Concealed carry: When is it OK?

I had never met anyone whom I knew concealed-carried a handgun until I met my boyfriend. He carries to Walmart (and other potentially sketchy places). One day, I popped by after he’d been to Diet Coke Mecca and I recoiled instantly when after I slung an arm around his waist, I felt the tell-tale bulge on his lower back. He’d just gotten home and his holster, complete with Glock, was still on his belt. It felt weird, wrong, to my then-black-and-white guns are scary mind. I didn’t want to touch it. And yet–and yet, guns fascinated me. They’re foreign, they’re dangerous, they’re contentious. And I’m not the only one who thinks that.

I was browsing the r/parenting subreddit a few days ago–no kids here, I just, um, enjoy reading about other people’s quandaries…–and came across this:

So last weekend during my wife’s family Easter dinner there were quite a few people there, including 7 children. For some reason, at some point of the afternoon, after the Easter egg hunt, my wife’s uncle decided to start carrying his loaded 9mm in a holster stuck in his waistband. This made me and my wife uncomfortable, so we said our goodbyes and left.

After getting back to my in-law’s house, we started a discussion with my in-laws about the situation saying we didn’t want our son exposed to that type of behavior and we saw it as a safety issue. The discussion turned into chaos….

I chuckled reading the story and naturally schadenfreude-d my way to the comments. There were some agreeing with the original poster (“OMG, that’s insane, I would have done the same thing, guns are awful”) and some mocking him (“It’s legal, it was in a holster that a toddler could not have reached, safety was on, what’s the issue”). Some called the gun-toting man a nut job because he strapped one on at a family function–who was he afraid of? they questioned.

But there’s no getting around that it is his legal right to conceal carry, depending upon state laws and the state of his permit.

Concealed carry has cropped up in the news recently:

  • California gubernatorial candidate and current assemblyman Tim Donnelly proposed an overhaul to the state’s notoriously strict (and recently decreed unconstitutional) concealed carry laws. More here…
  • A new Georgia law–dubbed the “guns everywhere bill”–allows concealed carry permit-holders to carry handguns into some bars, churches (both can ban them using state-approved signage) and schools (carriers must be authorized officials) as well as into airports as far as the TSA line. More here…
  • Many are attributing the drop in Chicago’s murder rate to 2013’s change in concealed carry laws. It is currently the lowest its been since 1958. More here…

My point of view? Concealed carry is terrifying when you know nothing about guns. If your weapons exposure is through media coverage of shootings and violent movies and video games, of course you’re going to mistrust guns and those who carry them. But the more you know, the more you handle them, the more you understand how to be around them and use them safely–and teach your friends and family how to be around them safely–the more positive your perspective will likely be. Guns are scary because they’re powerful, but when you know what you’re doing (and you’re not afraid to wield that power when it comes down to using it or losing it), it’s you who becomes powerful, making the gun a tool, not an object of terror in and of itself.

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Author: Brittany Taylor

Brittany Taylor is the chick behind SeeBrittWrite, and she believes in the transformative power of stories. She uses words to turn businesses into story-driven brands. Her work has appeared in national magazines, both in print and digital, but her next project might just be yours.

3 thoughts on “Concealed carry: When is it OK?”

  1. “Guns are scary because they’re powerful, but when you know what you’re doing, … it’s you who becomes powerful, making the gun a tool, not an object of terror in and of itself.”

    You are absolutely right that the media does a lot to make guns “scary.” But as you observed, knowledge is the proper antidote. 🙂

    Not sure why you thought your boyfriend carrying in Walmart is “sketchy” though. Its not the store, it is the parking lot there – a perfect place to be ambushed by criminals, particularly after dark.

    If you make the choice to carry legally, as I did years ago, you have to make it a habit because you cannot know beforehand when you might need it. Criminals don’t obey the rules and they don’t respect “gun free zones.”

    The fact is that the vast majority of people with a gun will never, ever fire it in a real life or death situation. Most career police officers will never fire their gun in the line of duty, let alone actually wound or kill someone.

    A Dr. Gary Kleck is well known for a study he did back in the 1990s on the use of firearms in self defense (the crime rate was about twice what it is today and the “shall issue” movement was in its infancy at that time). He found that the use of firearms was much, much more prevalent than previously thought, but he also found out something else even more important.

    The vast majority of cases where a person uses a gun in self defense involves the intended victim displaying they have a firearm to the attacker who then quickly exits the scenery (presumably to find someone unarmed to victimize). A very large number of these instances are never reported to police for various reasons.

    Based on the above the most likely scenario if you carry is that a) you will probably never need it and b) if you do you probably won’t have to fire the gun to achieve your goal of getting home safe and sound.

    But sometimes, for a few people, none of the above is true and they will have to fight for their life, or just accept being a victim. Fortunately in many states today a person has a legal right to defend themselvs with a means that allows a 90lb young lady to defeat a 250lb ex-com who just spent the last decade in jail building up his biceps in the prison gym.

    Good luck with you enlightment on firearms. 🙂

    regards,

    lwk

    1. Thanks for the thoughtful comment! The “sketchy” reference was more to certain situations in which a gun might be called for, rather than calling my guy sketchy. He’s brought it along when dropping off moving boxes to a Craigslist acquaintance, as well.

      ’til next time,
      B

  2. p.s. Meant to mention this also, especially for younger women contemplating the very real possibility of being the target of violence. There is a great book that I recommended to both my wife and my daughter to read.

    The Gift of Fear by Gavim de Becker.

    As I read it he is not particularly an advocate of guns – that is not where he is coming from. But he talks about how many women do not pay attention to their intuitions and disregard clear signs that if followed, could have saved them from being a victim. I highly recommend it. Even if you do carry a gun, it is far better to not get into a situation you can avoid!

    regards,

    lwk

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