a firearm, to stand my ground, and defend my home against intruders. And the ambitious prosecutors, bottom-feeding lawyers and busybody ordinance writers have all in turn been spanked in the legislature and the courts for attempting to disarm me and people like me. Life is good!

  35. I have been carrying continuously without a license for nearly forty years all over the country, including while travelling in the Northeast and mid Atlantic states. I’ve been armed at all times while visiting national parks and monuments. I’ve only once felt it necessary to equip myself while parked outside of a store in Denver a few years ago. The dirtbag with the big arms and prison tattoos who was threatening me backed off, even though he couldn’t see Mr. Glock. He sensed the lack of fear. Trust me, the bad guys know instinctively who not to mess with.

    I’ll never ask for permission to defend myself and I’m not submitting to socialist regulations, even though I could easily qualify for a concealed carry permit. I’m free and will remain so. You can’t subjugate a free man, you can only kill him.

  36. Once at the July 4th concert with the Boston Pops some punk pulled out a switchblade a few feet from me. He was going after someone else but still it would have been nice to have.

    Another time I saw two guys in Goodale Park in Columbus Ohio beating each other up. Again, I wasn’t involved but it would have been nice to have something to protect myself.

    Now I carry.

  37. Got lost in Shreveport LA one evening back in ’95 looking for a business address. Was on the wrong side of town in a bad residential district. A white van pulled sideways in the street in front of me and began disgorging teens. I tried to reverse but a black sedan was blocking the road behind. I did escape by driving through front yards and fences. Would have felt safer with my Colt along.
    Two times having a gun saved my skin and once for my wife.

  38. I live in Pennsylvania, pretty gun friendly. I hold a LTCF from PA, and a permit for CC from Utah and Fl. BUT, I live very close to NJ. What happens is that I try to NEVER go there. Why go where you are not wanted? I vacation in States where I have reciprocity. But, as a rule, I always carry.

  39. Parallel,

    A very thorough report! In regards to this, “… I forgot to put my pistol on before stepping outside.. “, this is why my pocket pistol goes into my pocket when I get dressed in the morning, and doesn’t (ordinarily) come out until I’m going to bed in the evening. Nothing to forget! I’ll sometimes carry a more capable handgun too, but the P3AT is always there anytime it’s legal to have it.

    J in Seattle,

    Don’t you remember the Westlake self-defense shooting? Bad situations can arise without warning, in the very best of areas. Deciding to arm yourself after it looks necessary is a luxury many victims never get.

  40. Yup. Most were prior to when I obtained my permit and bought a gun though. The trigger episode (pun not intended, well yeah .. it is) that prompted my decision to get my permit and a gun was when there was a car jacking right outside the apartment in which my two teens and I were living. I heard about it on the TV news. They gave a description of the guy and I knew exactly who it was. I called the sheriff’s office to tell them where to find the dude, and waiting to hear on the news he had been apprehended. And waited, and waited. And I saw him out an about several times in the next few days. The neighbor who was the victim eventually recanted his story, even though several witnesses backed it up. A few days later, he disappeared. He and his family very quietly moved out. I moved a few weeks later, but was terrified anytime I saw this guy.

    Oh yeah … I’m a little 5’1″ middle aged chick. Dude was big, huge and tall … and ran with rough trade. I won’t offer any further description lest I be accused of racism … IYKWIM.

    Anyway, post HGC permit, and owner of a handgun, there was a recent experience that has left me pondering my priorities. My workplace does not allow guns on the premises. I am OK with that, the office is located in a very safe area, on a dead end street with only other office buildings. I have a 30 foot walk from the building to my car. So, I leave my handgun locked in the car while at work.

    This particular day, I did not re-holster it prior to going to [big box discount warehouse that does not have muddy carry policies] and left it locked up while I shopped. On the way back to the car, I was approached by a young man who was giving me a crazy song and dance about his truck being out of gas, he has money but only on a debit card that the gas pump was refusing yadda yadda … meanwhile, trying to stop my progress towards my car by standing in my path. I angled out towards the middle of the road so as to bring attention to the situation, while telling him I had no cash. That’s OK, he said, just use your card to put a couple dollars in, you can drive me over there. No freakin’ way was I going to let him get anywhere near my car, but that was where my gun was. Just as I was about to turn around and run back to the store, he gave up and walked off … and I watched him get into a truck with someone else at the wheel and they drove off. So, yeah … after totally berating myself for being so dumb to leave the gun in the car, I swore I would never leave it behind again. How I felt was completely vulnerable and defenseless. And dumb … really, really dumb.

    So now I have a real dilemma. As I said, my workplace does not allow guns in the building. Where we are now, that’s OK, but we are moving from our remote, suburban locale to smack dab in the middle of downtown. Instead of a 30 foot walk to the door, I will have to park in a public garage and walk a block over to the office building. The building itself has armed security, and the garage is regularly patrolled by the city police. But still … They can’t be in all places at all times. Now I am trying to decide what to do. If I go unarmed to and from the office, that leaves me without my preferred tool of self-defense. If I carry against the rules of the company (and I believe the building is posted too) I risk losing my job, even if it is revealed that I am carrying while in defense of myself or another. If caught carrying in a posted location in which there is no need for defense (someone just sees it), that brings legal issues in addition to loss of job. BTW, most of my co-workers are very pro 2A, many have their permits and own handguns. Our parking lot is very well-armed.

    Being caught in this situation is very frustrating, and I still haven’t decided which way to go … and no, quitting is not an option. Negotiating with the company isn’t either … it is a company-wide policy, and the company is a Fortune 10 corporation .. not One Hundred, TEN. I’m just a teeny peon at the bottom, so if I don’t like the policies, I am sure I will be shown the door. Making a stand for my rights against versus losing my livelihood? Not gonna happen unless I happen to win the lottery.

    • See if you can get your company to provide and “escort service” to (and from) your car. Most university campuses and large companies provide such a service. Put the request in writing. Then if anyone (hopefully not you) gets mugged, if your company has refused, they may (depending on the local laws) be liable.

  41. L Kay,

    I long for the day when companies that have blanket prohibition on carry are deemed to have accepted legal responsibility for your safety while you are so disarmed.

  42. Ummm, in case the implication is not obvious: upon passage of the Gun-Free Zone Liability Assumption Act, there would be a massive stampede of companies rushing to rescind their bans as their insurance carriers all informed that that their previous recommendation/requirement to ban firearms was no longer operative.

  43. I follow the “better be judged by twelve than carried by six” rule. I’ll carry concealed much of the time regardless of whether it’s legal. In 30 years I’ve never had to do more than show and aim the firearm. In such circumstances the would be attackers aren’t going to turn me in, and there’s no evidence of an incident much less a crime.

    I wish I didn’t have to pick and choose which laws to obey, but so long as the inmates run the asylum I’m afraid I’ll have to.

  44. As a military officer for 20 years, I found myself in several situations but always had a weapon. First qualified with .45 and .30 cal in 1962 as a plebe at Annapolis. Ever since, I’ve had big bore rifles and pistols.

    There have been a few attempted home invasions in my neighborhood which is hard for me to believe. Including the grand children’s 22 bolt action, I own nine firearms. My neighbors have lots more. I recently found myself in a conversation with a retired army colonel discussing interlocking fields of fire. Home invaders would need to have a death wish.

    I always carry a semiautomatic handgun with a jacketed hollow point round in the chamber and at least one spare magazine. I’m licensed in Alabama; most southern states reciprocate. If I need to defend myself, I will use deadly force if necessary regardless of the local statutes. This is America. The difference is that down here, I would probably stay on scene to provide first aid. In New Jersey, I might collect my brass and leave.

    Right now I have a loaded Bersa Thunder 380 in my right pocket. In front of me at my desk is a Bersa Thunder 9 MM 17+1 and a spare mag. Back in the bedroom on my nightstand there are two Model 1911s, cocked and locked with five spare mags. In the closet is a shotgun, two Browning rifles and a loaded M1 Garand. The magazines loaded in the handguns alternate hollow point-ball for the first six rounds. All spare hand gun magazines are loaded with ball ammo. I shoot in pairs. After three bursts, people get behind something.

    The only place I go without a weapon is into the gun shops or to the poll to vote.

  45. Boy, have there ever been times when I needed, but was not carrying, a gun!
    Back when Virginia was a “may issue” state (Thank you, VCDL!), I disarmed an idiot who was disrupting a wedding reception with a large knife. He went to lockup, then was released. That night, he confronted a lady and me at a local bar, pulled a pistol, and tried to kill me (fortunately, he was a lousy shot, and only hit me once before I disarmed him).
    After he was arrested, I started getting death threats from some of his buddies. I applied for a permit — even getting recommendations from the head of our local Vice Squad and from a state legislator. Judge denied it, and got angry when I asked him why. “I don’t need to have any reason!”
    I carried concealed, illegally, for several years whenever I thought it was a good idea. No problems, though I had to show the weapon a couple of times.
    Years later, was accosted at 1am by two yahoos who seemed to be armed (but didn’t show a weapon). Bluffed my way out with hand in empty pocket.
    Since receiving my CHP, have twice been victim of attempted mugging. Showing weapon has ended both attempts.

  46. Slept in van on way through Oregon. State route, not interstate, miles from anything. Heard something prowling outside of car. Could only hope it was a bear. Felt awfully stupid. Had shotgun on latest trip. It took a week to research all the stupid laws. CA is worst. Yes you can have an unloaded shotgun and ammo (just as in OR and WA), but in CA it has to be locked in a case or separate compartment if in state park. LA county parks ban entirely. Sick.

  47. mikeb302000 says:
    “Doesn’t the fact that you lived to talk about it indicate that in fact you didn’t need a gun? Doesn’t the fact that you and Robert and others are looking back on situations you all survived and admit that you wish you’d been armed, say something about your fear and paranoia and insecurity?”

    As a public service here’s a couple of posters for today, unfortunately they can’t post for themselves, as they found themselves unarmed, just the way mikey and the criminals like it.

    Scout Leader Stabbed to Death on Hiking Trip…
    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/08/22/scout-leader-fatally-stabbed-on-indiana-hiking-trip/
    This one also is a good rebuttal to all those libs complaining “why could anyone possibly need to carry a weapon in a park?”.

    CHICAGOLAND: Pregnant teen begged for life before execution…
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-charinez-jefferson-timothy-jones-pregnant-teen-chicago-southwest-side-killing-shooting-20110822,0,4708681.story

  48. Sitting at home with a Colt 1911A1 on my hip.
    As I live in an unoccupied (by Liberals) part of America I carry when and wherever possible.
    Sometimes I have to visit nearby occupied territories.
    Needed to fill up my car at a gas station on NY Ave. The station required cash up front.
    NO credit card slots on pumps. I had to pull a $20 out of my wallet. This activity caught the eye of two urban youths who wandered towards me from the corner bus stop.
    I unfastened the front of my coat and placed my strong hand near my hip. The urban youths returned to the bus stop. They understood body language and movement. Had they decided to push the matter I’m not sure what the Hell I’d have done.
    I’ve seldom returned to occupied territories and when I do it is with no less than a 3/4 tank of gas.

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