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By Ryan McBeth

I’m a liberal and I own a handgun. There, I said it. I didn’t burst into flame. I don’t have a sudden urge to repress a homosexual, pay women less for the same amount of work, or cut a school lunch program.

More importantly, I don’t have the sudden urge to go out and shoot someone. Hell, I didn’t even have the urge to shoot anybody in Iraq, and I used to ride down roads that the insurgents really wanted to keep for themselves.

I came late to gun ownership. I grew up in Princeton, New Jersey – the kind of elitist town where all of my neighbors were college professors. I had the kind of friends whose fathers drove ancient, rusting Volvos and had elbow patches on their corduroy jackets. These were the kind of fathers who practiced looking bemused in a mirror while they smoked a pipe because it made them look scholarly. Princeton in the 80’s and 90’s wasn’t exactly a bastion of firearms ownership.

My only exposure to guns before the National Guard was a few trips up to a lake with my father, a .22 rifle and a few Pepsi cans. My father was far different from his academic peers. He was an engineer. He was practical. His work extended from the theoretical into the real world where it became physical knobs, lights and switches. He taught me how to use a rifle because he viewed riflery as a life skill – something even a Jewish kid from a liberal town should know because you never knew what life might throw at you.

Damnit, he was right. Life threw something at me about 15 years later when I stood at the top of the stairs in my Mt. Laurel condo and screamed at an intruder to get out of my house. I was a software engineer at the time, but I had joined the National Guard as an infantryman after high school in order to pay for college. I had about eight years of infantry experience that night and the most effective weapon in the house to defend my infant child and my beautiful wife was a large Mag Lite.

That one encounter in the stairwell of my Mount Laurel home left me terrified. Not only was I unable to defend my family, I realized that somebody had broken a pretty big social contract: you don’t go into somebody’s house without permission. If someone would break that social contract, what other social contracts would he break? Would he murder me? Would he rape my wife? Would he kill my infant child?

I was the kind of guy who used to scoff and smirk at the paranoia and subtle racism displayed by people who thought that a gun was a magical talisman that would keep the Hun outside the gates. I was wrong. Nothing clears the mind like a dump of adrenaline when glass breaks at 2AM.

Go to your kitchen and set the microwave timer for ten minutes, which is about the time it took for police to arrive that night. Think about what a criminal could do to you and your family in ten minutes if you had nothing to stop them. It’s a long ten minutes.

I went to buy a gun the very next day and I smacked directly into New Jersey gun laws. Like many liberals, I thought I could walk into a gun store and walk out with a machine gun. I was wrong. I wasn’t even allowed to walk out of a New Jersey gun store with a BB Gun unless I submitted to multiple background checks, character reference checks, a note from my employer and written permission from my wife.

The permitting process took a month, but I had a .40 caliber GLOCK in my hands the very same day my permits were ready at the police station.

The GLOCK is a fascinating weapon. It isn’t flashy. It’s made of dull black plastic. It will never win a beauty contest. This gun means business. One look at a .40 caliber GLOCK and you know that its only purpose is to make little lead rocks go fast enough to punch holes in meat.

I put the gun in a little bedside safe and resumed my life.

My wife and I practiced with the GLOCK about once every six months. She wasn’t a big fan of guns, but she was smart enough to know that if it was in the house, she needed to know how to use it. Shooting the GLOCK wasn’t that hard anyway – there is no external safety or complicated controls. You point it at the bad guy and keep pulling the trigger until he stops breaking the social contract.

We had some friends who looked at my wife like she was crazy. Even though all of our friends subscribed to the belief that women were the equals of men, there was some kind of sexist clause when it came to guns. There was this belief that women were far too submissive to ever use a gun in self-defense and the gun would just be taken from the woman and used against her.

My wife was the epitome of an entitled Jewish American Princess, but she always grimaced at that remark. I knew what she was thinking: “They might use the gun against me, but they’ll have to beat me to death with it because it’s gonna be empty and they’re gonna be bleeding.”

I spent the next few years only thinking about that gun every six months or so when it came time to practice. I wasn’t a “gun guy,” I was just a guy who owned a gun. Then something happened that turned one gun into many guns – I came back from a deployment to Iraq.

Four military deployments had taken a hefty toll on my marriage. Each deployment was like another slice into the rope that held my marriage together. My wife and I became like the electrons in an atom of helium – always in orbit, but always staying as far from each other as possible. She delved into the DVR, I got into guns.

I sold my GLOCK and bought a Beretta CX4 Storm. I bought a little single-shot .22 Boy Scout rifle to teach my son to shoot like my dad had taught me many years before. I bought a Beretta pistol – the same kind of pistol I carried around the FOB in Iraq. I read gun forums and gun blogs. I watched videos. I joined the NRA and NJ2AS. I went to the range every Tuesday night and every weekend. Looking back, I was going to the range as an excuse to get out of the house and away from my wife. I got into guns just to have a passion to distract myself from my fraying marriage.

New Jersey views gun owners only slightly better than sex offenders. Remember, this is a state where you need to get permission from your spouse when you want to buy a handgun. Can you think of any constitutional right that can be nullified by the whim of a spouse? Could your spouse legally prevent you from reading a book, voting, or getting an abortion? But in New Jersey, firearms have an almost mythical status. Guns are objects of scorn, not tools to keep food on the table or protect your family from harm. And in New Jersey the one facet of gun ownership most tightly controlled is carry.

And I wanted to carry.

I didn’t want to carry a gun out of fear for my life. I didn’t want to carry a gun because I carried a lot of cash or because I carried diamonds like my protagonist in Threesome. According to The Journal of Urology, my penis size is solidly on the apex of the bell curve, so there was nothing lacking in my manhood. I just wanted to carry a gun because it was the pinnacle of exercising a right in a free society. The First Amendment allows me to read any book I choose from Mein Kampf to The Gettysburg Address. What is the point of keeping arms if you can’t bear them?

New Jersey only has about 1,600 licensed concealed handgun permit holders out of a population of 8.7 million. Most of those permit holders are security guards. The rest are people who are connected – essentially the wealthy who know the right people or who can contribute to the right campaigns. Needless to say, I wasn’t going to carry a gun in New Jersey any time soon.

Enter Florida. I could get a Florida non-resident carry permit that was valid in 33 states and at the time one of those states was Pennsylvania. I put together my paperwork for a background check and six weeks later a carry permit arrived in the mail. I bought a Kel Tec PF-9 to celebrate.

From then on I carried whenever I went into Philadelphia. Yes, I would have to travel with the gun locked up while I was in New Jersey and I would have to disarm before I drove home, but I was exercising my right and that was good enough for me.

I finally divorced a few years later. My wife sold her jewelry to start her new life. I sold almost all of my guns. I got a new job. I bought a new house that needed remodeling. I started going to the gym again and dating professional Jewish women who considered anybody who even had remote knowledge of firearms to be mentally ill.

I still had my PF-9 and I still went to the range on occasion, but now range trips turned into a calculus of value. Did I want to go shooting for $50 or take a date out for drinks? I often erred on the side of sex. One day the Pennsylvania Attorney General banned non-resident Florida permit holders from carrying in the state and I haven’t carried a gun since.

I honestly don’t miss it. Carrying a gun is a pain in the ass. Even small guns are uncomfortable. You have to dress in a way that covers the gun. You have to think about how you reach for an item on a store shelf so your gun doesn’t show. If you ever use that gun, you are responsible for every bullet that is fired. You constantly walk around in “condition yellow” – a heightened state of alertness that can be exhausting. Now there is nothing wrong with being alert to your surroundings. Anybody who has seen people lumber around like zombies during the the Pokemon Go phenomenon can attest to this, but there is an element of bliss in my chosen ignorance.

The idea for this essay came to me a few days ago when I decided to take my first vacation in sixteen years. I decided I would drive from New Jersey to Florida with my girlfriend before taking a plane to Alaska where I would propose to her once we hit the airspace of the only state she has yet to visit.

I remembered that I still had my Florida permit. I checked the permit and it was still valid. Alaska requires no permit at all to carry a gun. So I was good in both states plus most of the states I planned to drive through anyway.

I was excited for a few minutes and then I realized something – I hadn’t carried a gun in years or practiced with it in months. I can’t remember the last time I practiced “the sweep” of lifting my shirt, drawing my gun and punching out to the target.

Would it be responsible of me to carry a gun if I hadn’t done this in years?

The answer was no.

Any kind of defensive gun use in Florida or Alaska wouldn’t be a simple case of shooting down the hallway of my home. It would mean using a gun at a gas station or convenience store when there are other people around and multiple variables in the equation.

If you are anti-gun, you probably have a smug look on your face right now because I made a point about the dangers of concealed carry that you’ve always wanted to make. If you are pro-gun, you probably are clicking your tongue and calling me a sheep. Either way, you need to stop. This is my choice. It’s a calculated, educated choice that I made after considering the risk profile of the trip and a personal assessment of my current skillset.

I’m still a liberal and I still want New Jersey to have the same right as 49 other states when it comes to concealed carry. But even if New Jersey reformed its carry laws tomorrow I still don’t think I would carry until I reached proficiency again.

In the end, all I want is the choice. But on this trip I’m leaving the gun and taking a cannoli for a snack on the way down.


This article originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission. 

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  1. Brevity is the soul of eloquence.

    Snarkiness is usually most appreciated when applied judiciously, not adopted as a lifestyle.

    • Hi John, excuse my question. What does that mean precisely?
      Being irritable and potentially dangerous for lack of mental balance?
      I never heard that word before…..

      • Snarky: snide, cutting, sharply critical. Also, attempting to be perceived as humorous using comments of that type. I don’t often hear it used as a synonym for irritable; but then again, snarky people often are irritable and / or whiny. I don’t generally equate it with dangerous behavior, but someone being incessantly snarky doesn’t make me want to spend a lot of time around him or her.

        A little snarkiness can be funny; but it becomes tedious very quickly, especially when experienced in person. Sarcasm and nasty remarks are poor substitutes for humor and character when they’re delivered non-stop.

        For this article in particular, I understand that the folks who read TTAG are not the target audience, but still.

  2. Makes sense to me. Carrying a firearm is a responsibility, and sometimes that means being responsible enough to know when not to carry.

      • Seriously? Why?

        He hasn’t carried in years and knows that in the type of public situation where usage would be likely (since he won’t be at home), he is out of practice. He is exercising the very freedom of choice we purport to support on this site.

        Is your concern that he doesn’t miss carrying? He’s mostly right – carrying can be a pain in the neck. When I’m not carrying, I walk into a store without a second glance. When I am, I double-check the doors to make sure I haven’t missed a 30.06 – and in Texas I have the protection of knowing the sign is going to be pretty darn big. I also have the freedom, now, of open carry and don’t have to worry about my shirt riding up and over the grip. I disagree that not carrying excuses a lesser level of awareness, even though I agree that does tend to happen.

        Point being, he made a choice that is appropriate to him, based on his view of his circumstances. What’s the big deal?

        • It’s just so frustrating that over here we have a licensed carrier who feels he is not proficient enough to pull a trigger in self-defense (though he’s probably at least as proficient as at least half the uniforms who carry daily) — and over there we have 200 million voters without any qualifications whatsoever who have no qualms about their competence to pull a lever in a booth.

  3. Women aren’t paid less for the same amount of work. If employers could cut their labor costs by nearly 30% simply by hiring only women, then why would they hire men? Women just work fewer hours than their male counterparts over the course of their careers, on average.

    • Yes and no. Generally, employers have less incentive to hire women because they are not reliable as long-term employees. They tend to get married and/or get pregnant and then either leave the job or cost the employer in maternity leave when he has to hire a temp to cover the position until the woman decides to come back to work. And temps do not come cheap.

      Men, as a rule, do not leave their job when they get married and have a strong incentive to stay on the job when the wife gets pregnant. As a result men are paid more and women less because of simple supply and demand. Employers have the jobs (supply) employees want the jobs (demand). The employer can then set the rate of pay at whatever level will get him the best employee for the job, in his opinion.

      No one ever said the world was fair, and it is certainly not a good idea for the government to interfere with the economic decisions of a business (unless it’s To Large to Fail /sarc). If the public is sufficiently indignant about a business discriminating against women in regards to equal pay then it is that public pressure that should effect a change in policy, not government interference.

      That’s the truth of the matter, whether women wish to accept it or not.

      • A woman who quits her job on giving birth and stays home for a couple of years until the child is old enough for day care falls at least two years behind her peers of either gender who continued working.

        Unquestionably, a woman should be paid the same as a man in the same job if their experience and performance are identical. However, I wonder if demands for equal pay coupled with demands for maternity leave aren’t just saying, “I want to be paid while I have a baby and, when I return to work, I want my career to jump up to where it would have been had I not taken time off.”

        It’s hard enough to rate employees’ performance when all are doing the same job. It gets much harder when the jobs are dissimilar. An engineering degree is comparable in difficulty to a physics, chemistry or mathematics degree. How can you compare a working engineer to a high school math or science teacher for purposes of setting salaries? The free market solves this problem automatically. An employer has to balance the value an employee brings to the company against the cost of his compensation package. People who come out on the short end don’t like this and make up self-serving arguments why they “deserve” more.

        • It’s not that hard to compare because most teachers don’t have physics or mathematics degrees. They have education degrees. They major in how to teach, with (maybe) a minor in what they’re teaching. It may go a long way toward fixing various education problems in this country if teachers were hired as subject matter experts rather than teaching experts.

    • Women tend to pick jobs with less travel, less OT requirements, and more time off than men… That’s why women on average make less money.

      I work for a company which has field personnel who must travel and work long hours, do you know how many of those field people are women…?

      To quote Animal House,” “Zero.. point… zero…” None, zero, not even one.

      Women won’t even apply, despite being one of the best paying and highly incentivized positions in the company. I know this for a fact because I was a field guy for years and helped with the hiring process.

      Now, on the flip, my office building is full of women in cubes doing menial labor, coming in at 8am, taking long lunches, and punching out at 3:30pm to take little Tommy to soccer practice.

      So, yeah, on average, the boys make more and deserve it.

  4. I support people who choose not to carry a gun. I don’t support this long winded and boring essay.

  5. They’re your rights you exercise them the way you want. There is no set standard for carry. Heck I should carry more than I do, but I don’t. I do however spend a lot lot more time at the range than you do.

    I suppose I in some circumstances could be called a ‘liberal’ but I am honestly of libertarian, live and let live is my motto. I personally don’t care how my neighbor exercises his second amendment rights, or if he even wants to exercise them at all.

    I live in Massachusetts, and am surrounded on all sides and from every angle by anti-gun people. I spent my entire life living in a MA political family with connections going back to the end of WW2. I hate politics too. I would have never in a million years considered myself a ‘political activist’ but the gun banners here in MA are busy little beavers. In all my years, even with family in high office in this state, I never once visited the state house. I have been there twice and another time is coming up. My goal? To protect gun rights. The anti-gun people here are so smug and so arrogant that I feel like I am being forced into voting them out of power and doing everything I can to remove them from any position of power for my own sanity. Even if that means that whatever compassion I have for my fellow man must be put on the back seat. By their very actions, I have become a one issue voter. That to me is a tragedy.

    • “I live in Massachusetts, and am surrounded on all sides and from every angle by anti-gun people.”

      It sounds like you’re from Boston or thereabouts. I’m also in MA, in a red town. Nobody busts my agates about guns here. Which is why I made my home here in the first place.

      Before this, I lived in Osterville and found that people there were very supportive too. The Chiefs in Barnstable and Mashpee were good on guns.

      Its just a shame that the political scum from Boston runs MA.

    • If you’re not surrounded “on all sides” you’re not surrounded.

      Refreshingly, this “liberal” writer did not once insist that, because he chose no longer to carry, no one else should even be able to. This is a good thing.

  6. I’d still rather have it on me. He has the option to carry if he wants, and chooses not to. I want the option to USE it, not WISH I had it, whether or not I’ve trained recently. Just because I carry doesn’t mean it’s going to get used. It does mean I have the option.

    • Excellent point!

      I suffer from general anxiety disorder, which basically means I can get hit with major anxiety for the slightest thing — or for nothing at all. Some days that could mean that the thought of using my gun might tip me into enough anxiety that I wouldn’t be able to use it, and that plus the anxiety possibility itself is enough to make liberal friends say I shouldn’t even own a gun, let alone carry.

      But the flip side is that such anxiety might not strike. In that situation, if I happened to be, say, in a bar where some barbarian decided the patrons were targets, I’d rather have the gun. Or for that matter, if I were out doing conservation work and the local canine wildlife decided to come after my dog, I’d rather have the gun.

      As always, it’s better to have and not need than need and not have — and the choice to draw is always mine.

  7. The choice to carry or not is yours, and it should be yours. However, I am curious how you feel, as a Liberal, when other Liberals steal that right of a choice from you?

      • The point here is that taking away other peoples’ rights is stealing. Liberal agenda is to take away individual rights (all individual rights) and turn them over to the State, which will then permit individuals certain liberties, so long as they are in conformance with the State’s agenda. In this case, our author experienced the stealing of his right to protect himself and his family. The Liberal/Statist agenda is elimination of all rights, as exemplified by other socialist states, such as USSR, China, North Korea, all the Soviet satellite states of Eastern Europe, Cuba, etc. – first they come for the guns, then they take away the freedom of speech, then private property, then your life. Perhaps our Liberal friend here has made the first step in understanding that Liberalism and Statism, although traditional in his family and among his friends, is really not so kosher, after all.

    • Would appear that the author is of sufficient age that he should have already outgrown liberalism. But, as still screwing women to whom he is not married, he is apparently is still a manchild. Grow up.

      “If You Are Not a Liberal at 25, You Have No Heart. If You Are Not a Conservative at 35 You Have No Brain” (if ever an American progressive you’re immature).

      • Unfortunately, Liberals never do grow up. They can’t. They go to school where normal child activities are regulated or forbidden, then they go to college where they catch up on what they missed in high school. They are not allowed to fight and protect themselves, they are not allowed to express any opinion except for the official dogma, they are not even allowed to walk a few blocks to school on their own – they have to be bussed and protected. They don’t read books, because their parents and teachers don’t read books, for those are dangerous – they may contain ideas. Instead, they read pamphlets, watch TV, listen to Liberal icons like Bill Maher and whatever CNBC spews out. When problems occur, they run to the authorities for help and guidance. In short, they never grow their own balls. They may be successful at work and in life, if one considers marching to orders a success. And when one guy with a gun executes a hundred of them like it happened in Orlando, instead of disarming, killing, dismembering the one attacker, they just lay down and die. So, yes, you are correct, they are children, except without the creativity of children, for that has been stomped out long ago; only the irresponsibility is left.

        • The liberal friends I have most certainly read books, on the order of thirty or more a year (somewhat fewer than I read). They tend toward history, mysteries, and science fiction.

          Your caricature of liberals is wrong on that point, as well as others. The big difference is that they can read the same book and see it very differently, for example a biography of George Washington that I and several of them read: I came out with a better understanding of the militia concept and saw how implementing it today would have benefits for society, while they came away feeling sad that George Washington and George III couldn’t just get along.

        • “They go to school where normal child activities are regulated or forbidden, then they go to college where they catch up on what they missed in high school. They are not allowed to fight and protect themselves, they are not allowed to express any opinion except for the official dogma, they are not even allowed to walk a few blocks to school on their own – they have to be bussed and protected.”

          Sounds a lot like contemporary Germany, if not the entirety of western Europe.

  8. We have seen more than one example on this site of people who had never fired their gun before their dgu getting it done.

    If you made a choice not to carry it had little to do, I believe, with your lack of practice.

    Sounds more like “I’m a gun owner, but……”

    • Plus he was an 11B in the National Guard for 8 years. I was an NG 11B for 6. Although I have no delusions about the Guard bring comparable to an active duty unit, I still received outstanding training in both shooting and weapons manipulation. I never took any formal pistol training until I became police, but as soon as I turned 21 I started carrying concealed because I knew I could do so safely based off my guard training.

      You’re right, this sounds like he’s honestly afraid to carry it.

    • Guns are more user friendly than a remote control for your cable box.

      I could write a veiled tendentious article titled: “My Florida Vacation and Why I Chose Not to Drive” and it would not be as much a waste of verbiage as the above article.

      One thing he did prove in the article: he said he was Liberal and I believe it. Owning a gun does not make you free or even freedom loving. There are gun owners and there are life owners. I take ownership in my life. If you have given your soul to the State, owning a gun doesn’t get it back. You are still a Statist.

      I didn’t buy a gun and then suddenly become a Conservative. I was Conservative and felt like I was betraying my values by not arming myself. If disarming the populous is wrong then arming them has to be right. Leftists don’t believe this. The training issue is one of their favorite myths as why the average citizen should not carry.

      I didn’t even read the whole article. I read the title, the opening paragraph, the last paragraph and bits and pieces throughout. I found myself disagreeing with almost every word. He tried to head this off by claiming victimhood, identifying as a gun owner, and another common ploy of the left, citing military service. These facts give no more validity to his point of view given his overwhelming identification as a Liberal.

  9. He lost me at a Glock “It will never win a beauty contest.”

    He must be buying the wrong Glocks, cuz all of mine are works of industrial art.

    • He missed it. The biggest reason he had for not caring a gun was that PF-9. LOL!

      Actually, I like the PF9. I’ve owned three of them. It needs a break in and some serious fluff and buff work, but after you put $200 worth of work into a $300 pistol, you’ve got a winner!

    • Hey man, you must live in Smyrna, GA! I hear they put something in the water there that messes with the eyesight. In some cases so badly that you can find a Glock pretty! :-p

  10. And the author falls for the trap that carrying and using a handgun for self-defense somehow requires decades of training.

    Pro-tip: it doesn’t.

    I haven’t been out target shooting my handgun in over a year. A few days ago, I set up a “shoot, don’t-shoot” course and ran through it. It was the first time that I ever ran through such a course. It was the first time that I shot my handgun in over a year. And I was “moving and shooting” while making “shoot, don’t-shoot” decisions that required NOT shooting friendlies … at distances of around 20 to 30 feet. My worst performance was something like 9 hits out of 12 shots. And I only put a graze wound on friendlies twice in something like 80 shots fired, all with a hit rate of something like 90% and dancing around on my feet.

    Aside from trigger finger discipline and muzzle discipline, which takes minimal training, there really isn’t anything to it. Point and shoot. Just do it.

    • Agreed. I’ve had the same experience. Thanks to two rug rats and a 2A podcast I get to the indoor range about twice a year, if I’m lucky. When I finally find myself on the firing line I have a “cold test” that I do that is as close to “what would’ve happened if I had to pull this Glock 19 and use it” as safety allows. Consistently, over the past three years, I’ve been able to “draw” and put two to the chest and one to the head at 20ft. in 2-3 seconds.

      Some skills are innate and some require lots of practice. Putting rounds on target has always just made sense to me. I could do it with an M1 Garand on a rest when I was 6 just like I can now. Sure I can always improve, but shooting just ain’t that hard. The skill I practice is keeping a calm and clear mind under stress. Observing and learning what my brain does when it’s in a state of surprise. That’s the most valuable skill and it’s free to work on and you can do it anywhere.

  11. NC CCW good in 39 other states–do not go out of the house without being armed with various weapons–did a coast-to-coast road trip last year in NOV to DEC & weapons along with every type of survival gear were packed in truck–having extensively traveled very remote areas, having weapons were really peace of mind many times–I am all about situational awareness & conflict avoidance, which has been why my wife & I have escaped some circumstances that would easily have turned ugly; but if they did, the perps were going to have a real fight on their hands–too bad you got away from the habit, but that is your choice–at least you are not opposed to self defense; people who are do not have the right, in my opinion, to call 911 for help (does not apply to people who are physically incapable of self defense)

  12. Stopped at ‘pay women less for the same amount of work’ No one wants to do that, no one is doing that, and it’s been illegal to do that since the early 1960s. If someone can’t separate themselves from fictional regressive talking points I doubt whatever they say is worth merit.

    • This article made me feel glad to have been raised by sane, right-leaning parents in suburban NJ given the absolute whackjob alternatives. Surviving with my sanity intact has been less of a challenge.

    • Seems you’re conceding that owning a gun makes people want to repress homosexuals, since you didn’t stop at that one.

  13. So I got as far as the first paragraph and it was easy to conclude that the guy is far too immature to carry a firearm. Sorry am I repressing you? Pretentious much?

  14. Sounds good to me…you want yourself (and me) to have the right to carry…but right now you don’t want to. I’ll take that deal any day of the week.

  15. Was this just an excuse for a lib to bloviate about a bunch of BS lib causes discuised as a reasonable discussion about guns? Or was this a reasonable short article that he just couldn’t make himself turn in without going back and inflating it with a bunch of liberal BS to make himself feel better about owning a gun?

    The net result was the same.

  16. Two possible outcomes:

    1. He goes to Florida, nothing happens, and he continues to be smug about his choice.

    2. He goes to Florida, encounters a dangerous situation that his gun would solved, he realizes he royally screwed himself and his family, and IF he survives it considers it the biggest mistake of his life.

  17. Why the hell didn’t you just move to Philly? You survived the divorce with enough money to buy a new house and the flexibility to find a new job, but you didn’t leave? Goddammit man you were so close! As a fellow NJ gun owner clawing to get out, this was so painful to read. I also forgot how poorly our schools teach the Bill of Rights. That 1st Amendment analogy was horrid.

  18. “I’m a liberal and I own a handgun. There, I said it. I didn’t burst into flame. I don’t have a sudden urge to repress a homosexual, pay women less for the same amount of work, or cut a school lunch program.”

    And thats as far as I got. Way to turn people off from listening to you.

    • Right out of the gate he makes little jabs in the form of libtard stereotypes. And msm conditioning gets another one. So new title should be “libtard drinks the koolaid and tries to insult people that use reason instead of emotion”

  19. “I don’t have a sudden urge to repress a homosexual, pay women less for the same amount of work, or cut a school lunch program.” What was your point again?

    “There was this belief that women were far too submissive to ever use a gun in self-defense and the gun would just be taken from the woman and used against her.” Next time anyone says that, tell em “When lethal force is justified, a gun taken away is not making it worse anyway.”

    And, um, a side note: college profs, whatever variety you may be referring to, are mostly just pathetic scholars that can’t even make money using their own syllabi.

  20. When someone declares themselves to be a liberal, but a gun owner, I assume that means they vote Democrat.. People who vote Democrat are DIRECTLY responsible for the preponderance of gun restrictions we fact—yes, I know about the Bush and Reagan bills, but today gun control is the Democrats’ milieu.

    Owing a gun and being a “liberal” is like claiming to be a born-again Christian but supporting abortion. Incongruous.

    • Being a liberal is all about moral superiority. He’s better than other liberals who are biased against guns and gun owners, and he’s better than all of those he feels are “unprepared” to carry. He’s better, and he wants you to know that.

      • Holy shit! He’s morally superior to the other liberals who are morally superior to us uneducated, gun toting rednecks (and in my case a Nazi) so we should be impressed with his moral superiority. Now, if he was operationally operational while in Iraq, that would be something.

  21. Hi I’m a jew! Did I tell you I was a jew? I only date Jewish women. It’s too bad my gun isn’t Jewish. I have a Jewish dog. Seriously. ….

  22. I could have skipped all that drivel and just read “In the end, all I want is the choice”.
    Forget that you sound troubled and in need of a hug, please tell your other liberal friends to remember that line that you wrote near the end >>> “In the end, all I want is the choice” <<< because you and your liberal friends are, at this very time, trying to take away my right for that same choice.
    See, where a lot of gun owners sit, you and your liberal friends are 100% in league with the DNC in wanting to take away gun rights in any way possible, including the use of magazine restrictions, gun and ammo owner registration, rollback of SYG and Castle Domain laws, plus a metric-ton of other bills and laws.

  23. Wow. I can’t believe no one has made this connection:

    “But on this trip I’m leaving the gun and taking a cannoli for a snack on the way down.”

    Leave the gun, take the cannoli, eh? 🙂

    • No, I caught it before the first conjunction, and if he was trying to get our grandmothers to go “Oh my, that’s a cute one!” then I’d have to say he was very successful.

      For my part, I thought the line was funnier and significantly less stupid when The Godfather did it.

  24. Since the author commented a billion times on his Jewish background, lifestyle, and partner preferences I do have a question for any Jewish members in the audience. Given the recent history on Jews, and by recent I mean in the past hundred years, why the ever loving F%#^ would that culture want to be disarmed at any point?!

    • Because most Jews have replaced God with government. They believe that the only way to achieve “peace on earth” is through a strong, controlling government and that the past is in the past and unlikely to happen again. I have cut all but the most basic communication with most of my family over our belief differences, primarily because they cannot “deal” with facts and need to retreat to their safe spaces when they become agitated.

      Having been raised in an ultra-leftist household and learning the error of my ways by interacting with the “real world”, I truly cannot understand how an adult (and particularly a Jew) can remain a liberal, particularly in the current world climate…

      • The primary single force/group that advance the cult of marxism were self-hating pseudo-intellectual westerners (and western educated) of a Jewish heritage. Their big “success” was in overthrowing the Tsar (who had it coming) and installing the a marxist dictatorship. Did work out well for them, or the world.

        And yet they and American demtards still follow the same path. Just need to get it “right” the next time.

    • Ah, you should try reading Torah commentary sometime! Or, you could watch some Seinfeld. You’d have your answer pretty quickly!

    • It’s one of the down sides, for lack of a better word, of intelligence. You can talk yourself out of anything.

  25. Apparently he doesn’t trust his ability to engage his brain in an emergency. If he needs a gun, chances are his attacker will be up close and personal, so no special marksmanship skills are required. And he has the option of not shooting if doing so could harm innocents. He’s sadly mistaken if he believes that punching holes in paper on a square range at 10 or 25 yards prepares one for a real-world gunfight.

  26. Great article. I have a strict social media rule about posting gun topics, I’ll comment on others but not share myself. This is the first one I’ve shared.

    @Jean-Claude, I agree with you but that is mainly because our system has evolved into one designed to split us on social topics. I consider myself liberal socially and fiscally conservative. I don’t view gun ownership as something that falls into that sphere but something that was put there by the media and those with an agenda. With the exception of presidential races (where I out of principle always vote independent or 3rd party) I choose my candidates based on the election as a whole and how my choices will best represent me. So yes you can consider yourself a liberal and a gun owner. With that said our constitutional rights shouldn’t be up for debate during each election cycle and we shouldn’t have to choose between them but sometimes we do.

  27. This kind of nonsense that I find here always makes me wonder what the real purpose of this site is. I’ve been suspicious for years now that this is a phony site set up to support anti gun plans by the Dem’s. I quit viewing this site for a long time because of this. Now I’m more than a little suspicious. There was no good reason to post this stupid piece.

  28. For all who make it down here, let me translate:

    “Wah wah wah, I’m a closet conservative/Libertarian, but God-forbid I identify as such, because those people are icky. Blah blah blah…

    Carrying a gun is a choice that only I should make for myself.”

    That about sum it up?

  29. He doesn’t sound like a “liberal” as we use the word today. He’s more like a classical liberal–someone who believes in that people can better themselves, as opposed to the leftist who believes that people can only be bettered by external influence i.e. government.

    The casual references to unequal pay and the gun hobby being somehow racist are just products of his upbringing, the same way that people in the old south casually “knew” the various ways blacks were supposedly inferior, or people twenty years or so ago “knew” the various problems with gay men. People don’t give up their birth culture easily. Just ignore that part and give him points for having enough personal initiative to pursue his interest in guns despite all the stupid roadblocks NJ throws up.

  30. Your gun, your right, your choice. I don’t know why he thought it so important to tell the world about it. If you don’t want criticism, why invite it? Growing up in Florida, my path crossed a lot of neurotics from New Jersey like this. Something I don’t miss.

  31. I do not care what anyone else chooses to do as long as they are not dictating to me what I can choose to do. All our choices have consequences. I am willing to accept the consequences of my choices and expect you to accept the consequences of your choices. “You will regret what you choose NOT to do more than anything you choose to do..” paraphrase of some guy that I found useful and true.
    Yeah this article might contain a lot of bloviation, but I found the narrative to be an entertaining psychodrama.

  32. What the hell is a “social contract?” I don’t remember signing one. I do remember being taught right from wrong, and to respect other people’s property and the sanctity of their homes.

    The ne’er do well that invaded your home didn’t breach any contract. They don’t exist. He did it because he had no moral compass, no conscience, no sense of guilt from victimizing people. It’s the way he was raised.

    Oh, by the way, parents really should pay to feed their own kids.

    • “Oh, by the way, parents really should pay to feed their own kids.”

      I’d go so far as to say that parents should pay for educating their own kids, too.

  33. I used to think carrying a gun was a pain in the ass too, but all it took was a little bit of experimentation, time, money, and eventually the proverbial box of holsters. I’m a fatso, so it’s even more difficult for me. But seriously, if a mousegun in a pocket holster is a PITA, then you need a different ass…Mogolian wild ass, maybe. As for me, the solution turned out to be an LCP in a DeSantis Nemesis, and eventually a S&W M&P40C in a Ken Null OWB holster. I’m aware that Kydex and hybrids are apparently the wave of the future, but old fashioned horsehide is what works for me.

    As for the snarkiness angle, it was a bit much for me, too. Shoulda moved his ass to Pennsylvania when he had the chance IMO.


    • Wearing pants is a pain in the ass too. Bathing is a pain in the ass. Brushing teeth is a pain in the ass. Traffic is a pain in the ass. My boss is a pain in the ass. My kids have been a pain in the ass. My wife…no…she’s perfect. Making a Mojito is a pain in the ass. Cooking dinner is a pain in the ass. Volunteering down at the soup kitchen is a pain in the ass. These adds on TTAG are a pain in the ass. Ralph is…no…he’s pretty funny. Aging bourbon for 15 years is a pain in the ass. Cleaning my pool is a pain in the ass. Congress is a pain in the ass. My ass is a pain in the ass.
      I just don’t get this article.

  34. When’s the next installment? I’m dying for his explanation of why he decided on waffles over pancakes last Tuesday morning!

  35. . . . continued on to the comments hoping some sense could be made of this article. Nope . . .no cool story, bro. No interesting anecdote.

  36. Free adults should have the ability to choose for themselves. You made a choice and you can live with it. It is reprehensible that most “liberals” do not want to grant that freedom to you or me. Truthfully it disqualifies them from even wearing the label “liberal.” Statists is what they are and they suck.

  37. From the lead picture, I thought he was going to say he didn’t want to carry a Zimmreman Special in the sunshine state

    My bad. It was waaaay more convoluted than that.

  38. If someone breaks in his house again he’ll be carrying again.

    It’s a shame PA put a democrat back in charge because his corrupt AG created new hoops for out of state CCW. I guess she thought a crime wave of CCW permit holders was imminent. She was indicted eventually.

    • No, the Philadelphia democrat conclave didn’t like the fact that residents of Philadelphia County were simply avoiding the local permitting process where they had to jump through hoops and be denied a permit over something as trivial as a parking ticket. Instead they were obtaining nonresident permits from states that shared reciprocity with PA, what they coined “The Florida Loophole”. Kane owed the Philly democrats and Bloomberg for getting elected so this was a way to pay them back. The next AG needs to fix this immediately.

  39. Well put Mr. Ryan. Powerful ending.

    The issue is it should be YOUR choice, not some plutocrat in Trenton, or Washington DC, etc.

  40. What a waste of a few minutes of my time. Sorry buddy “liberals” want to take my guns. You had tours in Iraq? And you still don’t trust yourself? What a long-winded narcissistic maroon…

    • Sounds like you’re saying that years in Iraq is a solid substitute for recent practice. Given all the emphasis on this site on practicing regularly, that’s a bizarre position — I certainly don’t rely on the fact that I shot/practiced almost weekly while in college as a substitute for practice now!

      If you’re carrying concealed, and haven’t practiced drawing regularly and recently, choosing not to carry concealed is not unreasonable in itself. The unreasonableness comes in that a situation might be encountered where he would have time to draw anyway, because the bad guy might not be focused on him.

  41. The Libs are winning the war against guns by making everything connected with guns more complicated and dangerous from a legal liability point of view. They are doing this in constantly increasing increments to push us to the point where we decide that it is just not worth the hassle or the legal danger of unintentionally violating some obscure law that no one is even aware of (such as ITAR). DMD

  42. “I don’t have a sudden urge to repress a homosexual, pay women less for the same amount of work, or cut a school lunch program.”


    Except I’m a conservative and don’t care what homosexuals do just like I don’t think women should get paid less for the SAME amount of work (They don’t work the same jobs there Brian) and if you want to screw and have kids then YOU pay for their lunch.


    • and if you want to screw and have kids then YOU pay for their lunch.
      …and the congregation said Amen!

    • I certainly do not want to cut a school lunch program. I want to cut ALL school lunch programs. Hungry children at lunch should be referred to Child Protective Services, removed from the home.

  43. “You point it at the bad guy and keep pulling the trigger until he stops breaking the social contract.”

    This was beautiful prose.

  44. I am a Jewish doctor and I am always amazed at how many Jewish people are anti gun
    The only way to stop the Nazis from putting you on the train to the death camps is by fighting back with a gun
    The police, even the Jewish police are not going to help you.
    The only way to stop the Islamic terrorist from killing you is with a gun
    The only way to stop a random criminal from killing you and raping your wife is with a gun
    In Jerusalem, the Mayor advised all citizens to be sure to always carry their gun in case of knife terrorism
    Why would it be any different here in the U.S.?

  45. I am a Jewish doctor and I am always amazed at how many Jewish people are anti gun
    The only way to stop the Nazis from putting you on the train to the death camps is by fighting back with a gun
    The only way to stop the Islamic terrorist from killing you is with a gun
    The only way to stop a random criminal from killing you and raping your wife is with a gun
    In Jerusalem, the Mayor advised all citizens to be sure to always carry their gun in case of knife terrorism
    Why would it be any different here in the U.S.?

  46. Re same pay for same work. Im shocked that are people who think it’s ok to pay women less for the same work because they are women. What a bunch of bull.

    • I am not convinced that anyone at all believes that, or that anyone does that. Discussing BS is a waste of time.

  47. He taught me how to use a rifle because he viewed riflery as a life skill –
    Well, that was a high point in the way this article was going.

  48. Think about what a criminal could do to you and your family in ten minutes if you had nothing to stop them.
    My experience has been 30 minutes before the po po arrives and my daughter’s experience has been 90 minutes.

  49. I’m a conservative and I own and cling to lots of guns and bibles. There, I said it. I have white guilt. I always have a sudden urge to repress a homosexual, pay women less for the same amount of work, and cut a school lunch program.
    I am just loving my white privilege as I really benefited from my family owning oodles of negro slaves in Indiana. Whadda ya mean there were more Irish soldiers of the state than negro slaves? Ignore that! Hey, white privilege potato famines and religious persecutions are great!
    Remember check your white privy privilege. I got mine!

  50. Thank you for serving several tours of duty overseas. I am sorry to hear it contributed to your marriage ending. Thank you for telling some of your life’s story to us. The pain was evident in your writing. You are a brave and compassionate man. Keep growing intellectually. The cheap shots at us knuckle daggers were unnecessary. You are less a liberal than you say. Maybe our paths will cross as i live in Florida. I’ll be the guy with the bulging shirt at 4:00.

  51. “Carrying a gun is a pain in the ass. Even small guns are uncomfortable.”

    Buy a pocket sized gun then! I have a NAA mini revolver hanging off my right pocket as I type, it is no problem at all to conceal it, neither is it uncomfortable.

  52. Translation of that meandering neurotic diatribe; the author believes most everyone else lacks the intellect and training to merit owning a firearm. McBeth seems to be struggling with some serious latent guilt issues, sort of like a white supremacist in denial trying to justify his physical attraction to black women.

  53. One of my best buds retired to Flo Rida because his wife wanted to be near their kids and grand kids. There are almost more crazies and baddies in Florida than Cali. My friend has always been a person of the gun. He turned me on to guns in 1987. He never carried until he moved to central FLA. He and most of his neighbors carry all the time. Me, I would move back to where I came from but it gets crazier here all the time so there is no running from craziness, drugs, thugs and terrorists. I’ve been all over NJ. Princeton is the only nice area in the state IMO. I don’t carry on my person too much but I am never more than a few inches from a gun in my vehicles and never more than a few feet from a gun in my house. You pays your money and takes your chances.

  54. Hope the cannoli works out for ya. If (the POS piss ant little state of) NJ wants everyone to be forced to take the cannoli option, they’ll need surgery to have their cannoli extracted. Also, another fine example of how anti-semitism is a begged-state. Tell your ex, and all the other JAPS (your term) to read up on their history. If that ain’t artsy enough for them, tell them to at least rent and watch The Pianist.


  55. Funny…. I grew up and spent 30+ years of my life a town directly next to Princeton, and the day my initial firearms ID and pistol-purchase-permit hit the police station, I also bought a .40 Glock that night.

    I’m just not such a bag of hot air like this guy.

  56. We should all study this one. Look at how the decision making is influenced by the progressive (not necessarily liberal) media and politicians and how the design of the gun laws led him through that “decision matrix” if you can call it that. I especially like that catch-22 he got into about training. He didn’t understand that this decision came from a different source than strictly whether he trained or not.

  57. I’m just amazed there are people who call themselves “liberals” (in the 20th Century American sense of the word, I assume,) still left. I assumed they were all gone after Pat Moynihan died.

  58. I’m not calling you a sheep because you chose not to carry whilst your skillset is lacking.
    I’m calling you a sheep because you recognize your skills are lacking and yet arenot doing, nor even planning to do anything to rectify the problem.

  59. Given as most engagements would happen in 3-7 feet, the “sweep” and for that matter, marksmanship would not be all that important. The mere sight of the gun, again, could deter the perp from wanting to continue. And a one handed thumb lift of the shirt, followed by a speed rock from the shirt, and firing from the hip would be perfectly suitable and done with ease. What if the perp is trying to get you out of your car and your family is in it? ALWAYS better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it…


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