Mandatory firearms training violates our Second Amendment protection against government infringement on the right to keep and bear arms. That said, I’ve been generally impressed with the instruction I’ve been forced to absorb.
It’s tedious yes, but usually covers everything from how a gun works to the legal use of deadly force to anger management and firearms retention. Plus live fire.
But the classes don’t go over everything. Here are three things they don’t teach you in a concealed carry class.
Carrying a Gun Makes You Paranoid, At Least at First
The first time you strap on a concealed firearm, it feels like you’re carrying a Howitzer. Like you’re wearing a T-shirt that says “I’VE GOT A GUN!” Even in states with a gun-friendly culture (e.g., Arizona), first-time concealed carriers worry that a stranger is going to see their gun and confront them or freak out.
Pistol-packing paranoia makes perfect sense. Public speaking is Americans’ greatest fear; we’re hard-wired to be afraid of public embarrassment. Being “outed” while carrying a gun — especially by someone who’s rabidly anti-gun and/or terrified of firearms — is like public speaking on steroids.
“Oh my God. He’s got a gun! What do you need that for?”
Even if you live in a gun friendly culture, this fear isn’t completely unrealistic. No matter how much you mentally rehearse a reply to gun shamers or prepare for a possible police response, the prospect of “armed confrontation” still creates low-level paranoia (and the constant checking of cover garments). It’s not comfortable.
Exposure therapy is the only cure for this paranoia. More precisely, lack–of-exposure therapy. The more you carry a concealed firearm without being outed, the less paranoia or anxiety you feel.
It’s simply something you have to go through; a condition that usually lasts between a week and a month. The trick: go through it. If you find excuses not to carry daily, the paranoia will never disappear entirely. Or you might eventually abandon concealed carry entirely.
Carrying a gun changes your personality…for the better
Gun control advocates have a strange idea. They’re convinced that carrying a gun makes a person into a mucho macho compensating trigger-happy Clint Eastwood wanna-be.
Like so many of the antis’ “arguments,” they’ve got it exactly backwards. Carrying a gun make you less confrontational.
Why would you want to engage in any confrontation when any confrontation could lead to escalation which could lead to an armed confrontation which is something you don’t ever want to have?
This confrontation avoidance thought process becomes second nature for concealed carriers. You become far less likely — if not completely unlikely — to engage in road rage or any sort of showdown with a stranger.
Sure there are some concealed carriers with anger issues, which don’t disappear when they receive the state’s blessing to bear arms. But that’s not you, a person who took the time to read an article entitled 3 Things They Don’t Teach You In Concealed Carry Class.
Another psychological aspect instructors don’t mention: concealed carry makes you more independent. By assuming direct responsibility for your own safety and the safety of your loved ones, you lose your inherent, perhaps subconscious dependency on the state’s protection. You realize that you are a sovereign citizen.
It’s an understanding that you’re in control of your own destiny in a worst case scenario, when controlling your destiny is a matter of life and death. That makes you feel more in control of your own destiny at other, less dramatic times.
Carrying a gun is habit-forming
The only way to tell if you’re addicted to something: remove it and see if you suffer withdrawal. At the risk of giving the antis [additional] ammo to deride Americans exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, I’m going to say it. Concealed carry is addictive.
Anyone who carries a gun on an everyday basis can tell you about those times when they suddenly realize they’re not carrying one. Like when they have to disarm to go into a post office, forget to rearm and then enter a non-gun-free zone.
Crap! I don’t have my gun! They’re plagued by the niggling thought, “What if this is the one time I need it?”
The initial anxiety of having a gun eventually becomes the anxiety of not having one. Traveling to states that don’t recognize your concealed carry license can be an ordeal for a habituated concealed carrier. There are gun owners who won’t go anywhere where their gun isn’t welcome; local businesses, entire states and foreign countries.
Normally, NGA (no gun anxiety) manifests itself in increased situational awareness; scanning for potentially problematic people, locating the exits, carrying or contemplating alternative weapons, etc.
Gun control advocates believe this behavior indicates some kind of moral weakness or personality disorder. It is, in fact, a normal, natural survival instinct, amplified by carrying a concealed weapon on a regular basis.
I’m sure those of you who carry have other examples of what you didn’t learn in concealed carry class. Please share them below.