Why Carry a Handgun?

Gun carriers are often prodded with the question, “Why do you carry a handgun?” It is a valid question; there should always be a reason for the actions one takes. I can speak from personal experience, however, that it is not always easy to provide an articulate answer to this question when taken by surprise. Often, I answer it with a generic response, “In case I need to defend myself against a shooter.” This is a very important reason for carrying, yet the true reasons for carrying go much deeper than this. So, to help carriers like myself with this question, I have laid out the three main reasons I carry a handgun.


The first and foremost reason for carrying a handgun is protection. But who is this protection for? Who is it against? I applied for my License to Carry a Handgun in Indiana as soon as I turned 18, but not for myself; I did it to protect those that I come in contact with every day who I will never know and to whom I will never even speak. Trust me, I do not want to carry a handgun—my holster often gets hot and uncomfortable—but I feel it is my civic duty in order to protect my fellow Americans, not just myself.

Who am I protecting us from? Although opponents say that the likelihood of needing a gun for self-defense is very low, the CDC says otherwise; according to them, guns are used for self-defense anywhere from 500,000 to 3 million times each year. I would rather not take my chances.

Yes, I do agree that I would rather have one and never need it than not have one and need it, but concealed handguns can be used for much more. What if you were to witness someone being abducted? or someone being violently mugged? or if someone was attempting to rape you? I would most certainly want to be packing if I found myself in any of those situations.

It is your right

This one is plain and simple-the 2nd Amendment gives every American the right to carry a handgun. While the law makes it is necessary to apply for a license and have a background check done, it is my belief that Americans should exercise their rights as much as possible. A society which does not utilize the rights their government affords them tend to be indifferent when that same government takes these rights away. You should not have to expand any further when someone asks you why you carry than, “It is my right as an American citizen.”

More Security Allows You To Take More Risks

I had never thought of this particular reason until after I began carrying. I was driving home one day when I noticed someone pulled over with their car hood up, seemingly having car trouble. I pulled over beside him to ask if he needed help and immediately caught myself feeling my side to  make sure that my Ruger was snug and secure. The person did not need any help, nor did I have to use my handgun, but I realized how much more comfortable I was stopping to help a total stranger thanks to the security of my gun.

No, those who carry guns are not doing so to feel cool, or powerful, or just because they want the chance to be a hero; we do it because we want to protect ourselves and those around us. If someone asks you why you carry and you have no desire to begin a long explanation, however, there is a more simple alternative-you could simply say that it is common sense because, as the Dalai Lama said in 2001, “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.”

Be sure to follow the author on Twitter @calebdickey


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