The USCCA strongly endorses everyday carry — carrying a defensive firearm whenever and wherever it is legal and practical to do so. In today’s world — whether you’re shopping at a mall, sitting in a restaurant or walking in a forest preserve — it’s just common sense to be armed.
Murphy’s Law Is Alive and Well…
…and it will almost always rear its ugly head on the one and only day you stepped out to go to the convenience store or for a run in the local park … without your gun. “Don’t tempt Murphy” is sound advice in most areas of life but is especially important when it comes to firearms.
A few years back, one of my students found himself unarmed in the middle of a store robbery. He had “just gone down the street to get some ice cream” for his child’s birthday party.
Luckily, the robber left without firing a shot. But the experience shook my student. He told me that he had never felt so “helpless and vulnerable. And stupid. I could have kicked myself for leaving home without my gun.”
EDC Can Even Help You Legally
I sat in on a case where the defendant, charged with assault, was asked by the prosecutor: “So, Mr. _____, how often do you carry your gun?” The defendant, trying to sound nice, naively replied: “Oh, not very often. Hardly ever actually.”
Having gotten the answer he had hoped for, the prosecutor continued, “But you were carrying that night, weren’t you Mr._____. Why is that?” The defendant replied, “Well, where I was going, it was in a rough neighborhood.”
The prosecutor, knowing that the area was majority African-American, sneered and said: “Oh, I think we all know what you mean by ‘rough neighborhood’ Mr.______. You mean that a lot of black people live there, isn’t that right?”
Naturally, the defendant’s lawyer, a public defender, objected. The judge sustained it, telling the jury to disregard the comments. But all lawyers know that a jury can never truly disregard anything once it’s heard it.
Additionally, the three young men who had approached the defendant and demanded his wallet, watch and cellphone were all black. The city attorney hoped to muddy the waters by implying that racism was behind the defendant arming himself.
A Better Answer
While the defendant in the above case was eventually acquitted, it took days of deliberation to break the jury deadlock. But things might have been less problematic if the defendant had a defense attorney who got that one issue out of the way before the prosecutor could use it against him.
Imagine if the defendant’s own lawyer, under direct examination, asked how often the defendant carried his gun and the defendant had answered: “Every day, wherever it’s legal.” His attorney could then clarify: “So, to be clear, Mr._____, there was nothing unusual about your being armed that night, is that correct?”
“Yes, sir, that’s correct.”
Then, should the prosecutor, under cross-examination, try to raise the issue again, the defense attorney could object, saying: “The issue of how often the defendant carries his firearm has been asked and answered, your honor.”
If you carry every day, regularly, it shouldn’t be an issue that can be distorted. An attorney practiced in self-defense cases can take one more tool away from a hostile prosecutor. Obviously, this is only one tiny element in a self-defense case.
But every little bit helps.
About John Caile
NRA Certified Instructor John Caile has more than 35 years of experience in the firearms industry, including training others in concealed carry and practical handgun shooting skills. As the communications director of the Minnesota Gun Owners Political Action Committee, he was instrumental in passing Minnesota’s landmark concealed carry permit law. John has appeared on national talk radio and network and public television and is a contributing writer for Concealed Carry Magazine. He continues his lifelong activism for gun owners and their rights in Palm Coast, Florida.