I Carry a GunYes I carry a gun and have for a long time now. Whenever I'm out in public I carry a gun. It hasn't always been that way. When I first got my concealed weapons license in 1996 I started off with some strange ideas about carrying a gun in public. Most of the ideas that I had were just from plain inexperience. I was new to concealed carry and had no clue what I was doing. Given some time and study though I would eventually out grow those childish ideas, but it would take a little while for me to recognize just how ignorant I was and to make efforts to change it.
I am lucky in that I was able to learn both through my own trial and error as well as from the experiences of others. Fortunately, more often than not, I recognized good advise when I got it and put it to good use. I was smart enough to realize that I didn't really know a thing about this subject and strived to learn all that I could. I read every magazine article I could find, every book available. Unfortunately not everyone grows up and learns from their mistakes so easily, nor do they want to. They want to do it on their own and/or they don't want other gun owners to think of them as an inexperienced "newbie". They would rather leave their questions unanswered and continue in their ignorance than admit that they need help.
Most of my mistakes were more trivial in nature and are experienced by many when they first begin carrying a gun. Things like types of holsters, belts, and carry positions etc. can really only be learned thru your own personal experience. While advice might be of some help these types of personal details are mostly a matter of trial and error on the part of the new gun person and it is up to them to find out what works best for them. For instance, my first few years I carried using a flimsy regular dress belt. I wasn't going to "waste" good money on a gun belt when I could have more to spend on guns and ammo. I made carrying a gun a lot more difficult and uncomfortable than it should have been just because of my hardheadedness. I could've saved myself a lot of trouble if I just took the advise of others more knowledgeable.
Other mistakes though can be more serious in nature. My first big mistake was in my gun's caliber. I had no concern for it and simply chose my first carry gun using one simple standard, how easy it was to carry. Many gun owners use this same standard, I mean a gun is a gun? Right? My first carry gun was a Colt .25 Automatic "Vest Pocket" model of 1908. Sure was easy to tote around, there can be no denying of that. The fact that this particular caliber is marginal at best and might or might not have stopped someone attacking me wasn't even considered. I had so little concern over it that when I finally did decide to buy another carry gun it wasn't over worry of the anemic caliber that I was carrying but simply because my little gun's age made me weary of it. My second carry gun, a Beretta, was also a .25 Auto. But it wasn't too long after buying the Beretta that I began hearing horror stories about this particular caliber and was beginning to rethink my position. Then when someone I knew was actually shot in the head with a .25 and hardly affected it was a real eye-opener for me that got me thinking that caliber selection might just be important in a carry gun. Not too long after I bought my first carry gun in a "serious" caliber, a .38 Special.
Probably the biggest mistake I made though was when I carried. At first I only carried my gun sporadically, my gun only came with me if I was going to a "bad" area of town, or maybe going out at night. Most the time I didn't carry a gun at all. It was just too much hassle. Unfortunately many gun owners feel the same and some never outgrow it. I might not have myself except that I had the good fortune of hearing a very moving speech by a woman named Suzanna Hupp.
For anyone out there that might not know, Suzanna Hupp was there that day at the Luby's Cafeteria murders that took place on October 16th 1991 in Killeen Texas. It was up until the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech the single deadliest mass shooting in American history. As I said she was there and she wasn't alone. She was there that day having lunch with her parents. At that time in the state of Texas concealed carry was illegal. Suzanna Hupp, being a good citizen followed her state law. Even though she had a gun with her she left it in her car. It was a mistake that she would regret for the rest of her life. 20 people where injured that day, 23 more were killed. Hupp's parents were among the dead. More so, she was able to do nothing but run as a deranged gunman executed the parents that she loved and many other innocent people.
In the spring of 2000 I watched Dr. Hupp as she gave a very moving speech about what had happened to her on television. I watched as she emotionally told how she truly regretted not taking her gun with her that day. How she would prefer to be in prison if it could mean that her parents and other victims might have been saved. How she would have to live for the rest of her life with the knowledge of what she could have done to stop this tragedy from happening.
It was at this point that I "saw the light". I could now see how truly stupid, immature and outright dangerous my attitudes about carrying a gun were. That we had no control over when or where we might need a gun and to pretend otherwise was simply deluding ourselves. No one can predict the future and yet that is what I was doing every time I left the house without my gun. I was predicting (hoping) that I would have no need for it.
Since May 20th 2000 I have not gone out in public without a gun. There are of course certain places that by law I am not allowed to carry. But aside from those, if I am in a public place I have gun on me. Whether it is long trip or short, "good" place or "bad", day or night, I have a gun on me. I understand now that to do otherwise is just not an option for any rational, thinking gun owner.