December 9, 2015

Carrying a gun: You’re doing it wrong

Last week, the president of a university back east made some pretty, shall we say, stunning comments regarding carrying a concealed weapon. First, he announced the university would be offering a concealed carry qualification course (which is only good and right) and then – among other things – made what I presume to be a joke about “what was in his back pocket” and “can I pull that out in here? is that legal?”

I showed the article to SoldierMan and we were both outraged. And he said, “You need to blog about this.” So I am.

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Because of other high-profile stupid quotes in the news this week, this one probably slipped past your radar. I only saw it because a friend ‘Liked’ an article someone wrote about it. But I still feel the need to address it, because, well, someone needs to.

I’ve written on here in the past about carrying a gun. I have my concealed carry permit, and of course, we own guns. Unfortunately, we live in Hawaii, which means I don’t even need to tell you that I no longer carry my gun, just like every other (law-abiding) person at the movie theaters and sporting events and schools and Christmas parties and every other situation where a large number of casualties could be inflicted in a short amount of time, without meeting any opposition.

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about

That university president – carrying a gun and joking about pulling it out, not knowing whether or not he was allowed to have it in that building – is not the typical concealed carry permit holder (CCWer). However, he does represent a certain type of gun carrier. They’re the ones who go through the course and get their permit because it’s a trend and their friends are doing it, because there was a major incident somewhere and suddenly they’re aware of their default Sitting Duck status, because they think it’s cool. They pay the hundreds of dollars in course fees, permit fees, and purchase price, and carry their gun for a few weeks. A few months, tops. They joke about it, brag about it, sometimes are annoying about it. Sometimes a few of them show up in public with an AR15 because they think they’re making some kind of point when they’re really just looking like idiots.

After a while, they realize how burdensome it is, how much it weighs, how hard it is to keep hidden (especially for women), how many places they can’t actually carry it legally – like a movie theater – and it becomes too much trouble, so the gun stays home.

However, the typical CCWer isn’t like that. They don’t want people to know they are carrying a weapon – it makes you a target. They won’t joke about pulling it out at random – that’s called “brandishing,” unless you live in an Open Carry state, and then it’s just a bad idea and makes you a target. They will respect the “no guns” sticker on the movie theater door – while also writing a letter to the corporation reminding them that mass murderers won’t respect the sticker, only law-abiding citizens will.

They also feel the burden of carrying a loaded weapon: they choose their clothing, their weapon, their holster, with intention. They are situationally aware of the people and property around them. When they enter a new environment, they run various situations through their minds the way a basketball player visualizes a free throw shot – to try and prepare their instinctive reactions as best they can to avoid a freeze.

I absolutely think anyone who can and wants to should be able to carry a gun. But there’s a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it. While I don’t like requiring an American citizen pay for a course and a permitting process for an explicit Constitutional Right, I absolutely believe everyone who is even thinking about the possibility of one day carrying a gun should take a concealed carry course. I know people laugh at them and say things like, “I’ve seen the people who graduate those courses! They can’t hit the broad side of a barn!”

That’s not the point of the concealed carry course. It’s not to train expert marksmen. (For that matter, the majority of citizen-involved shooting incidents are close-quarter, you aren’t likely to need to shoot a bullseye at 20 yards if it’s truly a life-or-death, or even rape-or-not-rape, situation.) The purpose of the course is to make sure that at least once everyone who carries a gun is forced to read and hear and be quizzed over the laws pertaining to carrying a gun. So that some doofus won’t stand up at the front of a crowded building and joke about brandishing a firearm.

As SoldierMan said, “I’m glad his university is offering a concealed carry course. He needs to take it.”

Carry a gun.
Do it right.

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