I had the opportunity to speak about women’s personal protection and self-defense at a Bama Carry meeting not too long ago, and I was able to take some questions toward the end of the presentation. One of those questions really hit home for me. It was powerful. It was poignant. And the asker was quite sincere and earnest in seeking an answer. She straightforwardly announced in front of our group of 2nd Amendment supporters and advocates that she did not currently carry a firearm for protection. And she stated that her reasoning for this was because she was afraid that she might make a mistake or do the wrong thing. So she asked how she could gain the confidence and assurance to do “the right thing” if she were ever to make the decision to carry a gun.

My answer to this concern was actually fairly simple. And it came pretty quickly to me, since it’s something I think about quite often. I told her that I firmly believed that she would do the right thing if she carried a firearm … for the very simple fact that she will continue to live her life almost exactly the same way that she always has. Granted, she should certainly train and gain confidence with firearms, and she could continue to work on the correct mindset for self-defense. But ultimately, she will go through the motions of her normal, everyday life, just as if she did NOT have a gun with her.

That’s one of the attitudes I try to instill in my students: Firearms are not a superpower. We don’t want people going places they normally wouldn’t go or doing things they generally wouldn’t do because they somehow feel authorized or equipped with some all-powerful weapon. Having a gun does not make you a superhero, a crusader or a member of law enforcement. It does not make you accountable or responsible for the actions of others, either. It’s simply a tool — an equalizer — that can be used as a last resort.

So, for example, if someone were to verbally threaten you, you wouldn’t need a firearm. If someone were to accidentally push you to the ground, you wouldn’t need to draw your gun. If someone were to steal your wallet, you wouldn’t need to take a shot. Only if someone were to create a situation in which you believed imminent death or great bodily harm were to occur to you (or to a loved one) would you need to use a tool for self-defense … and that tool could be any weapon of opportunity or any weapon of convenience, including, but not limited to, a firearm.

We discussed some of these thoughts and scenarios within the group, and afterward, I encouraged the woman who first brought up the question to take the next steps in her firearms journey … with the understanding that life doesn’t have to drastically change with a gun. It’s the same life. You do the same things. You take the same precautions, and you go through the same motions. You continue to live the same way, every day. And while you may make a few compromises and take a few extra steps (to train, to improve and to grow), you shouldn’t have to worry about doing the wrong thing … because as a responsibly armed citizen, you will continue going about each and every day doing the right thing and living with that extra knowledge, that extra responsibility and that extra tool that may one day enable you to protect and preserve life.