One viewpoint shared by many firearms owners and second amendment supporters is that everyone should concealed carry. However, that may not be feasible, legal, or even desirable for some. In this article, I’m going to explore some of the responsibilities associated with carrying a firearm and how they can impact men and women, practically, legally, and emotionally.
In the state of Wisconsin, to apply for a concealed weapon permit (CWP) one must have a clean criminal record, be at least 21 years of age, and must also submit proof of successful completion of some firearms safety training.
When I prepared to get my permit, I elected to take an 8-hour course to familiarize myself with the laws and mindset associated with carrying a concealed weapon. While the course I took featured a live fire portion, it was not designed to teach those new to firearms how to shoot.
In fact, at the range where I attended my CCW class, those without firearms experience were not permitted to take the class, and were first recommended to take some introductory shooting lessons. This measure, however, is not a statewide standard. And, there are some who are not familiar with safe firearms handling who can obtain concealed carry permits.
Anyone who has been at the range around a careless shooter can attest to the danger they pose to themselves and those around them. People who lack any kind of basic firearms safety training can pose a danger to themselves, and potentially those whom they are trying to protect. Were these individuals who are willing to defend themselves to get training on safe firearms handling, they would then be safer, and better prepared contenders for CCW permits.
One more aspect to concealed carry is the practicality of toting a firearm on one’s person. In Wisconsin, even those with a permit are forbidden to carry a gun on school grounds. So, any parents who need to pick up their child from their schools would be committing a felony were they to step onto school grounds while carrying their firearm.
So, while it is legal for those with a permit to possess a firearm on their person, it may not be realistic for a parent with needs to regularly access school grounds for their child to have to stop their car, disarm themselves, unload their firearm, and case it every time they need to visit their child’s school.
The responsibility of carrying a potentially lethal tool on one’s person is not something to be taken lightly. A CWP is neither a “get out of jail free card,” nor a deputization. One only has to look as far as the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case to see how complex circumstances can become in the instance of a “self defense shooting,” between a permit holder and an alleged attacker.
Wisconsin state law decrees that the use of “lethal force” is justified only if “…the actor reasonably believes that [lethal] force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself.” The law has a subjective and objective component in self defense situations: the person defending themselves by drawing their firearm must believe that someone means to do themselves (or a third person) grievous harm (subjective component), and that the threat must also be reasonable (objective component).
Those are the legal implications of drawing a firearm with the intent of using lethal force to stop a threat. However, there is also an emotional implication to consider: if the need was dire, would you be able to pull the trigger? Would you be able to take a life, if yours was threatened?
It is a difficult question, and I don’t think everyone can answer it in the affirmative. Personally, I abhor violence, and feel that life is precious. So, I don’t want to take a life unless mine, or my loved ones’ is in jeopardy, and even then, only as a last resort. This is why I also carry less-than-lethal options for my self-defense.
In present day American society, there is still a sentiment that females, as givers of life, have a mothering instinct that drives them to protect and care for others. In some cases, this desire to protect life can also translate to an inability to take a life.
However, that gentle nature is not only relegated to females. There are some people (male and female) who simply do not feel capable of taking lethal measures, even when in mortal danger. I am unsure that it is appropriate for these people to carry a firearm. Because they are unprepared to use it, it has more of a potential to be taken from them, and possibly used against them. For these people, perhaps less-than-lethal options may be preferable for their self defense.
On the other hand, there are some individuals of a more strong-willed nature who would, if there were no other option available, bring harm unto an aggressor in order to protect their loved ones. These people may make better candidates for concealed carry because they are less likely to be victimized with their own tools.
There are many things to consider when deciding whether or not to carry a concealed handgun. There may be circumstances that make it challenging to carry all the time or everywhere – or at all. Some people may feel uncomfortable with handguns, or simply aren’t trained how to handle them safely. There is also a significant emotional weight to take on when one makes the decision to carry an implement of lethal force on their person.
I think it is difficult to say for sure that all people shoul carry under all circumstances. But, I would like to know what you think.
Should everyone concealed carry? And, when shouldn’t someone concealed carry?