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.