To Carry or Not to Carry

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In my reasoning, if I carried a gun, I was increasing the odds of a horrible mistake occurring- somehow I would shoot someone and not be able to live with myself for taking another’s life. Or worse, I would shoot the wrong person, including myself. Carrying a loaded gun just reeked of opportunity for bad karma to creep in. I did not carry at all; I only had an outside-the-waistband holster for the range without ever buying or concerning myself with an inside-the-waistband holster.

 My firearm life consisted of shooting and then faithfully cleaning the gun and locking it away. The thought to carry every day was not an option in my world with small children; it wasn’t even an option that I discussed. At the time, having a gun meant keeping it away from children. I didn’t have other acquaintances that concealed carried, carry a firearm meant you were in some capacity with law enforcement or the military.

Trouble never waits for you to be ready.

There came a time that going to the range on the weekends was impossible with a young child in tow, then my .357 became a firebox paperweight in my closet. After 3 years, I sold it to a pawn shop for extra money to pay bills.

Selling a gun to pay bills seems like a desperate act, which it was. I wasn’t really paying bills, I was hoarding all the money I could to escape an abusive relationship. Any one married to an abuser can tell you that it is never just emotional, physical, or sexual but a nasty blend of the three. Not once did I open that firebox containing the .357 while in that relationship- even on the nights I called the police to our door. The only time I opened that box was to sell it at the pawn shop as a part of my escape plan.

It took a lot of time to heal from that relationship and there were many hard lessons to learn in my recovery from it. The largest lesson learned was that I am a survivor, I am a fighter. I do not have to accept less than acceptable circumstances for myself or my children, I can have and maintain healthy boundaries with others. I am in charge of what decisions I make, what actions I take, and the consequences of those decisions and actions. This happens to be one of the main reasons I want to introduce other women to firearms, it is so empowering!

Fast forward to present day, I am happily married with a supportive spouse who wants me to dream and achieve my goals. We have a healthy relationship that I am grateful for daily. For his birthday, he wanted us to get our concealed weapons permits together. I questioned him, but why- I don’t have any plans on carrying myself; you can just take the class as your birthday present. He said he wanted me to take the class with him so I could carry when I am ready to and it’s better to have it than not. I relented and found a class for us.

Immediately after the class I started thinking about what kind of gun I wanted. I had been bitten by the bug to start shooting again. This time however, I wanted to go through marksmanship training and make sure I learn the fundamentals. I have found that with more knowledge comes confidence, with more confidence those fears of carrying quell and disappear. I have also learned that having a defense plan is important, if this then that. Situational awareness is paramount, knowing what to do once you’re in a situation is the only thing you can control- what you do. These are things you learn over time, become more confident and secured by practice and employing what you learn. Trouble never waits for you to be ready- you must decide to be ready before trouble comes.

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