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Now that I’ve lived through my teens and am well over the age that the Selective Service Commission would hunt me down for military service, I can’t seem to find my old draft card.

I used to carry it regularly.

Today though, along with the basics, my wallet contains a Medicare card (Parts A and B), my Department of Veterans Affairs eligibility card and my union membership card.

Good God, where does the time go?

When I was young, we would hunt squirrels and rabbits on the way to school, stash the BB gun in the teacher’s closet and then hunt again on the way home. People used to ride around with rifles in the backs of their pickup trucks. It was a safer time, and nobody had, or needed, a concealed carry permit.

But unfortunately, violence has now become customary … even routine.

Times have changed so now we must change too.

Today when I leave for a public place, these are the four things I ALWAYS have on me to ensure my family’s safety, no matter what:

A selection of semi-automatic pistols with their muzzles inserted into the protective foam of a hard-sided case. A row of black magazines show the Ruger logo on the butt plate and a few boxes of SIG and Black Hills ammunition are stacked nearby. A silver and black Ruger pistol lies beside the others, uncased.

Your everyday carry (EDC) should be carried every day.

1) My EDC

My personal “everyday carry” (EDC) is a Smith & Wesson .38 Bodyguard. In Albuquerque, even legally carrying a weapon can exclude your entry into some establishments. But I’d rather be selective about my dining or shopping options than be caught unarmed should an incident arise.





A black smartphone's keypad has been used to dial 911. The phone lies next to three spent 9mm brass casings.

Time and evidence matter when it comes to self-defense.

2) My Cellphone

If I’m involved in a scrape, I want to be able to call 911 immediately to give my description of the events as the good guy. There are just too many cases of cops arriving on a scene and apprehending the wrong person.

Plus, if possible and appropriate, I want to be able to turn on the video feature because I realize the phone will most likely be seized and the video used as evidence by the public prosecutor.



A black .38 snub-nosed revolver encased in a brown leather holster and lying on a countertop. Two concealed carry permits - one for Wisconsin and one for Utah - are stacked atop the holster.

Part of being a responsibly armed American is following the law.

3) My CHL

I must have my Concealed Handgun License (CHL) with me. It’s the law here in New Mexico, and probably where you live too. Here the license says, “Licensee shall carry only one concealed handgun at any given time,” which eliminates a backup gun but does not speak to the S&W .38 Special +P with pink grips in my wife’s handbag…





A Caucasian hand holding a blue USCCA Membership card. On the tabletop below is the folder of the USCCA welcome package as well as a holstered pistol.

The USCCA will have your back when you need it most.

4) My USCCA Card

My United States Concealed Carry Association membership card. This card has post-incident instructions printed on the back and the number for the USCCA Critical Response Team. I can’t tell you how reassuring it is to know that the USCCA has my back 24/7/365.

I also carry the USCCA’s “Defensive Shooting Guidelines for the Responsibly Armed Citizen” card. Occasionally I’ll pull these out and re-read them because I know that sometimes in moments of crisis, the tongue and brain can short-circuit.

Unfortunately, Albuquerque ranks high in homicides, gang violence and auto theft.

With these four items on me though — my pistol, my cellphone, my concealed carry permit and the protection of the USCCA Self-Defense SHIELDI know I can keep my family safe.

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