GTM Original Blog — Women Concealed Carry
By Robert Farago via The Truth About Guns
I oppose mandatory firearms training. It violates our Second Amendment protection against government infringement on the right to keep and bear arms. That said, I’ve been impressed with the instruction rammed down my metaphorical throat. Tedious yes, but comprehensive; instructors cover everything from how a gun works to the legal use of deadly force to anger management and firearms retention (added in Texas for licensed open carry). Plus live fire! But the classes don’t cover everything. Here are three things they don’t teach you in a concealed carry class . . .
Carrying a Gun Makes You Paranoid – At Least at First
The first time you strap on a concealed firearm, it feels like you’re carrying a Howitzer. Like you’re wearing a T-shirt that says “I’VE GOT A GUN!” Even in states with a gun-friendly culture (e.g., Arizona), first-time concealed carriers worry that a stranger is going to see their gun and confront them.
Pistol-packing paranoia makes perfect sense. Public speaking is Americans’ greatest fear; we’re hard-wired to be afraid of public embarrassment. (Loss of social status is a thing.) Being “outed” while carrying a gun – especially by someone who’s rabidly anti-gun and/or terrified of guns – is public speaking on steroids. “Oh my God. He’s got a gun! What do you need that for?”
Even if you live in a gun friendly culture, this fear isn’t completely unrealistic. No matter how much you mentally rehearse a reply to gun shamers or prepare for a police response (the police!), the prospect of “armed confrontation” still creates low-level paranoia (and constant checking of cover garments). It’s not comfortable.
Exposure therapy is the only “cure” for this paranoia. More precisely, lack of exposure therapy. The more you carry a concealed firearm without being “outed,” the less paranoia or anxiety you feel. It’s simply something you have to go through; a condition that lasts between a week and a month. The trick: go through it. If you find excuses not to carry daily, the paranoia will never disappear entirely. Or you might eventually abandon the whole idea of concealed carry.
Carrying a gun changes your personality – for the better
Gun control advocates have this strange idea: they believe that carrying a gun makes a person into amucho macho trigger-happy Clint Eastwood wanna-be.
Like so many of the antis’ “arguments,” they’ve got it exactly backwards. Carrying a gun make you lessconfrontational. D’uh. Why would you want to engage in any confrontation when any confrontation could lead to escalation which could lead to a gunfight which is something you don’t want to have? Which you could have, now, because you have a gun.
This confrontation avoidance thought process becomes second nature. You become far lesslikely – if not completely unlikely – to engage in road rage or any sort of argy-bargy with a stranger. Sure there are concealed carriers with anger issues – which don’t disappear when they receive the state’s blessing to bear arms. But that’s not you, a person who took the time to read an article entitled Three Things They Don’t Teach You In Your Concealed Carry Class.
Another psychological aspect instructors don’t mention: concealed carry makes you more independent. By assuming direct responsibility for your own safety, the safety of your loved ones, and the safety of other innocent life (optional), you lose your inherent perhaps subconscious dependency on the state’s protection. You realize that you are a sovereign citizen.
I don’t mean that in the terrorist sense of the term (obviously). It’s an understanding that you’re in control of your own destiny in the worst case scenario: when controlling your destiny is a matter of life and death. Which makes you feel more in control of your own destiny at other, less dramatic times.
Don’t get me wrong: firearms instructors talk (and talk and talk) about the enormous responsibility of carrying a deadly weapon. Fair enough. What they don’t tell you is how good, how right that feels. How it makes you a better person.
Carrying a gun is addictive
The only way to tell if you’re addicted to something: remove it and see if you suffer withdrawal. At the risk of giving the antis [additional] ammo to deride Americans exercising their gun rights, I’m going to say it. Concealed carry is addictive.
Anyone who carries a gun on an everyday basis can tell you about those times when they suddenly realize they’re not carrying one. Like when they disarm to go into Whole Foods, forget to rearm and enter a non-gun-free zone. Crap! I don’t have my gun! They’re plagued by the niggling (at best) thought “what if this is the one time I need it?” Which, by the way, can happen.
The paranoia/anxiety of having a gun eventually becomes the paranoia/anxiety of nothaving a gun. Traveling to states that don’t recognize your concealed carry license/permit can be an ordeal for a habituated concealed carrier. There are gun owners who won’t go anywhere where their gun isn’t welcome: local businesses, entire states and foreign countries.
Normally, NGP (No-Gun Paranoia) manifests itself in increased situational awareness: scanning for bad people, checking exits, carrying or contemplating alternative weapons, etc. Gun control advocates believe this behavior indicates some kind of moral weakness or personality disorder. It is, in fact, a normal, natural survival instinct, amplified by carrying a concealed weapon on a regular basis.
I’m sure those of you who carry have other examples of what you didn’t learn in concealed carry class. Please share them below.
The results of a study performed by the Crime Prevention Research Center this month supports reports that concealed-carry permit applications are soaring nationally, but particularly among women and minorities.
According to this story from dailysignal.com, the report says, “In eight states where we have data by gender, since 2012 the number of permits has increased by 161 percent for women and by 85 percent for men.”
Additionally, the report says, “from 2007 through 2015, concealed-carry permits issued by state and local governments increased by 75 percent faster among nonwhites than whites, according to the report.”
Some wonder if gun rights will shift more women from Democrat to Republican in the future.
“It’s more challenging for me to pick a politician that wants to take away guns or prohibit them in any way,” said JaQuan Taylor, a senior at Georgia Tech, in the story. She's also the president of the college group that advocates allowing campus carry. “I vote for the person more than the party, but I usually vote Democrat because they are pro-education. Since I’ve gotten a gun, I’ve begun to look at Republicans.”
Taylor sees it as a freedom issue, not a left-right matter.
“It seems like with the push for gay marriage, there is a push for freedom in all directions. That’s a good thing,” he said in the story.
Lynne Roberts, the Massachusetts state coordinator for the pro-gun Second Amendment Sisters, said in the story,“Women are voting typically on the Democratic side because over the last two or three generations self-defense and firearms were demonized. Women were told they can’t take care of themselves. That’s changing.”
In this story from nationalinterest.org, billionaire anti-gun activist and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety said all increases in recent gun ownership and concealed carry permits are driven by fear.
“The rate of American gun ownership has been in serious decline over the last 40 years, so it’s not surprising that gun manufacturers are desperately seeking to tap into new markets and that they’re using the politics of fear to drive new sales,” said Everytown spokesperson Andrei Berman.