Sooner or later, every person new to concealed carry asks this question, sheepishly, of other people they know who carry. “Would you carry a gun to _______?” they ask. The blank can be filled by any number of things. Would you carry a gun when you go camping? Would you carry to your mom’s house? to work? to church? to the movies? to your kids’ Little League games?
The question, earnest as it is, always bemuses me somewhat. You see, I don’t usually carry a gun to anywhere in particular, but I do go places and do things. And I simply carry, wherever I might be.
What I’m getting at is that years ago I made a decision that my default setting would be to carry my gun wherever I went and whatever I was doing. As a result, if I’m ever not carrying, it is because I made a deliberate decision not to do so right then, based upon some specific reason not to do so. So I don’t have to look for reasons why I might want a gun wherever I’m going. I’m taking my gun with me unless I have a good reason not to.
In every situation where I haven’t carried in the past couple of years, it’s been either specifically illegal, or literally impossible to conceal. Others might have different standards for a good reason not to carry, but that’s where my line is.
When I carry, it is never because I think whatever I’m doing is particularly dangerous. If I think something is particularly dangerous, I either don’t do it at all, or I find a way to do it more safely — such as going wherever it is during the day instead of at night, or traveling with a friend instead of alone.
A lot of people do the exact opposite. Their default setting is to leave the gun locked up at home. If they carry at all, it’s because they made a conscious decision to carry that day — generally because they thought they were doing something particularly dangerous. The only time they carry a gun is when they think they have a specific reason to do so.
I don’t do it that way simply because my crystal ball has never been very good and I’ve noticed that bad things generally happen to me when I’m not expecting it.
People whose default setting is to leave the gun at home often believe that someone who would carry to ________ (fill in your own blank) must be paranoid. After all, there’s no specific danger at ________. So why would anyone carry there?
The only answer I have for that is to ask another question: is there a good reason not to carry there?