Friday, December 5, 2014

Concealed Carry and Social Life

I’ve carried a gun in one capacity or another for over 25 years and I’ve come to learn a few things about how people may react. I’ve only been “made” a few times but their reactions I think typify how this country is split on the issue, but the majority don’t have a problem with it. One lady just about screamed “rape!” or at least what I thought was the equivalent. She acted like those pod people in “Invasion of the Body-snatchers” when they find out you’re human and not a pod. In a word, conniption, comes to mind. She called over a police officer who was near. He was very cool and didn’t panic. He took me aside from most people and asked about a permit. I carefully took out credentials that would ease his mind. He smiled and said, “Sorry, Sir.” Then he tried to calm her without yelling out my credentials. I thought for a moment he was going to restrain her! Anyway, society sometimes has a problem with a hidden weapon. That complicates our social experience.
It begs the question, “Who do you tell about your defensive handgun?” I can’t answer that for you unless you are in law enforcement. Then it’s pretty easy. Most of the time I am pretty vague about how, where, and when I am armed. Frankly, it’s no one’s business unless law enforcement is asking or I am carrying illegally in someone’s business or residence. Then, of course, that depends on the current laws and just plain old courtesy. I don’t really care if it is legal, if a business, residence, or any other place does not want someone armed there, I usually just leave. I may inform them to put up proper signage, but that’s about it.
The whole idea of concealed carry is that it is concealed. If you go around telling everyone you have a gun it will defeat the purpose of having it concealed. While many people may be understanding and supportive, many others may not share your enthusiasm for carrying a firearm for personal defense, and may be uncomfortable, or even offended, by your carrying in their presence. Others may be unable to keep from talking about it and drawing often unwanted attention to the fact that you are carrying. Your spouse or significant other will certainly know, and close friends may know, but I keep the number in the know as small as possible. This is called OPSEC (operations security). Keeping confidential what you do and how you do it. Most people don’t need to know that you are carrying, and if a situation arises where its use is needed in their presence, they will find out soon enough! Personally I focus on the word concealed in the phrase “concealed carry,” and choose to tell very few people that I routinely carry a pistol on or about my person almost every time I walk out my door.
Unless you and they are properly trained in advance of the event, it can needlessly complicate things at best, and lead to possibly tragic results at worst. The short answer to this problem for me is: The one with the gun is in command. I intend to only draw my weapon in a extreme situation, when there is no other choice except to use the gun or see myself or other innocents die or be seriously harmed. My wife and close friends know they are to do what I tell them in such situations, and to get out of the way and under cover and stay there until I tell them otherwise. So for those who do know, who are with you a lot, a little training.
Being armed and a Mormon or a Christen is always a little difficult at times. Some members understand, some do not. It can sometimes be a social snare. My attitude toward this is not very good. If I am carrying a weapon legally then it’s really none of anyone else’s business. I’m not that concerned if that fact hurts me socially. But that is me. Others may have a different feeling about their social life and that is fine. In that case, do your best at damage control but please for the sake of all concealed carriers everywhere, don’t back down. Give your reasons and feelings on carrying a gun and then stick by that. Don’t let social pressure change your mind on defending yourself and those you love. Following society, even within the church, is very fluid. Do no compromise.
If you should decide to carry a gun know that there may be some social repercussions that you will have to deal with. Often you may get flak from your priesthood leaders. Do not go against their counsel on carrying in church, but every other legal carrying situation is frankly not his business. He may have his opinion, and you may want to consider it, but in the end you started carrying for a reason. Follow the Spirit. Hopefully it was the Spirit that made you start to carry. As always, if you are thinking about carrying, get trained, get licensed, and practice. Be competent with your weapon. Also get to know the “politics” of gun control and the facts on how guns affect society so that you can give informed opinion when confronted. Don’t argue because that usually does little. Most people who do not carry do not know much about guns and are not informed. They may believe mainstream media and the garbage that comes from there. If you are informed and can talk intelligently about why you carry and its affects, you will be in a better position to ease minds and inform the uninformed.
When it comes to social life and guns I say close and engage. Metaphorically speaking of course.

Semper Paratus
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