Question of the Day: Does Carrying a Gun Make You A Better Person?

Statistics show that licensed concealed carriers are less likely to commit a crime than the average citizen. D’uh. If nothing else, licensed carriers must undergo a background check. And know how to fill out a form and show up somewhere when scheduled to do so (e.g. fingerprinting). The question is . . .

Has carrying a gun made you a better person? Less likely to engage in arguments? Less likely to stick your you-know-what you-know-where (risking a confiscatory Extreme Risk Protection Order)? And if so, do you find that open carry magnifies the effect?


  1. avatar The Gray Poseur says:

    I don’t really worry about the deep stuff such as the question posed, but what I do know is that Dean has total Pith Helmet Swag (PHS).

    1. avatar Jack Griffin says:

      I dunno, amigo… based on a room full of gun guys under 40, he looks like a total drunk uncle. Straight up goof troop.

      Not sure where that outfit is appropriate but I defend his right to make me look that much more classy while doing it.

      1. avatar Tietonian says:

        I definitely prefer PHS to the I Have More Pockets Than You and vulgar t-shirts of the I Thought About Being A SEAL crowd. A Webley (or any pre-1950 handgun) would make the ensemble even better. To each their own…

      2. avatar The Gray Poseur says:

        I highly suspect, that in a room full of guys including Jack Griffin and Dean, I’d rather hear what Dean has to say.

        1. avatar Ted Unlis says:

          Based on your past comments in this forum Gray, I wouldn’t doubt for a second that you and Dean are like minded. Why shucks, ya’ll probably go together like peas and carrots! Too funny!

      3. avatar The Gray Poseur says:

        The mustache is swag as well, Ted. Not many guys that aren’t gay or cops can pull off a mustache.

    2. avatar Hoplopfheil says:

      That’s the kind of hat that says: “Fix bayonets, lads. The Zulu are on the attack!”

  2. avatar Rick the Bear (MA to NH) says:

    While I am much less likely to get up in someone’s grill, it seems more a result of my aging rather than my carrying. What hasn’t changed is: I’m still an a-hole.

    1. avatar Mr.Savage says:

      I second that, I’m still an a-hole too.

      1. avatar Wuz Nt Me says:

        I third that! You’re both a-holes.

    2. avatar Alan says:

      Wouldn’t you be an M-hole (short for Masshole)? Or does that moniker go away as soon as you move out of Massatwoshits?

  3. avatar Omer Baker says:

    It’s made me less willing to get into any confrontation, but I don’t know if that makes me a better person.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      ^ This.

      There were two confrontations that really, truly needed to happen … and I couldn’t risk looking like the aggressor and then lose my firearm rights forever.

      As a result, a punk in his 30s thinks it is okay to LOUDLY yell F-bombs to the neighborhood and LOUDLY tell neighbor’s wives to perform explicit sex acts on himself — while 7 year-old neighborhood children are close by of course. That guy needed to be laid out. Instead, all he got was a tongue lashing (ooooh, big deal) from a deputy who paid him a visit 30 minutes later.

      There are some behaviors that require “aggression” in a decent society. Unfortunately, such necessary “aggression” will result in a permanent loss of rights these days. Thus, I would say that I am not, in some respects, a better person for being armed.

      1. avatar Roymond says:

        Most certainly!

        A society where all “aggression” is banned is not civilized.

        Or perhaps better, a society where sensible people are not permitted to use appropriate force to discipline an asshole is not civilized. Hillary Clinton’s “It takes a village” concept requires that the civilized “villagers” be allowed to knock back the uncivilized lest the uncivilized take over.

      2. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

        “… if someone stumbles into the community watering hole and raises the stink-eye to the rest of the herd, you pick up the largest tree branch, smack them over the head with it, then you fling them to the heavens in Kubrickian glee… and I’m okay with that”
        > Dennis Miller

    2. avatar Nigel the expat says:

      What Omer said.

  4. avatar kevin says:

    Of course not. Just ask your local gangbanger. A gun is an object, like any other object you carry with you. Does a handkerchief make you a better person? A pocketknife? If you’re an asshole without a gun, you’re an asshole with a gun.

  5. avatar tdiinva (now in wisconsin) says:

    Carrying a gun has nothing to do with being good or bad. Carrying may make you a better behaved person but just because you are well behaved doesn’t mean you can’t be a poor excuse for a human being.

  6. avatar Anon in CT says:

    It makes you ACT like a better person – or at least a calmer, less confrontational person (and in my case, a less speedy driver) – and that’s close enough.

  7. avatar Herbert says:

    Re ANON in CT- Exactly. I am motivated to act and think more carefully and less emitionally in public and private while I’m carrying. Perhaps over time this might make me a better person. On the other hand, Jesus Christ is working all the time to make me a better person.

  8. avatar Larry says:

    I don’t know how I could get any better ….

  9. avatar Timothy says:

    Taking a group of people who have never been convicted of felony or domestic violence and who are willing to prove it by paying money to the government guarantees lower crime for that group.

    I personally have never been aggressive and that hasn’t changed. I find that I’m more aware. I try to consciously avoid printing, I check who might notice that I carry, I’m more aware of what I say. These things translate to a higher general awareness of where I am and what’s going on around me.

    Better person? Not me. But I am much better off in life

    1. avatar Gimlet says:

      +1 THIS. Carrying concealed has made me more conscious of my surroundings and how I interact with others. I guess that’s a good thing, but I don’t think it amounts to a radical shift in my character.

  10. avatar strych9 says:

    I don’t really think it matters. As kevin said “If you’re an asshole without a gun, you’re an asshole with a gun.”

    That said, generally speaking I think the type of person who generally carries a gun for legal purposes isn’t an asshole. They’re usually as calm as a glass of water whether they’re carrying at the time or not.

    I think you can, reasonably accurately, say the same thing about a lot of things. For example, drunken jerks are generally jerks when sober etc.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      “Asshole With a Gun” sounds like a great title for a blog.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        As usual, you’re on target Ralph.

      2. avatar SouthAl says:

        Potential TTAG articles:

        Asshole Gun Owner of The Day
        Top 3 guns for assholes
        Top 3 assholes who own guns

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Proper lube for an asshole gun.

      3. avatar jwtaylor says:

        No way I have enough time to write all that.

  11. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    If my carrying a gun makes me a better person, then carrying two as I sometimes do must double the effect. Perhaps, if I shove one of those little NAR 22 magnums in an ankle holster for a total of three, then I might just qualify for sainthood!

  12. avatar tjlarson2k says:

    Owning a gun “legally” makes me a regulated person.

    My principles, values, and moral compass make me a better person.

  13. avatar rt66paul says:

    While all of what has been stated is true, just the fact that you are willing to go to the class, go get printed, etc, means you are serious about it. Also, if you do the steps needed, it means you have taken on a responsability. This is not usually for a job, or a hurdle to bigger and better things, it is only to obey the law in order to carry legally. People that have little responsability won’t jump through the hoops, they will just carry anyway, or will have one close by, in a hidden way, so they have access.

    Carrying a gun is a responsability, even if you only care about protecting you and yours – let others die and just go on like you did not have a firearm. You are not duty bound to help a stranger, like a LEO, but you still may be called to make a life or death choice, for you and yours ofr the attacker. If you are not ready for that choice, don’t carry.

  14. avatar General Zod says:

    Well, it hasn’t caused me to start wearing pith helmets…is that a side effect I should watch for?

  15. I have always been a well behaved asshole.

  16. avatar former water walker says:

    Better? No…just armed. If you’re carrying tp be a vigilante or armed avenger you’ve got a problem.

  17. avatar mercutio says:

    No, just more careful.

  18. avatar Chadwick says:

    Yep. I’m a better person because I had to understand the responsibility I have on my shoulders. Kind of like when someone trusts their kid and is rewarded by them appreciating the responsibility. Not that the government is a parent or anything. I guess it’s more like I’m a proud child of my nation.

  19. avatar kevin says:

    Many more questions to be raised by the Pith helmet. . .

  20. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    I’m the same person whether I’m in California, New Jersey or The United States.

    When I was disarmed by statute, I avoided conflict and dangerous situations. I still do that when I’m armed.

  21. avatar Tietonian says:

    I wish I was brave enough to wear a pith helmet (British 1877 Foreign Service Pattern looks fantastic). Unfortunately I’m still far to young to not care about what people think. When I’m old however…

    On the actual topic of this post, carrying a gun may make one less volatile in their public interactions but being a Better Person is based on other things entirely.

  22. avatar Ralph says:

    Carrying a gun has not made me a better person, but practicing with it has made me a better marksman.

  23. avatar Cdawg says:

    Carrying a gun does make you a better person. I think we all know that everyone one on Earth already knows this. Wearing shoes opposed to sandals makes you an even better person yet! I think we can all agree that when we are carrying and bump into someone who is not we are overwhelmed with a sense of superiority and power… Which is better indeed!

  24. avatar Roymond says:

    Better person? Well, maybe a better Boy Scout — because better prepared.

  25. avatar D says:

    Absolutely. Since receiving my CCW 5 years ago I no longer speed when I drive, I don’t participate in road rage, and I drink a lot less because I don’t want to come across a situation where I jeopardize my rights and I let petty stuff go because I always assume everyone else is packing.

  26. avatar Gsr says:

    I know I drive better because I don’t want the hassle of dealing with a police officer while carrying

  27. avatar Jeffro says:

    I quit drinking ANY alcoholic beverages, full stop. While I still push the speed limit with the give 5 take 5 philosophy, I don’t regularly speed. I’m still a smartass, and Mr. Fucking Asshole. I steer clear of stupid people, places, and times to the best of my ability. Leaving for work when the bars are closing can make that problematic. Better person? Not so much. More careful? You betchya!

  28. avatar Kendahl says:

    I would say better for two reasons:
    (1) They are well enough behaved to pass a background check. There is no reason to expect that to change.
    (2) They know that screwing up with a gun will dump their previously good lives into the same toilet already occupied by the a-holes against whom they acquired the gun for protection.

  29. avatar DaveW says:

    I am not a “better person”. I am a more prepared person.

  30. avatar Mark N. says:

    No, it hasn’t made me a better person, and no, open carry would not magnify any effect on my good behavior, because in California open carry is considered bad conduct that will land your ass in jail. I’ll take a pass on that, thank you.
    I carry because my wife travels by wheel chair, and there are areas in our fine town we cannot avoid in which one finds a ubiquity of homeless, many of whom are addicted to meth and/or heroin, others who suffer serious mental disease.

  31. avatar Ted Unlis says:

    All Dean needs is a whip and a chair to round out that ridiculous attention grabbing lion tamer costume. What a goof!

    “Hey everyone look at me I’m open carrying a handgun because I’m making a political statement and I experience intense gratification when I rest my hand as close as possible to my Glock without touching it to hopefully generate a little drama while drawing as much attention as possible from everyone I encounter”. “Some of my favorite places to do this is the grocery store back home, rest areas in Arizona, and outside police stations in Texas”.

    Too funny!

    1. avatar jwm says:

      And we were just talking about assholes. Perfect timing you attention whore.

      1. avatar Ted Unlis says:

        That’s Mr. Asshole to you junior. I submit that “attention whore” is a term more applicable to someone trolling public places wearing a lion tamer costume and an openly displayed Glock in a Fobus holster. You’d be surprised how much less attention is attracted when only those with xray vision can see my concealed handgun. I’m all for armed dumbasses who thrive on drawing attention to themselves with open carry, it makes it so much easier for me to spot them. Too funny!

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Junior? Don’t I wish. Nah, attention whore suits you. Hysterical comes close. Getting all bent out of shape about how some old timer that you’ll likely never meet dresses.

          Maybe hall monitor?

  32. avatar TroyBilt says:

    Yes,Yes, and Yes.

    And Deans hat also makes him a better person.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      I’m convinced that outfit gets Dean laid.

      I’m serious, and more power to him… 🙂

  33. avatar fteter says:

    Nope. Carrying a gun has not made me a better person. No spiritual or emotional warm fuzzies from toting a gun.
    Carrying only for defensive reasons.

    Being a man of faith and being married to a woman who motivates me to do better every day…those things have made me a better person. Yeah, not great, as I started from a really deep hole…but better. Anyway, you can’t get that from a gun.

    BTW, could somebody please bring this post to my wife’s attention. I want to buy a new gun 😉

  34. avatar Troubled Soul says:

    I made myself a better person when I got divorced and lost 130 lbs of evil 20 years ago.

  35. avatar Ing says:

    Best it can do is make you more of whatever you already are.

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