How do you handle yourself when you become hurt, afraid, or angry? Are you a hot head? Are you the milquetoast type? Even the most level person can become irrational when faced with severe emotional distress. Being able to think clearly and make critical decisions through the fog of mental stress is just as important for concealed carriers to manage as the mechanics of how to carry. There are times when carrying a firearm may not be a wise decision.
Consider, for example, the case of Curtis Edmonds of Brighton Heights, PA. One night, around three in the morning, Edmonds appeared at the home of his ex-girlfriend. When she refused him entry into her home, Edmonds punched her in the face and struck her with his pistol. He then forced his way into the home, only to encounter the woman’s new boyfriend at the top of a set of stairs within the home. Seeing Edmonds with his pistol drawn, the boyfriend drew his own concealed carry handgun on Edmonds, and shot him. Edmonds didn’t survive the confrontation.
I’m not writing this article to say that anyone was “in the right” or “in the wrong” in this situation. I bring it up to discuss the circumstances and reflect on how extreme emotional stress can impact a concealed carrier. In this instance, we have a distressed ex-boyfriend becoming involved in a confrontation with his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend, and not surviving the ordeal. This leads me to wonder whether or not he was in the best frame of mind to be carrying a gun. I cannot predict how the situation would have unfolded had he not forced his way into a home, in which he didn’t reside, with a drawn firearm. However, had Edmonds taken extra time to approach the situation more calmly with less emotional stress, it isn’t unreasonable to imagine it may not have taken the lethal turn it did.
The old advice to “think before you act” takes on a new weight for those who own and carry firearms. A concealed carry license isn’t a “get out of jail free card.” Those of us who legally carry firearms are not immune to the consequences of using them. The two men referenced above are both dealing with the consequences of drawing their firearms: Edmonds is dead and his shooter is facing murder charges in court. As humans, we are prone to changes of mood, especially when we find ourselves in situations that incite our passions, for better or worse. Those of us who choose to carry firearms should also have the foresight to determine how to deal with our guns when we find ourselves in times of extreme emotional stress. If someone is upset to the point of rash aggression, should they carry a gun?
Featured image still from WPXI News broadcast.