When Should I Carry My Gun?

This article speaks about carrying your firearm, if you’re looking for a course to obtain your permit to carry, click here: Minnesota Permit to Carry.

It seems like a simple enough question but it’s one that we routinely hear discussed among our students and others in the “carry community”. In my opinion the answer is simple. You should carry your firearm, for personal protection, everywhere that you’re legally able to, without exception.

That being said, sometimes it’s difficult to do, or it’s simply easier to leave your carry gun at home. Let’s face it; carrying a gun can be a real pain! They are big, heavy, and uncomfortable. Additionally, carrying a gun requires additional planning. You have to select a holster and gear that accommodates your carry and concealment needs. You may need to wear specific clothing to adequately cover your gun. Finally, you may have to plan ahead in case you’re going somewhere that you legally can’t carry a firearm.

It’s easy to become complacent and just leave it at home. But as the old saying goes, ‘complacency kills,’ and even the best of us can become complacent.

Let me share a recent story. The day before the tragic shootings at the Aurora, Colorado movie theater, I spent the afternoon with my son. Doing what?  We were watching a matinee movie at a local theater.  As I sat there with my Glock 17 neatly concealed in a Comp-Tac Minotaur holster, I had a passing thought. I asked myself: Do I really need to carry a gun as often as I do? After all, I was only at the movie theater. What’s the likelihood of needing to defend against a deadly threat there, right?

The next morning the nation awoke to discover that several people were killed and dozens more wounded in a shooting spree at a movie theater. Needless to say, that solidified my belief that we should be prepared to not only exercise our right to defend ourselves but also our duty to protect the ones that we love.

 Since the tragic shooting numerous discussions have taken place.  A common thread that runs through many discussions centers on the question as to whether a legally armed citizen could have changed the outcome in Aurora. That’s a discussion for another time, in a different setting. What’s important to take away from this example is the reminder that violent crimes can, and do, take place anywhere.

Too often, you’ll hear people say that they only carry when they think they need it. People often have the mentality that their neighborhood is safe, and crime happens in the ‘bad areas’. In this ever-changing world, the reality is that there are no ‘safe’ areas. More frequently we’re seeing serious acts of violence happening in supposedly ‘safe’ areas.

Four people were killed at an IHOP in Nevada. Nine were killed and four were wounded at a mall in Nebraska. Two people were killed and several wounded at a bar in Alabama. Seven killed and 29 wounded at a college in California. Five dead and two wounded at a café in Washington. Unfortunately, the list goes on.  However, the point remains.  Most likely the victims felt that these were ‘safe’ locations.  After all, if they felt that their lives were in danger it is unlikely that they would have gone to that venue.  I’m reminded of a co-worker who, in his youth, was shot during two separate incidences at a mall.  In both instances he was an innocent bystander who was caught in the crossfire.

You never know when and where a random act of violence may occur. The police may be there to protect you. However, speaking from personal experience as a police officer, more often than not they are not in the right place at the right time. There are a lot more bad guys in the world than cops.  As a result, the police spend more time taking reports of crimes instead of catching the criminals red-handed.

I encourage all of you who have accepted the responsibility to carry a firearm for protection to carry whenever you’re legally able to. Familiarize yourself with your personal protection firearm and the gear you carry. If a deadly force threat presents itself, you have only seconds to decide how to defend yourself and put a plan into action. Practice regularly. Take as many training classes as you can.

Remember: your attitude, awareness, actions, planning, and preparation might be difference between surviving a lethal encounter and not.

Train to survive!

When Should I Carry My Gun?