Concealed Carrier Or Lottery Player?


Are you a concealed carrier or lottery player?

I was in the grocery store the other day, wearing a polo with the company web address on the back, and our logo on the front that has the tag line “Professional Firearms Training”, so it was kind of obvious what I did for a living.  A man approached me wearing shorts and a form fitting t-shirt tucked into his waistline and asked me if I taught the concealed carry permit class. I told him that yes, I did. He proceeded to tell me that he’s had his carry permit for a couple of years now. Now, when he approached me, I looked him over and determined he wasn’t armed. (Because I’m just a suspicious person by nature.) I asked him why he wasn’t carrying if he had a permit. His answer? “I didn’t think I’d have any problem in Ingles.”

I really didn’t know what to say.

Some of you concealed carry permit holders amaze me. You really do. And I just don’t understand it. You’ve gone through the trouble and effort of getting your permit, AND YOU DON’T CARRY! Why? You’ve gone through the trouble and expense of taking my or someone else’s course, been fingerprinted, photographed, taken tests, and qualified on the range. And the very reason you incurred the cost and expended the effort was to be able to legally carry the means to defend yourself. And you DON’T CARRY!

So after pondering this for a while, I determined that you’re not really concealed carry permit holders. You’re lottery players. And apparently very successful ones at that, since you can unerringly pick the winning numbers. Much as you can pick when and where you may need to defend yourself. Now, to each his/her own, but I have a few problems with this mindset.

A survey of CWP holders was conducted asking if they carried daily and, if not, what were the reasons. The majority of the responses fell into these categories:

“Carrying a gun is uncomfortable.”

I think we can all agree that a handgun isn’t the ultimate defensive weapon. Given the choice, I’d much rather have a shotgun or carbine in my hands when the balloon goes up. (Actually, I’d prefer to have an angry, over caffeinated SEAL team with me when things get ugly. But they’re hard to conceal, heavy to carry around, and keeping them in coffee would be prohibitively expensive.) And, while while a handgun may not be the best choice, it is the most practical one. With a decent holster a pistol isn’t uncomfortable or hard to conceal. If you find that carrying your pistol is uncomfortable or difficult to hide, you just need to make a few tweaks to your wardrobe and gear. Get it right, and you’ll always have the means to defend yourself with you.

“I’m not comfortable carrying my gun.”

Now, I actually encounter this quite a bit. Here in South Carolina, to stay competitive with other instructors, I have to keep the CWP course down to one day. And, while my course is longer than anyone else’s in the state, it still isn’t long enough. In that one day I have just enough time to cover safety, the SC laws concerning concealed carry, fingerprinting, test administration, and range qualification. I understand that this doesn’t really prepare anyone for the effective carry of a firearm, and that it merely satisfies a legal requirement. Which is why I recommend additional training. (And no, not just because I’m an instructor.) While in my CWP class I can teach how to carry a firearm concealed, I simply don’t have the time to teach the proper use of it.

The only way to be comfortable carrying your weapon is to intimately know how it functions. With proper training, and hours and hours of practice, you become familiar with it and get comfortable. This extends to anything you use in life. I have power tools in my garage that I rarely use. One is a power miter saw that I use, maybe, twice a year. I know how it functions, but I haven’t used it enough to be comfortable with it. I’m actually a little afraid of it. So I understand how some may be uneasy about carrying a weapon. This can be corrected through training and exposure.

And that brings me to my personal favorite,

I only carry mine when I think I’ll need it.

Really? You can tell when you might need a gun? There’s a danger that may require a firearm to mitigate, and you go anyway? Personally, if in the course of my day something concerns me enough to say “John, you better have your gun with you for this.” I’m just not going there. My days in law enforcement and the military put me in situations where, since it was kind of my job, I had to go to the possibility of or actual gunfights. But, given the choice, I’d just as soon not go there. And if I did have to go there, I certainly had more than a handgun with me.

This is where playing the lottery comes in. By not carrying regularly, you’re gambling that you won’t run into trouble. Unlike a lottery ticket, if you don’t choose wisely on when to be armed, it may cost you more than a couple of dollars. The man in the grocery store? He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that on that day no disgruntled employee would come in seeking retribution for being fired? He knew with a certainty there wouldn’t be a carjacker in the parking lot? I bring these two scenarios up because they recently happened in the surrounding area.

My point is you never know when or where trouble may strike. That’s why you got your permit in the first place. And that’s why you should always carry and never tell.


The Tactical Pirate

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President and lead instructor. Follow me on Twitter, and check out our blog.

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