Should strangers ask if you carry a concealed firearm? And should you answer?
It’s no surprise I’m an open and vocal public advocate for concealed-carry rights. In my book Assault and Flattery, I detail the importance of women being able to exercise their Second Amendment rights and lambaste politicians who put women in vulnerable situations by taking those rights away.
When you look at data collected by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, you’ll find self-defense is the number one reason why women purchase their first firearm. Because of this, they usually purchase a pistol. The natural progression from owning a handgun for self-defense is the practice of concealed carry, which serves the purpose of comfort and self-defense in rural and urban settings. In states across the country, concealed carry among women is skyrocketing. In Washington State alone, concealed carry has increased by 63 percent since 2013.
Because of my work covering legislative progress and controversy surrounding concealed carry, in addition to sharing my own training experiences in a number of media formats, I often get questions on the practice from strangers online and in person.
So Katie, do you carry? What do you carry? What handgun? What caliber? Do you carry all the time? Do you carry on body or off?
These questions can be uncomfortable. Is this simple curiosity? Likely. After all, we love discussing guns and gear. But are these appropriate questions for strangers to be asking? And should women like me answer them?
To be clear and before I proceed, I am not accusing anyone of ill intent, but these questions make me cringe. I rarely give a direct answer. And I’ll admit, when I’m asked these types of questions by a woman, the hairs on my neck don’t stand up like they do when I’m asked by a man.
That aside, unless someone knows you well, this is out of their business zone. One of the main benefits of concealed carry is that the practice creates an environment of deterrence and decreases the risk that individuals are willing take when there’s a chance of a firearm being used against them. We’re taught to keep personal information private and not to tell strangers where we live, where our kids go to school, how often we travel, what our schedules are like, etc., for a reason. (This is taught extensively in the NRA’s Refuse to Be a Victim course, which I highly recommend.) Discussing the details of your concealed-carry habits is no different.
Carrying a concealed firearm is about personal protection and safety. It’s a choice that has life-and-death consequences. The purpose of carrying is to save your life and to keep away harm. Unless trust has been established, the personal question of whether a woman carries a concealed firearm and the details surrounding that choice shouldn’t be asked by strangers, and the answer shouldn’t be given to strangers, either.