One of the top 5 hot-button issues today is gun control or gun rights depending on which side of the fence you’re on. You may have heard of a “Good Guy and a gun,” but should a Good Guy carry a gun?
That’s a – forgive me – loaded question. While no easy answer exists, let’s examine it further.
Should a Good Guy Carry a Gun?
The Legality of Carrying a Gun
I live in Florida. Here, it’s relatively easy to get a concealed weapon permit (CWP) as long as you aren’t a convicted felon. The cost isn’t too burdensome and a background check along with fingerprints will get the process started. Some states – like Georgia – make it even easier and less expensive. Then there are the Constitutional Carry states that claim carrying a concealed weapon is your right under the Second Amendment and no permit is required at all.
Finally, we come to states like California and New York that have very strict gun laws. Even though they have a process to get a CWP, they are “May Issue” states and aren’t required to issue you one if they don’t think you need it.
It’s up to you to know the laws of where you live along with the laws of reciprocity – states that allow CWP holders of your state to carry in theirs. Also, know what buildings and areas you’re not allowed to carry even if you do hold a permit.
Carrying a Gun Requires Tremendous Discipline
When someone asks me if they should carry a gun, I start with discipline. If you’re prone to angry outbursts or enjoy engaging in verbal conflicts for the sake of having an argument, you don’t need to carry a gun. If you can’t help but get drunk on Friday night with your friends or try to get someone in bed every chance you get, you don’t need a gun because you lack self control.
You need to be able to keep every area of your life in check. I’m not saying that you don’t struggle. I’m saying you need the discipline and cool head to see the bigger picture and respond appropriately. The last thing anyone needs is someone pulling out a gun because Momma was insulted.
Ask yourself this – is there any point during the year that your friends or family would not feel safe knowing you have a gun? Guess what, Good Guy, if you just answered yes, you don’t need a gun.
Carrying a Gun Requires a Time and Financial Commitment
I don’t want anyone around me with a gun that isn’t confident they can hit their intended target. You’ve got to make time for practice and have the money to shoot.
Let’s say you go with a 9mm Glock 19. With 17 rounds in the magazine and 1 in the chamber, you can easily empty it in less than 10 seconds. At $0.25 per round, you just chewed up $4.50. An hour at the range can easily cost you $40 – $50 between ammunition and range fees. Plus. you need to clean your gun – every time you shoot it.
Can you afford $600 per year to get some basic shooting in once a month?
If you can’t, you don’t need a gun.
Carrying a Gun Requires Tremendous Responsibility
Why should a Good Guy carry a gun? Who are you trying to protect? Yourself? Your family? Your girlfriend/fiancé/wife? Anyone that might be an innocent victim in an active shoot situation? What if there’s a gun but no shots have been fired? When should I draw my gun? Should I fire a warning shot? Should I shoot to kill or wound?
These are questions you have to answer for yourself. They will help you decide whether it’s time for fight or flight if something develops. If you ever draw your gun, you can guarantee there’s a conversation coming with law enforcement. If you fire your weapon, you’re going to need an attorney, even if it’s justified.
The only way you can truly train yourself for those scenarios is to pay for training from professionals. A weekend class can easily run several hundred dollars. As you get into tactical training with AR-15’s and shotguns, it can move well beyond $1000 for a long weekend training session. You’ll come out better prepared, but with less in your bank account. You’ll also want to carry insurance from one of the established concealed carry associations for potential legal fees.
Are you willing to accept those terms?
If not, Good Guy, you have no business carrying a gun.
A Note for Married Good Guys and Good Guy Parents
Under no circumstances should a good guy carry a gun without the consent and support of his wife. You’re marriage vows before God joined you as one unit until death. My wife and I are both CWP holders and carry daily. We train, we plan, we hold each other accountable. We know that should either of us have an issue with having a gun in the house or carrying it outside, it’s open for conversation and our relationship is more important than our permits.
Kids and Guns
A sheriff’s deputy once told me that if you have a child in the house and a gun or guns, start teaching your child safe handling and maintenance of a firearm as early as you can. Kids will always be curious about guns, but if you as the responsible parent can control their experience around guns, they are much less likely to treat them with anything other than respect for what they can do. That’s what I’ve done with my kids. One enjoys shooting and the other doesn’t want anything to do with it, but both of them respect guns tremendously and don’t fear the fact that we own them.
But again, this should be done with the consent and support of your wife, hopefully as a fun family outing. Shooting sports are available all over the country and getting kids involved in the safe enjoyment of target shooting is one of the great joys I see in the older adults around gun clubs.
Even with the positives that shooting sports bring, you still have a responsibility to ensure that your children do not get their hands on a loaded gun without your supervision and in an area where it is legal for them to handle it. There are too many examples of children who have had terrible accidents because a parent was negligent.
The Bottom Line
Carrying a gun comes with tremendous responsibility along with a time and financial commitment. Carrying a gun requires discipline on your part in states and cities where it is legal to do so. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to such a complex and emotionally charged issue, but let’s not end the conversation here. As Good Guys, we continue to develop our character by taking these tough issues, chewing on them for a while, considering both sides of the argument, and engaging in reasoned discussion to sort it out for ourselves.
Should a Good Guy Carry a Gun?
I’m happy to help you understand why I do and hope you think through whether you should.