Today was “music day,” apparently. I spent virtually all day either playing or listening to music. Part of the day was spent armed. Part was not. To understand why, we have to take a quick look at my day, and the law of the land.
When I awoke this morning, I had a message waiting for me from a guy who plays in my band. He fronts a rotating group of players who volunteer to entertain at the local soup kitchen, and wanted to know if I’d come out and play. “Sure,” I said.
Now as soup kitchens go, this is a nice one. Clean. Orderly. Well-run. The people there are always grateful for entertainment, polite, well-mannered, and just great to be around. Kinda make you feel good to be doing something for someone, no strings attached. In fact, the only dust-up I’ve ever seen there was when one musician got crossways with the leader, and left in a snit. (Well, truth to tell it was a long, drawn-out goodbye – let’s call it a snit-n’-a-half.)
But like every other soup kitchen on the planet, they are universally located in scary neighborhoods. That come with scary neighbors. Now I’m 6’4″ and weigh in at better than 240, so I’ve never really been worried about a one-on-one fair fight. But who said life was fair, especially in the badlands? I’m far more worried about getting stuck up for my nice, shiny, metallic cherry-red Fender Strat, or the contents of my wallet (threadbare as it might be).
So I decided to go in armed. No big, it’s not like I was going to have to put on a tux and worried about the gun messing up the tailored line of my cummerbund. Nope, it’s oversized, buttondown shirts for this cowboy, which make it easy to hide a pistol, even with an OWB paddle holster. Swell.
So I get in the car, sit down, and immediately remember what a pain – literally – it is to carry on my hip, when sitting in my Jeep. Even OWB. So I remove the gun from the holster and try putting it in the car holster, under the steering column. Now I’m sure somebody has a solution that works in a Jeep for a holster under the dash. The one I’ve got ain’t it.
That pretty little Kimber was thrashing about like a fish outta water, and all I could think about was that I was glad so many safeties would make getting shot in the ankle pretty damned unlikely.
As I pull into the parking lot, the usual suspects are seated on the stoops around the place. Do-wop ditty-in’ they are not. They eye me with various degrees of curiosity, interest, and more curiosity. Swell. So now I have to figure out how to unholster said pistol and sneak it back into my OWB holster and cover it with my shirt, so nobody goes all Michael Bloomberg on me. THAT was fun.
But through a series of moves I can only hope will come in handy should I ever get the chance to try my hand at tantric sex, I was able to reholster the gun without exposure. Well, they didn’t see the gun, but I’m fairly certain these guys thought I had an attack of palsy or was warming up a Joe Cocker impression in the bullpen.
So I get it, set up and start to play. All of which requires me to do a lot of bending over, squatting, and other moves that would potentially expose a handgun for all to see. Did I mention my friend/bandmate/leader du jour is a leftie who is not crazy about guns? No? Well, consider it mentioned. But what the hey, seems as if Rabbi is right after all, I didn’t mention the gun, and nobody noticed. Coolness.
Leaving was easier than getting there. Pack-out came off without a hitch, save poking myself in the kidneys – again – with the Kimber. Sigh…so I drive off, and realize I’ve got precious little time to make my next appointment – some friends were playing at a coffee shop. I run into my favorite BBQ joint and get a sandwich. No point in eating in the car, so I take a seat in a booth and make it through the meal without anyone the wiser that I’m concealment mode with my 1911.
Back in the car, and it’s over to said coffee shop for a two-hour jazz concert, courtesy of my friends. Suddenly…nothing happens. (But, it happened suddenly.) Nope, even with a room full of people, some of them behind me, nobody notices that I’m armed. Way cool!
I head home for a well-deserved break, before heading downtown for more fun n’ games. I take a moment to peruse several sources (can’t be too careful) to see if I’m allowed to pack tonight, since my last stop before home will be at a place that traffics in the sale of adult beverages. Nope.
Of the states that have recently amended their CHL laws to allow for non-drinkers to carry, Louisiana is not in their number. To stay legal, the gun will needs must stay in the car (a dicey proposition in a Jeep, remember) or it will stay home. I opt for leaving it at home, largely because it’s not mine, but on loan from the fine folks at Kimber. This gun needs a permanent home, people! It looks lonely…can’t I keep it? Huh? Huh? Puh-leeeeeeze? So now I’m figuring two trips, sans gun. Joy. Just when I was getting so good at concealment, too.
My first trip of the night takes me to an event where the artsy types in Shrevepit are gathering for a premiere of several short films (most under 3 minutes) that were shot in town, by local artists. There’s also live music and art. Lots and lots of art. Some of it, I like. Some…um…don’t ask. Let me just say that the highlight of the evening featured a Nativity scene where the plastic Jesus was being held up by His ankle by what looked like a U.S. Marine, looking as if he had less than holy things on his mind. Joseph lay dead in the bullrushes, whilst Mary had what looked like a .50 cal machine gun pointed at her temple. Lots of other carnage surrounded the scene.
My understanding is that the piece was created by a transgender individual who is radically anti-Christian, and furthermore, a Christian group was staging a protest outside. I’m not a bettin’ man, but I’d guess that of the hundred or so people there, I was probably one of very few who are, shall we say, “pro gun.” I’d bet that even the transgender individual who’s work focused on guns would freak if she’d learned I write for a gun blog. Could have carried at the event. Could have even been fun. But I had other places to go.
After a brief stop at a local Tex-Mex place for some fuel for the tank, as it were, it was on to the niteclub. On my way in, I passed another club, where the security was actually frisking a patron. Shades of TSAgitation! So I get to the club in question, show my license, and pay the cover and waltz on in. I’m lookin’ around and thinkin’ Geez. This is exactly the kind of place where I’d trade a no-imbibing policy for the ability to conceal carry.
It’s not that the bar was scary or had scary patrons. (In fact, my band plays there in two weeks.) Nope. It was just the knowledge that if the crowd were to get rowdy, I’d feel much safer being able to protect myself.
Now of course, that brings up the point, “What kind of idiot would you have to be to fire a handgun in a nightclub.” Since I’m not a member of an NFL or NBA team, I won’t go there, other than to say that I would NOT. Unless some idiot tried to rob me at gunpoint, came into the club and started shooting up the joint or some other far-fetched (I hope) scheme.
However, if someone started to get physically aggressive towards me or my friends, I think a measured response of letting the idiot know I’m armed would be perfectly appropriate. After the first set, I’d have enough fun. I left. On the way out of the bar, the overzealous bouncers were at it again, frisking another potential patron.
So the score lies at 3 to 3 – armed at my gig, in the BBQ joint and at the coffee shop, and unarmed (save my usual compliment of tactical folder and tactical flashlight) at the art event, restaurant, and bar.
I’m left with the impression that things turned out just as I’d anticipated, with no trouble on hand. But I still wish I could have carried all evening long. Just feel safer that way. And isn’t that really why we carry?
Brad: Regarding car carry: I had much the same problem as you (discomfort in the wraparound seat) and was able to resolve it with my Galco IWB holster by simply carrying at the 3:00 position (i.e. on my right hip.) At first I thought it would be hideously uncomfortable but was quite pleasantly surprised to find out that it’s very comfy. Draw is a little slow, but I agree with you that being a quickdraw McGraw is not a high consideration with a civilian’s concealed carry rig.