How Often Do You Carry?
Written By: Nick Dalhberg
When you look at how many permits/licenses to carry a gun are issued in the U.S. The number seems pretty high. Some who are new to the subject are astounded to find out how many permits are actually out there. And, the number continues to grow; over the last year or so with the push for gun control in many states and at a Federal level, we have seen an enormous amount of people attend courses and apply for their permits. I think its great to see so many taking the time to at least get educated about firearms, carrying, and second amendment rights in general. I’ve had many in classes that had already made up their mind that they wouldn’t be carrying a gun at least any time soon but they simply wanted to learn more about it. In some cases those people may never even own a gun, but they take the opportunity to come and learn about it and end up walking away with an understanding of why some may choose to exercise this right, even if they have decided its not for them. The bottom line is – a lot of people are taking the classes and even getting their permits, but what I’d like to know beyond that is; how many are actually carrying on a consistent basis? How many actually make it a part of their lifestyle to carry the gun with them day in, day out, as much as legally possible? Would those high numbers reflecting how many are permitted to carry start to shrink when looking at those who actually do carry on a regular basis?
I think so…
It’s not to say there’s anything wrong with getting the permit just to add to the numbers and exercise your right, but if we look at those that claim to get their permit with the intention of carrying, how many actually follow through and end up carrying on a regular basis…I think you’d agree that the number of those consistently carrying is much smaller than the number of permits out there.
So why might there be a disconnect? Why might it be that a majority of those that decide to get a permit, with the intention of carrying, usually don’t end up doing so? I think that there are a few main factors and they could all be categorized as “lifestyle changes”. It is a big change to one’s lifestyle, on many levels, to carry a gun. There are things that should, and things that we are forced to, change within our day to day life. Things that we may not normally put as much thought into such as what we where, may become more complicated when carrying a gun. Whether your clothing provides adequate concealment(if that’s a concern for you) while still being acceptable within the context of weather, personal style, or work may require some planning. The actual act of simply putting the gun on everyday is something that may prevent people from doing so on a consistent basis. Does it take time for you to thread your belt through the holster and does that time and effort lead to you justifying leaving the gun behind for quick errands away from the house? Small things like this can add up for people and create enough inconvenience that carrying starts to become inconsistent for them. So inconvenience, I believe, becomes one of the biggest issues for many when it comes to carrying a gun.
Inconvenience might be considered a small issue compared to other factors that can drastically change one’s lifestyle such as a commitment to consistent practice – making sure that the skill of using this weapon you carry on a daily basis is something you have confidence in. This takes time and money… Usually people commit time and money to things they value in life. If you value being able to protect yourself or your family, or you value having the confidence of knowing you can be an asset to society rather than a risk then you’ll understand why training with that weapon needs to become a regular part of your life. Consider also your mental state of awareness throughout your day. In class we talk about situational awareness and how it can keep you safer whether you carry a gun or not, and while it should be addressed in an article of its own, for those that do carry, that heightened awareness is a non-negotiable. Among many things, it ensures that we are able to identify and exploit any reasonable opportunity to AVOID using our gun, something we are held accountable too. And for many, this level of awareness might be much more mentally acute than what they are normally used too. Most would agree that our culture in general, is very “tuned out”; how many people die each year from distracted driving? How long do you think you could through your day before noticing yourself or someone else with their face buried in their phone?
Whether it’s getting used to the new level of mental exhaustion we may experience at the end of our day, or the small inconveniences or adjustments associated with having the gun on our person all day, carrying a gun on a consistent basis(day in, day out, all the time)can be a big change that takes some time, and more importantly, knowledge, to settle into. Prioritize training that will inform you on how to manage these adjustments; how and what to practice, knowledge on carry systems, concealment, and many other things will allow you to minimize the trial and error phase that so many go through when beginning to carry a gun. Then, give yourself time to acclimate… It doesn’t come over night, over time you will become more and more comfortable with carrying the gun and it will begin to feel more like a part of your person instead of an annoying metal tumor on your side.