Are You Too Stupid For Concealed Carry?

By Paul McCain

Let’s face it, aside from owning the right gun and gear, not everyone is equipped to carry a concealed weapon. With the boom in firearm ownership in recent years, there are a lot of new gun owners. And plenty of first-timers seem to have picked up that first gun as an impulse buy, apparently thinking, “Hey, I’m going to buy me a gun and carry it!” Their friends pack heat so how hard can it really be, right? If you’re too stupid to think through some really important questions before you start carrying, you have no business walking around with a concealed weapon. You need to stop to consider that . . .

There are legal, ethical, moral and competency implications whenever you strap on a firearm. Here are just some of the things you need to be aware of:

Legal Implications

If you carry a gun, you need to be prepared to accept the legal consequences, whatever they may be. Are you willing to go through the trouble and expense – both financially and emotionally – of being arrested, charged and tried if you have to use your firearm? If not, leave the heater at home. Can you deal with whatever might come your way when it comes to encounters with law enforcement officials who may or may not understand and respect your state and local carry laws? If not, don’t carry.

Ethical Implications

When you take on the responsibility of being an armed citizen, you also assume a greater level of ethical responsibility for every aspect of your behavior while packing. You don’t pick fights. You don’t respond to aggressive comments or gestures by going for your gat. You never go looking for trouble. You don’t – ever – drink while armed. And you never brandish it or joke around about carrying concealed. Concealed means concealed…in every possible sense. If you can’t conceal it, do not tote it. You aren’t trying to impress anyone by carrying. Your ethical posture hasto be above reproach when carrying.

Moral Implications

Are you mentally prepared to actually shoot and kill somebody? If not, the gun should stay in your safe. If you think you are just going to pull the gun out and wave it around to scare somebody off, don’t carry. If you think you can “shoot to wound,” you have another thing coming.

If the gun comes out of its holster, you must already have decided to kill somebody. Period. There is no middle ground. Can you do that? Have you thought long and hard about what that means? Are you willing to see what a bullet will do to a human body? People don’t always just fall over dead like in the movies. You have to prepare yourself for the emotional trauma of gravely wounding or killing another human being.

Competency Implications

If you are going to carry a concealed weapon, you need to be rigorous about safe, competent gun handling. Your heater is always loaded – or it better be. That means you must never ever, under any circumstance, draw it while carrying unless you’re truly in a life or death situation.

You do not pull it out to show to your buddies. You never cover anyone with the muzzle. Your finger should be indexed. You simply do not “play around” with your concealed firearm. It goes in the holster and never comes out, unless absolutely necessary.

And you need to be fully trained in the use of your firearm. Find a competent instructor and take a class. Better yet, take several classes. Just as if you want to get to Carnegie hall, you need to practice, practice and practice some more. You owe it to yourself to get in as much range time with your carry gun as you possibly can. If you aren’t willing to master all aspects of handling your concealed carry firearm, don’t strap it on.

Are you too stupid to handle all of this? Most likely not. But these are just some of the things you will need to consider before you take on the responsibility of concealed carry. Yes, it’s your right, but you need to exercise that right legally, ethically, morally and competently or you’ll hurt the cause of those that do. Got it?

 

comments

  1. avatar Seb says:

    “If the gun comes out of its holster, you must already have decided to kill somebody.”

    Doesn’t this suggest that everytime you are forced to draw your gun you should imperatively shoot someone? Shouldn’t it be, you must be ready to kill someone, or you must accept that you may have to kill someone.

    1. avatar Paul McCain says:

      “Doesn’t this suggest that everytime you are forced to draw your gun you should imperatively shoot someone?”

      Of course not.

      It is about mindset.

    2. avatar Matt H says:

      Indeed, the times that the sight of justifiably brandished firearms set criminals to flight vastly outnumber the times that criminals actually need to be shot. That’s the biggest reason gun grabbers’ statistics understate defensive gun uses: they’re only counting the ones where the criminal is actually shot.

      So be prepared in every way to pull the trigger if you must draw, but don’t train yourself to take that step automatically.

      1. The article does not suggest that one should pull the trigger on draw down.

        It is about mindset.

        If you draw, you better be ready to kill.

        Period.

        1. avatar twency says:

          “The article does not suggest that one should pull the trigger on draw down.”

          It doesn’t say that, but it sure suggests the idea.

          “It is about mindset. If you draw, you better be ready to kill.”

          But the article doesn’t say “…you must be ready to kill somebody.” It says “…you must already have decided to kill somebody.”

          Those two sentences are related, but they don’t express the same idea.

        2. avatar Bryan says:

          Twency is right. Deciding to kill someone and being ready to kill someone are very different concepts. We get that the author is trying to express the latter, but he said the former.

          I’m not stupid enough to think he actually meant the former in that literal of a sense, but in a slightly altered phrasing of his own words: “Your ethical posture has to be above reproach when [writing about] carrying.” So he should make it above reproach by changing it to being “ready” to kill somebody.

    3. avatar Bob says:

      “If the gun comes out of its holster, you must already have decided to kill somebody.”

      Agreed Completely. When I start drawing, I must be planning to kill someone. However if the threat has stopped by the time I get the gun drawn, then the law requires me to NOT shoot . I must continue assessing the situation while I am drawing, and act accordingly as the situation changes or does not change. If I start drawing, the bad guy sees me drawing, and he immediately surrenders, then I am required to NOT shoot him.

      One must practice drawing while assessing the threat, not just always drawing and shooting.

      The problem wih this requirement is that I am forced to always be reacting to what the bad guy is doing, not anticipating what he might do, which means that I am always a little behind the curve. A poor tactical position, but that is the law. To counteract this requirement, you need to get very adept at reading peoples’ body language, which will allow you to be expecting bad behavior before it happens (to go from condition yellow to red just before the attack starts). Then when you actually see that behavior, you can react to it more quickly (going from condition red to black).

  2. avatar SD3 says:

    Hey, some people are too stupid to:
    1) drive a car
    2) boil water
    3) cross the street
    …but they do it anyway, don’t they?

    1. avatar ThoughtPolice says:

      And your point is?

  3. avatar TTACer says:

    “Are you willing to go through the trouble and expense – both financially and emotionally – of being arrested, charged and tried if you have to use your firearm? If not, leave the heater at home.”

    This is a straw man. Asking if I am I willing to go through the consequences is like asking if I am willing to put up with a broken rib from the seatbelt if I am in a car crash. Should I not wear my seat belt if I don’t want sore ribs? F’ it, I’ll just go through the windshield!

    1. avatar irock350 says:

      Sorry TTACer, but your argument is best represented as a strawman in this exchange. You are attacking someone else’s position, by inserting your own conditional argument based on his assumption, thus creating two positions to defend, one of them being irrelevant to the main argument.(ie.wearing a seat belt is safer for you than not wearing a seat belt.) His argument may be a conjunction fallacy because it relies on one conclusion to satisfy all of his conditional arguments. For example, someone may be emotionally ready to deal with the legal proceedings relating to a DGU but is unable to afford a lawyer, according to the author that person shouldn’t carry.
      Rhetorically your argument is weaker, because you allow the opposition use your original argument and substitute his own ending. If someone is worried about broken ribs, then they are probably not mentally prepared to drive a car.
      And now to my point, the author is making carrying a conditional argument based on wealth. If a person is willing to purchase a firearm for self defense, and go through the necessary steps to legally carry a firearm then they are as emotionally ready to carry as anyone can be who has never used a firearm to kill someone can be. Which leaves the condition of wealth, the author is suggesting that everyone must be able to afford the legal consequences carrying a firearm before they can carry their gun. I suspect that if this were a condition that had to be met before anyone could carry a firearm, that most of the CHL crowd would unprepared to carry. Essentially the author is suggesting that only those of us wealthy enough to afford a legal team be aloud to defend ourselves. This condition stands opposed to the idea that self defense is a basic human right, independent of wealth and emotion.

      1. avatar Paul McCain says:

        I was hanging with you until the very end of your comment, in which you made a leap that is unfounded.

        The article is simply stating the obvious: If you use a firearm in self-defense, you better be willing, ready and able to accept all possible consequences.

        Makes no difference if those consequences are “fair” or “just” or what we think they should, or should not be.

        They are, what they are, and one of these consequences is potential legal ramifications.

        And of course, by the way, everyone always has the right to have an attorney provided to them.

        So even that point in your conclusion is faulty.

        1. avatar Mike OFWG says:

          If the right to bear arms is a constitutionally protected right, then it only follows that there should be free (i.e. paid for by somebody else) liability insurance for those that wish to exercise this right, sort of like free birth control in the medical plans.

        2. avatar irock350 says:

          Sorry Paul, but you frame your argument as an if then statement. If you are not ready to deal with the financial consequences of carrying a firearm then leave it at home. You are making wealth a condition of armed self defense. Even though our legal system provides free legal defense against criminal cases it does not have a duty to provide the defendant in a civil case with council, and even if you are not found guilty in a criminal case you can be found liable in a civil suit. Furthermore your argument could be used any of the basic rights and it would still be just as invalid.

          While it may be good advice, asserting that wealth is a necessary component of self defense is a flaw in your argument. By that logic it may be necessary for the state to mandate that anyone who carries a firearm must purchase an insurance bond in-case they are sued. Whether or not a person is financially able to cope with the great expense of a lawsuit or court case should have no bearing on their preparedness to use armed self defense. Because in reality no-one is prepared for the finical burden of legal defense except the very wealthy.

        3. avatar NoIRock says:

          Reading the article, I see absolutely no suggestion, nor inference of a suggestion, that one need to be wealthy enough to afford a legal team in order to carry concealed.

          First and foremost, the conclusion that a legal team (or a single lawyer, for that matter) is even necessary is incorrect, and renders the point moot. Focusing strictly on civil litigation, as even the poorest of poor saps can get a public defender for a criminal suit, you generally have three options: pay for an attorney, find an attorney willing to work pro bono (e.g., Legal Aid), or represent yourself (pro se). While a “legal team” may be more effective at trying your case, it isn’t an exclusive option.

          What I see is a suggestion that anyone considering concealed carry should evaluate their willingness to endure the potential burdens of litigation following the use of a firearm in self-defense. Nothing more. There are financial considerations. There are time considerations. There are emotional considerations. All of these considerations, and more, arise in the context of litigation. The relative importance of each will vary based upon your approach (e.g., a pro se defendant will have less financial concern, but more emotional and time concerns). If you are not prepared for any of them, you may want to hold off on carrying.

          Perhaps the article should be reworded to say “Are you willing to go through the trouble and expense – financially and/OR emotionally [. . .]” in order to appease those combing for semantic disharmony.

          Litigation is certainly a consequence you may face. You must be willing to tolerate that risk, as well as all of the attendant burdens.

      2. avatar Nathan says:

        Can’t reply to MikeOFWG under his comment, so using this one. Mike, justifying a government excess by using an example of another government excess is a poor position. The right that is achknowledged is the right to bear arms, not the right to your own tyranny by forcing someone else to pay for what is your responsibility.

    2. avatar Nate says:

      Agreed. Suggesting that someone should leave their gun at home and just be a victim because they are not prepared to face the U.S. legal system is quite asinine. I am not prepared to face the legal system should I have use my CCW in self defense but I don’t feel I am too stupid to carry and it is elitist to say otherwise.

      It is the one part of carrying a weapon and having to use it that terrifies me the most.

      1. avatar Paul McCain says:

        Nate, this is not what the article is “suggesting.” It is rather simply assuring, as a matter of plain truth, that if a person is not willing to accept the legal consequences for carrying a firearm, he/she should not carry.

        If you are not prepared to accept all possible consequences, then don’t carry.

        If a person doesn’t understand these realities, yes, they are too stupid to carry.

    3. avatar Matt H says:

      Ultimately, I agree with the point you make in your last 3 sentences. But I object to your use of the term straw man. This is a term with a specific meaning (spelled out here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man); it doesn’t just mean any argument you find flawed. Whose argument do you think he’s misrepresenting? How?

      If you want a fallacy to label it with, the closest fit I could find on Wikipedia is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirvana_fallacy, but I don’t think that precisely hits the mark either.

      The Ostrich’s Fallacy is a little closer http://home.abe.kth.se/~soh/fallaciesofrisk.pdf but I’m convinced there’s got to be a better fit somewhere.

      1. I think we can do without the little logic lessons, thank you very much.

        1. avatar Matt H says:

          Wow, you sure are thin-skinned. FYI, sometimes when people pick nits, it’s because they like what you’ve written overall and want to fix its few remaining flaws. If I thought the whole thing were crap, I wouldn’t even bother.

          Plus, it’s not really a logic lesson; I’m criticizing his choice of words, just as I would criticize someone who writes clip when they mean magazine.

    4. avatar Bob says:

      The situation may be that you either must kill or be killed (or seriously injured). So the first question should be are you willing and able to choose between Dying and a long prison term and/or financial ruin. For most people, this is a simple decision. Staying alive is our TOP priority. If you survive the attack, then you can deal with the legal ramifications of what just happened.

      Then the next question becomes, can you KILL SOMEONE if necessary? If you are not willing or not able to kill someone to protect your own life, then you shouldn’t carry. If you are, then you should.

      OK, we have decided whether you should carry or not. Now we need to decide about other situations beyond pure self defense when you will or will not use your gun. The same possible after effects apply when you get involved to stop an attack against some other person (not against yourself), plus you could be killed while trying to protect another person.

      One must look at his life and his values, and decide what threat situations he is willing to get involved in, and when it is best for him to just get safely out of the way. Are you willing to risk everything you have including your own life to protect a total stranger from a bad guy? How about for a group of strangers? How about for a friend or a few friends? How about for some of your relatives, both very close relatives or not so close? If you have a family, then you also have to think about how they would be affected by your death, incarceration and/or financial ruin. You may end up saying to yourself a few times, “Sorry buddy(or fill in the blank), but if I have to choose between you or me dying (or between you dying or me losing everything I own), it was nice knowing you.”

      Make these decisions now about everyone in your life, because you won’t have enough time to make the decisions when the threat actually happens.

  4. avatar Age Quod Agis says:

    I think this is a great article full of information that should be shared with any and everyone taking the basic course required carry a concealed weapon. My instructor went over much of what was covered in this article and these are things you should think about. We did a lot of role playing and while many of us were ROFLOAO, the responses some students displayed to having just been involved in a shooting were scary. You could tell that unless given more training and coaching, if some of them were involved in a shooting, they were going straight to jail. The STFU theory just didn’t sink in. The instructor acting as cop slipped them up every time. You really do have to alter your perception, your behavior, your reactions, your attitude, everything. It’s not just a matter of tooling up and walking out the door each day like when you grab your car keys and cell phone. When faced with confrontations, or potential confrontations, I have to remind myself to act the same way I would if I didn’t carry (with the exception of not allowing myself to be a victim). So I remain non-confrontational, humble, peace seeking.

  5. avatar Age Quod Agis says:

    Here’s the latest on that kid who walked around downtown Birmingham, MI with his M1 Garand:

    http://www.freep.com/article/20120712/NEWS03/207120575/Jury-to-continue-deliberations-in-case-of-teen-with-loaded-rifle

    1. avatar Paul McCain says:

      Dumb move by the kid.

      1. avatar Pascal says:

        Dumb how? He did nothing illegal and the obstruction charges where already dropped by the judge. Breach of peace will not fly under the law and carrying the rifle over your shoulder also does not fit the current definition of brandishing in that state. Per your definition he was prepared for the legal consequences – and in this case he did nothing wrong.

        1. avatar ThoughtPolice says:

          You ask “dumb how?” with the premise that just because it’s not illegal, it’s not dumb… To which I rebutt: Drinking a bottle of bleach to quench your thirst isn’t illegal either.

      2. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

        Dumb, perhaps. I’m not going to pass judgment on the wisdom of his actions. Even if it was dumb, it wasn’t illegal. A slung rifle is not being brandished, no matter how much contempt of cop the kid displayed.

  6. avatar Ken says:

    I believe the argument for needing classes above and beyond basic safe firearm handling and the laws, is completely off the mark as 100% necessary. As long as people know how to use their gun, and can carry safely, that is good enough. I shoot about once a month, and that would not be nearly enough for the “class junkies” out there. Guess what, even if i haven’t shot in a year, I would still carry. I’ve never taken a class outside of “Basic Pistol” needed to get my permit. Some people dont have the money to slap down for the Sig Academy or whatever is close to home. I have plenty of range time under my belt and I know I could use improvement. However, even people who buy one, and never go to the range, take classes or anything are still better off than people just walking down the street with nothing but a cell phone. It is still a force multiplier, and there are plenty of stories all around the web about people never using their guns much successfully defending themselves. So if your safe, and know follow the basic rules of firearm handling, please carry – it only helps the crime rate go down when criminals know their marks are not so easy targets anymore.

    1. avatar Paul says:

      As a former state certified firearms instructor, and a current NRA instructor, I must take great umbridge with your comment. It doesn.t take thousands of dollars to get advanced training. To maintain proper competency, a person must have more training than basic firearm safety 101.

      This is a must in a society that is so sue happy, that just the sight of a firearm will give someone panic attacks. Do you honestly believe that just by having a firearm on you, that will prevent you from being attacked? If so you are not even close. The gangbangers of today are getting some very sophistisicated training. They practice taking away your handgun. They practice defensive tactics. They practice tactics in ensuring you become a victim, and they go home.

      If you don’t believe me, talk to your local police. Ask them what they are seeing on the street. They are running into military types of training. They are seeing these techniques used on a daily basis. Yes, the news talks about the drive-by. They exploit the single shooting of one gang-banger. What they aren’t telling you will fill an entire encylopedia.

      Get the extra training! Just because you go to the range once a month, DOES NOT prepare you for what you will encounter on the street.

      1. avatar Paul McCain says:

        Well said, Paul.

      2. avatar Montesa_VR says:

        I think I’ll go with Ken on this one. Sorry Paul. Ken’s point was not that training is not useful, or not beneficial, and he never even hinted that bad guys would leave him alone just because he was carrying. His point was simply that as long as he can handle his gun safely and shoot with reasonable accuracy, he has adequate proficiency to carry.

        In my opinion training is very valuable. Good judgment is even more valuable.

  7. avatar Mike OFWG says:

    Seriously, there are always going to be consequences for defending yourself, lethal force or not. It’s not hard to make that decision to resist, even if you end up in the hospital or the morgue.

    1. Your comment simply proves that you are aware of the legal consequences, thanks for proving my point.

  8. avatar Don says:

    There is no reason why we can’t point out the various implications of carrying a gun. They exist, they are real. You look at them and weigh against other options decide what you are most comfortable with.

    Some people weigh them the same as us, some differently, some people don’t weigh them at all. We tend to easily identify people who weigh them the same as us as “smart”, but we have a hard time telling which of the two remaining types other people are. Only the person who doesn’t weigh the implications at all is stupid.

    -D

  9. avatar ThomasR says:

    One of the most important aspects I believe not mentioned in the article is to have video and audio proof of any confrontation while carrying a weapon, whether with a bad guy or the police, although that’s rather hard to differentiate at times.
    I bought a pair of video/ audio safety glasses that with a press of a button a person can have with in seconds proof of what actually happened; it’s much less obvious and much faster than trying to set u the video function of a cell phone.
    For a couple of hundred dollars, it could protect someone from being Zimmermaned.
    .

    1. avatar Chris says:

      You seriously wear video/audio recording safety glasses all day long or were you planning on the BG letting you put them on and start recording before drawing down?

      1. avatar ThomasR says:

        You know Chris, the way you write your question is offensive and shows your ignorance; video glasses look like regular sunglasses but with thicker frames and no, just like having a gun dosen’t guanrantee that you can be successful in ones self- defense, there’s no guarantee that you would have time to click the button on top of the frames before a defense situation goes down; but many circumstances develop with at least some warning; if your situational awareness is even working at all, theres usually some warning ahead of the potential confrontation.
        I bet Zimmerman wishes he had some video proof of what happened that night.

    2. avatar Age Quod Agis says:

      do you really have the time to flip them on and get your pistol out? do you / have you trained doing so? what if they walk up and just hit you in the face/glasses?

  10. avatar 45Shooter says:

    Training and competency are a matter of personal responsibility. IMO if someone doesn’t train regularly with good instructors, they are not taking advantage of what’s available.

    Static ranges are good for static targets, basic marksmanship, and safety. If that’s all a shooter is doing, he is lulling himself into a false sense of security and likely endangering those around him.

    Dynamic Incident Training should be a part of every CCW / defensive firearm regimen.

    And yes there are moral implications too. Thanks for writing this. I wish more folks “got it.”

  11. avatar Silver says:

    Tons of people are too stupid to practice the 1st Amendment, but they’re allowed to. Welcome to America.

    1. avatar Paul McCain says:

      You’ve only further convinced me that there is no cure for stupid.

    2. avatar Colin says:

      You might wanna re-read what you wrote there buddy…

    3. avatar DaveL says:

      Well, I do know of a family or two that can never manage to assemble peacefully…

  12. avatar jwm says:

    the scariest comment was the one about how he was most worried about facing the legal system after the shooting. i have been shot at and i have shot back. nothing is scarier and to think otherwise shows just how unprepared you really are. i also have those moments of simply showinf a fireaarm ending the situation. doesn’t even come close to the stress of actually firing.

  13. avatar Steve says:

    Freedom means the freedom to screw up and pay the consequences.
    Smart OR dumb.

  14. avatar sam says:

    This will be required reading for anyone that i know the ccw. Too many overlook the incredible responsiblity it is to carry a gun. And yes if my gun comes out of the holster and in the 1.25 second it takes me to clear the holster get a sight picture and press the trigger the bad guy turns and run i will not shoot. Becuase before i consider an armed response i will have exhausted every other option including running like a fat kid to ice cream truck

  15. avatar Matt in FL says:

    Good article. I don’t necessarily agree with the necessity of taking classes, but I choose to look at the suggestion to “take several” as falling under the umbrella of practice, practice, practice. If people obey that mantra, most of them are going to want to learn more, and for many that will lead to taking some sort of class(es). For others who say, “I don’t need no steenking classes,” well, that’s your decision. But you still ought to practice.

    The only thing in the article I take complete objection to is this line: “You don’t – ever – drink while armed.” It has been years, literally, since I drank to the point of impairment, and I was neither driving nor carrying on that night. It has probably been double that number of years since I drank “to excess,” meaning ’til I regretted it, badly, the next morning. I’m not going to deny myself having a beer with a good steak or during/after a hot afternoon working on my car simply because I’m carrying now.

    Note: Please check your own jurisdiction! It is currently not illegal in the state of Florida to imbibe while carrying. It is illegal to use a gun while intoxicated, use defined as discharge or loaded and in your hand. This does not apply to persons exercising lawful self-defense or defense of one’s property. Fla. Stat. § 790.151

  16. avatar Ben Eli says:

    I still have close to a year before I can carry concealed, but I know off the bat the never drinking while carrying is going to suck. I love drinking, I really do. I had a drink after a soccer tournament yesterday, I had a drink this morning. I just found out I’ll probably be drinking in about an hour. But I’ll have to really cut it once I start carrying.

  17. avatar Will says:

    Legal Implications: Yes. be mentally ready for them. Financially? Wha??? Only let the rich carry? Think again, mandating that would be elitist.

    M0ral Implications: Yes. be mentally prepared to shoot-to-kill if you have to. Other than that, shoot-to-wound can work sometimes as plan A… just be ready to drop it fast if it don’t work quickly for plan B, shoot-to-kill.

    Ethical Implications: It’s stupid to wave it around, or horseplay with your gun. IGOTD awards show the results of such foolishness. Its stupid and childish to just try to scare someone for the fun of it. Showing to your friends? In the wild? Not wise. At home? be safe.

    Competency Implications: I would hope that in getting the CCW license, those incompetent would be ruled out fast. In reality some IGOTDs do get through. I do know that yes, know your gun, preferably like the back of your hand, acceptably know how it operates. Loaded up with training can be costly to those who aren’t trained by uncle sam or the police academies. Requiring extensive training can be seen as elitist, and minimizes gun presence.

    1. Thanks for proving my point:

      You are aware and accepting of the legal consequences. Good.

      I would not underestimate the stoopid in the concealed carry certification process. In my CCW classes we had people who, literally, could not read.

      Shoot to wound is stoopid.

    2. avatar DaveL says:

      Competency Implications: I would hope that in getting the CCW license, those incompetent would be ruled out fast.

      One would hope the same thing for any government licensing process or, for that matter, for any government hiring process. Personal experience suggests that unfortunately, this is not the case.

      1. avatar Will says:

        One would hope the same thing for any government licensing process or, for that matter, for any government hiring process. Personal experience suggests that unfortunately, this is not the case.

        That’s why I said what I said after that. (shown in bold below.) Unfortunately they do get past the process (and a few have gotten their IGOTD awards from here.)

        Competency Implications: I would hope that in getting the CCW license, those incompetent would be ruled out fast. In reality some IGOTDs do get through.

        Yes, it’s rare that a wound will cause the problem to dissolve… hence the plan B, and the need and willingness to switch to it in a heartbeat once proven wounding isn’t enough. Pure shoot-to-wound is vastly fool-hearty I’ll agree though, especially if you’re not willing or incapable of switching to shoot-to-kill.

        (1x should be more than enough to eliminate the ones who will run, and the rest… that means they’ve already made up their minds they’ll die trying to do you harm at any cost, and you’ll know it within less than a second in time.)

        1. avatar Will says:

          I’ll add, when I think about it for a moment, that yes, sometimes there isn’t the distance and time for anything remotely “warning shot” like. When there’s no time, there’s no time to do anything but shoot-to-kill.

  18. avatar tdiinva says:

    I would expand point #1 to say you need to understand the Rules of Engagement (ROE) for your community before you carry. I highly recommend taking any opportunity to talk to a local officer about his take on civilian armed self defense both inside and outside the home. Don’t let your disdain for the police prevent you from getting information on how they will respond to you in a shooting incident. These are guys that you will have to deal with after the event.

    I have my own “rule 5” for safe gun handling. The gun stays in your holster until you are going to put it the safe or use it in self defense. I think it should be added to Cooper’s four rules.

    1. avatar Paul McCain says:

      Amen…totally agree.

  19. avatar jwm says:

    i am uncomfortable with the shoot to wound concept. we were trained to never fire a warning shot. you might only get 1 shot, make it count. same thought with attempting to wound only, your opponent is in it for all the marbles. you need to be also. ideally, we will make it through the day without having to engage. but it ain’t an ideal world.

    1. avatar Paul McCain says:

      We were trained to do whatever is required to stop the threat, and by stop, that means, render the threat no more of a threat.

      We shoot for center mass seeking to have bullets impact the most vital areas that will render a human being incapable of further action: heart, spine, brain stem, brain.

      That means: we shoot to kill.

      Or, if you prefer, “shoot to stop the threat.”

      We do not shoot to “frighten away the threat” or “wound the threat” or “slow down the threat” or “make the threat think twice.”

      No, we want to STOP the threat.

  20. avatar TRUTHY says:

    Considering most Americans are so dumb they don’t even know prominent politicians’ names, they shouldn’t be carrying a weapon.

    1. avatar CarlosT says:

      That really has nothing to do with anything.

      1. Precisely.

        The stoopid is strong with this one.

  21. avatar Thesophist says:

    While I appreciate what the author and some of you are saying, it strikes me as going a step too far to say unless XYZ, you shouldn’t carry. What’s the alternative, exactly?

    Yes, being safe, competent, willing to deal with legal consequences, etc are all important, but… I have to be alive to care about any of those things. If I am dead, then the legal consequences of DGU are not important to me.

    I carry for one and only one reason: to protect my life and the lives of my loved ones. So the suggestion that I shouldn’t carry if I don’t want to face legal bills sounds a whole lot like I should just die instead. That seems silly.

    All of the suggestions are good ones. But not meeting someone else’s definition of emotional preparedness should not mean that you should happily seek to be a murder victim either. Be aware as much as possible of your responsibilities and potential liability, but carry first.

    Unless you carry for some sort of ego stroking reason or to feel like a man or whatever garbage. Then don’t carry coz you’re more likely to be a wannabe Rambo or something. For the rest of us, for whom a gun is meant to keep us alive so we can face legal consequences, I’d say carry whenever possible and exercise maximum judgment and responsibility.

  22. Your comment simply proves you are aware of, and accepting, of the legal consequences. Thanks for making my point.

  23. avatar Mike Hargreaves says:

    I carry a Glock 19 every day. Keep it well concealed, I understand fully, shoot to kill, if I believe my Life, or the Life of an other innocent person, is in danger.

    I will only make statements, not going to have me behind the 8 Ball. I am 76 YOA, just about always with my Wife. You can not shoot to wound, you can only shoot some one, when you believe you are in danger (or some one else) of being killed, or grievously injured.

    1. Thank you sir, and may God bless you and keep you!

  24. avatar Trainer says:

    Most serious about training and Defense will tell you that being in good physical shape is just as important as being able to make accurate hits. I think ol McCain here needs to climb off the soapbox and onto the treadmill every once in awhile. This article is just as pointless as his YouTube videos.

  25. avatar GrammarPolice says:

    The phrase is “you have another think coming” not “you have another thing coming.” Think, not thing. I might pass this off as a typo but the K key is nowhere near the G key on the keyboard (whether you hunt and peck or correctly type from the homekeys).

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      Yeah, I can definitely be super pedantic when it comes to grammar, and even I’m not touching that one. I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just saying to leave the windmills alone.

      1. avatar GrammarPolice says:

        Bonus points for your literary reference, Mr. Quixote.

    2. GrammarPolice is wrong.

  26. avatar ThoughtPolice says:

    I think all the naysayers have missed the point of the article. Yes, by law you can carry concealed with minimal training and certification but why would you? When was the last time you were satisfied with a minimally trained doctor, dentist, lawyer, LEO or anyone in a position of serious life-altering responsibility?

    We shouldn’t miss the fact that more training is better. Not just for you, your family and your neighbors, it is also better for me, across the country, when I carry concealed because you’re not making my CCW license look bad in the aggressively anti-gun media.

  27. avatar fred says:

    Excellent article, thanks TTAG.
    Similar to the thinking in books by Ayoob.

    1. Glad you liked it.

  28. avatar John says:

    This article comes across, none to subtle, as being extremely smug.

    Presuming that the newbie is less intelligent, thoughtful, competent as compared to a long time gun owner. Or as compared to someone highly trained or in law enforcement. Creating an Us vs Them to prop up an ego.

    I very much believe that a great many of those who are highly trained are nut cases and much more dangerous than the average gun owner. “You have to….” may actually be completely bad instruction.

    Just how it sounds….

    [Big time gun aficionado, ultra libertarian]

  29. avatar Ivan Pistov says:

    From everything I have ever read about self defense with a firearm, it is my impression that almost independently of state laws on the matter, a defender almost always will be prosecuted, or at least considered for prosecution. Those of us who are elderly and who travel with a gun (locally or otherwise) are obviously at risk for ruining the remainder of our lives. I always have a wife with me who deserves defending, no matter what happens to me in an encounter. Why do I have to suffer the indignity of prosecution or civil suit for this? But, as you say, it is what it is. So, because of these ramifications, most of the time we are unarmed, making us vulnerable to the various scumbags floating around malls and other locations.
    It should not take a lengthy investigation to determine self defense or NOT self defense in most cases. Shooting someone, even in extremity, is a traumatic event and will be with a person for the rest of his/her life. I think our self defense laws and policies need to be simplified and cleaned up, in spite of resistance of the Brady Bunch and the ATF and the local police. My life is My life and it’s the only one I will ever have.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      There will always be an investigation, some quicker than others, especially if the DGU resulted in a homicide. That cannot be avoided. But if you shoot an intruder in your home, odds are that the investigation will wrap up in a few days with no charges; and the odds of a civil suit in such circumstances is slim.
      In fact, I suspect that wrongful death suits arising from a DGU are rare, and will be found predominantly in cases where there are questions as to who was the aggressor, which are more common to occur outside the home (in the case of strangers). Further, if the person shot is convicted of a felony, many states preclude him from pursuing a case for damages.

  30. I wrote an article on concealed carry for a major gun blog site and since it was posted there, I’ve received a lot of great feedback. I’ve tried to incorporate as much of the constructive criticism as I can and here is version two.

    Let me know what you think.

    [B][I]Concealed Carry Considerations[/I][/B]
    by Paul T. McCain
    Creative Commons License

    With the boom in firearm ownership in recent years, there are a lot of new gun owners, taking advantage of their rights as citizens of the United States of America to “keep and bear arms.” But carrying a concealed firearm is an awesome responsibility. Let’s take a few minutes to consider some things you need to think through very carefully before you decide to carry a concealed weapon. There are legal, ethical, moral and competency implications.

    Here are just some of the things you need to be aware of:

    [B]Legal Implications[/B]

    If you carry a gun, you need to be aware of, and prepared to accept the legal consequences, whatever they may be. Are you willing to go through the trouble and expense – both financially and emotionally – of being arrested, charged and tried if you have to use your firearm? If not, leave your firearm at home. Are you ready to deal with whatever might come your way when it comes to encounters with law enforcement officials who may or may not understand and respect your state and local carry laws? Keep in mind that when you carry a firearm you are doing so for defensive purposes. The very concept of defense is to do what is necessary to stop a threat to ones own life or the life of another.

    [B]Ethical Implications[/B]

    When you take on the responsibility of being an armed citizen, you also assume a greater level of ethical responsibility for every aspect of your behavior while packing. You don’t pick fights. You don’t respond to aggressive comments or gestures by going for your gun. You never go looking for trouble. You don’t – ever – drink while armed. And you never brandish it or joke around about carrying concealed. Concealed means concealed…in every possible sense. If you can’t conceal it, do not carry it. You aren’t trying to impress anyone by carrying. Your ethical posture has to be above reproach when carrying. And, don’t get dragged into a conversation about “shooting to kill.” You do not shoot to kill, you shoot to stop the thread and to defend yourself or others in a true emergency.

    [B]Moral Implications[/B]

    Are you mentally prepared to defend yourself? If not, the gun should stay in your safe. If you think you are just going to pull the gun out and wave it around to scare somebody off, don’t carry. If the gun comes out of its holster, you must already have decided to stop a threat. You are using your gun defensively, that is, you are shooting to stop the threat of immanent bodily harm to you, to your loved ones, or an innocent party under attack. Are you prepared to do whatever it takes to stop a threat and to defend yourself? Have you thought long and hard about what that means? Are you willing to see what a bullet will do to a human body? People don’t always just fall over dead like in the movies. You have to prepare yourself for the emotional trauma of gravely wounding or killing another human being, but remember, your goal is never to kill anyone, it is to stop a threat. Drawing your weapon is the last resort in a truly life, or death, situation, where you must act to defend yourself, or others.

    [B]Competency Implications[/B]

    If you are going to carry a concealed weapon, you need to be rigorous about safe, competent gun handling. Your gun is always loaded – or it better be. That means you must never ever, under any circumstance, draw it while carrying unless you’re truly in a life or death situation.

    You do not pull it out to show to your buddies. You never cover anyone with the muzzle. Your finger should be indexed. You simply do not “play around” with your concealed firearm. It goes in the holster and never comes out, unless absolutely necessary.

    And you need to be fully trained in the use of your firearm. Find a competent instructor and take a class. Better yet, take several classes. Just as if you want to get to Carnegie hall, you need to practice, practice and practice some more. You owe it to yourself to get in as much range time with your carry gun as you possibly can. If you aren’t willing to master all aspects of handling your concealed carry firearm, don’t strap it on.

    These are just some of the things you will need to consider before you take on the responsibility of concealed carry. Yes, it’s your right, but you need to exercise that right legally, ethically, morally and competently or you’ll hurt the cause of those that do.

    And finally, here is a good “creed” for a person carrying concealed to live by:

    [I]If I draw my gun from it’s holster, I have decided that lethal force is imminently necessary to prevent or end the use of force, which I reasonably believe will cause grave bodily harm or death against me. The ultimate fate of my adversary is not my goal, is not even my consideration. I must cause them to cease the actions that I believe are deadly to me. Nothing more. I do not shoot to kill. I shoot to make them stop.[/I]

    Take care, and stay safe!

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