Why You (Probably) Should Not Carry A Weapon

Bill Mattocks

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NOTE: Nope, not political. I am talking about carrying weapons - NOT the whys and wherefores of the politics of allowing carry. Please keep that in mind when you reply.

Carrying weapons in the USA is popular. In most states, it's fairly easy to get a concealed weapon permit and in many states, carrying openly doesn't even require a permit. Some states are now also not requiring training or permits to carry concealed. Purchasing knives is legal without any kind of background check, and purchasing firearms only requires a background check at a dealer in most states.

Given that, the choice to be in public with a weapon in your possession is more or less a personal choice. Some choose to carry, some do not.

I do not carry. I think most people should not carry. My reasons are NOT political, but practical. Here they are.

1) Most people can't be trusted with firearms. I know, I know, *you* are a deadeye shot, an expert with nomenclature, and you've mastered self-defense and deadly force laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Except, yeah, no. Most of you have not. The people I have talked to often can't tell me when they are allowed to defend themselves with deadly force. They don't know how to safely clear a jammed weapon. They don't know the difference between windage and elevation. They have no idea what sight picture is. They haven't been to the range since they initially got their concealed permit - if then. They can't fire from their weak hand. They don't know how to aim. The list goes on and on. You may be one of those people. You probably do not believe it about yourself, but, well, most people think they can play professional sports and MMA, too.

I still recall the lady who emptied her firearm into a Home Depot parking lot a mile from my house, shooting at a shop lifter who ran out the door past her as she went in to shop. She hit several parked cars, but no people, thank goodness. She had JUST FINISHED getting her concealed permit and taking the required training. When she was arrested and went to trial, she was indignant and loudly announced that would be the last time she tried to help anyone. This is your general public, folks. As George Carlin said, you know how dumb the average person is? Well, half of them are statistically dumber than that.

I'm not calling you a dummy. But I am saying that if you were a dummy, you would not believe it about yourself. Dummies never know how dumb they are.

2) A weapon you have to carry is a weapon you have to defend. If you should ever find yourself in dire straits and have to defend yourself, now you have to defend your own person AND you have to ensure that your weapon doesn't get taken from you and used on you. A knife, a gun, a stick, mace, whatever. If it's in your hand, a bad guy might well take it from you and use it on you, so now you have to defend against that as well as keeping yourself from being clouted upside your punkin noggin.

3) If you draw a weapon, any confrontation is now a deadly force situation. Too many people believe in magic wands. Guns, they think (and knives) solve everything by simply displaying them. They feel threatened, they brandish. First, not only is that in itself often a crime (if you're not legitimately permitted to defend yourself with deadly force), but second, it's not a freaking magic wand, sports fans. You don't draw it, wave it around, and now everything gets better. In fact, 99 times out of 100, once you do that, things get much, much, worse. Now a fight with a clot-head over a parking spot or a drunken idiot in a bar who's being beligerant is a fight to the death. They don't want to get shot; they do want to take that gun from you. The chances that you're going to have to kill someone just went sky-high; did it have to be that way? I'm betting that most times, no.

4) If you draw a weapon, now you have one hand to fight with. Congratulations; if you were not planning to shoot, now you have a useless hand because you're not going to be punching or blocking with your gun hand; you'll be stuck fighting with your weak hand. Wasn't that clever?

5) If you carry, carry. The day you choose not to carry because it's too hot or you're too tired or the gun's too heavy, or a thousand other reasons, will be the day you actually do need it. Or you'll leave it in your car and it will be stolen and used to murder someone down the line. Or you will just put it on the kitchen table when you get home and it will end up being picked up by a kid. Or you'll drop it in a public restroom because your holster pulled your pants down when you sat down and gun go bang. Etc.

So here's my deal. I am trained in firearms, unlike many. Former Marine MP, former law enforcement, raised with guns, hunted as a child with my dad, the whole country boy thing. I *do* know how to handle a weapon safely, I do train with firearms on a more than annual basis, I've got a Federal Firearms License (Curio and Relic collector). I know the laws on self-defense pretty well. I definitely know shoot-don't shoot.

With a knife, I'm a rank amateur. I'd probably get a knife taken from me and shoved up my jaxie. I would feel very foolish indeed with my own knife sticking out of my forehead after someone took it from me and used it on me. So I definitely won't be carrying a knife.

However, I am 62 years old. I've never been put into a deadly force situation outside of the military. My wife was mugged once in Central Park, so I do know it happens. But I am fortunate enough to live in an area where that sort of thing doesn't happen much. If it were to happen and someone were to demand my wallet, I'd give it to them. It's just some cash and cards I can replace - the bank won't even charge me if they're used by the bad guy. If they want my car keys, here you go. Watch? Sure thing. Take it all.

The only thing I will not do is go with someone against my will. In that case, I flee if I can, fight if I must, and I'll do everything I possibly can to prevent myself from being taken. But I consider the chances of that to be quite low for me. I have nothing anyone wants.

Maybe your circumstances are different. I understand that. I'm not judging. But I am saying that I've done the risk analysis for myself and my circumstances, and the risk/reward ratio just doesn't work for me to carry a weapon. Not a knife, not a gun. They are just unneccessary burdens that I do not need.

Do I have guns? Sure I do. I have many. I'm a collector and I believe in the right to self-defense. Somebody breaks into my house, it's game on. But I doubt that will ever happen. And I don't live with children, so I don't have that liability to worry about.
 
NOTE: Nope, not political. I am talking about carrying weapons - NOT the whys and wherefores of the politics of allowing carry. Please keep that in mind when you reply.

Carrying weapons in the USA is popular. In most states, it's fairly easy to get a concealed weapon permit and in many states, carrying openly doesn't even require a permit. Some states are now also not requiring training or permits to carry concealed. Purchasing knives is legal without any kind of background check, and purchasing firearms only requires a background check at a dealer in most states.

Given that, the choice to be in public with a weapon in your possession is more or less a personal choice. Some choose to carry, some do not.

I do not carry. I think most people should not carry. My reasons are NOT political, but practical. Here they are.

1) Most people can't be trusted with firearms. I know, I know, *you* are a deadeye shot, an expert with nomenclature, and you've mastered self-defense and deadly force laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Except, yeah, no. Most of you have not. The people I have talked to often can't tell me when they are allowed to defend themselves with deadly force. They don't know how to safely clear a jammed weapon. They don't know the difference between windage and elevation. They have no idea what sight picture is. They haven't been to the range since they initially got their concealed permit - if then. They can't fire from their weak hand. They don't know how to aim. The list goes on and on. You may be one of those people. You probably do not believe it about yourself, but, well, most people think they can play professional sports and MMA, too.

I still recall the lady who emptied her firearm into a Home Depot parking lot a mile from my house, shooting at a shop lifter who ran out the door past her as she went in to shop. She hit several parked cars, but no people, thank goodness. She had JUST FINISHED getting her concealed permit and taking the required training. When she was arrested and went to trial, she was indignant and loudly announced that would be the last time she tried to help anyone. This is your general public, folks. As George Carlin said, you know how dumb the average person is? Well, half of them are statistically dumber than that.

I'm not calling you a dummy. But I am saying that if you were a dummy, you would not believe it about yourself. Dummies never know how dumb they are.

2) A weapon you have to carry is a weapon you have to defend. If you should ever find yourself in dire straits and have to defend yourself, now you have to defend your own person AND you have to ensure that your weapon doesn't get taken from you and used on you. A knife, a gun, a stick, mace, whatever. If it's in your hand, a bad guy might well take it from you and use it on you, so now you have to defend against that as well as keeping yourself from being clouted upside your punkin noggin.

3) If you draw a weapon, any confrontation is now a deadly force situation. Too many people believe in magic wands. Guns, they think (and knives) solve everything by simply displaying them. They feel threatened, they brandish. First, not only is that in itself often a crime (if you're not legitimately permitted to defend yourself with deadly force), but second, it's not a freaking magic wand, sports fans. You don't draw it, wave it around, and now everything gets better. In fact, 99 times out of 100, once you do that, things get much, much, worse. Now a fight with a clot-head over a parking spot or a drunken idiot in a bar who's being beligerant is a fight to the death. They don't want to get shot; they do want to take that gun from you. The chances that you're going to have to kill someone just went sky-high; did it have to be that way? I'm betting that most times, no.

4) If you draw a weapon, now you have one hand to fight with. Congratulations; if you were not planning to shoot, now you have a useless hand because you're not going to be punching or blocking with your gun hand; you'll be stuck fighting with your weak hand. Wasn't that clever?

5) If you carry, carry. The day you choose not to carry because it's too hot or you're too tired or the gun's too heavy, or a thousand other reasons, will be the day you actually do need it. Or you'll leave it in your car and it will be stolen and used to murder someone down the line. Or you will just put it on the kitchen table when you get home and it will end up being picked up by a kid. Or you'll drop it in a public restroom because your holster pulled your pants down when you sat down and gun go bang. Etc.

So here's my deal. I am trained in firearms, unlike many. Former Marine MP, former law enforcement, raised with guns, hunted as a child with my dad, the whole country boy thing. I *do* know how to handle a weapon safely, I do train with firearms on a more than annual basis, I've got a Federal Firearms License (Curio and Relic collector). I know the laws on self-defense pretty well. I definitely know shoot-don't shoot.

With a knife, I'm a rank amateur. I'd probably get a knife taken from me and shoved up my jaxie. I would feel very foolish indeed with my own knife sticking out of my forehead after someone took it from me and used it on me. So I definitely won't be carrying a knife.

However, I am 62 years old. I've never been put into a deadly force situation outside of the military. My wife was mugged once in Central Park, so I do know it happens. But I am fortunate enough to live in an area where that sort of thing doesn't happen much. If it were to happen and someone were to demand my wallet, I'd give it to them. It's just some cash and cards I can replace - the bank won't even charge me if they're used by the bad guy. If they want my car keys, here you go. Watch? Sure thing. Take it all.

The only thing I will not do is go with someone against my will. In that case, I flee if I can, fight if I must, and I'll do everything I possibly can to prevent myself from being taken. But I consider the chances of that to be quite low for me. I have nothing anyone wants.

Maybe your circumstances are different. I understand that. I'm not judging. But I am saying that I've done the risk analysis for myself and my circumstances, and the risk/reward ratio just doesn't work for me to carry a weapon. Not a knife, not a gun. They are just unneccessary burdens that I do not need.

Do I have guns? Sure I do. I have many. I'm a collector and I believe in the right to self-defense. Somebody breaks into my house, it's game on. But I doubt that will ever happen. And I don't live with children, so I don't have that liability to worry about.
Ill add one thought that you hit upon but in my opinion needs a bit more emphasis: most people, for their entire life, will never have a reason to need a weapon. Of course there are some exceptions, but for the most part, for nearly everyone, the world really really really just is not that scary a place. Danger does not lurk around every corner. Stop being afraid.
 
I think most people should not carry.
Will you carry firearm when you hike and camp in the forest?

forest.jpg
 
Will you carry firearm when you hike and camp in the forest?

View attachment 29902
I would as the environment (depending which forest) offers its own set of threats. I've lived near mountain lions, black bears and wildcats where an attack cannot be handled barehanded. An air horn may work, but a gunshot is just as good and offers the option of deadly force. Depending on the remoteness, one may have to hunt up some food. And, of course, we have all heard of crazy axe murderers or drugged out nuts said to be lurking around. I would always have a large knife with me at all times whether I had a gun or not. One must respect the self-reliancy required to travel in the wilderness.
 
Firstly, thank you for bringing this up and being thoughtful about these factors, dynamics and critical points of weapon carrying. Also being able to speak about these topics free of politics helps others to understand a different perceptive than theirs.
Most people can't be trusted with firearms. I know, I know, *you* are a deadeye shot, an expert with nomenclature, and you've mastered self-defense and deadly force laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Except, yeah, no. Most of you have not. The people I have talked to often can't tell me when they are allowed to defend themselves with deadly force. They don't know how to safely clear a jammed weapon. They don't know the difference between windage and elevation. They have no idea what sight picture is. They haven't been to the range since they initially got their concealed permit - if then. They can't fire from their weak hand. They don't know how to aim. The list goes on and on. You may be one of those people. You probably do not believe it about yourself, but, well, most people think they can play professional sports and MMA, too.
I've known too many people like the ones you describe in your post. They have a lot of firearms, talk about them a lot and have strong opinions on using them. However, they couldn't hit the broad side of a barn if their life depended on it. They never to go a range and have zero empty-hand combat experience. Inexperienced people wielding live weapons is extremely dangerous to everyone around them including themself.
A weapon you have to carry is a weapon you have to defend. If you should ever find yourself in dire straits and have to defend yourself, now you have to defend your own person AND you have to ensure that your weapon doesn't get taken from you and used on you. A knife, a gun, a stick, mace, whatever. If it's in your hand, a bad guy might well take it from you and use it on you, so now you have to defend against that as well as keeping yourself from being clouted upside your punkin noggin.
Weapon retention is a critical component to any weapon training. We train it routinely in Kali and understand the importance of it, you can't use your weapon if you can't keep your weapon.

If you draw a weapon, any confrontation is now a deadly force situation. Too many people believe in magic wands. Guns, they think (and knives) solve everything by simply displaying them. They feel threatened, they brandish. First, not only is that in itself often a crime (if you're not legitimately permitted to defend yourself with deadly force), but second, it's not a freaking magic wand, sports fans. You don't draw it, wave it around, and now everything gets better. In fact, 99 times out of 100, once you do that, things get much, much, worse. Now a fight with a clot-head over a parking spot or a drunken idiot in a bar who's being beligerant is a fight to the death. They don't want to get shot; they do want to take that gun from you. The chances that you're going to have to kill someone just went sky-high; did it have to be that way? I'm betting that most times, no.
This is the only part I partially disagree with you on. Though I agree deploying your weapon too early/needlessly in the wrong situation is a serious problem that does happen, I also see there are instances when someone is seeking a confrontation sees you're prepared to deal with them(armed or unarmed), they are less likely to follow through with doing so. Not saying you're wrong, just that there are situations where weapon deployment can deter further escalation, not always though.

I am trained in firearms, unlike many. Former Marine MP, former law enforcement, raised with guns, hunted as a child with my dad, the whole country boy thing. I *do* know how to handle a weapon safely, I do train with firearms on a more than annual basis, I've got a Federal Firearms License (Curio and Relic collector). I know the laws on self-defense pretty well. I definitely know shoot-don't shoot.
Many of those I've spoken to about firearms have real experience as yourself and hold many of the same opinions as you do. From my experiences, it's more so the recreationalists hold some of the different opinions that you refer to.

With a knife, I'm a rank amateur. I'd probably get a knife taken from me and shoved up my jaxie. I would feel very foolish indeed with my own knife sticking out of my forehead after someone took it from me and used it on me. So I definitely won't be carrying a knife.
I have a decent amount of experience with knives and blades in general, I feel comfortable carrying a knife for I have trained with it as long as I have. It's through that training I've learned the application/dynamics of a blade and more importantly its' limitations. I had to google the definition of "Jaxie" lol.

The only thing I will not do is go with someone against my will. In that case, I flee if I can, fight if I must, and I'll do everything I possibly can to prevent myself from being taken. But I consider the chances of that to be quite low for me. I have nothing anyone wants.
I feel this could be an entirely complete topic itself. This is where some of the criticism comes into with gun disarms.

Maybe your circumstances are different. I understand that. I'm not judging. But I am saying that I've done the risk analysis for myself and my circumstances, and the risk/reward ratio just doesn't work for me to carry a weapon. Not a knife, not a gun. They are just unneccessary burdens that I do not need.
I completely understand and agree with your outlook on differing opinions, and I feel the dynamics(legal and application) of weapon carrying should be understood on both sides.
 
I would as the environment (depending which forest) offers its own set of threats. I've lived near mountain lions, black bears and wildcats where an attack cannot be handled barehanded.
1. Man fight against animal.
2. Man fight against another man.

Even if we want to talk about fight without fighting, avoid fighting, inner peace, tolerance, de-escalation, ..., I just don't know how that can apply to "man fight against animal".
 
Ill add one thought that you hit upon but in my opinion needs a bit more emphasis: most people, for their entire life, will never have a reason to need a weapon. Of course there are some exceptions, but for the most part, for nearly everyone, the world really really really just is not that scary a place. Danger does not lurk around every corner. Stop being afraid.
I've mentioned before that the same people who prep for the end times or whatever by stockpiling guns, ammo, water, and MREs, do not have a fire extinguisher, even though a house fire is far more statistically likely. Huge trucks and no idea where they're going to get gasoline for it when the power goes out. Don't know how to do basic weather prediction, don't know a funnel cloud from a funnel cake. Seriously, they're just playing make believe for the most part.
 
Maybe your circumstances are different. I understand that. I'm not judging. But I am saying that I've done the risk analysis for myself and my circumstances, and the risk/reward ratio just doesn't work for me to carry a weapon. Not a knife, not a gun. They are just unneccessary burdens that I do not need.
Most people don't bother with doing self-analysis anymore. A lot of people don't bother with risk analysis at all either. The only thing that gives me hope is that things were worse in the past and humans made it through that. Hopefully, humans will make it through things again, but it's going to come at a cost. It always does.
 
Will you carry firearm when you hike and camp in the forest?

View attachment 29902
Things I carry in the forest. (Medium hikes)
1. Phone.
2. Knife
3. Hiking stick (staff)
4. Water
5. Watch
6. Compass.

Short hikes. Compass isn't needed Keep walking trails are either present or if you keep walking in one direction, you'll eventually find a road or highway.
1. Phone
2. Knife
3. Watch
5. Water
 
Things I carry in the forest. (Medium hikes)
1. Phone.
2. Knife
3. Hiking stick (staff)
4. Water
5. Watch
6. Compass.

Short hikes. Compass isn't needed Keep walking trails are either present or if you keep walking in one direction, you'll eventually find a road or highway.
1. Phone
2. Knife
3. Watch
5. Water
The things about being in the forest in the U.S. is that it's tame in comparison to being in the woods in other places. My biggest animal threat is a rabid animal. I don't have to navigate things like this.



Or this.
 
The things about being in the forest in the U.S. is that it's tame in comparison to being in the woods in other places. My biggest animal threat is a rabid animal. I don't have to navigate things like this.



Or this.
In most forests I've been in, black bears would be the most likely attack. That's true in every forest I can think of in NC, SC, and GA (southeastern US, for those outside the country). Far more likely than a rabid animal encounter.
 
Im FMA and I dont carry a weapon. Engaging in mortal combat, has so many implications. Moral, legal, civil and your own physical wellbeing. Unless youre law enforcement, bouncer or in a suspect place at suspect times, the chances of a life threatening situation is super small. Im not going to fight for something that can be replaced. I have confidence in my MA abilities with the hope that Ill never really need them.
 
In my opinion, of private citizens that carry firearms, less than twenty percent have the common sense and necessary responsibility to do so.

Of those (again in my opinion) less than a third have the proper training in both use and in safety.

What could possibly go wrong? Thank goodness there's no gun violence in the United States.
 
Im FMA and I dont carry a weapon. Engaging in mortal combat, has so many implications. Moral, legal, civil and your own physical wellbeing. Unless youre law enforcement, bouncer or in a suspect place at suspect times, the chances of a life threatening situation is super small. Im not going to fight for something that can be replaced. I have confidence in my MA abilities with the hope that Ill never really need them.
I would hope that fighting to the death is like falling through the tree tops. It's not something you seek , but if you are in that situation you are going to do all you can to stop your fall.
 
I'm not calling you a dummy. But I am saying that if you were a dummy, you would not believe it about yourself. Dummies never know how dumb they are.

Behind the keyboard, sometimes I feel bloody brilliant! ....even if I'm a very slow typist.

But in real life, I'm often a dummy. But at least I take some pride in being aware of the fact. So yeah, I agree with everything you say. I don't carry a firearm or knife or other lethal weapon ....because when I'm really angry, I might be just fool enough to try and use it. :(

I do often carry a compact flashlight, and have some tools in my truck that could be used as weapons, but are not carried for that purpose.

As I get older, slower, and hopefully a little wiser, I've made it a persistent habit to avoid and/or de-escalate and escape from conflict a lot better. Can't see how having a weapon in my hand will help with that. Not a bit.
 
I think you are correct

1. First and foremost one should learn the laws of the area. When and where they can carry, open or concealed, knives etc.

in Texas we can carry with no permit but depending on location we cant. Same with knives, in certain locations certain knives and lengths are prohibited in others theyre not.

2. one should train how to use the weapon.

3. learn what level of force you can use. Ive heard Many have duty to retreat, again in my home state we can neutralize the threat to ourselves, home, property.

saw a video where a famous YouTuber called cart narc Was in Texas harassing a worker and was young to put a sticker on his work vehicle, the driver pulled out his gun and racked it to which the prankster ran. He then called the cops to which he was told yeah you could be shot for that buddy, welcome to Texas.

in other states things are way more restrictive.
 
I very much agree.
Most Americans really are too stupid to carry a gun.
As a 2A advocate 99% of Americans are too stupid for including police and military members.
Too many people let their political views override their common sense(shooting as a shoplifter for example. Either her political positions tell her shoplifting justifies deadly force, or she was racist and the thief had a certain skin tone.)

Unfortunately I have good need for it, years of stalking, and today overhearing the man who runs the halfway house next door is a klansman (gf is non-white) explains the skinhead who tried to kick my door down a few months ago.

Just saw a Reddit post last night of a video of a concert security guard blasting a fan who got on stage from behind. Sent him flying 5+ ft and almost off the stage.

The overwhelming consensus in comments was, theres nothing wrong with what happened it looks bad, but色 came up a lot.
People have no clue what reasonable force is these days.
 
It must be strange living in a country where people are allowed to carry lethal force weapons - I am glad our country does not condone such laws.
 

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