The Reason I Carry

Last night as I was out to dinner with friends, one of them noticed that I had my Rock Island 1911 tucked into the small of my back in my waistband holster. This brought about a long debate about gun rights and why I personally choose to conceal and carry a firearm when I go to a populated event. I don’t boast it on my hip, and I always make sure its discreet as possible. I wouldn’t want any potential threats to target me first because they know I am carrying. I find the more discreet your pistol is hidden, the better you will be to respond to an event. I also never consume alcohol, and I respect a restaurant owner’s rules of not allowing firearms. As a conservative, I believe a business has the right to make its rules, and I will not challenge those rules. I will, however, choose to go to a restaurant that aligns itself with my thinking and spend my money there instead.

Many different reasons have influenced my decision to be a responsible citizen and carry a firearm. The era we live in now has threats and choosing to ignore those threats will not benefit anyone. Many argue that it's not needed, or It will never happen to you. Well for those who say that, why do you choose to wear a seat belt? Why do you choose to have a fire extinguisher in your home? For the offhand chance that something may happen, and you want to be prepared when it does. That is why I choose to carry; I don’t wish for something to happen, I just plan on being prepared if something should ever happen in my presence.

An Ever-Changing Threat

The world has changed a great deal from how it used to be to how it is now. Concealing and carrying can still help prevent robberies and muggings. Having that firearm, while it does not guarantee safety, if an attacker did decide to target you, you can be ready to respond. This is one reason to carry, but there are more reasons as the world become more violent every day and threats continue to grow.

Whether we like it or not the U.S. is at war. We have been at war for a long time, but now that war has started to come to America. First, it was the horrific attacks on September 11th that killed almost 3000 people, but this war has been waged long before 9/11. Islamic extremists have hated everything about the U.S. since the U.S. became involved in the Middle East in the 1960’s.

This involvement has spurred a hatred that is unprecedented in modern times. It recently has created the “homegrown” terrorist or people who sympathize with these murderous individuals and want to hurt our way of life. Terrorist attacks while small in size compared to 9/11 are becoming more commonplace. With terrorist renting vehicles and driving them into busy intersection full of innocent bystanders or purchasing weapons and shooting innocent civilians. The threat is real, and deciding to carry a firearm may be the difference between life and death. It is better to make yourself hard to kill than to be an easy target for the taking.

That is only one kind of event that may occur, and there are many more active shooter situations that one must be prepared to respond with force if necessary. The church shooting in Sutherland Springs Texas earlier this year left over 20 people dead, and it would have been much worse if a neighbor with a gun wasn’t there to respond. There are also situations that I believe a firearm would make little difference. Had I been at the Jason Aldean concert in Las Vegas I would not have been carrying, not to mention the man was hundreds of yards away and would have rendered my pistol useless, but there are many other cases that show the importance of being a responsible citizen and carrying a firearm.

Being A Sheepdog

Lt Col Dave Grossman’s book, On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Societyplaced individuals in three categories. The first was the sheep; this is the unprepared individual, the person who would rather ignore the threat and act as if everything is OK. The second is the Wolf, and he preys on the sheep. This person does not have a moral compass and only wants to inflict harm on the innocent. The final individual is the sheepdog; this includes police, EMT, and the military. It also includes those who choose to conceal and carry a firearm. They look and act like the wolf, but they are there to protect the sheep from an attack. Carrying a firearm allows you to protect those who cannot protect themselves from evil.

The average police response time is 10 minutes. In that amount of time, a poorly trained shooter could unleash hundreds of rounds on innocent bystanders. I will not rely on the police to respond when I am more than capable of carrying and using a firearm. I make the conscious decision every day to tuck that firearm into my holster and go out the door. Those of us who carry never wish for the day to come, but we are prepared to stop an active shooter if necessary. While police and emergency services do their best, they will not always be in place to stop an active shooter. Waiting for them to respond will take time and will cost more lives than necessary. Being there trained and ready to act will only save more lives.

 

Training

This requires a responsible person to train and be prepared. Shooting at someone who is shooting back is different from taking the pistol to the range to punch paper. There is a great deal of practice that is involved in this style of training and going to the range regularly is a must. To better yourself, enrolling in a self-defense course that focuses on combat shooting can better prepare a person to respond to an active shooter situation. The responsible gun owner will be prepared, and the only way to prepare for a situation is to train. Many experts recommend that you should go to the range on a weekly to bi-weekly basis. Not only will this improve your shooting, but it will also make you more familiar with your firearm.

If your range allows you practice pulling your pistol from your holster and making accurate rapid-fire shots on human size targets, then you should be doing this regularly. Make sure you check with the range master before the rapid-fire shooting drills or practicing drawing your pistol from a holster. The military often says that you need to train how you fight, and making your shooting experience mimic an active shooter threat will help you to react when the time comes. The more you train, the better you will become.

Mental Preparation

The choice to conceal should not be taken without a great deal of consideration. You are acknowledging that if something should happen, you will respond with violent force. If a situation does occur, you must be mentally ready to pull your firearm. Once you do pull your firearm your life will change forever, and it is not something that should be taken lightly. When you do decide to carry, you must understand the rules of lawful carry and apply for the proper permits.

The Future of Concealed Carry

Once you make the decision to carry a firearm, you must look at the laws in your state and surrounding states. Some concealed carry permits do not carry over into other states, and you can still be held legally liable. So, before you travel, you must ensure that the state you are going to will honor your states concealed carry permit.

In the past few months, there have been moves in Congress to allow a national concealed carry reciprocity. Any state that offers a concealed carry license would be valid in all 50 states. This would allow you to carry a firearm across state lines and still feel the comfort and protection provided in your own state. While this bill still has a long way to go, President Donald Trump has previously said he would sign a bill into law if it was able to pass through the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Conclusion

As a law-abiding gun owner, I have made the conscious decision that I will carry a firearm. If I am going out or to any event, I will more than likely be armed. I hope that I will never have to use my gun, but I have prepared myself both mentally and physically to respond to a threat. I believe in our right to bear arms, and I see carrying a firearm as a civic duty to help stop possibly dangerous situations. I hope those of you who do carry are prepared to use the gun and those of you considering it are preparing both mentally and physically to carry a firearm lawfully.

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Jay Parks is an avid duck hunter and Marine who served two tours in Afghanistan.

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