When we go to a concealed carry permit class, we learn what we can and can’t do, where we can carry, where we can’t, and what the state says is justifiable use of deadly force. But, what I have never heard in any class I have attended, (I attend a class every six months, since laws change daily), is the psychological effect of having to use your gun in self defense. The first reality check I had happened the first time I was forced to pull my firearm: a day that I will never forget. Yet, on that day, I was all too happy I got my carry permit in the first place, and it became the driving example I use to encourage others to get their own carry permit.
The Weight of Responsibility
When a person decides to get a carry permit, and to carry a gun for self defense, they need to understand the weight of responsibility that a carry permit comes with. As a permit holder, you have the ability to carry a gun that could save your life, or someone else’s life, but that also means you may have to take the life of one or more aggressors to do so. Further, you need to make an effort to learn and stay up to speed on the constantly changing minutiae of the laws pertaining to concealed carry. The responsibility is huge, and by taking time to learn more laws, and understand them, along with appropriate firearms training classes, you will be ready when it comes time for you to put on that holster in the morning.
Consider this: one bullet could end someone’s life. They will never breathe again, smile, see their family again. Nothing. Taking a human life, even though they were trying to end yours, is something you’ll never forget. For instance, to this day, I can remember the entire event that caused me to first draw my firearm, aiming it at the 25-year-old man that was punching his pregnant girlfriend so much she lost her baby. I can remember yelling for him to stop hitting her, and to lay on the ground on his belly with his arms to his side, and I remember after ordering him to stop for the third time moving my trigger finger onto the trigger. Just as I was ready to shoot, he stopped and complied with my orders. I almost took this man’s life, and that changed mine. But, the fact that I was able to at least save the life of the victim comforted me in the end. The other four times I have pulled my firearm each had different circumstances, from saving my own life from someone trying to run me off the road, to someone trying to break into my house, but each time I’ve been comforted knowing I am still alive because I was prepared.
When making the decision to concealed carry, take time to understand that one day you may have to take a life to save your own, or someone else’s, and that your life will never be the same afterward. Be mentally ready before carrying your firearm, and be sure you know what the laws are regarding concealed carry and justifiable use of force in your state. The more you prepare now, the better you’ll be able to respond.