NOTE: USCCA Customer Engagement team members get a lot of questions, and they pass a good number of them along to Concealed Carry Magazine Senior Editor Ed Combs. If you have a question, you can either ask it below or email it to [email protected]. We, of course, cannot guarantee answers to all questions — Ed’s a pretty busy guy — but we’d love to help you out with whatever’s stumping you.

Jared Blohm
Managing Editor
Concealed Carry Magazine

What should I do if someone is provoking me and recording it on a cellphone?

If someone is intentionally antagonizing and filming you, he or she is likely doing so in an attempt to get you on video reacting in a way that will:

  1. socially and professionally harm you, and
  2. advance whatever agenda the antagonizer is forwarding.

(He or she could also be trying to distract you so someone else can attack you, but that’s a different matter and fortunately less common.) The key to surviving this kind of altercation unscathed is the same as the key to surviving any other kind of altercation: stay alert, have a plan and be ready to move.

You need to keep prepared statements ready for a situation like this. React to someone shoving a camera in your face and calling you a fascist or a Free-Silver Democrat or whatever no differently than you would react to an aggressive panhandler: Firmly but emotionlessly state, in words with which you are comfortable, that you are not interested and keep (or, I suppose, start) moving. Most importantly though, do not engage the individual.

One fellow I know uses the phrase “I CAN’T HELP YOU” whenever anyone approaches him for money or tries to incite an altercation of any kind. I believe this is the perfect reply. “I CAN’T HELP YOU” is not at all what the instigator is expecting. It jolts him or her out of the expected “ambush, reaction, altercation” loop, and the video he or she gets of the incident will be more confusing than anything else. (The classic “I WANT NOTHING” from Terry Gilliam’s film adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas will be equally unexpected.) You will be announcing your total disconnection from whatever stunt the individual is trying to pull. And by not engaging him or her over whatever it is being said, his or her plan will be basically neutered. You will still, of course, need to get away from the individual as quickly as possible while keeping your head on a swivel for attacks from the side or rear.

This isn’t the new-age “verbal martial arts” some people like to claim they can use to “flip the conversation” with an assailant. You will not be able to successfully engage an individual such as this in any kind of conversation because he or she specifically does not want to converse with you. He or she wants to ambush you, get you to react negatively and then ruin you. Keep that high in your mind and never, ever engage.

Most importantly, remind yourself that, as the fellow I mentioned above would say, you can’t help such a person. All you can do is use the few seconds this technique may buy you to escape and go on about your life being grateful that you aren’t as troubled a specimen as he or she is.

Can a person living with a felon own firearms?

After hitting up the USCCA Gun Laws by State page to get the particulars on your specific jurisdiction, combine what you learn there with the following.

In some jurisdictions, if one individual in a residence is a felon and the other is not, the individual who is not a felon is allowed to keep firearms in that residence as long as he or she is the only person who can access those firearms. If you find yourself under such an unfortunate circumstance (but still fortunate enough to retain your firearms), there are a few steps you’ll need to take.

First, get a letter from an attorney and from your sheriff or chief of police clearly explaining that non-felons are, in fact, allowed to possess firearms in residences that also house felons as long as the non-felon can be demonstrated to be the only individual who can access those firearms. This will come in handy if your housemate decides to re-offend and all of a sudden there’s a warrant for the premises or if his or her parole officer decides to visit.

As with every other situation, be prepared to prove that your guns are, in fact, yours. This can be as simple as keeping the carbon from your 4473 or photographing the firearm with your driver’s license the day you purchase it. (Your phone will date-stamp the photo, but this is admittedly of more help when trying to recover a stolen gun.) If you don’t want to do either of those things for privacy reasons, I understand. But please internalize that not doing them could someday cause you problems.

Next, get a pair of lockers: one for firearms, the other for ammunition. Take no chances; depending on where you live, your local legal establishment may be anywhere from curious to downright excited about the idea of trying you for giving a felon access to a firearm.

Finally, be certain that you really are the only one who can access those firearms, and the same goes for the ammo. Yes, he’s your son. Yes, you love him. Yes, maybe he got a bum steer in the system, and no, maybe what he did didn’t merit a felony conviction. But you still can’t take him shooting or hunting with a firearm, and the last thing he would want is for you to have to undergo the same experiences he’s absorbed just for not locking up your guns and ammo.

What are some resources for training at home without use of the internet?

I am definitely biased on this one, but each issue of Concealed Carry Magazine contains at least one drill that can (usually) be run either in a dry-fire training context or with a laser-training system such as a SIRT pistol. But before you go out and buy anything you don’t already have, some of the most important training can be done with less than you already carry every day.

Draw your sidearm from your holster, safely unload it and place all of the ammunition that you carry in your daily loadout in a safe location, preferably a desk or dresser drawer (someplace you will not be able to access it without another conscious motion). Once there is no ammunition in the room, you can get to work.

Reholster your entirely empty sidearm and then start training on your draws. Clear your cover garment, acquire a firing grip, defeat any retention system and bring the pistol or revolver up to a low ready while keeping your trigger finger straight along the frame and off of the trigger. Do not just do this in your normal clothing; train with any jackets or coats you wear throughout the year. Do this from a standing position, while moving from a seated position to a standing position, while seated without moving your body any more than necessary, from a prone position, from a supine position, from a crouch, from kneeling, all of the above with your non-dominant hand … you get the point. Do this from every position you can, dressed however you might be dressed outside of your residence.

Do not, however, mix these drills with any of your trigger-press drills. It is essential that you run drills in which you draw and do not fire. If every time you draw your carry gun from your holster is on the range, and if you fire every time you draw it, do not be surprised if you’re someday forced to draw but then fire almost instinctively. That’s a potentially disastrous training scar, and the kind of draw drills I’ve described above can help prevent it.

About Ed Combs

Ed Combs is senior editor of Concealed Carry Magazine and a former educator and law enforcement officer.