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Massad Ayoob on Guns

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.



Massad Ayoob

CONCEALED CARRY: A MIDDLE-ROAD VIEW?

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

The current edition of Harper’s magazine carries a cover story on concealed carry, illustrated with an Andy Warhol portrait of a High Standard Sentinel .22 revolver…ironically, more of a Backwoods Home utility handgun than a concealed carry piece, but what the heck.

It is a very articulate story from a man who carried a Colt Detective Special .38 for some time, and understood the power and responsibility he carried with it.  In the end, he decided not to carry every day. Some in the gun world see that as a cop-out. I noticed that the author reserved the option to carry it on long drives or in other situations where he felt less secure than usual. In the end, it’s his choice.  Hell, I know a lot of determined, busy Second Amendment Rights activists who don’t carry a gun every day, either, and I’ve known some who don’t carry at all…and there are a few 2A supporters who don’t even own a gun. While I am one of those who does carry a gun daily wherever and whenever it is legal, I don’t think those who choose otherwise are Commies or anything.

Give it a read. You can find it here. The editors at Harper’s did something interesting. The glued-on flyleaf on the cover reads “My Concealed Weapon and You.” Turn it over, though, and the subtitle for the article on the actual cover says, “My Concealed Weapon and Me.”

I gotta admit, I like that. Our concealed weapon is initially about us, and those we have a responsibility to protect. But it’s also about others, who are present when we are armed and who may be present and even close to the line of fire if any of us every have to draw a defensive handgun for its intended purpose.

Kudos to Harper’s for “Fair And Balanced” factor.

Read the essay. I would link it for you here, but you have to be a subscriber to the magazine to log on. The magazine is on the stands as I write this, though, and should be at your local public library.

And, please, get back to me here at the blog and let me know what YOU think about Dan Baum’s article.

55 Responses to “CONCEALED CARRY: A MIDDLE-ROAD VIEW?”

  1. Rich Says:

    Thats why I only wear a saetbelt when I feel I might have an acident. Same with my fire exting.

  2. Noel Says:

    I think he did a better job in his interview on Public radio.

    http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/kuer/news.newsmain/article/184/0/1678024/RadioWest/72110.Happiness.is.a.Worn.Gun

  3. Joshua Says:

    I have been through a period where I carried every time I left the house. When I lived in the suburbs, the line between outside and inside was clearly delineated. I work out of my home, so there were regularly days when I wouldn’t leave the house. A T-shirt and pajama bottoms or a sarong are typical wear. But of course I’m not going to wear that in public, so if I was going out, I’d get dressed, including putting on my gun, and out I’d go.

    Since moving to a more rural 3-acre homestead, the line between outside and inside is more blurred. I roll out of bed, stick my feet in some garden boots, and stagger down to let the chickens out, get the eggs, and maybe pull a potato or two for breakfast, still wearing whatever I pulled off the bedroom floor. I run out to the barn and back to get a tool, or down the driveway to get the mail, and say “hi” to the neighbor while I’m there. Lots of times I’ve got yard-work to do or firewood to cut or something like that, and I’m sure as heck not getting “dressed” (including putting on my gun) when all I’m going to do is get dirty and sweaty. I put on the grungiest clothes I can find!

    This has sort of broken me of the habit of getting “dressed” for every little thing. If I’m running to the gas station down the street for milk or a new cannister of propane, I’m not going to put on underwear, undershirt, pants, shirt, belt, leatherman, tac-light, gun, magazine, socks, boots, especially if I am already sweaty and dirty from whatever I was doing in the yard five minutes ago. It bugs me, though, because I’ve always said that you don’t know when trouble’s going to strike, that’s why you carry a gun everywhere. But my current holster and firearm setup (Safariland OWB holster with Beretta Px4) just doesn’t seem compatible with that. Either I get fully dressed, including the gun, for every little thing, or I sometimes go out without the gun, and compromise my principles.

    Or some third option… I don’t know. Maybe this is the excuse I need to buy a new gun!

  4. rc Says:

    I’m a 2A supporter who refuses to carry a gun, and believes more people should do the same. I’m fine with highly-trained people like you, Mr Ayoob, carrying constantly, but I don’t think many of my fellow citizens should be driving a car let alone carrying something like a handgun. This article was great, and I deeply appreciate your fair assessment of it.

  5. yaba Says:

    Just as long as it’s his choice and no one else’s.

  6. Captain Bob Says:

    Joshua: yes, you definitely need another gun. Think Kel-tec .32 Auto or similar and you can slip it in a pocket and it’s lighter/smaller than your wallet. and yes, I know, there are going to be screams about how a “little .32″ will be useless in a self-defense situation, etc. but, having a .32 auto (with some hot self-defense loads) is CERTAINLY better than no gun at all. And, many times just HAVING a gun will defuse a situation without firing a shot so who cares what caliber if you don’t even have to shoot?

  7. Robert Says:

    I think the first subtitle, “My Concealed Weapon and You,” is really well written for the Harper’s audience. When we carry, there are effects to the public at large. Many just don’t realize that most of the effects are that they may be protected by one of us, or that a goblin may pass on them for fear that they may be armed too, etc..

  8. julie in brooklyn Says:

    I’m in favor of handgun control, which wouldn’t/won’t make me popular on your site. But after reading this article by a writer I respect in a publication I love, I have more of an appreciation for the other side of this debate. This makes me think about how people might go about persuading one another to learn, to disagree differently, to compromise. I just hope everyone is as respectful and responsible about carrying a concealed gun as Dan Baum seems to be–and I think that’s unlikely. “Everyone” doing anything is pretty rare.

  9. Ed Says:

    I read the article today at the local library.

    Dan Baum’s decision to no longer carry a weapon strikes me as an expression of his desire to return to the blissful ignorance of Condition White where he existed before carrying a weapon, even though he acknowledges that Condition Yellow is needed to enhance his chances of survival.

    Somehow, Neil Young’s song about not being able to return to Sugar Mountain comes to mind.

  10. Bob Says:

    I read the article yesterday and thought it was fairly written. It was his opinion based on his experience not just hearsay. I find no real fault in anything he said.

  11. Mike Says:

    Of course, you normally keep the fire extinguisher in the kitchen, not the bedroom, and you don’t usually bring one in the car with you.

    While crime can and does happen anywhere, there are places where it is more likely than others. My county has a crime rate of 6 per thousand. My chances of needing my gun on a given day is much less than when I’m travelling. Doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but it does somewhat change the balance between worrying about accidentally violating a carry law or having someone see the gun print and calling the cops versus the extra personal protection provided.

  12. Phil Wong Says:

    I found this article a couple of days ago, and thought enough of it to purchase the magazine. Definitely a “warts and all” portrayal of the CCW sub-culture, although there were definitely more “warts” portrayed on the instructors and gun show dealers than the CCW-permittees; I’m professionally embarrassed that anyone who purports to be a CCW instructor could be so dilatory in presenting their lesson plan that a student would only get 20 minutes of useful information out of a 4-evening class(although that MAY be an exaggeration for the sake of artistic license).

    I can see Dan Baum’s point about “CCW indoctrination” and the emphasis on Condition Yellow awareness as somewhat equating to a “loss of innocence” – once you “take the red pill,” there’s no going back to “The Matrix.” I also understand why he misses Condition White so – he IS a creative writer by training, trade and inclination, and it IS necessary(to at least some degree) to tune out the outside world and your surroundings to facilitate inspiration, creativity, and communing with your muse.

    However, all the examples and arguments he makes in support of the comforting, blissful ignorance of Condition White seem, in my opinion, to make much more sense as examples and arguments in support of heightened situational awareness. When he talks about his gun being an uncomfortable reminder of his responsibility to be aware of those around him and be prepared to protect himself, when he mentions the lady in Phoenix who transformed herself into a much more diligent and organized person when she assumed the responsibility of carrying a gun, I can’t help but think that these are POSITIVE arguments instead of negatives.

    At the very least, read the article at the newsstand – there’s plenty of food for thought, for non-gunnies, newbies, and veteran gun-sters, alike.

  13. HaroldB Says:

    I, like most I guess, get up and take a shower and put on our daily “clothes”. For me it’s just blue jeans and a shirt, so having the holster on the belt is no problem. If it’s the weekend and I’m just watering the grass or pulling weeds, the holster and a pistol is always with me.

    My work says I’m not allowed to have “weapons”, but being a big guy and wearing casual clothes my gun’s never been spotted and no one “hugs” or pats me down at work. Yes, I suppose they could fire me if caught, but I’d have another job in a week and being able to defend my life is more important than their rules.

    To each his/her own choice ~;-)

  14. Steve Race Says:

    Yeah, he sees the other side of the debate. As if there IS a fucking debate. Right.
    Personally, I don’t care if someone doesn’t want to carry every day, everywhere. That’s their business. I think it speaks to mindset, especially now. There are those who stand head and shoulders above me as far as ability, education, and training who believe the only way to carry is all the time, and I believe it is imperative to hold onesself to that standard. It becomes a matter of lifestyle. Obviously, for most of us there has to be a line of demarcation where we have to decide if the cost of more training or practice is better spent paying the electric bill. That said, dry fire, reading, physical fitness, etc. come for free if you obligate yourself. Again, mindset. I wouldn’t call someone who carries as a part-time hobby a Commie, but I can’t really get on board with a lax attitude, either. If you drop your guard, sooner or later, there’ll be someone there to take advantage of it. We owe it to ourselves and the collective public to be as prepared as we can. We are the militia, like it or not. I think I’ve heard it said many times that we will default to the level of our training when the shit hits the fan. Those that carry as a sometimes thing risk defaulting to a very medeocre level of failure unless they are excessively lucky that day. My .02

  15. Mas Says:

    Julie in Brooklyn, you are welcome here. We don’t just “preach to the choir.”

    Mike, I have to respectfully disagree. I DO have a fire extinguisher in each of my vehicles. There’s a fire extinguisher by the stove because that’s the single most likely fire-site in the home…and the bedroom is armed because that’s where I’m most likely to be if there is an armed intrusion into the household at “O-dark-30.”

    Phil, thanks for the best total view of this topic I’ve seen yet.

    Looking forward to seeing more of this good commentary,
    Mas

  16. Rich Says:

    Good comments.

    Julie sez: “Everyone doing anything is pretty rare.”

    That is the essence of why I carry, and have done so for thirty+ years. Although humans exhibit some predictable traits, one cannot always distinguish the benign ones from the malevolent. A wise man once said, “Trust, but verify”. I choose to recognize all the traits of my fellow humans, not just the complimentary ones.

    And yes, I too carry a fire extinguisher (and first aid kit) in each of my automobiles. They go along with my CPR and first aid training. I have seldom needed to use them, but I find them comforting to have should the need arise.

  17. Mitchell Says:

    I picked up a copy at the local grocery store and while reading it, it reminded me of the type of welcoming that the editor of this magazine receives every time there is a “renewable energy” or “home power” meeting.

    Baum is a good writer, but, his words should not be contrued as the norm. Are there sales people in the gun industry that will capitalize on fear? Of course there are… just like there are sales folks in the solar/wind/”renewable” energy industry that leverage fear to make another buck.

    I have had a similar experience with instructors regarding permit training. First one I had was excellent and we as much time on the range that day as we did classroom. My renewal instructor was the bad apple that the author points out.

    In the end, I do agree to a certain extent that your always going to be “yellow” when wearing. At least in the beginning. But, I don’t “return to white” in order to smell the roses or enjoy the surroundings. I think he is either taking liberty with facts or he is bi-polar to start with.

    For everyone, carrying is as much a personal choice as it is a responsibility. if you can’t handle the responsibility, you should not carry.

    Regarding young people, that is bullsh*t from where I am at. The shops I go to are FLOODED with young people. Cabela’s has 4 full time people working the handgun counters. Line after line of folks under 40. But, also consider this, you have to be 21 to purchase a handgun. (at least where I am from)

  18. Nick L. EMT-P Says:

    I have a few questions comments for Mas and all here. I’d also like to state that I am graduate of LFI-I with Mr. Ayoob being the lead instructor.

    Mr. Baum talks about condition Yellow being “exhausting”. I believe he is mistaken as to what condition Yellow is *and* he’s was taught inappropriately. Condition Yellow (c-Y) is being _casually_ aware of your surroundings. When I first learned about the color codes from Mas at LFI, I realized that, (growing up in NYC *and* working an ambulance for the 15 years), I had been doing this all along. I always called it “being street smart”. I am _casually_ aware of things and person around me –off duty or not– and find that it is not exhausting in the least. As Mas said in class, “One should be able to spend their entire lives in c-Y and suffer no long-term psychological harm whatsoever.”

    Mr. Baum, on the other hand, seems to have been living in a constant state between Condition Orange and Condition Red, stating “…glancing at the door when a person walks in and, in a microsecond, evaluating whether a threat has appeared and what my options for response would be –roll left and take cover behind that pillar? On the street I look people over: Where are his hands? What does his face tell me? I run sequences in my head.”

    The author clearly states in several paragraphs before the aforementioned quote: “Condition white is total oblivion to one’s surroundings…” “Condition Yellow is being aware of, and taking an interest in, one’s surroundings –essentially the mental state we are encouraged to achieve when we are driving” keeping our eyes moving…” Am I missing something here? Am *I* doing it wrong or is the author?

    Also, I can’t believe that he didn’t have the good sense to get up and leave the moment the police officer in his training class made those illegal and wholly unappropriated comments about shooting people!

    I contacted the author via his web page in order to send him a free copy of Ayoob’s “In the Gravest Extreme”.

  19. Long Island Mike Says:

    Great to have an article on CCW in a liberal publication. Haven’t picked up Harpers in decades and actually went out to the news stand and bought a copy. Wow 7 bucks ! I have more complaints about that then the article. Then listened to the NPR interview. As said above, he is a pro writer. It is a beautiful article in that respect. What he said about the gun culture hits right on target. To deny that gun owners and CCW folks are not a mix like society, of good and bad is just wrong. There are lots of freaking idiots who both own guns and carry guns.

    A couple of points that the article triggers:

    The CCW issue is taken as the “gun debate” litmus test by many. Sorry it isn’t. As pointed out in the article, there are a quarter of a BILLION guns floating around. Most of them are long guns sitting in closets. There are 40 million or so hunters out there. Trap and skeet shooters, 3 position smallbore folks etc…take a look at Camp Perry this month. Lots more than those who daily carry. There are plenty of folks who own guns and are not fixated on doing daily battle. So the CCW debate can’t be confused with the overall 2A issue. Heck there are even knife owners now getting involved in the 2A battle. The author avoids that aspect.

    The Founders, I believe, understood the risks that would come with the Bill of Rights. NOWHERE does it says you must have training before speaking your mind or before you can exercise the right to bear arms. NOWHERE. So in my mind that closes the books on the discussion about training. Total BS. And that argument is going to be misinterpreted to apply to gun owners in general. There is no way every gun owner can be trained to a high level of proficiency. You hear the gun trainers pushing that also. Shame on them. They know that there is no way to train and maintain the “perishable” skills they themselves admit they teach to the tens of millions of citizens. They are only drumming up business.

    There is a huge amount of macho BS in the CCW world. Paranoia does run rampant. When I was a young’n and reading about Asian martial arts in the 1950′s and early 1960′s it sounded so pure. All that Zen crap. Then in the dojo I met the idiots who insisted on beating up the new students. Who rode the trains actively looking for fights. Then bragging about the way they broke some guys jaw for smoking near them on the weekend. It happens. And you don’t have to go far to meet the braggarts and bullies who also own and carry guns. That’s the truth. Admit it, then move on. It ain’t going away.

    Just as the author looked at CCW licensees increasing crime statistics and saw the truth, there is also the need for an honest appraisal of the risk of crime. Ya know damm well no one is willing to tell the truth from the myriad gun shows on TV or rags on the stand. I won’t go into it deeply here, but when you look at the numbers it is laughable. I heard just this weekend on Spike TV (the Beretta sponsored shows on Saturday) that there are 3.6 MILLION HOME INVASIONS a year. WTF? BS. That is a pure lie. A home invasion clearly carries the connotation of good guy eating dinner at home with baby and wife. Bad guy breaks down the door. Raping the wife, killing the husband and baby. It was said to instill fear and drum up sales. Despicable. 80 % of the murders occur in 20 counties in the US of A. Felon on Felon crime, black on black crime, under 25 males, make up HUGE portions of serious/violent crime. Damm near accounting for all of it. If you hang out with whores, drug dealers and violent criminals your gonna get in a heck of a lot of trouble. Let’s start by NOT doing that stuff. That would have a greater positive effect on your overall health than carrying a gun every waking minute of your life.

    Tied into the crime discussion is the extreme PARANOIA thing. He is absolutely right on that. What annoys me is how so many gun owners get into this crazy spiral. Reading false numbers, training for violent encounters, talking to others who re-enforce those ideas and attitudes. IT CAN MAKE YOU CRAZY ! If you don’t think so, then take a look at the folks in Jonestown, Heavens Gate or the Utah Polygamy cults. Folks need to always step back and make judgments on their own. If there is one thing I have learned in “my” condition Yellow, it’s this…trust no one. Not just by preparing for gun fights but in the world of ideas and information. You can just as easily be assaulted and injured by others with nothing more than words and pictures. When there is a risk of physical violence, great, carry a gun. You have the right to do so. But don’t be sucked into Web discussions and blogs that advocate 2 thousand rounds for your battle rifle and MRE’s always by your side. That is just lunacy.

    I’ll leave it at that. All said I enjoyed the article. Rant off. :)

  20. RNH Says:

    If I don’t have a J-Frame in my right front pocket I’m simply not “dressed”. To me it’s as normal as the Swiss Army Knife I’ve carried in my left front pocket since high school, through the military till now, and the folder or two carried somewhere depending on the style of pants. But if that right front pocket isn’t deep enough to conceal the S&W .357, I won’t wear them. I don’t UNDERSTAND folks who don’t carry at least a knife, if not a gun.

    I suppose there’s a certain comfort in denying the reality of interpersonal violence, just as we never think about that car accident, but we all wear seat belts and motorcycle helmets, at least if we want to claim that insurance. Should be the same with personal safety in my view.

  21. MD Matt Says:

    I’m pleased that the media is giving more exposure to carry and its realities. I’m legally blind, and in a state that, even did I feel compitent to walk around with a firearm (I don’t for obvious reasons), wouldn’t give me the option any way.
    I haven’t read the article, but the limited amount I can gleen from the comments here make me think that Dan’s words ring a little hollow. I would love to go back to being a kid, where my responsibilities were limited and my concerns were likewise uncomplicated. Unfortunately, reality won’t change just because things were easier for me back then. What you can’t see can hurt you and wishing that you could turn back the clock doesn’t make the unvarnished reality of the world we live in any less present after you open your eyes.
    To carry or not is a personal choice it’s true. But to wish yourself back to a more inosent time has always struck me as nothing but fantasy (pleasant, but ultimately dangerous if overinduldged.)
    Thanks for the food for thought as always Mas.

  22. rndhs Says:

    RE: Joshua Says. I use to think just like you. Right up until I went out the door very early one morning to see why my dogs were carrying on. Little did I know the nitemare waiting out there. Two ill-trained pit bulls had been released from a home apx. 1 mile from ours. Clad only in a towel, ( “i just throw on whatever was on the floor”), I was jumped, pulled to the ground, and mauled like a raw steak. Had my wife not heard the commotion and got the .38spl. in my hand I would have been killed by those two dogs. As it turns out the dogs were killed, the owner charged with a felony, and my body bearing the scars for my foolishness. I don’t go out for the mail without my firearm these days.

  23. Bill in Kentucky Says:

    Mas, I read your book , “Gravest Extreme” and found it to be the most incitefull book I have read on the use of deadly force. I was a Deputy Sheriff and served under two diffrent Sheriff’s before I went into business as a private investigator. I recovered assets for over thirty different lenders. I did over thirty six hundred involuntary repossessions. I hold a CCDW license in KY. Most CCDW holders start out carrying daily. They soon learn that carrying a firearm isn’t always comfortable and when the novelty of being armed wears off , the weapon go’s back in the closet or glove box and doesn’t come back out until something scares them. With me it was kind of reversed , in that having been a Deputy and having been frequently threatened and or assaulted, I see threats most people blissfully miss. Carrying for me, was tantamount to not being naked in public. Familiarity with carrying and being at ease with it prevents others from knowing that I am armed. Most citizens who carry give away the fact that they are armed by their constant fear that someone will see the weapon or the imprint of it on their clothing. They turn their strong side away from anyone they feel intimidated by. We called it bladeing when I was a Deputy. I have been retired now for over three years but still carry. It is nice not to have to look for trouble but impossible for me to ignore it. I guess , I just did it for a living too long.

  24. Mas Says:

    Nick makes good points. For 28 years at LFI (and now with Massad Ayoob Group), when explaining situational awareness and the color codes, I’ve always cited Jeff Cooper’s attributed quote: “A well adjusted man or woman should be able to spend their entire waking life in Condition Yellow (the relaxed alertness state) with no adverse psychological effects.”

    I then add that I think it’s even better than that. Living in Condition Yellow makes you a “people-watcher.” People are always telling us to “stop and smell the roses.” I think the corollary is, if you are looking for the thorns in the rosebush, you can’t help but stop and smell those roses.

    Thanks, Nick.

  25. josh Says:

    I don’t carry a gun everywhere, every day, for those times I don’t “feel the need” to carry a real gun I stick a Kel Tec PF9 in my pocket. ;)

  26. Rich Says:

    Fact is there are no places where violent crime never happens. Just like there are no places where there are no carr accidents or no fires. Wear no seat belt, have no fire extinquiser, have no fire insurance etc at your own risk. The same aplies to carrying a gun. Only if you wear your seat belt all the time are you protected all the time. The same is true for acrrying a gun. According to CDC your life time chances of being killed in a violent crime is greater than your life time chances of being killed in a car accident. No one laughs at always waering a seat belt. A gun is your best protection against violent crime.

  27. Winston Smith Says:

    For what it’s worth … I’m in my early 30s, and until 2 years ago, I believed guns were an archaism for people pretending to be 1800ish “hunters” in a world of convenience store and 24 hour grocers with meat counters. My only experience was .22LR rifles in Boy Scouts Summer Camp as a wee lad, the memory of which I since had enjoyed as an unnecessary indulgence.

    Fast forward to now, I feel more “awake” than ever (must be that red pill). I’ve ditched the anti-gun attitude and have purchased several, and ALWAYS have one on me now. It could be that I’m the father of young children, or it could be the economy and politics. The interesting thing is that my first firearm purchases happened immediately after reading passages of Thomas Jefferson’s writings that seemed to have slipped out of my public school history classes as a kid. It dawned on me: it’s not that gun owners need to be responsible, it’s that Americans are responsible to own guns. It’s the basis for our freedom, from the basic level of self-protection when walking to your car at night to the advanced level of preserving our nation from tyranny. It’s all there, as part of the design, and I wasn’t doing my part.

    To me, carrying a firearm daily signifies my freedom and self-reliance, and I’m never going back.

    I’m constantly reminded of the “responsibility” I have with carrying when I feel the pistol in the holster. Then I look into my child’s eyes and I remember that same reason again. Yes, I have to live in Condition Yellow all the time, and I rarely enter a public place without becoming keenly aware my carry choice that day and what I would do if I needed to call upon my firearm in that exact minute. If it’s that or stick my head in the sand, I’m certainly not ever going to choose to stick my head in the sand again.

  28. Fred Bartlett Says:

    I just read the article in a library and I found it well reasoned and informative. Dan Baum is correct that wearing a CCW weapon is often inconvenient. However, he is given the choice of when and where to carry his pistol which is all that Illinois and Wisconsin residents are asking for. Boulder is a safe city compared to many others in the USA.

    I am a Red Cross CPR instructor and I know that CPR will rarely save a heart attack victim. However, it can help save a drowning victim. Likewise the move to use chest compressions to expel food from a victim is probably the most helpful that we teach at the Red Cross. Being prepared for the worst is important. Anyone who lives on a farm or ranch should carry when outside.

    Dan Baum presents a reasonable case and I think everyone should at least read the article to get a different perspective. I am glad to have a CCW, but I cannot justify wearing a weapon everywhere. As I live in a very hot climate, a .38SPL revolver often has to do unless I go out at night.

  29. Nick L. EMT-Paramedic Says:

    Mas, thank you for the reply! I knew I was doing it right.

    Also, I told you this once in class, but I really do think with the passing of the McDonald case and Gura suing in New York that In The Gravest Extreme *really* needs to be updated.

    Please, please, please reconsider doing a modern update in the wake of this new gun culture sweeping the country. People need to know what having a gun is and what it really isn’t. We need to educate our fellow gun owner’s so that we don’t all end up looking foolish in the future.

    Please Mas.

  30. Ridge in Montana Says:

    I carry a bulky S&W model 13. I would suppose that I live most of my life in condition yellow. Here in Montana, humans are not the top of the food chain. So with that in mind, a lot of us carry while just going about our regular lives. You never know when you might just step out of your front door and encounter Yogi. We also have a fairly low crime rate, but I believe that is because most meth heads and other nefarious types know that they have a good chance of being shot if they attempt to rob or steal from the citizens.

    Even while carrying, I stop and smell the roses everyday. It’s by God’s grace that I get to live where other’s vacation.

  31. Tim Baer Says:

    I fully support citizens carrying firearms while I do not. In fact, I wouldn’t even own a gun if I hadn’t been left one by my father when he died (and this gun is a family heirloom). Our home is very child-safe since it is the neighborhood kid hangout I never bought a firearm, and I am less than responsible with my car keys, let alone a gun. I hope, if I ever get in a violent predicament, somebody nearby notices and has a carry permit (though unlikely in NY).

  32. Kendahl Says:

    Altogether, not a bad article. The one thing that bothered me was that he cited only two instructors, both bad examples. Maybe they weren’t that bad and he was just exaggerating. To be fair, he should have mentioned that there are far better instructors. You just have to look for them.

    Long Island Mike, I agree that there are “freaking idiots … braggarts and bullies who own and carry guns”. They are the ones the anti-gun zealots predicted would turn the streets red with blood if civilian concealed carry were permitted. As we know, it hasn’t turned out that way. There seems to be something about the permit process that selects for trustworthy people. Perhaps the idiots, etc. don’t bother getting permits or are ineligible due to past bad behavior. However, I suspect that even the most rudimentary training opens their eyes to what the criminal and civil courts will do to them if they misuse a gun.

  33. Al Brown Says:

    I am a gun owning 2A supporter that carries on weekends.
    Why?
    I work on a Federal Government Military facility and live about 60 miles away. I cannot keep a gun on my person OR in my car on Federal Property. So, not only can I not carry at work, I cannot carry on the 62.5 mile drive each way either.
    So not all of us are lazy, some of us just are not allowed to.
    But soon my contract here will be over and I can carry to a lot of new non-military locations.Meanwhile I carry after work, once I get home and can pick up a gun, and on weekends.

  34. SayUncle » Concealed Carry in Harper’s Says:

    [...] Massad Ayoob has a look. [...]

  35. emdfl Says:

    I believe that Harper’s published a similar article in their mag back around 1981… A conservative being a lib who got mugged IIRC.

  36. Brian Abbott Says:

    “Thats why I only wear a saetbelt when I feel I might have an acident. Same with my fire exting.”

    Like Al Brown, I work on a military base. In addition, my church holds its services in a local high school auditorium. So I spend the bulk of my time, six days a week, in places where it’s a felony to carry.

    So, for those of you who get self-righteous about carrying everywhere, try just being thankful that you can do so legally.

  37. Lyle Says:

    “I’m fine with highly-trained people like you, Mr Ayoob, carrying constantly, but I don’t think many of my fellow citizens should be driving a car let alone carrying something like a handgun.”

    rc (and Julie); I can understand the concern, but only initially. Large amounts of study of this issue over the last 20 years has revealed that, statistically, private citizens with carry permits are among the most law-abbiding of any group you could chose to observe. Further, they have a lower rate of accidental, or by-stander shootings than police.

    Not everything is as one might at first believe. Some trust in your fellow citizens in not altogether unjustified.

    As for the fire extinguishers– Mas said it, and I’ll echo it. I keep one in my bedroom (there are space heaters in there, a TV and plenty of wiring, plus the fact that if a fire starts anywhere in the house at night, I’ll be carrying an extinguisher as I leave the bedroom) one in the garage and one in my vehicle (along with an extra coat, flashlight, radio, cell phone, etc). I haven’t witnessed a violent crime first-hand (though 2 of my family menbers have been murdered) but I have witnessed a vehicle burn to the ground on the open highway with no help within many miles. I also carry a G20 (that’s a pistol) virtually every day.

  38. Randolph Ray Says:

    That magazine was sure hard to find. I have read the artical twice and a couple of things struck me:The title “A WORN GUN” is that a “worn as in worn out or “worn” as in wearing. It reminded me of the bumper sticker “hapiness is a warm gun”. “Bodyguards to the rich” and “well connected”. Living in a non ccw state. I have seen people who I new (they were not cops) but had a star and a ccw, when I asked how they got the star they just winked. Even a friend who is an assistant coroner carries.

    One day a heard on the radio that a murder had occured the day before on the street about 1 hour after I had been there. 3 murders have occured within 1/2 mi. of that spot. A few days later I was stopped for a train within that same location. All I could think was what they would put on my tombstone, because I was sure I would get caught in the cross fire.

    The other day I was leaving a gun store within spiting distance of Cook County. I had just ordered a S&W Performance Center 625 and was feeling pretty good. In the parking lot a couple of fellows had their hatchback open and were doing something with their guns, I made a comment about them lubing them up (the store has an indoor range), they said that they were cleaning them and I said that is something to be done at home. The older fellow (father) said his wife wouldn”t let them. I retorted that she must not like the smell, he said that,no she would not allow them in the house at all and it was a long story. I decided to mind my own business at that point. I digress.
    “taking the guns from my safe and a sensual pleasure” I feel the same about cameras too. How did Mr. Baum get into the Las Vegas trade show, he doesn’t say.
    As to open carry, I don’t approve either and would agree with him. When I went to Gunsite, AR had open carry with no permit. Openly carrying a weapon gave me the willies. I was afraid someone would grab it.

    When in condition yellow I feel that it gives me the opportunity to foresee
    a possible situation developing and find a solution or bypassing it altogether.
    The upshot is that I believe the author is inherently anti-gun and the
    smoke screen he put up just tries to show that he is really being “fair”. I don’t believe his stories about his ccw classes either.

    His reference to 175 killings by ccw holders, would appear to his real intent showing through. I took it to mean that these were unjustified killings. His clarity left something to be desired.

  39. Randolph Ray Says:

    Sorry for that typo, that was AZ not AR. How about a spell checker?

  40. MD Matt Says:

    Long Island Mike,
    You know it’s funny how thin the line is between responsibly prepared and dilusionally unstable.
    We’ve lost water service for just over 24 hours twice in the last 6 months here…I have a case of bottled water and some mainstay ration packs as a result.
    Ammo is cheaper in bulk, so I have a few thousand of this and that from when I found some particularly good deals.
    Now, after reading a few previous comments, I’m considering picking up a few fire extinguishers…
    As I’ve had my attention drawn over and over lately to how my local utilities and public services can’t be dependeded upon in a time of crisis, it makes me want to castle up more and more to make sure my family and some near by friends are set up for the unthinkable if it happens.
    I’ve always wondered at what point people end up crossing that line between thinking ahead, and going paranoid bonkers.

  41. Cowboy Dan Says:

    To those who cannot carry in particular places or times:

    I once worked in a secure facility. Double 12′ fences, 3 rolls of concertina wire on top, 10 rolls between them, shaker alarms and constant foot and vehicle patrols, multiple towers, etc. That kind of secure facility. We couldn’t carry inside the fences or the inmates would have ended up shooting people with staff guns. Not a good idea.

    Against the possibility of inmates finding their ways into the staff parking lots, we were not allowed to leave weapons in our cars. I stayed within the rules and solved that problem by breaking down my pistol into pieces, slide here, barrel there, receiver somewhere else, magazines a couple of other places. Nobody but me knew where all the pieces were, so they wouldn’t likely have been able to arm themselves if they HAD decided to break into my car.

    For my friends who carried revolvers, I suggested they take out the cylinder and leave the frame in one place and the loaded cylinder elsewhere. good luck to you, whatever you decide to do. Stay safe.

    I, on the other hand, could be well armed within eight seconds of opening my car door.

    If you’re concerned about carrying in church, forget it. Someone would have to turn you in for it to be a real problem, and they’d have to see it to be able to know you have it.

  42. Long Island Mike Says:

    John Lott’s blog pointed to this Q&A from Dan Baum author of the Harpers article. Looks like he is working on a book treatment of the topic. Also I am getting the impression some of his whiny Liberal thinking is creeping out.

    http://www.thewaysofthewoodchuck.com/?p=479

  43. Usagi Says:

    I carry concealed. Sometimes, I open carry. I only do either when I am comfortable doing so… which for me is 100% of the time.
    I have friends and family that have carry permits, but do not always carry. They do not always feel comfortable doing so.
    This is no different than a person who is too sleepy, or otherwise uncomfortable driving at the moment electing not to drive. No big deal.

    It’s no cop-out, it is responsible gun-ownership from my point of view.

  44. EN Says:

    The arguments and tone of the article were fair, but assertions of gun owner paranoia seem overblown. Mr. Baum misses the fact that 1 in 35 US adults is either incarcerated or under the control of the legal system. That’s twice what it was in 1980. Crime has declined steadily since the early 1990s saw a host of laws (three strikes, etc.) designed to take sentencing away from (liberal?) judges. What hasn’t changed is the number of predators willing to do unspeakable things. In fact that number may be much higher; but we will know more about that in the future.

    Harsh sentencing has reduced crime by taking the pros off the street. Unfortunately the days of harsh sentencing are over from an economic point of view. We will be letting these “misunderstood” human beings out on the streets in growing numbers in the coming years (it’s already happening in California). Pair that with a reduction in police services and we have “interesting times.” Or perhaps I’m not spending enough time in condition white, allowing more creativity for seeing rainbows and unicorns in our future?

    I personally favor an end to the drug war and some form of legalization. I’m not a wild eyed, racist, homophobic conservative. However, there’s no doubt in my little town that taking these guys off the street has done wonders for the local B&E statistics, if not the murder stats. Mr. Baum’s assertion that crime statistics are down offers most of us little comfort. We have home invasions in my little community to the tune of a dozen each year. When I first moved here 30 years ago it was unheard of. Section 8 housing has taken a lot of people out of the inner city and dumped them in the suburbs and country. This allows big cities, the only places liberal writers tend to care about, to say their crime statistics are down. Overall they may be up across states. My county’s population has doubled since I first moved here thirty years ago. In the first decade we had 3 murders, always crimes of passion. In the last ten years we average five a year, which doesn’t quite add up for crime statistics being down, not to mention that the nature of the crimes has changed dramatically. It used to be that murdered and murderer new each other. That’s not true here any longer.

    Direct observation tells me that condition white is for children. The sheer number of incarcerated indicate that the predators can, and will, be introduced back into society at any time. Combine that with a government that’s economically self destructing and the idea of, “2 thousand rounds for your battle rifle and MRE’s always by your side”, seems quaint and understated.

  45. Randolph Ray Says:

    For MD Matt:
    15 years ago we moved out to the country. With the W2K scare I purchased a generator, well I didn’t need it then but a couple of years ago we had a micro burst (straight line winds 80+ MPH). Generators were snapped up like free range brass. People were standing in line when the semi’s showed up with a load of generators. They were sold coming right off the semi’s. People were also standing in line at the plants where ice is produced. It wasn’t pretty. We went about 4 days with no power, well I didn’t.
    I have been loading my own ammo for years. I try to keep 10,000 primers of various sizes on hand, I also have the bullet molds for making my own bullets, if necessary.
    Natural gas is not available where we live so we have a 500 gallon tank of propane that gets filled a couple of times a year. We also have our own septic system (not something you usually talk about).
    So generally we are self sufficent.
    Randy

  46. Jace Says:

    My brother and I got our CCWs about a year ago this month. I have carried every day.

    Recently our business was burglarized and many items stolen. The burglary happened at night when the business was closed. The street value of what they took was probably less than $500 but the damages and replacement of those lost items was thousands to our business. The thieves made the mistake of using one of the cell phones they stole and were caught with about 1/4 of our items in their possession. It turned out they were both members of a large, well known, hispanic street gang.

    The day after those two were arrested, four of their buddies decided to come into our business to give us the once over. Three of them came inside, got some water from the cooler and started looking around (obviously) casing the place while the fourth guy stayed outside with a pitbull on a lease in one hand and a pellet rifle in the other. Fortunately I know what a pellet rifle looks like.

    The entire time they were there I was so glad that I had my little friend with me and that when I show up every morning, leave every evening, or walk around town that these punks can’t make me and my family an easy target.

    I called the police afterwards and they tracked down the punks, took down their information, and told them never to come back into the business again. Since they hadn’t done anything technically “illegal” that was all they could do. But the cop who responded told me in no uncertain terms that I had the right to protect myself and my property.

    A few days after that though, I went to the post office and due to the law had to lock up my weapon in the vehicle. Sure enough those same gang banger were walking by the post office and gave me the “stare” through the window. As soon as I left I re-armed and will not be using that post office again soon. I will drive to the next town if I have to or send one of my employees while I wait outside.

    Nothing happened in either case but the intention was clear. I was very glad that I went and got that CCW a year earlier. It did force me to become more situationally aware. There have been times when I have steered my family away from people and places simply because I saw something that set off that inner voice that said something was not right. My wife appreciates that and the fact greatly.

    I have found that there are evil predators out there who see you and me as nothing more than easy prey. They understand only one thing, force because that’s what they use. They don’t care about the cops because they think they won’t get caught and if they do, prison is like a training ground for them where they can meet up with their homies and get more skills.

    From my description of the gang’s actions you would think I lived in some violent urban or inner city area. Think again. I live and work in a rural farm community of less than 1200 residents. You can’t even buy gas here. We have a volunteer fire department and most folks here work on farms. The only reason it isn’t Backwoods is because we don’t have that many trees.

  47. Back In Texas Says:

    Mas,

    I wouldn’t read too much in the mis-matched story title on the flyleaf and cover; I’m betting it was an actual error. Speaking as a magazine editor, I know it can easily happen. I’m also not sure the flyleaf was an editor’s idea…it smacks of the ad department. Either way, it was no doubt an extremely expensive addition designed to sell more mags; obviously, it worked!

    Mike
    (formerly of Montana, now back in Texas)

  48. Tim from CO Says:

    A sentiment that seems to ring true for a lot of us that carry is, what you do is YOUR decision but PLEASE respect what WE decide to do for OURSELVEs.

    While I may politely disagree on what you decide to do in regards to your own well-being. I won’t interfere with your choice, all I humbly ask is you allow me to make my own decisions for myself and not interfere with what I choose to do.

    I’ll agree with Mr. Baum that the CCW “lifestyle” does take a lot of commitment. I for one, welcome it. Yes, it takes a good deal of monetary and time investment to “properly” carry (formal instruction, equipment, training, and continued education). But I don’t feel any negative side effects of living in “Condition Yellow”.

    I guess to a lot of people who carry regularly (myself included), it’s the always being prepared aspect that appeals to us. I realize I will most likely never need to fire a single round in self-defense but I’d rather carry it and not need it than to need it and not have it. It’s just like wearing a seat-belt to go a few blocks and having smoke-detectors in every room not just the kitchen. If we never need it, great. But even if we need it only once, we’ll sure be glad we had it.

    @Mas- Quick question on the subject of being self-sufficient. On the Dejammers, is the screw that holds the key-ring link to the Dejammer supposed to be about 1/4 of an inch out? Thanks in advance!

  49. Mas Says:

    Tim from CO:
    The screw needs to be a little bit above the body of the DeJammer to allow the D-ring that holds the keyring to swing freely. So long as the screw is in tight, it’s working fine.
    best,
    mas

  50. Bill in Kentucky Says:

    MAKING THE DECISION TO CARRY A FIREARM
    When anyone makes the decision to carry a firearm, they automatically become a “Gunfighter.” They no longer can afford to get into a scuffle. Losing a scuffle, means they have lost control of their weapon. The ability to make instant tactical choices can only be learned by training.
    This is a true story of one of the incidents I was involved in.
    In the summer of 2002 I received a “Repossession Order” from a national bank to repossess a 2000 Plymouth Breeze from a 24-year-old male with a place of residence in a trailer park. The initial visit to the address brought me face to face with the debtor who claimed to be someone else. The vehicle was not there but he wanted to know why I was there. I asked him if he could provide me with some identification as I could not divulge confidential information without identification. He refused and I left. That afternoon I did a criminal background search and found the debtor had two prior felonies for burglary. I returned to the address and confronted the debtor with this information and he admitted selling the vehicle to a buddy who lived across town in another trailer park with his sister. A criminal background on the buddy revealed he had recently been released from the penitentiary for the theft of a backhoe.
    The next day I went to the buddy’s address and the vehicle was not there but the subject and the debtor’s sister were standing in the yard. It was about 2:00 P.M.. The street in front of the subject’s trailer ran in an east / west direction. The subject was wearing boots, jeans but no shirt. The debtor’s sister was wearing a T-shirt, cutoff jeans and flip flops. She was holding a cordless phone. I exited my vehicle and using the subject’s name asked if I could speak with him. I was still standing in the street when he replied “You’ve bit off more than you can chew this time mother f—er and advanced in my direction. I responded by holding up my clipboard out in one hand and my other hand up with the palm facing out in a gesture for him to stop.”We aren’t going to have a problem here. I’ll just leave.” He said “I know you used to be a cop. I know you have a gun. I’ve got one too, mother f—er!”

    He reached behind his back while crouching as if to draw a weapon. I dropped my clip board in the street and drew my 686 Smith& Wesson revolver from the hip holster under my vest.
    As I drew my weapon I stepped right and crouched in a weaver stance. Most right handed people pull their shots off to the right and this is supposed to increase the likelihood that they will miss you. The guy was left-handed so that was the wrong direction to move but I was playing the odds. I watched for his hand to start from behind his back. I focused on his solar-plex. I was ready to double tap him. He had turned from a man into a threat. I shouted “don’t move” and my assailant froze with his hand still behind his back. I commanded him to “turn around and raise his hands over his head.” He had no gun. I scooped up my clipboard while re-holstering my weapon and attempted to get into my vehicle but he was coming after me and there was not time to get in.
    I began backing up the street in a westerly direction where the angle of the sun was in his eyes which gave me an advantage. He continued to curse me and taunt me soliciting me to fight him, bragging of his experience in the penitentiary I replied that “we were in the street and he was backing me up the street away from my vehicle. I only wanted to leave and he was making me very afraid.” The debtor’s sister had called 911 and was alternately telling them that I was trying to kill her husband and then threatening and cursing me. I reached a place in the street where it turned north and stopped. I ordered my menacing assailant to stop, telling him I was going to my vehicle and leaving. He told me “I’ll walk you to your vehicle.” I unsnapped my holster and told him to stay put until I left. He replied “you know I’m not armed now and you can’t do anything.” I told him ” That’s right you are not armed but I am and I will not allow you to disarm me.”
    After I passed him in the road I turned my back to him and walked back to my vehicle, knowing that I would see his shadow long before he could reach me. I made it back to my vehicle and left the address but stopped at the entrance of the trailer park and called 911 on my cell phone.
    The 911 dispatcher asked if I was Mr. Meinhardt. I stated that I was and that I had separated my self from my assailant, no shots were fired and there was no battery. I told her my location along with a description of my vehicle. She wanted to know if I was armed and I told her I was but my weapon was holstered and that I would surrender it to the officer upon his request. I told her that the officer would not be under any danger from me.
    I could hear sirens and very shortly two city police cars arrived. The first officer was the APO officer and he approached me. I was standing outside of my vehicle with the vehicle between me and the trailer park. My identification CCDW license and case file were on the hood. My hands were in plain sight and my vest was pulled up to expose my holstered weapon. The other officer intercepted the assailant and his girlfriend coming through the trailer park on foot.
    I told my side of the story relating to my investigation and the incident exactly as I have told it here. The APO officer then asked me to stay put so he could confer with the patrol officer. At no time did he relive me of my weapon. In just a few minuets he returned and said I had a problem. I asked him what was wrong and he said that the assailant and his girlfriend along with the trailer park manager were telling a different story. I asked the APO officer if he would like to hear the tape recording of the incident. He asked “Do you have a tape recording of this incident?” I then removed the mini cassette recorder from my vest pocket and it was still running. I always started the recorder before exiting my vehicle and this was the material evidence that set me free in the face of the false testimony of three witnesses.

    I had the initial contact, the incident, my 911 call and my side of the story all on an audio cassette. I elected not to have my assailant arrested for menacing and terroristic threatening provided no one else wanted to file any charges. I don’t get paid to testify in court. Three days later the assailant brought the vehicle to the police department and left it there. He told them he was afraid of me. This turned out very well but I was trained, I was prepared and I was lucky! No shots were fired and no one got hurt and that is always the best resolution to a conflict.
    Within a year my assailant was back in the penitentiary on distribution of cocain and the debtor was in the penitentiary on seven counts of 1st degree rape.

  51. PavePusher Says:

    Tim Baer wrote:
    “I hope, if I ever get in a violent predicament, somebody nearby notices and has a carry permit (though unlikely in NY).”

    Sir, why do you seem to expect others to protect you, when you do not take steps to do so yourself?

    Does the fable of Ants and Grasshoppers ring any bells?

  52. Jeff Says:

    Read the article and I gotta say, he sounded like he wanted to get a rise out of people. Ugh. I don’t carry out of my house- it’s illegal. Simple. If my local law enforcement agency were inclined to issue CCWs, I’d apply. I’m a teacher and the law would still keep me from bringing a firearm near school. I live in one of the biggest cities in the U.S., in a pretty average area- never had a problem. I read some of these stories and…well, the odds are the odds. Carrying without a permit is a felony.
    I keep a loaded gun handy in the house, though. My home, my wife, my dog. I don’t want them messed with.

  53. Rick A Hyatt Says:

    Read carefully between the lines On Wyoming’s new proposed “Constitutional Carry” Law:
    What they seemingly give with one hand, they take with the other.
    If you’re a person who needs to carry in self-defense, now all’s a dedicated enemy need do is wait for the day you go to a party, go fishing & have a few beers, eat at a restaurant or go to a bar.
    And that’s whether you carry concealed OR open!
    And this, too, only covers about 3/4 of the cowboys in this state.
    Again, as with past Concealed Carry laws they’re just certain targeting individual(s) like myself.
    What was that about the Constitutions they were saying?
    “Say, fishing buddy, could you hold my gun while a have a third beer?”
    Now besides “Designated drivers,” we’ll have to have “Designated gun guards.”

  54. Marty Says:

    Whether or not someone carries should be totally their choice. Just because a person recognizes that everyone should have the choice, does not mean that they must choose to carry. I don’t want someone else to tell me I MUST carry any more than I want someone else dictating to me that I CANNOT carry. Both defeat the purpose and meaning of CHOICE.

    That being said, I believe anyone who chooses to conceal and carry guns is obligated to do so responsibly–including being adequately trained both mentally and physically to handle their weapon and the potential repercussions should they use it to defend themselves.

  55. Bruno Zemaitis Says:

    Mr. Ayoob,
    Just a quick question, if you have a chance to answer. Are your classes at LFI or Schools that teach its courses,recognized by any police departments, or any sections of the Federal Govt.?I was very interested in applying in my area when and if they should come around.

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