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On the weekend, I had a little pow-wow with David about a certain someone’s habit of countering rational argument with emotional outbursts. Like an alarming number of my gun buddies, David is both a crack shot and a high-priced lawyer. He knows everything you need to know about negotiation—and I wasn’t afraid to ask. “When they hit you with emotion, never counter with reason,” he said. “Talk about your feelings. Say something like, ‘I’d like you to consider how that makes me feel.'” Makes sense. ‘Cause if you think about it, gun rights advocates are from Mars and gun control advocates are from Venus. Reason vs. feelings. So, MikeB302000 and friends, I’d like to share my feelings about concealed carry . . .

I was walking the Schnauzers through the ‘hood yesterday when a strange feeling came over me. It wasn’t like Meatloaf’s epiphany in Paradise By The Dashboard Light. It was more of an incoming tide of tranquillity than a tidal wave of hormones. [NB: Getting older is not for thrill seekers.] As someone who’s way too busy to take his emotional temperature (i.e. a male of the species), it was another ten blocks before I could put a name to my satisfaction: safety. I felt safe. And yes, I felt safe because I had a gun.

Obviously, I was in far more danger of slipping on the ice and cracking my head open than facing a deadly group of muggers. Clearly, drawing my gun would be the very last thing I’d do in that situation, anyway. But that’s reasoned analysis, and we’re here to talk about emotions, dammit! Deep down inside I knew I had a Plan C. Or, for those of you who consider concealed carry paranoia personified, a Plan 9 from Outer Space. I could defend myself. And it felt good.

That’s not to say that I’m completely comfortable with concealed carry. Walking into the supermarket, I got that strange sensation of “otherness” that I described in a previous post. My XD-M suddenly felt incredibly heavy on my hip. I had to resist the urge to reach down and feel if the barrel or holster was showing. I was also aware that I couldn’t take my coat off. Not that I would, but if I did, I’m sure all hell would break loose. That’s a new fear: the “thrill” of discovery in a land so liberal the police refuse to check criminals’ immigration status.

The funny thing is, while Springfield is restoring my “main” gun’s trigger to its original factory settings, I’m carrying the Liberty gun. Even on the range, people are surprised to see that the American flag-draped Croation semi is, in fact, a fully functional 9mm handgun. Most “civilians” would see the star-spangled pistol and think it was a gag gun. On the other hand, what in the world would a jury make of it? Again, I live in a state where most people consider patriotism something Republicans use to bash gays, oppress the poor and start unnecessary wars. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is this some kind of joke? I think not.

Me neither. After the emotional highs and lows of the day, I brought Old Glory down to the American Firearms School and shot the living shit out of it. I fired off well over a thousand rounds. I practiced drawing with my coat on. Shooting right-handed. Left-handed. Around the faux door. Standing. Kneeling. Sitting. Walking. I shot for precision. I shot for speed. Bullseye. Center mass. Near. Mid. Far. I reloaded. I added snap caps. And, of course, I practiced drawing without shooting. No question: I went into that session with “issues.”

A lot of that armed animus was down to anxiety. Firing my formerly faultless black XD, feeling it go click instead of bang, had rattled me but good. The fact that I’d carried the defective weapon had shamed me. I felt . . . ridiculous. It may sound infantile, but the experience had left me feeling impotent and emasculated. I needed to reclaim my confidence in the gun, and myself. And so I did, the only way I know how: by actions, not words. As Devo asked, are we not men? With a reliable gun and the skills needed to use it effectively, yes, we are.

That doesn’t mean a man has to know how to shoot a gun, or carry one, to feel like a “real” man. Whatever that is. But I would be lying if I didn’t admit that there is something deeply emotionally satisfying about carrying a gun. Knowing that I’m self-reliant should my life or the life of my loved ones be threatened. In certain circumstance. Potentially. Gun control advocates may read that statement and accuse me of being emotionally retarded. For me, it’s the exact opposite. Carrying a gun has been a growing experience. It’s given me a sense of empowerment that threatens no one, save those who would do me and mine harm.

Bottom line: carrying a concealed gun makes me feel good. Is that really such a bad thing?



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  1. Farago said: After the emotional highs and lows of the day, I brought Old Glory down to the American Firearms School and shot the living shit out of it. I fired off well over a thousand rounds.

    Robert, you shot 1000 rounds in one session? How long did it take?

        • If it is reloaded, less than $50.

          If new it depends on the company, I can get 1000 rounds of Federal (quality ammo) .40 for $140 at the local walmart right now.

          If he was at a bar for the same amount of time he could have easily spent more and instead of leaving feeling better about his skills and himself he would have just had bath breath, a slur, and a bad headache to look forward too. I think he made the better choice personally.

  2. When I started reading this I thought you were referring to me because I tend to go off the deep end when dealing with certain unnamed fools. I’m sure all you regulars know who I’m talking about, but I have turned a new leaf and my kinder gentler side has taken over.

  3. It makes you feel good now. But after a little while, you’ll find that in order to get the same feeling, you will have to start carrying extra magazines. Then you’ll need to start carrying a back up. It’s a vicious cycle…
    … yeah. I feel good too when I carry. And I like the feeling.

  4. I’ve been carrying so long and so often that I feel silly when I don’t, as if I forgot to put on my pants.

  5. Lesson Learned: TEST your gear frequently. If you have your gear modified, test it prior to use. A short range trip would have revealed the problem.

    Fortunately, you have a spare gun or two. However, it would be better if you had a spare XD. I have duplicates of all my carry gear…guns, mags, holsters, mag holders, etc. If something happens, I can go home, load up with exactly the same configuration and…carry on.

  6. This is an interesting topic, and your lawyer buddy had and interesting take on how to combat stupid emotional arguments. Being fairly deficient on estrogen, it never occurred to “feel” some “feelings” about carrying. Like most members of the uglier sex, I begin with the statement of a problem, and then come up with a solution.

    Problem: If I am in a car accident and get thrown from the car, I will probably die.
    Solution: Wear my seatbelt.

    Problem: If an assailant who is stronger and more skilled at fighting than I am, or a group of assailants, attack me or my wife, we will get hurt or worse.
    Solution: Guess

  7. I am planning on getting my CHL over the summer when I will have time from school and hopefully have the money set aside by then too. I find this series of articles an interesting look into what I will probably go through. I’ve been shooting for years with my dad, brother, and sister. My father and Grandma both have a CHL so I’m familiar with many of the rules that go along with it.

    I can’t tell you how much I want that law to pass so I can carry at my school too, When I first started attending that shooting at Virginia tech was still fresh in my mind and I decided to do whatever I legally could to come out alive if the situation ever arose. Heck I’d even jump out the window before I’ll just set and wait for my number to come up, none of my classes are over the second story this semester and only one has me in an interior room with no immediate exit available.

  8. I think the accusation that gun control folks use feelings is not always the case. The ones I hear accused of this are the ones who’ve lost loved ones to gun violence and then became active in gun control. But even them, the Bryan Millers and the Carolyn McCarthys may be bringing much more than emotionalism to the table. They believe what they say and have logic and reason to back it up. It’s the nature of a controversial issue like gun rights vs. gun control that two totally different views can be taken of the same thing.

    But after reading Robert’s treatise to the tender and sublime feelings with which you gun owners float above the rest of us, I definitely don’t believe it’s just the gun controllers who operate on emotion anymore.

    • But after reading Robert’s treatise to the tender and sublime feelings with which you gun owners float above the rest of us, I definitely don’t believe it’s just the gun controllers who operate on emotion anymore.

      It’s a good thing to have self confidence and to know you can rely upon yourself. It’s a good thing to love what you do. To live without fear is a great thing. It’s a good thing when every day is a good day. The motto of an armed citizen might be “Don’t worry, be happy”.

      It’s a bad thing to not be self confident and to know that you can’t rely upon yourself. It’s not a good thing live with fear. The motto of an anti-armed citizen might be: “Worry, be unhappy”.

    • If you think Carolyn McCarthy has logic and reason to back up her claims you are way, way, way gone.

      Lest you forget that she is the idiot that wanted to ban barrel shrouds and embarrassed herself when she proved she didn’t even know what they were. Being the gun control expert that you are, please tell us how barrel shrouds increase crime or accidents and the reason for banning them?????

      As a matter of FACT, if any gun grabbing loon used logic and reason at all, they would not be gun grabbing loons.

      • Of course I remember that she’s the “barrel shroud” gal and the “shoulder thing that goes up” gal. How could I forget you guys keep reminding everybody.

        The point is her ideas make sense, not the stupidity like the barrel shroud being of any significance, but her gun control ideas make a lot of sense to a lot of people. There are certainly better spokespersons out there than she’s proven to be, but I think your problem is that they disagree with you and what they suggest you take as a personal attack.

        The fact is it doesn’t have to be that way. You could safely admit that reason and common sense reside in the suggestion of background checks for all as well as some of the other ideas, but you choose not to. But it’s not because they lack reason and common sense, it’s because they threaten you in some way.

  9. I “feel” like carrying a firearm is exercising the self-reliance and personal responsibility that our forefathers built our nation on. I feel like I am doing my part to protect my family and myself to the best of my ability. Like the saying says, you can’t help those who don’t help themselves.

    Of course, these are in addition to the feelings that have already been stated. I have experienced all of the feelings you did and will continue to feel. Good writeup Robert!

  10. The reason gun control advocates respond to reasoned arguments against their positions with emotional outbursts is because they lack the emotional maturity necessary to carry on a reasoned discussion of an object or phenomenon they dislike. Arguing on the basis of one’s feelings regarding a matter of public policy is the last recourse of a feeble mind.

  11. I guess your perspective on the matter depends on where you stand. I’m a gun enthusiast and a supporter of the Second Amendment. I’m also a proponent of measured and reasonable gun regulation. Whenever I express a view from this sensible middle ground, I get an extremely emotional and illogical response here.

    I am especially in favor of gun owners taking some responsibility for their guns, their hobby, and the industry that serves them, so the government and the society at large don’t have to do it for us. This suggestion seems to especially enrage people here.

    In short, I don’t think you can assume to hold the logical high ground. It’s not evident from your arguments.

  12. “I am especially in favor of gun owners taking some responsibility for their guns, their hobby, and the industry that serves them, so the government and the society at large don’t have to do it for us.”

    I firmly believe that responsibility is at the core of this whole issue. The Bill of Rights contains unalienable rights. It is not open for debate to the government. I agree that it should be on us, the people, to be responsible for conduct in regards to arms. It should be part of our culture, and not a written law shoved down our throats. The sad reality is that as a nation, we have grown away from self-reliance and personal responsibility. One thing is plain to see. Government mandated gun control has been an epic failure to protect law-abiding citizens. Actually punishing those who abuse firearms would be far better solution. Truly responsible citizens taking up arms is even better.

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