Sunday, April 26, 2009

More thoughts on Concealed Carry

I received a call from my mother the other day, telling me that my uncle, her brother, had a vest for me. This being a concealed carry vest, in a different color than the one he'd given me earlier in the year. I had a little excited, woohoo, moment, and immediately started plotting when I might be able to get down his way and pick up the new vest.

Thinking about the new vest, brought to mind an incident that occurred whilst wearing the current vest that he gifted me with. It's a black vest, reminiscent of the old photographer's vests, but with of course, more 'fun' things :) Lots of pockets, D-rings, snaps, hook/loop closures, secret pockets, etc. It might even be considered a piece of 'tacticool' gear. Now I don't know how you're average, non-aware, person on the street would view it, probably as just a vest with lots of pockets. However, to someone involved in concealed carry, and paying attention to their surroundings, it probably screams "Concealed Weapon Vest!!!".

The incident in question, occurred at one of the local gun shops. I'd stopped in to peruse the latest offerings in the used hand guns section. One of the Gun Shop Gurus, not an employee, just one of the guys who hang out there more than at home, and seem to know everything there is to know, pointed out that I wasn't fooling anyone with my vest. I was busily looking at the latest Colt .25 caliber mouse guns that had been traded in, and which, even though old and used, were still un-affordable on my current salary, and didn't quite catch his remark, so I responded with either "excuse me?" or "Beg Pardon?"

He re-iterated his comment, "That vest. You're not fooling anyone with it. It's obvious you're carrying a gun because of the type of vest you're wearing."

My response, "Good."

This was met with looks of bewilderment, and an owlish blinking of eyes by said guru, and the several folks he was holding court with.

I went back to drooling of old Colts, and when done, gave a polite nod of the head to the guru group on my way out. I didn't bother to explain myself, but the more I think about it, perhaps I should have.

You see, when I'm carrying a handgun in a concealed manner, I'm not trying to hide it, or make it so that it's a big secret, I'm trying to comply with the laws in my state that dictate how a handgun may be concealed on one's person. I want people to know that I'm armed, specifically, I want it to be obvious to the tweaking Meth-Head outside of McDonald's, waiting with a knife to rob someone for money to buy more Meth, that I have a gun. If he tries to rob me, or threatens my wife or children, his day is going to go downhill in a really bad way, really fast. I want anyone who might be thinking about committing a crime to want to wait until I'm out of the area, because they don't want me involved.

Do I care what the Gun Shop Guru and his constituency think of my carry method or concealment method? Not particularly. You know why? Because I'm not trying to impress him, or them, with the fact that I'm carrying concealed. If anything, I want to impress a criminal. I want there to be no doubt in his mind whatsoever, that I am a poor choice of targets for the commission of a crime.

This may sound a bit conceited, but I'm fairly competent with my handguns. I'm duly qualified through my job to be armed, and I also involve myself in a lot of training and shooting events that I feel enhances my ability to deal with unexpected situations.

When in the Academy, they taught us all about use of force pyramids, and all that jazz. The very first level of force, is always officer presence. Just the fact of being there, sometimes in force, can be enough to diffuse a situation and bring compliance from an individual.

Carrying that over to civilian life, or at least, off-duty life, will the known presence of a firearm on my hip, help to diffuse, or actually prevent, a situation? Who knows? However, if it does, isn't that a benefit? I have no desire to get into a shoot-out, either on duty or off. If it hits the fan, and I need to step up, so be it. I'll step up, and hopefully acquit myself well. However, if I don't have to step up, because someone thinks I 'might' step up, so much the better. I can pay for my gas or green tea, and go merrily on my way, none the wiser.

Just a thought, maybe you're concealed carry, shouldn't be quite so concealed.....