The Little Known Backstory of the United States Concealed Carry Association
If It Is To Be, It's Up To Me:
The Little-Known Backstory of the United States Concealed Carry Association
I Get Laughed At Again ... And Again
Tim: It was a Saturday morning and I was excited because I was finally going to go to Gander Mountain Gun World in Germantown, Wisconsin. I thought I knew which gun I wanted, but I was anxious to talk to someone who knew more about concealed carry than I did.
I walked into the store and went all the way to the back to where the glass cases are filled with handguns. And a big, rough guy was standing behind those handguns, sort of sneering at me.
Roy: For real? Sneering?
Tim: Yeah, this really happened. And in the days that followed, I would find guys like that in gun shops everywhere, and I kid you not, this is exactly what happened.
I said, “Sir, can I look at that gun right there?”
He looked me over from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet and said, “What would a guy like YOU do with a gun like THAT?”
Roy: The chemistry teacher, the banker and now this guy?
Tim:[Laughter] Yeah. I said something like, “I don’t know. That’s why I’m here.” I went to lots of other places and never found any real help, so the first handgun I bought was completely the wrong gun for concealed carry. I was never able to find anyone who knew any more about it than I did.
Roy: What about the NRA?
Tim: Well, back in 2000, I was under the impression that the NRA was mostly about protecting gun rights and lobbying for pro-gun legislation. They were also doing a great job with hunter safety training, but they didn’t have much to offer people like me who just wanted to protect their family with concealed carry.
So I did a deep dive on handgun and concealed carry research. I read book after book. I read magazine article after magazine article. Every gun shop I would visit gave me a similar cold reception. I felt like an outsider looking in on some sort of secret gun world. And I didn’t know the right words to say or the right things to do.
Roy: Well, I bet that was frustrating.
Tim: Yes, it really was. So, after about 18 months of research, I finally found a suitable concealed carry gun and holster. My first carry gun was a Glock 36. I would carry this gun in a Galco Ankle Glove holster or a SmartCarry waist holster.
I’ll never forget the first time I walked out of my house carrying concealed. I felt like a human attached to a HUGE gun. I read once that carrying a gun is supposed to be comforting, not comfortable. Well, in the beginning for me … that was certainly the truth!
And you know, Roy, it’s kind of interesting. When you begin to go about your daily business carrying a gun or even having one in your home for self-defense, you can’t help but become a better person.
Roy: Wait, what? What do you mean by that?
Tim: Well, when you have a gun on your hip or in your purse, you no longer have the luxury of losing your temper while driving. You now must be adept at de-escalating confrontation. You must be much more aware of your surroundings. It is a tremendous responsibility.
Roy: That’s interesting.
Tim: I continued to carry a gun on a daily basis for at least another year when it finally occurred to me: I bet there are a LOT of other people like me out there who are struggling with learning to become a responsible gun owner, learning to carry concealed. Ultimately struggling with learning to protect their families.
And this is where my entrepreneurial spirit kicked in. My engineering business was doing fine at the time, but I really felt a calling to help people with this concealed carry thing.
So I decided to publish a magazine. I called it Concealed Carry Magazine.
Roy: You published a magazine?
Tim: Yeah. I bought three books about how to start a magazine, and all three of them said, “Don’t do it.” But I did it anyway. [Laughter]
My engineering business had become successful enough that I had a $100,000 line of credit from the bank, and I used almost every bit of it to publish 30,000 copies of the inaugural issue of Concealed Carry Magazine.
I did NOT tell the bank what I was doing!
I hired a guy from Craigslist to come to my engineering office to teach me how to use Adobe InDesign. This was the magazine-layout software I used for that first issue. I agreed to pay him $25 per hour to teach me. After two hours, I told him, “OK, I got this.”
I wrote most of the articles myself. I just shared some of the lessons and mistakes I had learned over the last couple of years.
It took me six months to create that first issue of Concealed Carry Magazine. It was only 36 pages, and it was mostly black and white.
I rented a bunch of names from a list broker and sent out those 30,000 magazine copies. I got 1,000 subscribers, which is actually a pretty good conversion rate, but I’ve always worn rose-colored glasses. So when those 30,000 copies went in the mail to prospective subscribers, I was literally expecting the Postal Service to be dragging giant bags of subscription response cards to my house every day.
I was so excited about what I had learned about concealed carry that I thought everyone else would be excited too. Even to this day, when the United States Concealed Carry Association does something new, I always think, “This is going to be the big one. You just watch.”
It never turns out that way, but that doesn’t keep me from expecting it.