(First Published 2016)
You don’t know me, or maybe you do, and you just don’t know it.
I am your neighbor, doctor, clergyman, nurse or just another nameless, faceless stranger in the crowd. I have a state-authorized, court-issued permit to carry a concealed handgun.
I do so whenever possible.
Though you don’t know me, there are a few things you should know about me.
In my case, I was fingerprinted by the local police for an FBI criminal background check. Before that, I had to pass state and local background checks.
Contrary to what the media tells you, background checks ARE required by Federal, and in most cases state law before a licensed dealer can legally transfer a firearm to a buyer.
I also had to present evidence to the court that I had an approved level of training in firearms, gun laws, and safety before my application was accepted. (Though even I will admit that the definition of ‘training’ was pretty dodgy)
I am not a felon, junkie, drug dealer, stalker or shoplifter since any number of indiscretions including alcohol or drug abuse, simple assault or a restraining order would disqualify me from holding a permit, and in most cases, even owning a firearm.
My concealed carry classroom training covered when it is appropriate and legal to even indicate that I have a gun, much less brandish it or use deadly force.
Doing so in any circumstance, under which I am not in immediate fear for my life or the life of another would mean more than the loss of my permit. Most likely, I would also be charged with brandishing a weapon, disorderly conduct and/or assault.
If it was determined that my use of deadly force was not to protect life in immediate danger, I would probably be charged with second-degree murder or first-degree manslaughter. On top of these, I could also face civil liability.
Like most people who legally carry concealed handguns, I practice regularly at ranges. I also run through confidence courses and live-fire exercises. I am well aware of the laws and regulations affecting me. My fellow permit holders and I are generally better trained and practiced than many law enforcement officers.
If someone is legally carrying a sidearm you may be certain that they are not a non-resident or illegal alien or convicted felon or any other person to fear.
I am aware of the responsibility I bear, and I will walk or run away rather than risk confrontation. I will retreat as fast and as far as possible. I always avoid conflict. I know that should a situation escalate, I could be identified as the instigator and face losing my right to carry, or worse. Carriers of legally concealed firearms are among the last people on the planet to be feared.
Should the need arise, however, I will act swiftly, intelligently and decisively to protect my life and the lives of those around me.
Are you still afraid of me?
In Virginia, if a person is legally allowed to own a firearm, they are allowed to carry it openly, with no permit or registration almost everywhere in the state.
Virginia has issued over 200,000 permits for concealed carry of a legal firearm. and none of the media-frenzied predictions of “shootouts over fender benders,” “blood in the streets” and “bar-room showdowns” by honest people with guns have proven true.
Concealed carry states have not become “Dodge City.”
Virginia permit holders may carry defensive firearms in the state capitol and general assembly buildings and state parks. (Though for some stupid reason, not at the DMV or ABC stores. (Go figure.)
This shows how much most (Okay, a few) Virginia legislators respect our Constitution and demonstrates the responsible attitude of our citizens.
Law-abiding citizens in Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Vermont, and Wyoming do not need a permit to carry a concealed firearm. (Constitutional Carry) These states have not seen the predicted massacres or blood in the streets. [crickets]
We will gladly and proudly compare our (Virginia) violent crime rates with any jurisdiction in which the rights of the people are denied or restricted.
Residents of Texas, Utah, and an increasing number of states, with a permit, are allowed to carry in schools and colleges and yet there have been no mass school shootings there, perhaps because of that freedom.
You should feel a degree of comfort knowing that there may be someone nearby with means, motive, and training to possibly save your life or that of those around you.
Criminals, on the other hand, should feel fear. They never know if their next intended victim may be armed, trained, and ready to effectively defend themselves.
If you feel safer patronizing establishments with a “NO GUNS ALLOWED policy, please keep in mind that the criminals don’t obey the signs or the laws. That is why we call them criminals.
Criminals know that the law-abiding customers of that establishment are easy prey, and will have little to no fear of the consequences of their actions. The hallways and parking lots of these establishments might just as well post this sign …
There is no need to fear me, I am just another loyal, law-abiding American, going about my business.
You should, however, be very afraid of those who endeavor to turn the law-abiding persons in our great country into defenseless victims.
PS: Please be advised that the majority of legal gun owners also think the morons walking through department stores with carbines at low-ready just to make a point are idiots too.
That’s my opinion, and you’re welcome to it!
But what do I know? I’m just a conflict weary old ex-spook.
(Note: Some wording is specific to Virginia)