I was reading a social media post the other day about responsible firearms ownership, and I spotted a comment in which a guy rather arrogantly and smarmily replied that the information was worthless and completely irrelevant to him because, as he wrote, “I live a gun-free life.”

That’s a very interesting statement, don’t you think? And I had to consider what he meant by that. A gun-free life … does this man really and truly believe he lives a life completely devoid of firearms?

Guns on the Screen

Just because he doesn’t personally have a gun on him or even in his home, does he think he’s never exposed to firearms? What about in the movies, on television and in the media? Good, bad and otherwise, portrayed firearms are everywhere on the big and little screens. You probably couldn’t escape that if you tried. (And since it’s not yet the year 2032, the ultra-chill, gun-free “utopia” from the ‘90s movie Demolition Man hasn’t come to be … and likely never will!)

Guns in Stores

Or what about in stores? I’m assuming this man has to go out to shop now and then. And you don’t have to walk into a specifically designated gun store to see firearms. Even if an establishment doesn’t have real guns, has he somehow escaped all replicas? Toy guns? And what about clothing, posters or other items that have firearms depicted on them?

Guns in the Hands of Bad Guys

And what about bad people with malicious intent? Are lawbreakers completely non-existent in this man’s life? Maybe he doesn’t purposefully (or accidentally) wander into the “bad parts of town.” But criminals can be anywhere at any time. Or maybe all of the attackers in this man’s imaginary, gun-free world use knives, crowbars, pressure cooker bombs or other weapons of opportunity to carry out all their evil deeds?

Guns in the Hands of Good Guys

But beyond all of that, what about all of the law-abiding, responsibly armed citizens who are all around us each and every day? Not all of them open carry. And not all of them are easily spotted. People might even be surprised by how many legally owned guns are around them at any given time. In addition to the numbers of first responders and law enforcement officers who carry firearms, millions of average, everyday people have guns. In fact, according to research from the Global Small Arms Survey, a project of the Graduate Institute of International and Developmental Studies in Geneva, there are more than 393 million civilian-owned firearms in the United States. I dare say it would be impossible to live a gun-free life with enough firearms for every man, woman and child to own one … with about 67 million guns left over.

Like it or not, there is no gun-free life. Why? Because there are bad people in the world. And because, simply put, life is worth protecting. You can choose to be oblivious and irresponsible. Or you can choose to be informed and trained. I choose the latter. And so do people all around us. That father of four? He carries. That elderly woman? She has a gun. That store clerk, pastor, lawyer, nursing student, single mother, construction worker? They all carry for personal protection. And I believe our lives are all the better because of it. Not because of the potential for danger or the thought that something bad will happen but because of the opportunity to even the playing field and the ability to protect myself and the ones I love.


About Beth Alcazar

Boasting several training certifications including TWAW, SIG Sauer Academy, ALICE Institute and I.C.E. Training, Beth Alcazar is enthusiastic about safe and responsible firearms ownership. She has nearly two decades in the firearms industry and is a Certified Training Instructor and Senior Training Counselor for the USCCA and Training Counselor, Chief Range Safety Officer and Certified Instructor for the NRA. The associate editor of Concealed Carry Magazine, Beth also uses her experience and degrees in language arts, education and communication management to author the Pacifiers & Peacemakers column as well as Women’s Handgun & Self-Defense Fundamentals.