So you’re thinking about Concealed Carry… Part I

I have heard some folks say that the Aurora, CO, shootings have made them consider getting a concealed carry permit.  It’s a pertinent question. Many people, probably the majority across the country, never think about self-defense until something like this occurs.  It’s just human nature, unfortunately.

Probably 90% of the people who say they’re thinking about concealed carry won’t. It’s just talk and by the end of the next workday, they will have forgotten about the subject and fallen back into their old rut.

This column is for that other 10%.

If you are serious about concealed carry there are a number of tasks to be done.  The first and most important is not about the process of acquiring a permit, nor about which weapon would be best for you, nor about which is best, a revolver or auto-loader, nor about how to conceal a weapon once you have acquired it and the permit.  No, the first and foremost question is this: could you actually shoot and possibly kill someone in defense of yourself or your family.

Most men would probably say, “Yes,” without much thought. For men, it’s almost an automatic response whether it is true or not. For women, the answer is frequently the opposite. Women have been taught, it’s almost a cultural dictum, that women are the nurturers of the family while the men are the supporters and protectors.

Both sides of that dictum are false. Woman can be just as protective of their family as men. Why is the dictum false? Because people just don’t think about the issue—that they may have to actually kill another person—a living breathing person, to take everything they have and everything they will ever have, until it is standing before them when they have seconds or less to make a decision.

At that point, hesitation probably means being severely injured or killed.  That last second is NOT the time to be thinking about whether you can shoot or kill someone.  That time should be used to judge the situation, draw your weapon and putting rounds into the place where they will do the most good for your defense. Those last few seconds should be an automatic reaction.

This question, can I really shoot, is one you must answer, after long deliberation and prayer, before you take another step. All good CCW instructors will discuss this issue. It is not a frivolous subject.  Some people just cannot shoot or kill another.  It’s not shameful, nor a matter of weakness. It means that you must use other options for your self-defense.

But those options are for another column, not this one.

If you are truly serious about self-defense and concealed carry, and you are married, have a family, or just a close friend you spend a lot of time with, you must discuss the issue with everyone in your immediate circle. Some of them will react negatively. It is imperative you understand their reasoning, valid or not, and reach an agreement. Failure to do this could destroy your relationship.

For me, when it came to the defense of my family and friends, it was a short decision. It was not frivolous. But I realized that yes, I could shoot if it was necessary. I don’t know how I’d react afterwards. It’s never occurred. I’ve had a concealed carry permit since they were available in Missouri, some eight years I think. I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve drawn my weapon.  There have been a couple of times when I placed my hand on the pistol butt and was prepared, when I’ve been charged by dogs, to draw but the dogs were stopped by their owners before reaching my go/no go line.

If you cannot answer this initial question—could I shoot if necessary, then you should not buy a defensive weapon nor seek a permit. It would be a waste of time and money.  It matters not if you are a hunter, if you get a deer every season. Deer are not people. For some, it is a critical difference.

I have, in another forum, recommended Kathy Walker‘s book, The Cornered Cat. I would strongly suggest that you read her book before going further towards a CCW permit.  It doesn’t matter if you are a man or woman. Kathy has points to ponder for you both.

Tomorrow, Part II: Does it have to be pink?