Question of the Day: Have You Ever Forgotten You Were Carrying?

"Denver State Rep. Lori Saine, left, watches her lawyer, Randy Coporon, during her bail hearing on Dec. 6 in Denver. The Weld County lawmaker was was arrested after security screeners at Denver International Airport found a loaded gun in her bag." (caption and photo courtesy denverpost.com)

“So, a state representative attempts to go through DIA security and ‘forgets’ that she is armed,” former cop Richard Mignogna writes in a letter to the editor. “Then, in a Sunday Denver Post op-ed, writer Mario Nicolais blithely excuses her forgetfulness by saying that he too conceal-carries and on more than one occasion has forgotten that he is armed. Really?  . . .

Years ago as a police officer, whether on duty or not, I never “forgot” that I was carrying a lethal weapon. Ever present also was the realization that some bad guy might also want to separate me from that weapon.

A responsible gun owner does not merely “forget” that he or she is armed, especially going through a security checkpoint such as the airport. That didn’t cause Rep. Lori Saine to at least ask herself “Where is my weapon?” Perhaps a felony charge is not warranted, but their respective county sheriffs ought to at least question whether Ms. Saine and Mr. Nicolais are too “forgetful” to be issued a concealed-carry permit.

Hands up: I forgot I was carrying and entered a “gun-free” restaurant. The owner saw my gun printing amd called the cops. (Click here for the full story.)

I may be a bit biased, but I don’t reckon that’s grounds for revocation of my LTC (a.k.a., unconstitutional government permission slip). Who was hurt, exactly?

Anyway, have you ever forgotten you were carrying? Equally, have you ever forgotten that you weren’t carrying?

comments

  1. avatar James R says:

    The bigger problem for me is when I have to leave my gun at home (always by necessity not choice) and I forget that I’m not carrying that day. At least once an hour I panic because my gun isn’t where its supposed to be.

    I pocket carry and every morning I just slip it in my pocket with my wallet keys and phone. It is totally muscle memory. That being said I make a special point or remembering to disarm before I visit my parents in NJ. My “remember to bring” list is usually like “toiletry bag, clothes, NO GUN”

  2. avatar Mr.Savage says:

    forgot that I wasn’t carrying, checked myself before entering the courthouse and almost had a panic attack when I couldn’t find my weapon

  3. avatar MrBob says:

    I’ve never forgotten that I’m carrying. It’s always at the back of my mind especially if I know I’m heading to a gun free zone like an airport. If it’s just a restaurant with a sign, I make sure I’m not printing and if they do see it I’ll happily leave and not come back.

  4. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    Yep, walked into work for an afternoon shift and sat down and logged in and had been working on my first issue of the day when I realized I still had my pistol. I was never told that guns were prohibited, but it had to be somewhere in that 3 inch thick binder they made me sign for when they hired me. I just took a short break and went out and left it in the car.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      Yup. Same here.

      1. avatar Art out West says:

        I also forgot I was carrying once when I went to work. It is easy to do that with an LCP in the pocket. I just took a minute and returned it to my car.

  5. avatar Richard Bloss says:

    Short answer is yes, i’ve forgotten, especially with a light gun in a non-obvious place, such as an ankle holster.

    I’ve also forgotten it in my backpack, laptop bag, briefcase, etc…

    Here in Texas, there is actually a state law protecting people who “forget” they are carrying when going into the airport. They are not arrested or harassed, simply told to leave the area with the weapon and come back without it. No hysteria, no goon squads, just reasonable discussion.

    The fact that there is specific legislation addressing this issue suggests that this is a common occurrence: in a culture where carrying a personal weapon is commonplace, it is reasonable to assume that eventually, one gets so used to it that they don’t consciously pay attention.

    Of course all the naysayers will now attack, stating that such an important responsibility should always be on the forefront of your mind – this is just not the way the human brain works. The first few months you carry you are consciously aware all the time of your weapon – eventually, it is just part of your daily carry and the only time you are concerned is when it is NOT there, such as when you forget your wallet or watch.

  6. avatar Shire-man says:

    I’ve never forgotten I was carrying however finding loosie ammo in pockets and bags happens quite often.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      2 – 3 mags, + one in the chamber will get you a lot of loose rounds if you wind up clearing / your weapon on safe.

  7. avatar AFGus says:

    No….never have I ever “forgotten” that I was carrying. Never! Only a couple of times have I ever left home and forgot to grab my gun and extra mag, but that was early in my EDC life. After a period of time it became like breathing. Even if I know that I’m going somewhere that I cannot be armed, I still have my weapon and secure it in my gun lock box in my vehicle. Once I come out of the “no gun zone”, it comes right back out. Just like Mastercard…..I never leave home without it!

    One thing that I was guilty of early in my EDC life was constantly checking to feel that my gun was still where it was supposed to be. I imagine that many go through that when they first start carrying. I worked hard to break myself of that habit, because it’s a dead giveaway that you’re armed to anyone who may be paying attention.

  8. avatar MyName says:

    Well, I was gonna come here and say no but, imagine my surprise when I realized I’m carrying right now.

  9. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    I forgot I had speed strip in my pocket once. Courthouse metal detectors apparently don’t pick those up.

    I am kind of curious what holsters these people are using. Might want to look into buying one if they’re so comfortable you forget you’re packing.

    1. avatar -Peter says:

      Off-body carry is the only way I’ve ever gotten into an issue with forgetting about a firearm’s presence.

    2. avatar Rusty Chains says:

      I had a S&W Shield in a clip IWB kydex holster I made myself. I used the .060 thick version, so it is thin and light, it has held up for years. Combination of a small light weight gun with a thin light holster, and me thinking about the day ahead…..

    3. avatar Casey says:

      My backup XDS in a Recluse Pocket Holster, inside my front-left pocket of my Duluth Firehose pants. When I am not thinking about what I’m carrying, I forget its there all the time.

      I carry a lot of things that I don’t obsess over every waking moment of the day, though. I’ve had glasses sitting directly in my view, on top of my nose, and squeezing my temples for 40 years, and I still occasionally forget they are there, even though if they weren’t I’d certainly know it.

    4. avatar Ansel Hazen says:

      Masc Holster from Turkey.

      I suppose in the back of my mind yes I know it’s there but it’s comfortable enough I hike my pants up in a way that lets me be sure every so often.

  10. avatar Bob says:

    Well, if we’re being honest, and I also always like to put myself onto both sides of arguments.

    Its not so much that I have forgotten that I am carrying, but here’s things I have done.

    Gone to a fire company convention and went to the judging section where the trophies for best apparatus and what not are handed out and while watching the presentation realize its a highschool football fields annex section. Which means even though its Saturday evening, its still a school zone, and illegal to possess firearms on.

    I have ran into a post office quick and while waiting for stamps read a no firearms sign and realized, oh crap, federal building!

    I have even driven into other states because I missed an exit by accident and since I’m carrying and Jersey and Maryland are assholes…. bingo…

    Ended up on a military base once because that was the delivery address but wasn’t told it was a base.

    So…. have I ever forgotten I was carrying? Not really.

    Have I ever gotten complacent and it skip my mind that two and two can’t go together? oh yea!

    Can I see a busy representative in a hurry not be thinking about it at the time… yea.

    Hey, we’re just human.

    As much as I’d like to be on the band wagon and hate when the “elite” get away with things I wouldn’t. I’d have to say I believe the story.
    Should she be punished? Maybe.

    But yea, it happens.

    If you say you’ve never experienced anything like this in 30 years of carrying, well, either lucky you or you need to get out more.

  11. avatar MamaLiberty says:

    No, I don’t ever forget. Because I never go out the door unarmed. I never leave my gun in the car for any reason either.

    There is no place here where carrying the gun is not legal OC (except the post office), and I don’t visit the places that are supposedly no-no when I CC. Not an issue for me.

  12. avatar Randy in Indiana says:

    I rarely “remember” my sidearm. It’s there, and I just don’t think about it. –But I am aware of the circumstances and places where I need to safeguard my weapon or leave it behind. I’m sure I’ve inadvertently taken a weapon somewhere I shouldn’t have–but never have I seen the sign and forgotten that it applies to me.

    I have often “forgotten” that I was not armed. I’ve more than once instinctively stayed outside the school or the courthouse and later realized that I left my pistol behind for just that reason. I’d rather assume that I was carrying than blithely forget that I am. I’m glad I’ve never had to reach for it and found it not there.

  13. avatar former water walker says:

    Nope. Never…pocket carry makes me aware. I HAVE forgotten my wallet a few times which caused great angst😖

  14. avatar Scott says:

    I carry a weapon that’s so big and heavy that you’d have to be in a coma to forget about it.

    I’ve accidentally left it at home a couple times because my mind wanders when I’m getting ready for work, but if it’s already on my body, an fnx 45 cannot be forgotten.

  15. avatar ATFAgentBob says:

    straight forgot I was carrying? No. Forgotten that certain places around here look at me funny for having a pistol strapped to my side? Plenty. Been in forbidden areas while armed? A couple. No I’ve never forgotten my gun was on me I just forgot to take it off and leave it in the Jeep.

    1. avatar ironicatbest says:

      Left my pistol in one of our fuel trucks, while driving grain truck. Came back the fuel truck had caught fire, damn fine pistol, leather jacket, lunch, water burned up. Firearms either on me or at home hiding.

  16. avatar MLee says:

    I never forget I am carrying. I have forgotten to carry, but I never forget I’m carrying.

  17. avatar Ing says:

    I wouldn’t say I ever forgot that I was carrying, but I have forgotten that my gun isn’t allowed in certain places as I go about my daily business. Silly me, I tend to assume that my individual rights are indivisible from my person.

    When I go out to eat, I actually get a kick out of standing right on the line that separates the bar from the rest of the establishment. Am I a criminal or not? Hop from one side to the other. Criminal! Not! Criminal! Not! (It’s like magic…) Straddle the line; which half of me are you going to arrest?

    But concealed is concealed, so no one else knows my game. I may be silly, but I ain’t stupid.

    1. avatar bob says:

      I also like to dance that dance.

      Here in PA, its a little known fact that the law has nothing written about firearms and alcohol.

      So I like to be in bars and have people tell me its illegal or standing at a BBQ drinking and guys get bent afraid I’ll be arrested for drinking while armed.

      Nope, you can drink a beer while at the range (assuming range rules don’t say no alcohol).

      1. avatar Ing says:

        Out here in WA, it’s spelled out on the mandatory placards they have to put at the entrance to age-restricted venues. There’s no blanket prohibition on drinking while carrying, but you can’t be in a bar (or be intoxicated).

        And no guns in school zones, and that includes college campuses. It’s a mite inconvenient, living in a college town where the campus is almost 30% of the area. And the municipal pool & fitness center periodically host high-school PE classes, so guess what’s also a 24/7 no-gun (no rights) school zone? Farking ridiculous.

  18. avatar Gregolas says:

    Never have forgotten that I’m carrying. It’s a commitment to protect myself and others. Consequently, I’m hyper-aware when heading for places I can’t carry, (courthouses, flying, etc.) and always double-check that I have no “contraband”. My range/shoe bag never flies with me. I have a separate, dedicated carry-on for that. Hence, no inadvertent mix-ups.

  19. avatar Old Law Prof says:

    If you carry a 642 or a G43 always and everywhere in a quality IWB holster, it will indeed become a part of you. Like your shoe you will not always be conscious of it. But if it is missing, then you will know.

  20. avatar Joe R. says:

    Have you ever forgotten you were carrying your weapon so bad you’d let some hi-n-mite-ee douche take your guns?

    If you ever get fing close to that, give me a heads up, I take overwatch and use you for bait.

  21. avatar Coffee Addict says:

    Disneyland is the only place I willingly disarm. strangely, it’s not that it’s against the rules, it’s that they WILL give you a lifetime ban if you piss them off. I locked it in the safe in my trunk, removed the knives and Leatherman from my pack. went up to the security checkpoint and dammit if I wasn’t still wearing my spare mag on my belt. they were very polite about it and understanding. I walked it back out to the car and there wasn’t any further issues.

    1. avatar Ing says:

      How many times do you really need to go to Disneyland?

  22. avatar dlj95118 says:

    …simple answer, “no”.

    Long answer: living in the shining socialistic cesspool that is the San Fransisco south bay area of Kalifornia relieves me of the choice to forget as I’m not allowed to carry anyway.

  23. avatar Gunrunner says:

    I have “forgotten” in that I wasn’t continuously focused on the fact that I was armed. It would be no different than not being continually focused on whether or not I have a pen in my pocket.

    I don’t see how you can “forget” when your destination is clearly and famously a place where you are not allowed to be armed. Heck, when I fly, I pretty much completely empty my briefcase to ensure all knives, guns, batons, magazines, multitools, liquids, loose ammo, etc are not in there.

  24. avatar Specialist38 says:

    It’s more that i forget there are places i can’t carry.

    Now at the Airport, i am always painfully aware.

    Part of the ritual is locking up backup in my lockbox.

    I have had to return to my truck from the security line to store my Case Stockman.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      “It’s more that i forget there are places i can’t carry.”
      This.

  25. avatar Asdf says:

    Guns not so much, but knives all the time. I have shipped myself my pocket knife from the airport more than once.

  26. avatar patrulje68 says:

    Walked off base on break once and didn’t realize that I still had a submachine gun slung across my back until I was amongst the general public.

  27. avatar Kyle says:

    yup.

    Forgotten I was carrying, forgotten i was not carrying, forgot if I had loose ammo, or a spare mag.

    Hell in a few instances, I even had the wrong gun.

    Only the government, who screws up all the time, requires its citizens to be perfect all the time.

  28. avatar Hannibal says:

    No.

    I have probably forgotten, at some point, that I had a gun in my car though.

  29. avatar skiff says:

    Many years ago in Rhode Island, a guy forgot he was carrying his Browning High Power in his briefcase as he went through the metal detector at the Garrahy Courthouse. A nice older gun with a ring hammer. I was present as his arraignment.
    This was after a woman tried to get into the Licht Courthouse with a 1911 hidden in a baby carriage with a real baby. The woman was charged not the baby.

  30. avatar me says:

    Someone I know carries a compact SCCY CPX2 in a Remora holster, concealed at the small of his back, quite comfortable. After a particularly harrowing drive in a nasty snowstorm on ice-covered roads to go see his daughter in a play at the local high school, he was indeed not thinking about the piece that he’d gotten totally used to not feeling anymore on his back, and it wasn’t until he sat down in his seat in the auditorium did he realize his mistake. He made sure not to bend over, and kept concealment.

    Miracle of all miracles, said SCCY did NOT end up shooting anyone that night.

  31. avatar Roymond says:

    Once, when it was in my backpack. I’d put it there since I’d come onto a section of trail exposed to wind carrying salt and sand.

  32. avatar The Dude Abides says:

    I spent 10 minutes looking for my gun at the range, when it was strapped to me the whole time.

  33. avatar Ansel Hazen says:

    Just remembering a coworker left his Berretta M9 in the overhead storage bin passenger side one night. If memory serves me right that little voice that keeps track of stuff realized it when I got home. Sure enough there it was. Brought it in for safe keeping and put it back in the morning before picking him up. Leaving his chambered round on the seat.

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