A HUGE decision, and not one to be made lightly, and it was Lamont who inspired this post.
It is in fact an individual choice, and not one that I would recommend for everyone. There are hunting rifles in millions of homes in America, but not always handguns to go with them.
When you buy a handgun, it's your right to do so, but when you do, you also take on a serious social responsibility. In the eyes of many, the mere fact that you OWN a pistol makes you a "suspicious" person.......somebody who is "obviously up to no good." Now, that is such a paranoid view, that I wouldn't give it a mention, except that a lot of people out there actually BELIEVE that!
We primarily buy rifles for hunting. You hear all kinds of different "reasons" for buying a pistol......target shooting, plinking, "recreational shooting" (whatever THAT is).....but way down inside, you KNOW why you buy a handgun. For protection. And it's a perfectly LEGAL use, both in the eyes of the law, and the eyes of your conscience, so you NEED NOT make any apologies or justifications for owning one.
It's also your right to NOT own a gun at all. And you NEED NOT justify THAT decision either. As long as you aren't out there marching in the streets to try to confiscate MINE........we don't have any problems.
But a handgun is primarily a DEFENSIVE device. You hope you NEVER need it, but you go out every now & then to stay proficient with it, "just in case."..........or at lest you SHOULD!
Keep in mind though, that HAVING a pistol, and even being GOOD with it, means nothing if you aren't WILLING to use it, should the time ever come, and this is something that CANNOT be taught. I put in an awful lot of range time at Camp Pendleton before I went to Vietnam. But paper targets don't shoot back, and it's not until the first time you have to "line up" on some-BODY.......that you find out if you ANN or not. After that, it's "routine", but that very first time is the "barrier" You either do or you don't.
I think most people CAN if they're pushed to it, unless they "freeze", but usually when an intruder is in your home and you realize that those you hold dearest are in danger, your own adrenalin will normally "kick-in" and you'll know what to do.
But you always need to do some soul-searching before you go out and buy one. If you don''t think you're up to the mark......it's no disgrace. We're all different.
If you DO.....it is PARAMOUNT to learn how to properly handle it, keep it where YOU can get to it, but the kids can't. Practice with it. Learn how it shoots and WHERE it shoots. Care & cleaning is also vital, and I'll probably write a blog about that a little later on.
NOW--------------CARRY----yes or no?
Depending on where you are at any given point in time, you're more likely to be assaulted by some thief when you're AWAY from the security of your home, than you are behind locked doors.......especially in dark parking lots and lone ATM machine locations after hours..........(or out on some lonely stretch of highway-----if you read my "Highway-20" post).
IF you decide to get a concealled carry permit, there's more of a chance you'll HAVE to "pull" at least once in your life, than if you don't carry at all.
In most muggings, all they want is your money, and they just smack you around or whack you over the head with something and run off. In the minds of many, that's a whole lot better than being killed for trying to resist. So a very popular thought is well..."It's only money....let them just take it and leave me alone."
It doesn't always work out like that though. They might kill you anyway, to prevent you from identifying them later.
There's lots of scenarios, and you just have to decide for yourself. Hard-cases like myself and many others have decided long ago to not be ANYBODY'S victim. If this is YOU......you need to be mentally and emotionally "rigged" to DO what you have to do without hesitation if your life is threatened. If you AREN'T....and you "pull" but FREEZE, you're gonna get robbed ANYWAY and might even end up being shot with your own gun. Not good!
Guns are not for everybody. Yes. I said that.
But the incident out on 20 in that winter of '74, convinced ME anyway, that in all probability, I would not have walked away had it been three-on-one out in the middle of nowhere. I was 26 then and still in very good shape, but these were 3 big dudes.
Today at 63+, I'm no longer in "boot camp trim", and have had 3 surgeries including a major neck operation. I'm not going toe-to-toe with ANY 20-year old crack-addict. There's an old western adage........."God created men----Samuel Colt made them equal."
Today----I "cheat"...(It's that "old age and treachery" thing). When you see me, you can bet I'll always have my two buddies with me--------"Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson")......anyway, back to Highway 20.......
Three against one, suddenly became one against three......without a shot being fired.
As I wrote in that particular post, I wasn't nervous or hesitant at ALL about having to take out ALL THREE, had it became necessary, but it wasn't so much because I had the gun.......but because just 6 years PRIOR to that I'd been exchanging fire with "Charlie" on a monthly to weekly basis, so for ME anyway, this Highway 20 thing was like being on "auto-pilot."
IF you choose to carry, there are other things to consider BEYOND your "willingness." If your life is being threatened in some altercation and time allows, you need to position yourself to where if you DO have to use it, there's nobody BEHIND the punk who could be hit by that same bullet (depending on how much gun you're using).
You are NOT the police, and it isn't your place to interefere in some else's altercation. That "permit" is for YOU to protect YOURSELF and YOUR family.
Now, obviously, if you come upon a woman screaming and being raped, well, I would just say (for "public" consumption").....to just "use your own judgement."
It is not just the old Bazookaman who has lost faith in the system. I see more and more women, and other first-time shooters buying guns today, taking safety courses and such. It you're going to buy a gun (even if you don't intend to "pack"), I still highly recommend a good safety course....or instruction by someone who is knowledgable that you know and trust. Firearms accidents only happen with the untrained and the irresponsible.
If you're an OLDTIME shooter that hasn't shot recently (in the last 5 or 10 years or so), never be too "macho-proud" to ask for assistance. Gun designs change with the times. I shoot FREQUENTLY as many of you out there know, but occasionally someone will hand me a rifle, pistol or shotgun, and if it's a model I've never seen before, I'll always ask the guy who just handed it to me, to "please show me how it opens", etc. Always better to be safe.
And if you DON'T like or want guns, no biggie. Go fishing, or whatever!
To own and/or "pack" is is very personal thing, and you really have to be vigilant and "in-tune" every moment it's on your person. I'll probably write my next blog on suggested gun choices.
Before closing THIS one though, I would like to offer one other suggestion--------if you just like to shoot and collect, but do NOT want to carry, there is STILL a good reason to get a concealled permit: GUNSHOWS
As many of you know, you don't just walk into a gunstore, buy a gun and walk out. There is I.D., parperwork, and a Federally-required background check "call-in" to D.C. by the store owner. You can have the cleanest record in the country, but if those computers back there decide that YOUR name coincides with sombody on the "hot sheet", YOU get "delayed" for three working days while they VERIFY it one way or the other. If you have a record, you don't get the gun. Period.
Well, at gunshows, you will often run into some rare or unusual guns, maybe even one that you've been LOOKING for for the last couple of decades. OK? Stay WITH me now........
Gunshows are held on the weekends.
Gun Dealers THERE are bound by the same rules as they are in their own shops. You will do paperwork and they will call it in to D,C. right there while you wait.
IF, for some reason, you get 3-day delayed, those are 3 WORKING DAYS, and it'll be WEDNESDAY before you can BUY that gun........which means you might have to go clear to Oregon or Utah to pick it up, depending on where that particular dealer is from.
If you have a Concealled Carry Permit, you still have to fill out the paperwork, but there'll be no background check to have to wait for. When you apply for a "CCW" Permit, you don't get it for several weeks because of the EXTENSIVE background check they do on you before that permit ever gets approved.
So, if you've passed the background check that's required to get a CONCEALLED Permit........the Feds don't find it necessary for the routine "call-ins." You can BUY that rare Colt revolver or Henry rifle right there on the spot, fill out the form, pay the man, and take it home. They don't have to "call" your name in.
Sometimes it's worth having the permit JUST FOR THAT!