You’ve got your gun. You’ve got your permit (if you live in a state that requires one). You’ve even gotten some training. So now you are ready to go anywhere, right? Wrong. You can’t predict what chaos will ensue during riots or in other trouble hotspots.

Stay Away From Trouble Hotspots

Remember the rule: If you would not go into an area without your gun, don’t go there with your gun.

The gun is not some magic talisman that protects you from danger. What the gun does is give you an advantage. It helps even the odds. It allows you to respond to danger with equal danger.

But what if, for whatever reason, you rounded a corner and found yourself headed right into a mob? Think about how quickly things could go from “peaceful protests” to uncontrolled riots. Are you prepared?

Don’t just slap your hip and say, “I got my gun.” If that is the way you think, you will likely die.

Stay on Top of Things

Being prepared means being informed. Know the gun laws in your state. Watch, listen to or read the news and think about how it might impact your community. Situational awareness dictates that you have that information. Conflict avoidance demands that you act on it. You can only avoid riots and other trouble spots if you know where they are.

At the same time, you need to consider your worst-case scenario. What are you going to do when you come around that corner and you are facing a riot? What are you going to do if you are sitting in your office and you look out the window and the streets are on fire? The only things available to defend yourself are the things you can reach right now. Look around you. How screwed are you?

Property Isn’t Worth Dying Over 

It is imperative to understand that as much as you cherish your property, it is not worth more than your life. As I said in the past, self-defense is not “stuff” defense. Don’t take a life or lose your life over some inanimate object. It can be replaced. Courts have ruled that any use of force must be “objectively reasonable.” This applies to your vehicle — unless, of course, you are facing imminent, unavoidable threat of death or great bodily harm and can’t flee. 

What if the trouble comes to you? When it comes to your home, if you have the opportunity to retreat and safely escape, do so. If you’re facing an immediate deadly threat, that is one thing. But it is another thing if protestors are marching by your property and you point your gun at them. Firearm Rule No. 1: Don’t ever point your firearm at something you don’t intend to shoot. Besides, doing so can get you in a boatload of legal trouble. 

My ‘Get-Home’ Kit 

If you live in or commute through an urban area, now might be the time to assemble an emergency kit. I’m not talking about three Band-Aids and some tape. I’m talking about having ready access to the tools that will keep you alive in a crisis. You will need a gun, ammunition, a flashlight, batteries, a good multi-tool, an individual first-aid kit, maybe more. And then you need to have it with you.

I recently reviewed and organized the contents of my bug-out bag. It’s a serious backpack with enough gear to keep my kids and me safe and warm for three days in the event of a natural disaster or other crisis that would leave us displaced. As I looked at the contents and considered adding some more items, I thought, “Nice kit, but what good will it do if it is not with me when the worst happens?”

So I immediately started creating a “get-home” kit that will help me get back to my bug-out bag. It’s a smaller kit with a gun and some ammo, some OC spray as an alternate weapon, a spare key for my house, and a few other items I figured I might need.

I guess that means I have my concealed pistol on my person so I can fight my way to my get-home bag and then decide whether or not I need to use my bug-out bag to get out of Dodge.

Have a Plan

My first priority is to be on the lookout for trouble and avoid it, e.g. riots. Second is staying informed (which will likely allow me to avoid trouble in the first place) and preparing for it. If I see crazy coming, I cross the street. I won’t go there. If trouble comes to me, I have a plan in place.