There are more Americans choosing to conceal carry than ever before, and that number is rising. 

Will you be one of them?  If so, will you be one of the responsible ones? 

A firearm is a weapon used for the purpose of protecting life and preserving dignity, but many who carry a gun treat it like a lucky charm to ward off bad luck.  Among gun owners, you often hear clichés like “I only carry it if I am going someplace dangerous”, but how does anyone know in advance when they will be in danger?  Also, if you know a place might get you killed, why go there at all?! 

You don’t know when or where you might be the prey of an evil individual.  That’s the point of concealed carry.  Having a gun is only effective if you have it immediately within reach in your time of need.  Therefore, carry a gun all the time.  If you don’t, being “armed” is no longer a matter of preparation, but rather delusional thinking that you might somehow only be attacked when you are ready for a fight.  That type of gun owner isn’t responsible; they’re just hoping to be lucky. 

That being said, just carrying a gun is not sufficient to be regarded as prepared

Even if you do carry a weapon consistently and have trained to use it with exceptional proficiency, you may still not be ready for a fight.  In fact, it is exactly at that moment when you are least prepared for a fight that you are most likely to be forced into one.  A predator does not look for the most imposing of prey, but rather the most vulnerable of victims.  To appear imposing rather than vulnerable, you must at least be situationally aware

It’s What You Don’t See That Will Kill You 

Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper may have understood the principle of situational awareness better than anyone, and famously used a color code to articulate an individual’s level of awareness.  The infographic below illustrates this code.  A person who is situationally aware will always at least be in condition yellow.   

Carrying a gun may help you survive a fight, but staying aware of your surroundings could deter an aggressor from approaching you entirely.  If you are situationally aware and yet you are still accosted, then you at least have the benefit of seeing the fight coming instead of being haplessly surprised.  When caught completely unaware, you don’t get to dictate the outcome of that fight, whether you have a gun or not. 

It Is Naïve To Believe That You Can Out-draw A Drawn Gun.   

One incident that highlights both the necessity of being armed and situationally aware is the story of the Oklahoma mother whose toddler was taken hostage inside a Walmart back in 2013.  This mother turned her back for only a moment, but it was enough for a mentally ill man armed with a knife to pluck her child out of the baby basket.  When asked by reporters about this incident, Alicia Keating simply stated that she felt like she was safe.  Being surprised and lacking the means to fight back, she had to resort to begging for her child’s life! 

This calamity ended abruptly when Captain David Huff stepped in to be the good guy with a gun. 

The officer negotiated as long as he could to save each life involved, but when push came to shove, it became obvious that this was a time that required lethal force.  The toddler was saved. 

It is arrogant to make Monday-morning-quarterback speculations about this situation, but we should still learn from it.   

The craziest of tragedies can befall us at a moment’s notice.  Therefore, always be aware of your surroundings.   

If something happens and you do not possess the means to fight back, you will be at the mercy of others.  Therefore, conceal carry as often as possible. 

Situational awareness and consistently carrying concealed are only the beginning of being responsibly armed.  Someone considering carrying a gun should look into training, as well as researching their local laws, understanding terminal ballistics, and even learning to fight with their hands, but none of this has to be accomplished overnight. 

If you are willing to maintain your situational awareness and intend to never be at the mercy of an unexpected oppressor, then yes, you should carry a gun.