I posed the question, “Why do you carry?” to several female friends. Here are their responses.
Barbara Baird, publisher of The WON, stated, “I started carrying when Missouri first passed its law authorizing concealed carry. I took the class, qualified and started training. I had already been shooting for several years before the law passed. At that time, I was a travel writer and a newspaper editor and often found myself in the boonies, sometimes with car troubles. At first, I thought I needed concealed carry in order to protect myself at certain times and in particular places. Then I discovered that I could not predict when ‘bad’ was going to go down. So now I carry whenever and wherever legally possible. I just figure out how to do it … like deciding which shoes or bag to carry. I choose my gun, carry system (holster or bag) and go.”
Ellen Benitz, retired from the National Wild Turkey Federation and a very active grandmother, said, “I decided to conceal carry in Missouri soon after the law passed. My decision was made for personal safety. I had a job at that time that required me to travel extensively throughout the Midwest by myself, sometimes late at night. Knowing that I could defend myself if necessary gave me the courage to do my job with less worry. I was still diligent about circumstances, and I think carrying reminded me to keep an eye out for dangerous situations. Luckily I never had to draw my firearm to defend myself. I did, however, practice regularly, and I constantly ran scenarios through my mind whenever I traveled so I wouldn’t be caught off-guard. I would also attend safety seminars and workshops to keep up-to-date on procedures to ensure my safety and my family’s safety.”
Brenda Valentine, the First Lady of Hunting, said, “I’ve had a carry permit since they became available many years ago. I carry because the law says that since I am a law-abiding American citizen, I have the right to protect myself, if needed.”
Carol Craighead, owner of CrossBreed Holsters, said, “There are several reasons I carry. First, it’s my constitutional right. The whole empowerment thing is also appealing. But, ultimately, the most fundamental reason is to protect not only myself, but, more important, my family, from potential harm. Being a mom, you always worry about keeping your children safe. I want to feel like I’m doing everything I can to ensure just that. While nothing is ever a guarantee, I truly believe that carrying and being comfortable using my firearm gives me the advantage I hope and pray to never need.”
National and world-champion shooter Julie Golob, captain of Team Smith & Wesson, shared her thoughts: “My usual, everyday carry is my Smith & Wesson M&P Shield. I keep it with me because I want to be able to protect my family and myself. Anything can happen, but I believe the better prepared you are, the more likely you are to avoid bad situations—and if they do happen, to stop them.”
Each of these ladies’ reason for carrying, as well as my personal one, centers on the same general idea: protecting their families and themselves. They also feel strongly about our Second Amendment, which guarantees we have the right to keep and bear arms. The majority of U.S. citizens tend to agree with us on this. According to ConcealedGunsProCon.org, in a 2012 poll conducted for Thomson Reuters, 75 percent of Americans support “laws allowing law-abiding citizens to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon.” A 2013 CBS News and New York Times poll found that 65 percent of Americans “oppose a federal law requiring a nationwide ban on people other than law enforcement officers carrying concealed weapons.”
Fortunately, as of 2013, all 50 states have some form of concealed-carry law on the book. Practicing your right to carry is just the first step. You must be always be aware of your surroundings and possible bad situations. Criminals look for easy targets and victims. If they think you’re ready to protect yourself, they’ll more than likely not even try anything.
Practicing with your concealed firearm, and continuing to train, is something you need to do. Regular maintenance of the gun also is paramount. Heaven forbid a situation arises in which you need to use your concealed-carry; the last thing you’d want in that case is for your firearm to malfunction due to dust bunnies or corrosion when you’re trying to protect yourself.
Be aware and be safe out there, ladies, and carry on.
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