There’s a lot of misinformation out there these days about people who have chosen to exercise their right to carry a concealed weapon according to the provisions made by state governments.
Here are a few things that CWP holders want people to know about them. Now of course there are exceptions to these general rules but I think you’ll find these things to be true about the vast majority of your legally carrying neighbors.
1. We don’t carry firearms so that we can ignore other basics of personal safety. Every permit holder that I know realizes that almost all dangerous situations can be avoided by vigilance, alertness and by simply making wise choices about where one goes and what one does. We don’t walk down dark alleys. We lock our cars. We don’t get intoxicated in public or hang out around people who do. We park our cars in well lighted spots and don’t hang out in bad parts of town where we have no business. A gun is our last resort, not our first.
2. We don’t think we are cops, spies, or superheros. We aren’t hoping that somebody tries to rob the convenience store while we are there so we can shoot a criminal. We don’t take it upon ourselves to get involved in situations that are better handled by a 911 call or by simply standing by and being a good witness. We don’t believe our guns give us any authority over our fellow citizens. We also aren’t here to be your unpaid volunteer bodyguard. We’ll be glad to tell you where we trained and point you to some good gun shops if you feel you want to take this kind of responsibility for your personal safety. Except for extrordinary circumstances your business is your business, don’t expect us to help you out of situations you could have avoided.
3. We are LESS likely, not more likely, to be involved in fights or “rage” incidents than the general public. We recognize, better than many unarmed citizens, that we are responsible for our actions. We take the responsibility of carrying a firearm very seriously. We know that loss of temper, getting into fights or angrily confronting someone after a traffic incident could easily escalate into a dangerous situation. We are more likely to go out of our way to avoid these situations. We don’t pull our guns to settle arguments or to attempt to threaten people into doing what we want.
4. We are responsible gun owners. We secure our firearms so that children and other unauthorized people cannot access them. Most of us have invested in safes, cases and lock boxes as well as other secuity measures to keep our firearms secure. Many of us belong to various organizations that promote firearms safety and ownership.
5. Guns are not unsafe or unpredictable. Modern firearms are well made precision instruments. Pieces do not simply break off causing them to fire. A hot day will not set them off. Most modern firearms will not discharge even if dropped. There is no reason to be afraid of a gun simply laying on a table or in a holster. It is not going to discharge on its own.
6. We do not believe in the concept of “accidental discharges”. There are no accidental discharges only negligent discharges or intentional discharges. We take responsibility for our actions and have learned how to safely handle firearms. Any case you have ever heard of about a gun “going off” was the result of negligence on somebody’s part. Our recognition of our responsibility and familiarity with firearms makes us among the safest firearms owners in America.
7. Permit holders do their best to keep our concealed weapons exactly that: concealed. However, there are times with an observant fellow citizen may spot our firearm or the print of our firearm under our clothes. We are very cognizant that concerns about terrorism and crime are in the forefront of the minds of most citizens. We also realize that our society does much to condition our fellow citizens to have sometimes irrational fears about firearms. We would encourage citizens who do happen to spot someone carrying a firearm to use good judgment and clear thinking if they feel to need to take action. Please recognize that it’s very uncommon for a criminal to use a holster. However, if you feel the need to report having spotted a firearm we would ask that you please be specific and detailed in your call to the police or in your report to a store manager or private security. Please don’t generalize or sensationalize what you observed. Comments like “there’s a guy running around in the store with a gun” or even simply “I saw a man with a gun in the store” could possibly cause a misunderstanding as to the true nature of the incident.
8. The fact that we carry a firearm to any given place does not mean that we believe that place to be inherently unsafe. If we believe a place to be unsafe, most of us would avoid that place all together if possible. However, we recognize that trouble could occur at any place and at any time. Criminals do not observe “gun free zones”. If trouble does come, we do not want the only armed persons to be perpetrators. Therefore, we don’t usually make a determination about whether or not to carry at any given time based on “how safe” we think a location is.
9. Concealed weapon permit holders are an asset to the public in times of trouble. The fact that most permit holders have the good judgment to stay out of situations better handled by a 911 call or by simply being a careful and vigilant witness does not mean that we would fail to act in situations where the use of deadly force is appropriate to save lives. Review of high profile public shooting incidents shows that when killers are confronted by armed resistance they tend to either break off the attack and flee or choose to end their own life. Lives are saved when resistance engages a violent criminal. Lives are lost when the criminal can do as he pleases.
10. The fact that criminals know that some of the population may be armed at any given time helps to deter violence against all citizens. Permit holders don’t believe that every person should necessarily be armed. We recognize that some people may not be temperamentally suited to carry a firearm or simply may wish not to for personal reasons. However we do encourage you to respect our right to arm ourselves. Even if you choose not to carry a firearm yourself please oppose measures to limit the ability of law abiding citizens to be armed. As mentioned before: criminals do not observe “gun free zones”. Help by not supporting laws that require citizens to be unarmed victims.
11. Those with concealed carry permits are quite likely the most conspicuously law-abiding people you will encounter. In the majority of states with a permitting system, the permitholder has voluntarily submitted himself or herself to a background check involving local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. Very often, fingerprints have also been taken and submitted for examination. You can be assured that we are not criminals carrying under the shield of the law. Multiple levels of government have concurred that we have followed the law. In addition, we have spent a great deal of funds on training, equipment, and the permitting process. We are not eager to jeopardize any of that through misconduct- we are well aware that if we misbehave, we can lose every last penny of that investment, as well as our very freedom.
12. We would NEVER use our weapons unless it was absolutely necessary in order to save an innocent life.
Credit for this goes to “Serenity” over at the 1911 Forum-