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Old July 14, 2012, 09:13 AM   #1
Amsdorf
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Concealed Carry Considerations

I've really learned a lot from all the comments that have been offered in response to the concealed carry article I wrote. I've tried to incorporate as much of the constructive criticism as I can and here is version two.

Let me know what you think.

Concealed Carry Considerations

With the boom in firearm ownership in recent years, there are a lot of new gun owners, taking advantage of their rights as citizens of the United States of America to “keep and bear arms.” But carrying a concealed firearm is an awesome responsibility. Let’s take a few minutes to consider some things you need to think through very carefully before you decide to carry a concealed weapon. There are legal, ethical, moral and competency implications.

Here are just some of the things you need to be aware of:

Legal Implications

If you carry a gun, you need to be aware of, and prepared to accept the legal consequences, whatever they may be. Are you willing to go through the trouble and expense – both financially and emotionally – of being arrested, charged and tried if you have to use your firearm? If not, leave your firearm at home. Are you ready to deal with whatever might come your way when it comes to encounters with law enforcement officials who may or may not understand and respect your state and local carry laws? Keep in mind that when you carry a firearm you are doing so for defensive purposes. The very concept of defense is to do what is necessary to stop a threat to ones own life or the life of another.

Ethical Implications

When you take on the responsibility of being an armed citizen, you also assume a greater level of ethical responsibility for every aspect of your behavior while packing. You don’t pick fights. You don’t respond to aggressive comments or gestures by going for your gun. You never go looking for trouble. You don’t – ever – drink while armed. And you never brandish it or joke around about carrying concealed. Concealed means concealed…in every possible sense. If you can’t conceal it, do not carry it. You aren’t trying to impress anyone by carrying. Your ethical posture has to be above reproach when carrying. And, don’t get dragged into a conversation about “shooting to kill.” You do not shoot to kill, you shoot to stop the thread and to defend yourself or others in a true emergency.

Moral Implications

Are you mentally prepared to defend yourself? If not, the gun should stay in your safe. If you think you are just going to pull the gun out and wave it around to scare somebody off, don’t carry. If the gun comes out of its holster, you must already have decided to stop a threat. You are using your gun defensively, that is, you are shooting to stop the threat of immanent bodily harm to you, to your loved ones, or an innocent party who is being attacked in danger of being killed. Are you prepared to do whatever it takes to stop a threat and to defend yourself? Have you thought long and hard about what that means? Are you willing to see what a bullet will do to a human body? People don’t always just fall over dead like in the movies. You have to prepare yourself for the emotional trauma of gravely wounding or killing another human being, but remember, your goal is never to kill anyone, it is to stop a threat. Drawing your weapon is the last resort in a truly life, or death, situation, where you must act to defend yourself, or others.

Competency Implications

If you are going to carry a concealed weapon, you need to be rigorous about safe, competent gun handling. Your gun is always loaded – or it better be. That means you must never ever, under any circumstance, draw it while carrying unless you’re truly in a life or death situation.

You do not pull it out to show to your buddies. You never point the weapon at anyone, which is referred to as "covering" somebody. Your finger should not be on the trigger, but "indexed" or simply lying against the firearm, ready to move to the trigger, but not on the trigger or in the trigger guard. You simply do not “play around” with your concealed firearm. It goes in the holster and never comes out, unless absolutely necessary.

And you need to be fully trained in the use of your firearm. Find a competent instructor and take a class. Better yet, take several classes. Just as if you want to get to Carnegie hall, you need to practice, practice and practice some more. You owe it to yourself to get in as much range time with your carry gun as you possibly can. If you aren’t willing to master all aspects of handling your concealed carry firearm, don’t strap it on.

These are just some of the things you will need to consider before you take on the responsibility of concealed carry. Yes, it’s your right, but you need to exercise that right legally, ethically, morally and competently or you’ll hurt the cause of those that do.

And finally, here is a good “creed” for a person carrying concealed to live by:

If I draw my gun from it's holster, I have decided that lethal force is imminently necessary to prevent or end the use of force, which I reasonably believe will cause grave bodily harm or death against me. The ultimate fate of my adversary is not my goal, is not even my consideration. I must cause them to cease the actions that I believe are deadly to me. Nothing more. I do not shoot to kill. I shoot to make them stop.

Take care, and stay safe!

Last edited by Amsdorf; July 14, 2012 at 10:57 AM.
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Old July 14, 2012, 09:42 AM   #2
rgrundy
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One thing you mention is using the gun to defend an innocent party under attack. This can be a very sticky wicket that can require just backing off and calling 911. How do you know that the guy who just shot someone isn't an undercover cop shooting a crack dealer that was drawing a weapon? I'd advise against becoming a vigilante unless you have lots of money for lawyers.
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Old July 14, 2012, 09:46 AM   #3
Amsdorf
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You do make a good point. I think the emphasis on "truly an emergency life/death" situation though is the context.

Here in Missouri we do have the right to defend an innocent person under attack.

On another forum a man reported his recent experience.

He was in a parking lot and saw a man attempting to rob a woman, he yelled out at him, "Hey, stop!" and the man turned on him with a knife that had dried blood on it. He pulled his firearm and ordered the man to put the knife down, the man did, and fled.

The police found the man a few blocks away and arrested him.

Come to find out the guy had committed a number of rape/murders and his MO was to force women with their young children with them, and drive them out somewhere rape and kill them.

That's the kind of situation I think we would understand to be defending an innocent life, etc.

But your point is well taken, indeed.
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Old July 14, 2012, 09:52 AM   #4
Brian Pfleuger
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I realize you did the same thing in your other version but I think it's an nteresting choice, to separate ethics and morals. Normally, they are virtually synonymous to many, but I realize you are separating societal behavior norms (ethics) and personal values (morals). Interesting angle.

I strongly prefer this version over the last. The only thing I'd point out, and it could well be just my interpretation, is that the sentences at the end of the legal, ethical and moral sections, which speak to stopping the threat rather than killing, seem "forced". I don't know if they're out of context or "switch gears" too quickly from previous subject matter or if it's just me but they sort of feel out of place.
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Old July 14, 2012, 10:31 AM   #5
Amsdorf
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Brian, yes, it is a distinction one does not hear much about these days.
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Old July 14, 2012, 10:50 AM   #6
Aguila Blanca
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I think that none of the "considerations" you raise are mentioned in the 2nd Amendment. As a strict constructionist (or, as has become popular of late, an "originalist"), I have to point out that the entire text of the 2nd Amendment says:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

There are no training prerequisites here. As a strict constructionist, I argue that the states which require training before allowing carry are, in fact, in violation of the Constitution.

There are also no legal or moral/ethical considerations here. Should we be aware of such before we decide to carry around a device that is capable of killing another human being? Yes, of course we should. But the 2nd Amendment does not tell us that we "must."

If you subscribe to the stuff you quoted, it leaves me asking "Which side are you on?" After all, the anti-gunners tell us all the time that only the police are well-enough trained to be allowed to carry guns. Look how well that's been working out.
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Old July 14, 2012, 10:57 AM   #7
rgrundy
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What I learned is that "self defense" is legal. "Going to war" needs to be sanctioned by the government. I'm all for helping others but somehwere you may cross a line and knowing where it is in your area is essential as you mentioned.

I agree you did a good job in this essay. Sometimes when writing on a hot subject it's much easier for the reader to become focused on the message if the word "I" is used instead of "you". It helps them study and maybe accept your ideas instead of being an attack on their behavior. But then again it won't stir the pot and keep the thread going as long.
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Old July 14, 2012, 12:40 PM   #8
hermannr
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I think the point Amsdorf is making is more along these lines:

http://www.kxly.com/news/Bystander-H...w/-/index.html

It is interesting when I went looking for this incident, the first 5 news reports just said the person that stopped the robbery just yelled at the robber and he fled...no mention that the yell was "drop that knife or I'll shoot!" or even the fact that the good Samaritan was armed.
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Old July 14, 2012, 12:43 PM   #9
Amsdorf
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If I can remember where I read it, I'll link to it, the story in his own words, exactly as it happened, which he was able to post after all the legal issues were over with.
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