The below article has been submitted by one of our followers. Keith is a NRA Certified Instructor and RO. We greatly appreciate the time he has taken to write this article. Keith really hits some great point on how the act of preparation is a tool in itself. Read the article below and share your thoughts on our Facebook page.
For those of us in the defensive carry community, we understand there are currently limitations on the areas we can legally carry a firearm, concealed or open. These ‘Pistol Free Zones’ are a contentious issue politically and are in various states of repeal or enactment depending on who is pushing what legislation.
We know as a community that Pistol Free Zones don’t work. We know there is a segment of the population that cannot be convinced of this, which is why PFZ’s came to be in the first place, and as a result a false sense of security comes from them. Both public and private entities make it known if they do not want firearms around. I avoid giving them my business when possible.
I acknowledge, as you most likely do, that I cannot entirely avoid areas where I legally cannot carry a firearm, and that to ignore the law and carry anyway would invite potentially harsh legal consequences.
So I disarm, leaving my carry gun in my car or at home, out of reach should the need arise. The risk to me likely hasn’t gone up all that much, but the reality is I have been legislated out of an appreciable response should my life or someone else’s be threatened. I don’t like it, but such is life, I need to conduct my business.
Looking at this from a problem solving perspective however, I am still better off than those who do not regularly carry. We are dedicated firearm carrying members of society. This means that our goal of personal safety hasn’t changed, just the tools available to achieve that goal have become more limited.
Limited, not eliminated…
What is left in your tool box? Why are you still safer than the average person even without your gun?
Tool Number 1: Situational Awareness
Carrying a gun is a small part of your emergency reaction response, at least it should be. The single most important thing you are constantly doing is assessing your situation ‘what is going on around me?’ This is providing you the information needed to react to any threat or emergency.
We don’t stop this when we have to leave our gun behind. If you’re anything like me you will actually increase your awareness because our options have now been handicapped. Despite not having the gun we have the ability to still look at what is going on and take queues from it.
Tool Number 2: Your Plan
Like our heightened awareness level, our formulating a plan of response to any emergency likely kicks up a notch when not carrying. Being forced to remove a defensive option will make you re-evaluate your remaining options, draw up better mental plans, allowing us to act instead of re-act. We refine the details like asking yourself where you pocket knife is, where are the exits, are there barriers or concealment nearby. Ladies, when you have to leave the gun behind I bet you think about just how heavy your purse is, quite the bludgeon. Walking into a PFZ we need to go down that inventory list, just in case.
I can assure you this is a good exercise mentally. Evaluating and reassessing your plan to react to a situation strengthens the mental readiness of your prepared options, gun or no gun. In the heat of the moment the “fog of war’ can kill our mental faculties, adrenaline has dumped us into our reactionary state. Our preparedness can make the difference and allow us and our loved ones to escape safely by keeping us ready for that adrenaline fueled emergency mode.
Tool Number 3: The ‘Intangibles’
This tool isn’t so much about what you gain when you aren’t carrying a firearm. It is about the other safety conscious training that is already a likely part of your make up. It’s a shot in the dark (pun intended) but I would place good odds on a Concealed Pistol
Permit/License not being your only safety oriented certification. Likely, you have taken classes that grant First Aid Certificates, Safety Awareness Certificates or Loss Prevention. You and the population around you benefit from this increased readiness.
CPL holders are often willfully prepared individuals and this doesn’t extend just to emergencies involving violence. It ups your readiness for ANY emergency. You have likely integrated plans for natural disasters, medical emergencies, outages, etc. at home already. You are also, very likely, more consciously aware and in practice with your place of work’s emergency procedures.
As a safety minded individual, who carries a firearm, preparation and training tend to stand out more in our minds. They fit with our prepared and reactionary mindset, we quietly embrace this training and awareness as we go about our more mundane day to day activities knowing that if an emergency arises, we have a plan.
In conclusion, the fact that you carry a firearm for personal protection indicates a safety conscious mindset. This mindset does not go away when you go somewhere where you cannot carry that firearm.
You are safer because you carry a firearm, even when you can’t.
Keith R Finch
NRA Certified Instructor
NRA Certified Chief Range Safety Officer
Keith is a US Marine and served 6 years, he left active service as a Corporal from the infantry. He was certified as an NRA instructor on December 31 2009, and has been teaching classes in the Kalamazoo MI area, weekly now, with Viper Security (vipermi.com)
Keith became an instructor to give his marines an edge shooting, recognizing the Marine Corps didn’t know everything, and served as a company level instructor in tandem with his other roles. His love of the shooting community grew as he taught with Viper and the Marines, he now devotes his available time to learning and sharing the best available information for all aspects of the shooting community… occasionally interrupted by the need to chase after venison in November