Terrorism Risk and Concealed Carry – Should I carry a gun for protection?

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As we all know, terrorism is on the upswing. When terrorists take action, it is always violent action. Most of the time they either start shooting or blow something up (sometimes themselves). On rarer occasions, they’ll drive a vehicle through a crowd of people or use a knife. But the terrorist weapon of choice is either a rifle or a bomb, safe in the knowledge that they are better armed than anyone they are likely to encounter.

Of course, that’s a little different here in the United States than it is in much of the rest of the world. In most countries, especially European countries, owning a firearm is against the law. A few exceptions are made for hunting, but even then, the gun owners are subject to many restrictions. They definitely can’t take their rifles along with them when they go to work and if they were foolish to try and defend themselves with them in their homes, they would probably go to jail.

Other countries that are attacked by Islamic terrorists are mostly Muslim countries. In those countries, poverty is the limiting factor, preventing most who are not soldiers from owning a firearm. They definitely don’t have the gun culture that the Second Amendment gives us here in the United States.

Currently, we have two advantages in facing terrorism. One is that there aren’t as many of them here as there are in other countries. The other is that by-and-large, we are an armed society. But both of these are under attack. Liberals are trying to take our gun rights away, while they are trying to import more unvetted refugees into the country, increasing the risk of importing terrorists as well.

This is even happening under the Trump Administration. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has blocked Donald Trump’s travel ban, which was intended to protect the people of the United States by reducing the chance of terrorists sneaking into the country. On top of that, Obama holdovers in the State Department are allowing increased numbers of refugees into the country, in direct defiance of the President’s orders.

What this means is that we can expect to see an increase in terrorist acts here in the United States. It is that which we must be ready for.

Should I carry a gun for protection?

How can we be ready? More than anything, by being armed and being trained in the use of those arms. When push comes to shove, the only real way we can defend ourselves is by the use of firearms. Nothing else can counter a gun but another gun. And the only thing that trumps a gun is either a bigger gun or a gun in the hands of someone who is more skilled in its use.

When a terrorist shows up, pepper spray or a handheld taser aren’t going to do the job; only a gun will. In and of itself, that’s enough reason to carry a gun for protection with you at all times. Of course, that means getting a license to carry, something that has been getting easier and easier across the country.

Today, most states have a “right to carry law” which means that anyone who meets the necessary criteria can get a concealed carry permit. The criteria in those cases isn’t all that bad. Generally speaking, it consists of:

  • A background check, which will usually require fingerprinting
  • Taking a class on firearms safety and concealed carry law
  • Demonstrating basic competence in using a gun, by firing
  • Paying a fee
  • Being of a minimum age
  • Not being a felon or under indictment for a felony

There are states in which concealed carry licenses are highly controlled. These are highly liberal states, which believe that you should not have a right to defend yourself. If you live in one of these states, my best recommendation to you is to move. Find someplace where you can get a license to carry.

Some states have gone the other direction, passing laws which allow what is known as “constitutional carry.” This means that the Second Amendment is the only license you need to carry. Five years ago there was only one state which allowed this, Vermont (which has had it since 1791); but today there are 14 states that have passed it into law. An additional 20 states either have bills in the state legislature or plans to introduce them, allowing constitutional carry.

But if you are allowed to carry a gun openly in these states, without a license, why bother getting one?

The main difference is one of surprise. Any terrorist or criminal with half a brain is going to scope out their intended target area, before attacking. If there is anyone carrying a gun openly, they will become the first target to take out of play. But if you are carrying concealed, they won’t know if you are armed or not. That gives you a tactical advantage. You can turn the tables of surprise on them, pulling your gun and opening fire when they aren’t expecting it.

Please, Get Training… a Lot of Training

Carrying a gun isn’t enough in and of itself. Anyone who can get a license and buy a gun can carry it, but that doesn’t mean they can use it effectively. Using it effectively requires training, practice and some more practice. It takes a long time to become proficient in the use of firearms, especially pistols.

Become proficient in the use of firearms

To start with, you’ll need to learn basic shooting technique; what’s known as the fundamentals of shooting. These are essential to developing accuracy; especially trigger control and sight picture. Your goal in practicing your shooting technique is to be able to shoot as small a group as possible, firing rapidly.

Let me clarify that a bit. The faster you shoot, the harder it is to shoot rapidly. I have a couple of targets hanging here in my office where I shot one-inch groups (5 shots at 5 yards). That means that all of my shots were within a one-inch circle. I also have a target where I shot a two-and-a-half inch group, shooting timed rapid fire (30 shots, one second apart at 7 yards). Of the two, that two-and-a-half inch group is the more important.

The reason you want to develop a tight or small group like that isn’t just for bragging rights. It’s that in an active shooter situation adrenalin will be dumped by the bucketfuls into your bloodstream. This is a natural reaction in preparation for the fight or flight reflex. But adrenalin has a negative side-effect when it comes to shooting. It impedes small motor skills, reducing your ability to shoot accurately.

Typically, you can expect to shoot at about 20% of your normal level of ability in an active shooter situation. That means that your group will be five times as large as normal. So, that two-and-a-half inch group suddenly becomes a ten-inch group. That’s still not all that bad. Chances are, most of my shots would still hit the bad guy, assuming I could get within seven yards of him.

But what if my normal group was twice that size, five inches? Using the same math, my shots at the terrorist would form a 25-inch group. That means that most of my shots would miss them, not hit them. Worse than that, those shots would continue downrange, where they might hit an innocent bystander.

Tactical training

The other type of training you need is tactical training. Terrorists aren’t going to be like a bulls-eye, sitting there nice and pretty in your lane, waiting for you to kill them. There may be several of them, they’ll probably be moving, they may be partially obscured and they’ll definitely be shooting back. You’ll need to be moving and hiding behind things as well. Otherwise, you’ll look like that bulls-eye in the shooting lane.

Events at shooting ranges

Many shooting ranges offer tactical shooting events. These are competitions where individual shooters shoot against the clock. A scenario is created to look like a real-life active shooter situation. The shooters must put a certain number of rounds into each target, usually in a certain order. The clock provides pressure and gets the adrenalin flowing, doing a fairly good job of simulating an active shooter situation.

Don’t be surprised how bad you do, the first time (or 20) that you go to a tactical shooting event. It’s a lot harder than it looks. In the end of the day, it’s a major decision to carry a gun for your protection, and if you choose to “conceal carry”, make sure you get trained you in using your gun.


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