According to our recent survey, slightly more than half of TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia carry concealed. Unfortunately, our survey didn’t reveal how many of our readers could get a license to carry but haven’t done so. To this group, I offer the same admonition Woody gave his Toy Story compatriots about moving buddies: if you don’t have one, get one. It’s absolutely critical that you do this now . . .
Many if not most firearms folk make a slow transition from “I don’t need to carry a gun” to “maybe I should carry a gun” to “I’ll get a license to carry a gun.” But that’s not always how it goes down. Concealed (or open) carry can go from being a good idea to a life-or-death necessity in the blink of an eye.
I’m not talking about a sudden random attack or unforeseen home invasion. Then it really is too late. I’m talking about an ongoing threat that you can see coming—but you didn’t see coming until it came. In other words, the sudden realization that you’re at risk of a violent attack from someone you know.
Crimes of passion? Psycho-burger on parade? Call it what you will. It only takes one nutcase to turn your life from Paul Simon’s Was a Sunny Day into Michael Sembello’s Maniac. A deeply disgruntled customer, obsessed co-worker, jealous business partner, jilted lover, jilted lover’s spouse or a crazy ass welder/dancer can ruin your whole day. In a big way.
Sometimes it IS the bus you see coming that kills you; you need to be ready to carry before these threats arrive. You need to slip a gun into a holster the moment life-threatening danger looms large in your life. You need to be ready, willing and able to defend your life and/or the lives of your loved ones.
See the problem? In these post-Obama, post-Supreme Court Heller and McDonald decision days, many states can’t cope with the influx of concealed carry license apps. New Hampshire, for example, is well over its statutory processing limit. Even in states where civil servants are reasonably responsive, delays are possible if not probable.
If you’re unfortunate enough to live in a state with numerous hurdles to legal carry, if you somehow fall afoul of bureaucratic ineptitude, every day you wait for your license—and it could be months—is going to be hell. (Could be your last, in fact.) Situational awareness is all well and good, but constantly looking over your shoulder for a lethal threat, unarmed, is not my idea of fun.
Also remember that a “liberal” licensing regime can change with the political winds. In Rhode Island (a “shall issue” state where “shall” means “may”), the number of licenses granted depends entirely on the political leanings of the Attorney General. A controversy about a defensive gun use could inspire the AG to clamp down on concealed weapons permits like a hungry croc on a well-fed wildebeest.
[NB: Several states also have a “cooling off” period between a gun sale and delivery. If you don’t have a carry piece (or a gun period) there’s another period of time when you could be SOL armed self-defense wise.]
Of course, you could carry illegally—and run the risk of arrest, incarceration (removing your ability to protect your loved ones) and the permanent loss of your gun rights. Not to put too fine a point on it, that would really suck.
Bottom line: it’s best to get your carry license now in case you need it later—regardless of whether you carry or not. And by “you” I mean you, the guy who reads The Truth About Guns and “you” another adult in your household. Sharing may be caring but I don’t think the DA will see it that way.
As stated above, society benefits from your license as well. I’ve met plenty of people who have a carry license because they know that exercising a right is the best way to protect it. So what are you waiting for? And do us all a favor: spread the word.