Whenever I have a concealed carry class, I always poll the students to find out how often they intend to carry. No surprise, the most common answer is, “Whenever I can, wherever I can.” That would be my answer, of course, as it likely would be for most of our regular readers. In fact, “every day carry” is such a part of our lives that we use shorthand for it: EDC.
Then there are the various reasons that people give for not carrying regularly. Some situations are understandable; they work at the kinds of facilities (hospitals, schools, etc.) that tend to have absolute prohibitions against firearms of any kind, even for employees. But even these people who can’t carry at their workplace often do carry to and from work, storing their firearms in their vehicles while on duty.
A common answer to the “How often do you expect to carry?” question from both novices and experienced people alike is, “Only when I go into the city” or something similar. When I ask them to explain, they often reply that the town where they live has “such low crime” that they have no “need” to carry.
Without going into a long involved psychological discussion, this is a common human trait — even though we intellectually know that bad things do happen, we try to tell ourselves that they couldn’t possibly happen to us, especially in our neighborhood.
By contemplating a series of “What if?” questions, all based on incidents that have occurred in “nice” suburbs just like theirs, they usually realize the folly of their position. None of us has the ability to predict where and when violence will suddenly rear its ugly head. Road rage is an obvious potential threat, regardless of where you live.
And the FBI reports that just about every city in America with a population of 30,000 likely has multiple gangs in their midst. MS-13 alone has expanded across the country, including into rural areas, reaching an estimated 50,000 members.
Besides, look at the churches, movie theaters, nightclubs and schools that have been the targets of psychotic mass murderers. Most of these horrific crimes occurred in relatively quiet neighborhoods.
But there is another, less obvious reason to carry as often as possible: It establishes a routine that could help you in court. You see, if you can testify that you carry every day, the fact that you were armed is no longer an issue. It was “normal” for you to be armed. Nothing can be made of it by the prosecution.
However, if you only carried your gun that night, a good prosecutor could use that fact to trap you in a number of ways. I witnessed one state’s attorney attack the defendant, stating that “he carried his gun that night because he was knowingly putting himself in a dangerous situation.” Worse, since the assailants in the case were black, the prosecutor tried to convince the jury that the “real” reason the defendant decided to carry on that particular night was racism — he was going where “he knew a lot of black people lived.”
Thankfully, surveillance video ultimately surfaced that supported the defendant’s testimony, and he was acquitted. Lucky for him. But be smart. Besides the obvious safety advantage, being able to say in court that you “carry pretty much all the time” takes one more arrow out of the prosecutor’s quiver.