Regular readers know how often we at the USCCA comment on how well-suited certain guns are for everyday carry. The same thing goes for holsters. If your firearm and method of carry is comfortable, you will be more likely to have it with you at all times, and having your firearm with you all the time is always a good idea.

I myself carry every day, at any hour of the day or night, regardless of whether I am traveling a great distance or merely running to the store. It just makes sense. After all, Murphy’s law being what it is, the one time you do not bring your gun will invariably be the time you end up needing it the most. But even when we are armed, if we are not fully aware of our surroundings at all times, we could find ourselves at gunpoint (or worse) before we even realize what is happening. We need to be both prepared and situationally aware.

A couple of incidents here in Florida just this last week illustrate how important it is to be prepared and aware. The first instance is a string of armed robberies by a particularly vicious robber. The robberies were caught on surveillance video and show just how suddenly an attack can occur. Most of the victims were taken completely by surprise.

The second incident is also instructive. Last Friday, a 65-year-old woman was carjacked in the parking lot of a grocery store. The Orlando Sentinel reported the following on April 13: “Deputies say the woman was putting her groceries into her car at 5524 W. Colonial Drive around 8 p.m. when a man came up to her and put a pocket knife to her throat. She gave the suspect her keys and he drove off in her 2016 black Mazda Miata. The victim suffered a minor cut on her neck.” In this particular case, the woman was not armed. Even if she had been carrying a gun, once she had a knife at her throat, it would have been too late to react.

Students in my carry classes have ranged from ages 21 to 83, and many of them have been women. I always emphasize how important it is not only to have a gun, but also to be aware at all times, especially in settings where they feel safe. Contrary to popular misconceptions, police records show that parking lots at places like shopping malls and food stores are among the most dangerous locations because strong-arm robberies, carjackings, sexual assaults and even abductions often occur in those places. Worse, those crimes occur most often during midday hours — the very times that many people, especially women, have their guards down.

You would think that with all of the widely covered shootings, stabbings and sexual assaults that have occurred at movie theaters, restaurants, public parks and parking lots, people would have gotten the message. Yet I still run into those who admit that they do not carry that often. Some say they bring their guns only when they go into the city or if they go out at night. They are completely missing the very point of everyday carry, which is that none of us knows where or when a violent attack will occur. So be smart. Carry wherever it is physically and legally possible. As the saying goes, “Better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it.” Then, be fully aware of your surroundings every minute of every day.