How often do I carry a gun?

Probably the most common question I get as an instructor is ‘how often do you carry?’ For a while I used to cite crime stats or use some analogy to show why carrying as often as possible makes the most sense.

It’s one of the more difficult viewpoints to get across to students; especially those who are new to firearms. I fully realize it is a significant leap to go from learning to shoot, taking you carry class and buying your gun, to carrying daily to the grocery store or to Church.
I believe some people think it’s overzealous to carry all the time. To be honest, I do understand that perception. I remember when I first got my permit to carry. I was nervous about carrying a loaded gun in public. I was nervous about having a loaded gun shoved inside my pants, pointed at an area I was pretty sure I didn’t want getting shot. I remember going through my mind thinking “when do I really need to carry this?”

During the next few years, I would read articles about assaults, robberies, forcible rape, etc. I began to see that while the chances I’ll ever need it are slim, I had the ability to thwart such an attack on myself or those around me if I were ever in the wrong place at the wrong time. I began to realize that I was looking at it from the wrong perception. I remember going from ‘maybe I should carry tonight, since I’ll be in the cities’, to ‘I need to carry this everywhere I go’.

I’m engaged to a great woman, and while she’s trained and has her permit (she’s also an instructor for us), her safety is MY responsibility when I’m out in public with her. I often take my 97 year-old grandmother out for groceries or maybe to dinner, and even to Church from time to time. Her safety is also MY responsibility. In fact, as an armed, trained, law-abiding civilian, I began to fully understand that everyone I care about is MY responsibility.

A few years ago, I was in a gas station in Hastings, MN. It was mid-February, so it was cold outside, and the sun went down around 5pm. I walked in to grab some items and I picked up on a couple of shady characters who made my radar go off. While I was nowhere near drawing my gun, I felt the clerk may be in trouble. I did the prudent thing and called 911. I remember looking at the clock in my truck during that phone call; it was 5:14pm. We were literally 2 blocks from the Sheriff’s department. I told them I believed she was about to get robbed based on what I had observed. The Sheriff’s deputy arrived at 5:21pm. It took 7 minutes to get an officer there to check out the situation. Think about that and let it sink in. Our men and women in law enforcement are great people with great training and they do the best they can, but even in a situation where seconds counted, it took them 7 minutes to get someone onsite. If I were in Church on a Sunday with my grandmother, and someone pulled a gun or there was a violent attack on someone, 7 minutes would be a lifetime to those involved.

I believe the good people of this country need to understand they have a responsibility to protect themselves and their loved ones. Waiting for someone to come save you when shots are being fired, or someone is being attacked, is not a realistic solution.

Carrying a gun is just as important as putting on your seat belt. Obviously we hope we’re not going to need it; but if we do, we’ll be glad we have it on. And we don’t just wear it when we’re driving across the state or country. We know enough to wear it everywhere because we also know that bad things can happen anytime and anywhere.

I fully realize some people may not be convinced by this article. Some people cannot be convinced to carry daily, and I do understand that.

Consider the alternative. You’ve taken a carry class, maybe some shooting classes as well (recommended). You researched and found your carry gun. You found a holster that fits you well and is comfortable. You bought your self-defense ammo. You’ve done everything necessary to prepare you to be an armed citizen.

How would you feel if someone attempted to abduct your daughter or son; knowing that your gun is sitting quietly in the safe at home because you chose that day not to carry. What if it was someone else’s daughter and they were powerless to stop it?

You have a responsibility to protect your loved ones and yourself. And you might just save someone else’s life. If you’re mature enough to get a carry permit and carry a loaded handgun in public, you’re mature enough to understand that we don’t get to choose when bad things happen to us or others.

Please consider all the lives you interact with daily; people who you care about or are responsible for. THEY are the real reason you got your carry permit.