I was putting away my Glock last evening, after my wife and son and I got home from a quick trip out to pick up a few things, and the routine of it struck me. Carrying a gun has become an every day thing for me now. I don’t leave the house without one, and unless I am prohibited by law or some other circumstance, like I’m going to the beach, I am carrying it concealed. But I must confess, it hasn’t always been that way.
I bought my first gun in 1992, but I didn’t start carrying it. After a while I bought a fanny pack, and I would put the fanny pack bedside the seat in the car with me, just about everywhere I drove.
We lived in small towns, and I guess I never felt like I needed to carry it. I had a concealed carry permit everywhere we lived, but unless we visited a big city or a high crime area, I didn’t feel like I needed to carry. I guess I was either clairvoyant or ignorant or both.
So, when we moved back to the Atlanta area 10 years ago, one of the first things I did was get a carry permit. I carried it a little more than I did before, probably because I felt like the areas were less safe, Again, I took the gun with me in the car most places, but I didn’t carry it very much.
Looking back, I also realize I never felt 100% comfortable carrying a loaded gun. Now, I know there are some who don’t carry with a round in the chamber, and those who don’t trust the Glock without an external safety. I am not one of those groups. But I was always aware, and it made me a little uncomfortable.
Then came September 11, 2001, and my perception of personal safety changed. And so did my behavior.
Less than a week afterward I bought my first concealed carry holster, a leather belt holster for my Glock 17. And I started carrying it.
I bought a Glock 26, and a IWB holster, so I could carry in the warmer weather. Later, as things allowed, I added more Glocks and more holsters, widening my options.
Along the way, I got more and more comfortable carrying. Now it is a way of life for me. I want to say I don’t give it a second thought, but that wouldn’t be true. Because my sense of awareness changed on September 11, too, I am rarely unaware of the gun on my hip. But I don’t have a knot in my chest either. I am relaxed.
I carry a gun whenever I can carry, not whenever I think I might need it, because I don’t know when I’ll need it. I dress to allow carry, not the other way around. And when I can’t carry a gun on me for legal reasons, I have one as close as I can have it.
What caused this attitude change? Probably the change I went through, along with the rest of the country, following September 11. Before, I thought I had some sense of when and where I was safe. I know now that that was self delusion. I was just lucky. Now I’m a little more prepared.