Carrying a gun is a big responsibility. You’re schlepping the power of life and death. In theory. In practice, a firearm is no guarantee you’ll be able to stop a lethal threat. Even so, it’s a hell of good thing to have IGF (If God Forbid) you need it. The antis will argue this point all day every day to The End of Days. The chances are lightning strike small that you’ll ever need it, a gun is more of a danger to you and your family than a gaggle of gang bangers, yada, yada, yada. I’ll let Bruce Krafft rip the antis a new orifice as and when. Meanwhile, I’d like to point out that you don’t have to be paranoid to pack a pistol. There are non-ballistic advantages to carrying a gun. Here are my top three . . .
1. Carrying a gun make you more law-abiding
Gun rights are subject to instant and permanent revocation. If you somehow make the transition from law-abiding citizen to convicted criminal, your ability to keep and bear arms will not make the jump with you. I’m not saying that carrying a gun will stop a gun-owner from robbing a bank (especially as most bank robbers are tooled-up). But anyone who cherishes their gun rights thinks twice about misdemeanor offenses.
Case in point: a friend recently offered me the opportunity to exchange bodily fluids with a professional. While the young lady in question looked like Samantha Gradoville (NSFW), I’m reliably informed that this activity is illegal. So, despite my recent divorce—an event more emasculating than getting trounced in tennis by Billy Jean King—I declined his invitation. So-called soft drugs are also off the menu.
Anecdotal yes. But I can assure you that I’m not the only armed citizen who sings “because you’re mine . . . I walk the line” to his everyday carry gun. Exhibit B: the only person I know who packs a pistol and drives like a lunatic carries a badge. Everyone else keeps their speed low and avoids road rage like herpes (see: above). You can file that one under “I don’t speed because I don’t want to be pulled over and shot by a trigger-happy cop,” but it’s the same difference.
Paying taxes? Avoiding ANY kind of legal trouble? That too. Whether or not increasing your law-abidingnessosityitude is a personal or societal advantage is subject to debate. But rectitude has its rewards. Like being able to defend yourself and your loved ones with a gun in an IGF life-or-death situation until the moment when death takes you anyway.
2. Carrying a gun make you less confrontational
I was elipticaling at the gym the other day when the gentleman next to me decided to schmooze with his daughter on his cell. When I reminded him that gym policy prohibited phone calls he reacted as if I’d keyed his Porsche. “I’ve been a member here for years. I know the rules. If you think—” I put on my Dr. Dre’s and ignored him. That really set him off. So I moved.
Anyone who carries a gun who has an ounce of common sense (and tons of people answer to that description) does everything they can to avoid interpersonal conflict. They realize that a shouting match can lead to a physical confrontation that can lead to police interaction that can lead to the loss of their gun rights. Not to mention the possibility that they’ll have to use their firearm, which also leads to the loss of their gun rights.
Call it the anti-Zimmerman effect—which admits that the connection between armed self-defense and conflict avoidance doesn’t apply to all the people all the time. Where it does apply, this gun-based reticence goes beyond that, into ASPIS PDST (Avoid Stupid People in Stupid Places Doing Stupid Things). Many if not most armed civilians stay away from places where a violent argument might arise. Roadhouses are Positus non Gratis.
Stats show that people who carry a gun legally are more law-abiding than those who don’t. (Bruce, please email me the link to the Florida data.) I reckon that’s because people who want to carry a gun legally don’t want to lose that right. And yes, it’s a self-selecting sample; they’re more likely to be law-abiding than the general population. Your problem being? Hey, you talkin’ to me?
3. Carrying a gun makes you a better parent
One need only peruse TTAG’s Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day category to know that some gun-toting parents don’t get the whole firearms safety thing: they leave their carry gun unsecured with tragic (if Darwinian) consequences for their progeny. (This includes cops.) But the vast majority of gun owners are not only responsible with firearms, they teach their children to be responsible as well.
We know the first part of that assertion because Mr. Krafft tells us so, with enough hard statistical date to give The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence pause. Not really, but if the antis can use “common sense” to back up their claims so can we. The fact that millions of children don’t shoot themselves or others with their parents’ guns tells you that someone has taught them not to play with guns.
Carrying a gun is the best way to teach your kids about gun safety. When they have a parent or two that carries, sprogs learn by example that a firearm is to be treated with respect and vigilance. Their close encounters of the carrying kind helps keep them safe from other people’s firearms because, after all, we live in a country literally littered (on occasion) with guns. Children learn to leave guns alone, and how to handle them if they need to.
Let’s not discount the civics lesson, either. When a child sees a parent carry they learn that a law-abiding citizen needs to take responsibility for their own safety (no culture of dependency there). Kids with parents who pack are also likely to hear a thing or two about how the Second Amendment’s protects individual liberty from government tyranny. There’s nothing wrong with that, and quite a lot right (so to speak).
And there you have it: three “fringe” benefits for Americans who choose to exercise the aforementioned right to keep and bear arms by keeping and bearing arms. The next time an anti wants to debate the cost – benefit ratio of armed self-defense turn their arguments on their head. You carry a gun for the good of society, personal development and, of course, the children.