What It’s Like to
Carry a Concealed Gun


In Short: Accountable.

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Read Time: 3 minutes

I was a reserve sheriff’s deputy in rural northern California. At least at the time, a reserve at the level I was didn’t automatically have the right to carry a gun off-duty, but the sheriff was a practical sort: the more responsible citizens that could help, he figured, the better, so he wanted any who went through the academy to get concealed carry permits.

Filling out the application I left one slot blank: the “good reason” to want the permit. I asked the sheriff, Was “reserve deputy” a good reason? He said I should put in that slot, “To comply with the law.” Had to have a permit to legally carry? Then that’s the reason! Seemed logical to me.

Still, I rarely carried my pistol when not on duty. I vividly remember the first time I did. A friend showed up one evening to ask for help: his girlfriend was missing, and he thought he might know where she was. Could I come with him to help her?

Photo: gmsjs90 on Pixabay

Sounded fishy to me, so I strapped on my pistol, put a jacket over it, and went with him.

What went through my head was, carrying off-duty wasn’t much different from carrying on-duty: if I merely drew it out in someone’s presence I’ll be accountable for my actions. Americans are big on “My Rights!!!” …but forget about the other side of the rights coin: responsibility. I vowed to never forget that.

Turns out the girlfriend had gone bar-hopping with friends: false alarm.

Things Change

Once I moved to rural western Colorado, the subject came up again. I live on 40 acres (16+ ha) 20 minutes from “town” — where “town” is fewer than 1,000 people. Need cops in a true emergency? If they’re not already busy, the average response time is going to be at least 20 minutes.

I still didn’t carry a gun, though, until something happened.

When people say “predators” they usually mean criminals. I don’t: I think of the real predators — wild animals that hunt to survive. We have bears, mountain lions, bobcats, and more on our land. But the one that surprised was when I was in my own driveway and spotted a huge badger coming toward me.

An American Badger (Photo: YayImages)

“The American badger has most of the general characteristics common to badgers… stocky and low-slung bodies with short, powerful legs,” Wikipedia says, “identifiable by their huge foreclaws.” It’s “an aggressive animal with few natural enemies.” They’re normally nocturnal; it was mid-day. I’ve heard from natives that they can be vicious if they choose to be.

And it was between me and the house. I moved aside and gave it a wide berth. But like most animals with “few natural enemies,” it didn’t pay me any mind and continued on its way.

I felt no need to shoot it, but it occurred to me that had it chosen to attack, I didn’t have any way to fight it off. I thought of the other myriad animals that roam freely on our land. The predator of concern isn’t human, it’s any number of unexpected carnivores that I could disturb as I went for walks. So yep, I now tuck a pistol into my belt when I go out, and I still know I’m accountable if I use it.

Randy Cassingham is WiLt’s head writer and publisher. His flagship publication This is True, established in 1994, is the oldest entertainment feature on the Internet.

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10 thoughts on “Carry a Concealed Gun”

  1. You are correct. No matter what “predators”, human or animal, you are carrying a firearm to defend against, the key is always responsibility and accountability. If those things are followed, bad outcomes will be extremely rare.

  2. Interesting, I ended up stopping my CC* activities. I am currently trying to be kinder and have found that the responsibility of carrying a weapon didn’t jive with being kind. I do have coyotes and when I go up north the bears and wolves count. We have seen wolves running across the field behind the house so we don’t walk dogs without a gun.

  3. I have A question for CC advocates: If the government is successful in outlawing firearms by citizens, what other form(s) of protection would you use in case of a predator animal attack? I have studied martial arts defensive techniques (reminiscent of Karate Kid’s ‘Wax Off / Wax On’) but that would be ineffective against a bobcat or a bear.

  4. Well-written as always, but I thought you might at least touch on how inconvenient it can be trying to get your errands done. Most government offices and bars don’t allow guns, and any private property business or otherwise can also tell you no. Leaving it in the car is nerve-wracking. Most workplaces, unlike your example, expressly forbid them. I don’t carry anymore because if I do, I can’t go anywhere.

    Well, I am in a different situation than you are: I work for myself from home, so no employer complications. Also, I live in a rural area; it’s extremely rare for a “No Guns Allowed” sticker on any business door around here, and I’ve never seen one in my county. I even specifically looked for one when I went to a meeting at the Sheriff’s Office in the (much larger) county to the north, and noticed there wasn’t one as I went in the public entrance. When traveling I definitely have noticed them on business doors, which is to say I do pay attention, because it frankly makes me uncomfortable for reasons discussed in my blog (summary: those businesses are a more attractive target to criminals, who by definition aren’t deterred by laws, let alone signs). But I don’t want to carry enough on travel to ever want to bother with the procedures to check a firearm in with an airline, so even then it’s not inconvenient. Last, when I was a deputy I was exempt from most of the prohibitions. (For those wondering why “most”: I would not, for instance, be exempt from prohibitions in an airport’s security area unless I was on duty.) But yes, for those who live in cities as you do, there are definitely irritating complications that could change the equation, as it did for you. Assuming you maintain your permit, you at least have the option if circumstances dictate, as they did for me in the situation I described regarding my friend. -rc

  5. During my years in China i read through the Federalist Papers, since the English library at my university had the complete set. My understanding of the variant positions which were represented by the many Founding Fathers of the American Revolution was that all met in the criterion that freedom and accountability go hand in hand.

  6. I am not be concerned about the people who feel accountable. It is the ones who carry because it makes them feel powerful that worry me. I don’t think they would openly answer that question. I have met a few too many of them and, of those, about half desperately wanted to become cops which just plain scared the hell out of me. Every one I knew growing up had guns. You do in the country. There are very good reasons for that. The vast majority were fine. That very small percentage of those I wouldn’t trust are also a very impactful and disturbing group.


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