I frequently hear co-workers tell me they do not carry a gun away from work for various reasons. These reasons range from simply being lazy or the gun being “uncomfortable” to stating that they wouldn’t want to involve their family in something so they leave the gun at home. Despite Emeryville (CA) Police Chief’s claim that guns aren’t a defensive weapon, the National Crime Victimization Survey and National Survey of Private Ownership of Firearms indicate that Americans use firearms to defend themselves between 108,000 to 1.5 million times a year. Additionally, according to the NCVS, resisting violent crime with a firearm is the most effective form of self defense resulting in the least amount of injury to the victim, including resisting with pepper spray, mace, hands/feet, or even being completely compliant.
Having a pistol on me doesn’t force me or my family to get involved should an incident happen. However, it gives me options. If at all possible, I won’t intervene and simply be a good witness. BUT, as LAPD Metro D-Platoon veteran and well renowned firearms instructor Scotty Reitz has put it, if some cretin intends to use violence on me, I want to have some input into the decision on whether or not I live or die. Having a firearm on me gives me a bit of choice in the matter. Living in Southern California, the sad reality is that the likelihood of a “good guy with a gun” being there when a criminal or psychopath decides to use violence on me or innocent citizens is low. Since I am legally able to carry a gun, I consider it my responsibility to my friends and family to carry a gun, despite the fact it is not very comfortable and that I have to dress around it.
Incidents where armed intervention by off-duty officers or citizens saved lives are not hard to find. In December 2011, a crazed gunman began shooting motorists in a busy area in Hollywood. An off duty officer and a plain clothes detective were able to intervene and stop the shooter before he could hurt anyone else. In February 2012, a gunman drove his car into a church parking lot in Aurora, CO and began shooting church-goers killing two of them. An off duty police officer shot and killed the active shooter, saving countless lives. The active shooter at the Clackamas Town Center in Oregon was deterred by an armed citizen, likely causing him to turn the gun on himself. There are many, many more stories like this that go unreported.
MagPul Dynamics Instructor and military special operations veteran Jon Canipe wrote an excellent article over at Soldier Systems on why everyone should carry a gun if they have that option. It’s all about risk management. As many before me have stated, better have and not need, than the other way around.
The question has come up, should you carry a gun if it is not legal in your area? Again, this is about risk management. In my estimation, unless you are out looking for trouble, for most people it is generally more likely you will encounter law enforcement than find yourself in a situation where you need to use deadly force. Therefore it doesn’t make sense (and isn’t good practice, in general) to violate the law.
I agree with Jon Canipe that we must do our best to take action and change the laws that prohibit law abiding citizens from having the most effective tools for self defense.
In the meantime, check out Jon’s article at the following link. It is a worthwhile read.