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Personally, I hate giving my business to places that ban guns. Whether it’s an individual store or a whole country, I’d rather my shopping or tourism money go somewhere that respects my rights. But, I also have to live in the real world, and sometimes, we just don’t get a choice. There are times when an anti-gun shopkeeper is the proverbial only girl in town, and sometimes our significant others demand to go on that cruise to Mexico.

But, all hope for safety is not lost. Many of the things you may have learned about self-defense in a good CCW course still totally apply. Perhaps more importantly, even if you never plan on going someplace without some iron on your hip, knowing how to keep your gun out of the fight can be a valuable skill.

Avoiding Problems To Begin With

The biggest way to stay out of trouble is commonly called the “Rule of Stupids” or “The Three Stupids”. Basically, you want to avoid:

  • Stupid Places
  • Stupid People
  • Stupid Things

If you look at where crime happens in your town, it’s not uniform. There are places like bars that attract a lot more trouble than nearly anywhere else. There are also bad neighborhoods where crime is a lot more common. Those are “stupid places,” and in many places the stupidest places (often bars) ban firearms.

Personally, it’s extremely rare for me to need to use or threaten force against people, but I worked Uber on the weekends during 2018, and found that the big money happened when the bars closed in El Paso and Phoenix. But, with that big money came times where I had to threaten to shoot people, break noses and even pin a man down and search him for weapons because a bar’s security guards were being complete goobers.

So, whether in the U.S. or abroad, stay away from the bars if you want to stay away from trouble. Stay away from drunk people and revolutionaries. Stay away from protests, riots and other dangerous things. They might look fun or merely interesting, but you’re increasing your chances of trouble significantly.

But, despite your best efforts to avoid them, sometimes stupid people and their trouble will come looking for you. So, just like at home, you need to keep your head on a swivel. Pay attention to your surroundings. Most of the time, a criminal attacker will not come after you if they can see that you’re paying attention. Like all predators, they’re not looking for a fight. They’re looking for an easy meal.

Another thing you can do is blend in. Whether you’re visiting an anti-gun city by airplane and can’t carry or going overseas, you should avoid doing things that make you stand out like a sore thumb because that attracts the attention of both criminals and corrupt government officials (which are basically the same thing).

For one, find out what people wear in a place you’re going. Self-expression is fun and cool, but if it makes you a target, it’s a bad idea. Dress business casual in places where business casual is common. Dress like street people if you’re going to be in a place with street people. You’ll find from many accounts of bad situations that people got into trouble because they didn’t fit in.

It’s also good to learn at least a little bit about the culture and language of a place where you’re going, even inside of the United States. I grew up in rural New Mexico, and found myself experiencing some mild culture shock the first time I went to New York City, but figured out pretty quickly what the differences were. My aunt also warned me ahead of time how to avoid fights with people, because she had lived there.

Outside of the United States, you’ll often find that you gain a lot more respect from people by not being the stereotypical “self-important American.” If you show up expecting everyone to speak English and do things your way, that won’t go well in some places. But if you show up and know a little bit of the language and customs, many people overseas will be impressed that you respected them enough to try to learn their language, even if you’re not great at it.

So, spend some toilet time with apps like Duolingo before an overseas trip and watch some YouTube videos about the culture and history of a place you’re visiting.

If all else fails or you’re going someplace where you know they don’t like Americans, get a Canadian flag T-shirt and be super polite.

Nonviolent Dispute Resolution Skills

Whether you’re going outside the pro-gun wire or not, it pays big time to learn about de-escalation and dispute resolution skills. I could write a whole series of articles on this (and might do that one of these days), but I’ll just point you in the direction of buying this book and watching this video:

Nondeadly Force

Just because guns aren’t allowed doesn’t mean you can’t defend yourself. Especially overseas, it’s a good idea to avoid this if at all possible, because some legal systems are not very nice to foreigners (that’s you.) But, it’s still a good option.

First of all, I don’t know of any places that ban the possession of fists and feet. If there is such a place, definitely don’t go there no matter how bad the wife wants to take a cruise there LOL. But, being physically fit and having some basic hand-to-hand defensive skills is always a good idea. Just like firearms instructors, it’s a good idea to make sure you don’t sign up for Rex Kwon Do. BOW TO YOUR SENSEI!

Finally, many places still allow things like pepper spray, pepper ball guns and tasers. You’ll definitely want to check ahead of time on the legalities of possession and use of such things, but if it checks out, that’s another good option.

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    • tsbhoa, the short answer is, not much. I had frost yesterday, but I’m sure it’s shorts, flip flops, T-shirts, sunglasses and headgear in the Conch Republic. And whatever you can hide under it. Good luck. Last time I was there the place was a zoo.

        • I wouldn’t touch anything down there, not a elevator button, not a door handle nor put a glass or eating utensil to my lips …. Monkeypox you know.

        • Yeah Maddmaxx they even sell tee shirts with the wording, “I ain’t gay but 20 bucks is 20 bucks!”

  1. The three rules of stupid is as useless as mammaries on a board hog. I spent most of my life working nights in arguably bad neighborhoods. Should I go on unemployment? Do the people in those neighborhoods not deserve services?

    • Hi Viejo – I get your comment about generalized rules of thumb. I think it’s the combination of “stupids” that are more likely to trip you up – sort of a cascading sequence of events. You might very well have a job that takes you into bad neighborhoods, but you can compensate for that by being very aware of your surroundings, and don’t do dumb things like deliver pizzas to obviously abandoned, derelict houses. Stay safe!

    • Interesting. What kind of neighborhood do you suppose got their local businesses burned down? I mean…I’m sure someone went on unemployment over that.

    • “deserve”

      welll.. if we call out people in the

      you get what you vote for

      then yeah they dont deserve the services b/c they have scared away the businesses,,,the schools etc etc all to keep collecting the welfare

  2. Well Jennifer we’re planning on a move to Hoosierland. Where I already constitutional carry. All I can say is it beats the he!! out of ILLannoy🙄

    • Welcome to the great state of Indiana. I moved here from Japan and before that So. Cal.-Navy thing. I got my CCL in a month and now we’ve gone Constitutional Carry. Automatic weapons are regulated by the Feds., not the state, and full-semi auto weapons are legal. In rural/ suburban Hoosierland, crime is fairly low, and a large minority carry. Come on in , the water’s fine.

      • quote: “full-semi auto weapons”

        I have heard/seen that term a lot.
        Please tell us what “full-semi auto weapons” are.

  3. Stupid Places
    Stupid People
    Stupid Things

    In a perfect world that would be the ideal way to live, however while it IS mostly simple enough to readily recognize AND avoid stupid places and things, it is not so easy to avoid stupid PEOPLE… Stupid people seem to have become a majority (at least in my world) and I’m being generous, I include the evil, the mean, the desperate and just plain stupid, they are everywhere they’ve crawled out of their holes and from under their rocks and seem to make it their life’s work, their sole purpose, their primary mission to make everyone around them miserable to the point of ebullition… AVOID stupid people? Where it just that simple…

  4. “It’s also good to learn at least a little bit about the culture and language of a place where you’re going, even inside of the United States.”

    I visited Greece once many years ago for a collaboration project. I practiced some Greek for a few common phrases. Got a cab at the airport. The cab driver asked me in very good English where I wanted to go and I gave him the name of the hotel that had been booked for me. He said it was a nice hotel then asked me if I would be eating in the dining room there, I told him I might and asked why he asked. He told me if I did I should know the phrase (pronounced) “poú eínai i toualéta” (which he kindly and quickly taught me how to pronounce) which in Greek means “where is the toilet”.

    I stayed in the hotel, which was very nice and set up for ‘foreigners’. But I avoided the dining room.

    • “BREAKING: Judge Roger Benitez Blocks California Ammo Background Check Law”

      Please take a moment to raise a silent prayer in gratitude for the moment this injunction will last.

      • 9th Circuit will hear it this afternoon and overturn him in the morning… Probably already have the opinion pre-written just waiting for signatures…

        • “9th Circuit will hear it this afternoon and overturn him in the morning…”

          Of course. And declare it will invoke an en banc panel.

  5. Don’t use that pepper-ball airgun in New Jersey unless you’re willing to spend 10 years in state prison. In New Jersey:
    Using pepper spray = okay (as long as it’s under 0.75 ounce)
    Anything gun-shaped = 10 years in prison.
    Also, all airguns are “firearms” in New Jersey.
    Flareguns are “firearms” in New Jersey unless you’re on a boat.
    I know this from experience, the hard way.

      • “Why are you “stuck?””

        Could be for a number of reasons, family obligations, a job that is so niche it would be next to impossible to find in a free state, etc, etc…

    • Sounds like the entire state of NJ qualifies as a *Stupid Place*. That’s a shame; I was hoping to visit the Bada Bing one day. Given my age, that’s a childhood fantasy. LOL

  6. You forgot Stupid Times, like looking to sell an Xbox to someone you haven’t met at oh dark thirty in a Walmart parking lot.

  7. “If all else fails or you’re going someplace where you know they don’t like Americans, get a Canadian flag T-shirt ”
    Abso-Fing-lutely NO! I AM AN AMERICAN! I will not hide that fact, and I will question the guts and love of country of anyone that will. FU and all your reasoned excuses.

    • Chesirecat,

      Guts and love of country are fantastic.

      Making yourself a preferred target when you are unarmed is foolish–especially when your attackers will have the huge advantages of surprise and superior numbers.

      You would be wise to apply Sun Tsu’s tactics in his book The Art of War which he wrote hundreds of years ago. (Note that your attitude is counter to the most important tactic of all: never fight an enemy on their terms.)

  8. I avoid establishments that post no-gun signs. These places are clearly ran by people that do not care who gets shot. All under the very mistaken foolishness that anyone but the law abiding even sees those signs.

  9. just say no to Mexico. not a good idea. no rule of law, everything is corrupt including hospitals. I could go on and on. don’t say it’s not that bad, it is.

  10. This article reminds me of a very important pearl of wisdom, “The only fight that you are guaranteed to win is the fight that never happens.” That is obviously even more important in a venue/location where you cannot possess a firearm for self-defense.

    And that last sentence above in the current context should remind all of us of another important pearl of wisdom, “Firearms are NOT magic talismans which guarantee that will survive a fight.”

    If there is no guarantee of surviving a fight WITH a firearm, there is even less guarantee of surviving a fight WITHOUT a firearm. Therefore, we would be wise to avoid all fights if at all possible.

  11. I am a licensed Private Investigator. I spent a great deal of time doing surveillance in what would be considered “bad” neighborhoods. I quickly acclimated myself and started wearing a vest. It is about as uncomfortable as humanly possible to sit in a car for 8 hours, not moving, wearing kevlar. In the heat of summer, it’s worse. Sometimes I could let the car run and get AC, other times I was sitting in 100 degree heat without it running… about miserable. Point being you can’t always stay away from the stupid. One day I watched a guy who was on workers comp about 1/8th mile from a school. I would call the area one that had formerly been nice, but it had declined greatly in the past decade and had become more low end housing. The guy I was watching was out of work for some reason I don’t recall. As I watched his home I quickly figured out he was selling out of his house. Cars would roll up, a person would go to the door and make and exchange and leave. This being the case I was a bit more alert than usual. My little Honda had 3% tint so no one could see me in there. I would let the window down about 1/8 inch just to hear what was happening around me. I heard voices and turned to see two unscrupulous gents walking out of a driveway onto the road. One was wearing what looked like an LA Lakers pregame warmup getup. He also had a lakers jacket on. As they walked passed my car, I could hear them discussing the car they didn’t recognize. They proceeded to the house I was watching, bought something and then started walkin back. On the return, the curiosity of the car they didn’t recognize was still on their minds. Mr Lakers decided to come look in the window. So there I sit, watching this guy approach. As he does, I can see the flashy chrome gun in his waistband. He had no idea when he looked in that window he was looking right down the barrel of a 9mm. He looked and then announced there was no one in the car. Needless to say, as soon as they went in their house I departed the area and didn’t return, even having been armed.
    One fortunate thing about the south is, the majority of those little no guns signs have no force of law behind them. I walk right past them all the time. The business has a right to ask you to leave, that’s it. If you don’t leave then you may have an issue. But I’m happy to announce I’ll take my money elsewhere where people’s rights are respected and encouraged.

  12. The old saying — ‘I’d rather be tried by twelve than carried by six’ still applies for basic safety wherever you live. As a retired LEO, I carry discreetly so nobody knows that I am armed. I carry everywhere unless the venue is protected by armed security and metal detectors at the entrance. Those ‘No Gun’ signs are worthless when it comes to actually preventing a criminal or nutjob from causing mayhem. As far as traveling to places that have strict gun laws, i.e. foreign countries (yes, that includes Canada and Mexico), don’t take a handgun. Some U.S. states are also very anti-gun (New York, New Jersey) and can ruin your vacation. To me, the main thing is to carry discreetly so that no one knows you are armed and don’t cause an issue (drunk and/or stupid). Your weapon is there to protect you and your family, not to make some statement about your Second Amendment Rights.

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