Joe runs the site Smoking Barrel with some really cool articles in it. This is his story:
Why do I carry a concealed firearm? There was a time in my life if you had asked me that, I either would have laughed at that question, or simply been bewildered. Why on Earth would I? Don’t get me wrong. Guns have always been part of my life, whether on family hunting trips, or target shooting. But since I’m neither in the military nor a law enforcement officer, it never occurred to me that I would ever feel it necessary to make a gun part of my daily wardrobe.
I think my decision to begin carrying concealed happened after a violent crime occurred in the community in which I live. A college student was murdered on a quiet residential street as his vehicle was being carjacked. According to a witness, the young man did everything correctly. He in no way set out to make himself an easy target, and when confronted by the knife wielding car thief, cooperated with him fully. The thief stabbed him repeatedly before driving away. When caught a few days later by police, he confessed to them that he really wasn’t sure why he had done so.
I think that’s when I made the decision to begin carrying a concealed weapon with me. We’ve all been taught what to do to avoid becoming the victims of crime. Lock up homes and belongings. Be careful where you travel, and try not to travel alone. And if the worst happens and you’re confronted by an armed criminal, give him or her what they want, and they’ll let you live. If you play by the “rules” of being victimized we’re told, you’ll come out of it somehow a bit poorer, but alive.
But what if criminals no longer follow these rules? Statisticians claim that violent crime in the United States is at a historic all-time low. Who would complain about that? However, statistics are also showing a rise in violent crime in American cities, including ones that historically have had low crime rates. Experts warn that it may take several more years of compiling data to determine if these truly are trends. But upon reading this, I couldn’t help but think of that poor young college student. Even simply making his assailant aware that he was carrying the means to protect himself with deadly force could have made all the difference. I decided that I didn’t want to wait until I found myself at the mercy of someone who saw nothing wrong with killing for the heck of it.
And as I began to seriously consider carrying a concealed firearm to protect myself and others against criminal assault, I received another reminder that there’s more than one good reason for carrying a concealed weapon. Infrastructure upgrades in my community led to the ripping up of water lines, which led to an accident that led to a large number of us being without potable water for more than a week.
Embarrassed town officials quickly offered free water and set up collection sites. But this fix was badly organized, with long lines and shortages. Before you could say “Someone’s going to make a scene”, there he was, a man yelling, cursing, and threatening various people, both with lawsuits and (unseen) weapons. He frightened fellow water collectors enough that police were summoned to haul the “Angry Tax Paying Resident” off for a “chat”. One of my neighbors laughed and said, “All of this over a broken water main! Can you imagine what this town would be like if it were a real flood or a zombie invasion?”
I didn’t think it was quite that funny. Because while our community was bone dry during this water crisis, I could easily see it falling victim to real life flooding, a tornado, or a forest fire. And if people and police had trouble dealing with one angry resident, how about in the aftermath of real and sudden natural disaster?
I think it’s pretty unlikely that my neighbors will one day start staggering around looking for brains to eat after being stricken by a zombie plague. But what would happen in the aftermath of a sudden and widespread attack of disease?
Would calm heads prevail and services remain intact? Or would communities and neighborhoods at least temporarily be on their own? In such a scenario, wouldn’t you want to know that you could protect yourself and others from hostile intruders? Or forage safely for food and supplies? Or make sure that you don’t lose your place in line when “water stations” are no longer conveniences but necessities? Having a weapon on hand could well affect outcomes in such situations.
Now, it should be pointed out that I have never been the victim of a violent crime. Or clawed my way out of the aftermath of natural disasters. Or tried to dodge outlaw biker gangs while rushing that serum shipment to those bubonic plague victims. Don’t get me wrong, I consider myself very lucky that I have never had to use deadly force to defend myself from any of these scenarios. And statistically speaking, it’s unlikely that I ever will. But while carrying concealed isn’t for everyone, and the odds are good that I will never draw that weapon in public, I’m still glad that I made the decision to do so.
And it’s not just because I’m a “assume the worst and the worst will never happen kind of person”. I carry a concealed weapon because life is unpredictable, as are the many people who travel through it. Consider the following:
1. In Florida, an argument about a man texting before a movie caused an angry patron to leap across theater seats to attack the complainer.
2. In Massachusetts, a distraught mentally ill man (refused care at a local hospital for insurance reasons) went on a car crash and stabbing rampage, killing two people and injuring several others.
3. When a Michigan man confronted two strangers who had entered his home uninvited, a fight broke out.
In all three cases, probably no one involved thought that their day would end with the use of a firearm. But in all three cases, lives were saved with the unfortunate use of deadly force.
Think about other scenarios we’ve all heard about in the news lately. The mentally ill man armed with a machete on a bus in Canada. “Peaceful” rallies interrupted by armed individuals in Texas and South Carolina. Think of the difference an armed and competent person could have made in these cases.
And there’s another reason I decided to begin carrying concealed. To help protect the rights of others who wish to do so, regardless of their reasons. Carrying concealed has not been without controversy, and the right to do so is not as sacrosanct as some seem to think.
Concealed carry has been legal in all 50 states since 2013, regulated by the states themselves. While concealed carry laws vary by state, they can also be vulnerable to change, including restrictive modifications. So this is why I and many other carriers not only routinely wear weapons, we stay up to date on breaking news and changing regulations as well. That way we can be sure not only of having the means of self-protection, but of protecting the rights of others to do so as well.
Do you carry concealed? If so, why? Do you think more people should carry a weapon, or less?
Obviously people have very different views on firearms and who should be able to carry them. If you have some thoughts that you would like to contribute, please comment in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you!
About the author: This article was contributed by Joe from SmokingBarrelUSA.com. Joe is a gun enthusiast that started his blog specifically to not only learn more himself, but to also share what he learned with others in the community. SmokingBarrelUSA.com aims to help promote gun safety, debunk some myths that exist today about firearms, as well as help folks to choose the right equipment to suit their specific needs.