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Why Do You Carry?

Today we welcome Paul as a new contributor to Monderno. Paul has in the past helped out behind the scenes from time to time, and today marks his first post. Paul is a longtime gun owner, has worked in the industry for a well-known holster maker, and will contribute both reviews and opinion pieces to Monderno.

– Brandon

This seems like such a simple question, but is it?  As a CHL holder, you have probably been asked this question at some point.  I often I wonder if most folks give the expected “because I can” or “because the 2nd Amendment gives me the right to” answer.  It seems an easy enough way to go all ‘Merica and raise Old Glory and/or wave the Constitution.

To me, it goes beyond my God given right, inked by our founding fathers.  This is something I have discussed at length with my wife of 9 years.  She was raised by very conservative parents.  Parents who once had to console grieving friends who lost a child to an accidental shooting death when a handgun wasn’t properly stored.  To my wife…. she was raised with the belief that ‘guns are bad’.  Today’s media does nothing but enforce the evils of firearms.  Especially now with the election upon us….. you hear talk of the assault weapon ban and gun control as frequently as you probably get political propaganda in your mailbox.  When we were married and moved back to Ohio, she knew of my interest in firearms, and I owned a few handguns, but we didn’t have children yet and carrying was not an option.

That changed a few years ago when Ohio (finally) approved law-abiding citizens the right to carry concealed.  By this time, we had 2 small children and to me, taking the required class and getting my CHL was a no-brainer.  She initially expressed her disagreement with the decision and often spoke of (stop me if you’ve heard this) my desire to stroke my ego by carrying a firearm.  I have lived my whole life into my late 30’s with never a threat of violence or bodily harm.  Clearly I was only doing this to feel more of a man, just looking for an excuse to draw and blaze away at the slightest opportunity, reload and keep pulling the trigger only to be silenced by a lack of any more ammo.  Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  I hope and pray that I never, EVER have to draw my weapon.  I don’t want to have to deal with the aftermath of what that scenario could escalate to.  Living with not only the legal issues, the financial issues and how that could affect my family’s future, but also the moral issues of possibly taking another human life.  I would have to live with that every day after and that would be a heavy burden to carry.

That said, I wouldn’t hesitate, not for a second, to pull my .45 to defend my family, or if necessary my life.  If I draw, I am absolutely willing to pull the trigger to keep those I love safe from violence.  I go through my day in a constant state of threat assessment.    Violence can happen anytime, anyplace, when you least expect it.  My father was carjacked at gunpoint a few years ago in downtown Richmond, VA at 6:30 AM while pulling over to buy a paper.  I often wonder how my wife has maintained the attitude of “it won’t happen to me”.  She is a Virginia Tech alumnus.  We have season tickets for VT football and are on campus often.  There are 32 stones that serve as a tragic reminder of what can happen when you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

She now knows why I carry and the rolled eyes are a thing of the past.  She understands and respects my decision to take an active part in protecting our children and not relying on others to do so.  I wish I lived in a world that I didn’t NEED to carry, because believe me, I wish I didn’t have to, but I am not naive enough to think bad stuff only happens to other people.

So, why do you carry?

16 Responses to Why Do You Carry?

  1. GodnGunz October 29, 2012 at 7:18 am #

    Great stuff man! Nailed it. To pull my gun is the last thing I want to do and I mean last! I think about it from time to time and its never pictured as a glorious experience in my mind. But I won’t hesitate for a second to pull my gun if innocent lives lay in the balance. That’s why I carry.

  2. TK October 29, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    Nicely done Paul…I feel the same way. It would be terrible, but I wouldn’t hesitate. Or at least I hope I wouldn’t.

  3. Ira G October 29, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    Good stuff, I carry because I refuse to be a victim. I have always told friends interested in carrying that you have to know in your heart that you can pull the trigger if you need too, but it is the last thing you or I ever want to do. In my 12 years of CCW, I have had to pull my gun 2x in order to protect myself, Thankfully both times ended with the aggressor being smarter then they looked and they left instead of questioning how serious I was.

  4. dnamichael October 29, 2012 at 10:12 am #

    I carry for the same reasons a LEO carries, to protect myself from becoming a victim. I have carried since I was in business going back to 1968 in NY and now, I continue here in FL.(44 yrs).. Never had to draw and hope I never have to..

  5. Spad October 29, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    Couldnt agree more, you hit the nail right on the head

  6. Eric October 29, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    I’m in my fifties and a lifelong recreational shooter and spent years in the martial arts. Never carried more then pepper spray and a knife until my wife developed MS and at one point ended up in a wheelchair. I became more and more aware of our vulnerability and then one night coming out of a grocery store I saw three punks obviously setting us up for a robbery. If I hadn’t been vigilant that night wouldn’t have turned out so well. We made it back in the building just ahead of them. Cops were called, punks evaporated but I had a good talk with a few officers I knew. This was a “good” area in most peoples minds. One officer put it pretty bluntly.”If you’re wife is handicapped then to these criminals she is a desirable target.” We talked more about the changes happening in the area. I went and got my permit and trained more then I used to.

    Like the rest it’s the very last thing I ever want to do but it’s there if I ever need it. In ten years I’ve only come close to drawing once against a crazy acting aggressive drunk while loading my wife in our vehicle. It was a dark night and I doubt he has a clue how close to it he came but I had swept my garment and had my hand on when he decided to wander off after charging around the end of my vehicle at us. After that my wife lost all doubts about my carrying and would always ask if I had it when we went out.

    I carry for protecting my wife and myself. Very few know that I do. There’s no ego, no trying to be a big guy or any of that silliness even though I’ve heard those remarks from some folks talking in general. I just keep my mouth shut and press on. I was even at lunch one day with three local officers when the subject of protecting my wife came up and one asked if I was ever going to get a permit and carry. I just smiled and quietly remarked just how concealable a 1911 was. The remark was “Where?”, I guess I had it right….

  7. Barry October 29, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    I was asked this question for the first time after the birth of my son. The argument was “you have a child now, why do you need a gun?” My answer was simply “BECAUSE I have a child now. Because now I have the responsibility of protecting that child.” And I’ll take any means necessary to do so.

    Simple enough.

    Great article, Paul

  8. Joe October 29, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    I live in Arizona. I first carried a handgun when I became eighteen. It is legal to carry, just not to purchase from a store. One year and a half later on October 2nd, 2003, my best friend and I were overwhelmed by a large group of people trying to break into a house we were at. They cornered him and I into the backyard. My dear friend Tony with all his might tried to keep the gate closed while at least thirty people where trying to push their way in. They started to throw beer bottles they had brought with them over the wall, that were raining down on Tony’s head and my feet. I stood back and froze as did Tony. We didn’t know what to do. Tony yelled out, DO SOMETHING, as a man jumped half way over the wall and started to spray Tony right in the face with an extinguisher of mace. Immediately I started to feel the effects and I was standing six feet away from it. I couldn’t imagine what Tony was feeling. Tony jumped back into my direction and with half of my motor skills gone and panic starting to set in, I pulled out my 9mm and starting shooting into the ground and wall by the gate they started to come into. I didn’t hit anyone. Luckily none of them actually had a gun and decided to shoot back because I was standing still in the middle of the yard with not many bullets left and no clue on how to do a stress reload. Even after the police had confiscated my handgun and interviewed witnesses for 2 hours, I was still shaking. Four years another incident, Tony, me and some other friends were at a rowdy bar in Glendale, I was actually working security there that night but had gotten of early. inside a fight started that no one could get a hold of and started to spill outside. It was none of our business but we had been caught in the middle of it all. Some of my friends had been hit with beer bottles and blind sided for no reason. As people started to run outside to leave some drunk a-hole decides to pull out a gun on Tony, Jay and Me. I didn’t know the guy from Adam but he had us in his sights. A girl we knew grabbed his arm like a movie scene and gave Tony time to pass me his Glock.(I was the closest to the guy to get a shot off soon as the girl peeled off) For some dumb reason Jay ran and grabbed Marisa off the man right as I turned Tony’s laser sight on and pointed it at him. It was the world’s biggest and dumbest laser ever but right at that moment I was extremely grateful for it! It might as well have been like I pointed the gun right at his head, because as soon as he saw it pass his eye, he turned in ran like he knew he was about to get shot in the back. There was way to many people around and I never had the intention of shooting him unless he turned back around, but needless to say, he dove right into a Caddy Deville with the back seat passenger behind the driver hanging out the window, over the car pointing a shotgun at us all. By then about four or five more gun owners had grabbed their handguns out of their cars and prepared to defend themselves. The driver had to have seen this because he sped off into the main road the same time the police are pulling in to the bar. No shots were fired. Apparently the police never saw the guy with the scatter gun hanging over the vehicle. What they did see was a group of men holstering weapons as they drove up to the front of Good ol’ Shabangs. The legal party that happened in that parking lot lasted about a stressful 2 hours as everyone had to explain the same exact story five times to four different officers. Thank God I woke up to the world around me. My friends and I are very close now because of these events and we do not go out to bars any more. If we do they are more like AppleBee’s and TGIFriday kinda places. Tony, Jay, And I all have the same tactical adviser and know how to actually use our weapon systems if we had to. We have the same pistols, and rifles just to make us more comfortable. We do not limit our training to only our gear though, that would be dumb. The confidence we have now shows us how to be proactive and not reactive so most likely we do not have to be put in these situations again. This is why I carry. This is why even the women in our lives carry. I believe if you are not training dynamically, you are not really training. To someone that follows their laws and is not a criminal, we are drawing our weapons when someone else is already drawing on or pointing one at us are our loved ones. If it’s not second nature to do what you have to, to defend yourself and others, you have already lost. I never want something like this to ever happen again, I just want to be ready.

  9. Paul October 29, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

    Thanks for the feedback guys. Been behind the scenes for a while and Brandon has been bugging me to start writing for months. I finally caved. LOL.

    Be safe all. -P

  10. Robert Wahr, 1st Cav,VN October 30, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    “… also the moral issues of possibly taking another human life. I would have to live with that every day after and that would be a heavy burden to carry.”
    It is a common misconception in this country that it’s somehow always a terrible thing to take a human life. In Ps.144:1, the writer gives direct praise and credit to God for teaching him to be an effective killer in the right circumstances. He doesn’t teach anybody to do anything He considers wrong.

  11. Frank Sharpe November 1, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    I carry guns because my personal defense is my resposibility.

  12. Jake Myers November 1, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    I carry because my HK is lighter then a Cop. and i would rather have it and not need it then need it and not have it. Protecting my fam from the world.

  13. Rudy Alvarez November 1, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    Because wolves prey on the weakest sheep, not the ram who is prepared to fight.

  14. H W November 1, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    I carry primarily to protect myself and my loved ones. A secondary reason is that I’m a LEO. I feel that society has certain expectations of me, having entrusted me with their safety as well. I would NEVER get involved in a situation outside of work unless someone was in immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury, but the trust that society puts in me is something I take very seriously. I am expected to be able to react properly.

    “Let not my last thought be: ‘If only I had my gun'”

  15. Rokurota November 1, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

    I carry because I can. As an American, I have that right, and just as I vote, write for newspapers and blogs, attend the worship service of my choice and occasionally peaceably assemble, I will exercise my right to keep and bear arms. It’s just as easy to carry as not. I hope never to use my gun in the manner for which it’s built. But I also hope never to need my right to a jury either.

  16. Andy November 2, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

    Because the Ark wasn’t built while it was raining.