Things I Hate About Carrying A Gun

A GLOCK 30 45 ACP pistol with a Streamlight TLR-6 weapon mounted light.

I’m pretty much a Second Amendment absolutist. The fact that I can’t just stroll down to the local gun shop and walk away with my very own un-crippled M4A1 select-fire rifle irks me to no end, and I consider gun control tantamount to treason. But that doesn’t mean I love everything about the firearms world. In fact, there’s things that annoy me, especially when it comes to carrying a gun. Yes, there are downsides to concealed carry. And open carry, but my experience with that is limited…

Concealed carry is not all fun and games

It’s a big responsibility to carry a gun. You’re ostensibly clipping on a piece of plastic, metal, and some funny flammable compounds to your belt, but with that amalgamation, you have the potential to decisively change yours or someone else’s life, in rather short order. You have to know your skills, your laws, and your situation. And yes, even though it’s a serious matter, there can be annoyances. Don’t get me wrong, I love certain aspects of carrying. Selecting the proper firearm, ammo, holster, and accessories is actually kind of fun. But, there are things I hate…

Gun-Free Zones

I get why some gun-free zones exist, even if I don’t agree with them. Schools, for example. The uninformed public sometimes tends to blame the object rather than the person, and they don’t want dangerous things around kids. Couple that with a few crimes of notoriety on school property, and suddenly most educational institutions are no-go zones for those of us exercising our right to keep and bear arms. Even though the gun, in and of itself, possesses no will of it’s own. Other gun-free zones are just grandstanding and power games. We have the right, but apparently the government isn’t too fond of the right, so, we’re legally barred from carrying on most government property as well. Private property gun-free zones, while yes, are a perfectly fine expression of the owner’s rights over his own domain, are a joke. Unless you’ve got some damn fine security setup (including guys with guns), you aren’t going to know if someone has a gun on them. If they are a bad person, it’s too late if they are on your property. GFZ signs on a business are a joke.

However, my real annoyance comes in observing them. If you’re carrying, there’s a process to getting everything off your person. Unclip the holster, unclip the magazine carrier (you should carry spare magazines, always…), fish out your everyday carry knife, your fishing rod, sharp stick, backpack nuke, etc…(Yes, I’m kidding on the last, ATF!)…it’s a process. Then you have to stow it somewhere safe in your vehicle, which requires something such as a vehicle safe.

All the while, someone could be observing your goings-on. It could be the local PTA harridan, an idly-curious school cop, or someone looking to do you harm. Plus, while you are in the GFZ™, you’re leaving a car full of things that your average lowlife would love to get his hands on. Parking lots for GFZs are targets, and for good reason.

For some people, it’s easy to say, “Don’t go to a GFZ then…”, but for others, myself included, it’s not that simple. I do what I can to make the process as un-annoying as possible. A holster that’s easy to secure and remove, a safe place to store in my vehicle, and I also minimize my time in the GFZ, and go during daylight hours. Short of legislation banning GFZs on public property, there’s not much one can do at the moment.

I’m aware that in Florida, GFZ signs on private property do not have the force of law, unless the place is named in Florida Statute 790.06. Yes, if you are legally allowed to carry a gun, you can do so into that IKEA up in Sunrise with the “No Firearms” wording etched into the glass, but IKEA cannot do anything about it other than ask you to leave. If you stick around and make an ass out of yourself, it becomes armed trespass, and then you’ve definitely committed a crime. If you leave, even the cops can’t do anything about it, since you’re just abiding by the property owner’s wishes. Whether you choose to abide by ‘concealed is concealed’ is up to you. I don’t endorse or recommend it, even though it’s really a downer.

Reciprocity, or not

I’m fortunate enough to live in Florida, where the recognition of my firearms rights transfer to about 38 other wonderful states in the Union. Reciprocity, it’s a thing.

Unfortunately, even within those states, there’s slight variations on the law. For example, if you go to Texas, you have to respect the state’s 30.06 and 30.07 signs. Both signs indicate two provisions of Texas firearms law, which allow business owners to prohibit concealed carry (30.06) and open carry (30.07) on their premises, and have the force of law backing them up. Which basically means that a business owner can post a properly-formatted 30.06 or 30.07 sign to prohibit firearms possession on their premises, and if you violate that, you could be charged with a crime. Whereas in Florida, a business can prohibit you from carrying, but it’s policies don’t have the force of law. The only thing the business can do is ask you to leave. If you stay, you are guilty of armed trespass, but just by entering with your gun, you aren’t necessarily committing a crime.

And forget about “enemy territory”, i.e. places like California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Illinois, Delaware, Maryland, and Washington DC. You may be able to bring your gun there, but there’s no chance of you being able to legally carry it. It’s a pain to keep track of all these variations, which is why we need to keep the hammer down on national reciprocity. Rights don’t take a backseat just because it’s raining.

In the meantime, I highly recommend, as always, handgunlaw.us - it’s the most comprehensive resource for firearms laws around.

A right needs to be exercised to work. Buying or building an AR-15 guarantees that right.

Dressing around the gun

Girls have it harder than guys do, but yes, we all have to dress around the gun. Tight t-shirts and spandex yoga pants need not apply. Though I did just read about Alexo Athletica, which seems to solve the whole yoga pants issue. But anyways, you gotta make some variations if you’re gonna carry. Some people just “go tactical” and grab something from Dickie’s or 5.11. Some people go really baggy. The fortunate few in open-carry states do just that, open carry, but open carry has it’s own problems.

Nonetheless, we all have to make compromises in our dress, and it does get annoying sometimes. Especially since those compromises can sometimes shout “gun!” about as loudly as openly carrying can. Yes, I’m talking to the 1911 crowd with their fishing vests, ha ha.

Oh, and did I mention that most rear sights have a propensity for destroying cotton t-shirts? You’d think my closet was infested by moths. My wife has taken to throwing out some of the more egregious offenders.

PDAs

No, not early 2000s-era Palm Pilots. I’m talking personal displays of affection. I’m actually pretty standoffish, unless you get to know me. But I live in Miami, and being standoffish is just not done. Yeah, it’s a conundrum. With my wife’s family in Texas and Georgia, it’s not an issue. Heck, the person hugging me is probably armed as well. However, Miami is the blue part of a red state, so I have to be rather deft when the usual exuberant greeting rituals commence. It’s the culture, yes, and I’m not really opposed to it, but if one is carrying, you gotta be prepared, and it’s a minor annoyance to “shield” your firearm while going through the motions. It takes practice, but you can force someone’s arms up and away from your waist rather deftly. Down here, it’s worth the practice, since you’ll be sparing yourself either a hour-long lecture about gun control, or an hour-long lecture on how so-and-so’s cousin has ten GLOCKs and an AK.

It’s a subtle reminder that the world is a dangerous place

After awhile, you get used to that chunk of plastic, metal, and funny explosive compounds strapped to your waist. Sort of. With the right setup, it almost becomes comfortable. However, I’m not carrying a gun because I want to feel tough or because it’s a cool-looking accessory. I carry because I want to protect myself and my loved ones from danger, and exercise my right to keep and bear arms. Because there’s people out there who may want to harm me and my loved ones, and equally as bad, deprive us of our natural and civil rights.

I’m also positively reminded that my life, the lives of my loved ones, and my rights are worth defending. Are there annoyances because of this? Yes, but those annoyances I’ll put up with to preserve life and our rights.

There are things I hate about carrying a gun, but I'll deal with them to preserve life and our constitutional and natural rights!

A reminder

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