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Responsibility to Obtain A Concealed Handgun License (CHL) 

We’ve been carrying a concealed handgun for self defense since 1976.  32 of those years was as a law enforcement officer, most as a federal agent.  I carry a concealed handgun to defend  myself and/or my family from illegal deadly force.

Law enforcement officers are armed and trained primarily to protect their own lives not yours.  It’s true that both officers and armed citizens may legally protect another person(s) from deadly force with deadly force. 

Because you can legally do something, does not necessarily make it the most prudent course of action to take.  I’m often asked, when a person should use deadly force to defend themselves or others.  I was trained to use deadly force only when necessary, that is, when the officer has a reasonable belief that the subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person.

If you carry a gun, you need to recognize that the reason you do so is for personal protection, not to transform yourself into a would-be super hero. Carrying a gun does not give you a license to get involved in situations that are none of your business. It does not give you the authority of a police officer. Your primary job is to stay safe and keep your loved ones safe, not protect the public. You’re not paid to “police” nor or you afforded the legal rescourses that police officers are given when they act “in the line of duty”. 

Even as a federal agent, I followed that prudent reasoning.  It wasn’t my job to get involved in state and local law enforcement.  The transition from law enforcement to civilian concealed carry has not been a major change for me.  I didn’t get involved in local law enforcement as a federal agent, and I’m not going to get involved as an armed civilian.

Take personal responsibility for protecting yourself and/or your family by getting educated and trained to legally arm yourself. It’s our civic responsibility to use our rights to be armed. Otherwise we risk losing them.  Law abiding citizens who obtain concealed carry licenses protect themselves and all our Constitutional rights. Guns save lives.

It’s not my “job” (or the job of any CHL holder) to protect you.  This should be the attitude of every legally armed citizen.  It makes good sense as a general principle to avoid becoming inextricably involved in confrontations where you are not directly affected. You take a risk when you involve yourself in other people’s arguments or personal situations.

Except for extraordinary circumstances your business is your business, don’t expect CHL holders to help you out of situations.  Personal responsibility dictates that YOU train and legally arm yourself. 

Frankly, I’m not inserting myself into a volatile or dangerous situation if my (or my family’s) life is not at risk.  I’m not getting directly involved in other people’s problems 99.9% of the time.  If you are with your family in a public place and you hear gun shots, your immediate goal should be to get your family to safety, and not to take out the shooter. This is not to say that there will never be a situation for me that is worth the risk, but that would be a rare situation.

CHL holders should avoid becoming a victim.  Getting involved voluntarily in any situation that has the potential of requiring the use of lethal force on your part carries enormous risks. Don’t  expect to be thanked or to be hailed as a hero if you insert yourself into other people’s problems.  If you do, expect to have your life turned upside down.  Expect to be arrested and be civilly sued as a result of using deadly force under any circumstances.  Expect to be on your own and expect it to be VERY expensive.  The cost of getting involved in most situations is prohibitive. PERIOD.

Never inject yourself in a situation that has a potential for escalation when you’re armed

Getting involved carries the very probable risk of plummeting yourself into a desperate, life-threatening position in which you will be criticized, ridiculed, and denigrated in the media, and by others who weren’t there.  You could be indicted by an over-zealous prosecutor who hates guns and everyone who owns one, and sued by the person shot or his estate/family, for wrongful death, even if you were 100% right and did nothing legally wrong.

Concealed weapon permit holders are an asset to the public. The fact that most permit holders have the good judgment to stay out of situations better handled by a 911 call or by simply being a careful and vigilant witness has resulted in CHL holders being the most responsible and law abiding citizens in the country.

CHL holders are less likely, not more likely, to be involved in fights or “rage” incidents than the general public.  As a group, they recognize, better than many unarmed citizens, that they are responsible for their actions.  Legally armed citizens know that loss of temper, getting into fights or angrily confronting someone after a traffic incident could easily escalate into a dangerous situation.  They are more likely to go out of the way to avoid these situations.

Of course, this does not mean that we would fail to act in situations where the use of deadly force is appropriate to save lives.  The fact that criminals know that the population may be armed at any given time helps to deter violence against all citizens.

CHL holders carry to defend themselves and their family.  The first rule of thumb in the hierarchy of personal secuity is to avoid trouble.

Legally Arm Yourself Citizens BUT IF You Can Run Away - RUN!

Just because you’re armed, doesn’t necessarily mean you must confront the bad guy. Use your ‘situational awareness’ to stay alert and avoid trouble all together.

If you force a confrontation, you risk the possibilty of you or a family member being killed or suffer a lifelong crippling injury. You might also face financial ruin from a deadly force incident even if you are justified in your actions.

Flee If You Can, Fight ONLY as a Last Resort!


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Reader Comments (1)

Good article. I have sent a link to this for all my non-leo CHL friends and relatives. Most non-LEO have no concept of the training and thought processes that should be applied before using a firearm.
April 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLarry

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