THE HEART OF THE MATTER – WHY WE CARRY

I know that everyone wants to hear about the holster fashion show, and I  promise to get that up as soon as possible. This is an article I wrote a few weeks ago, but haven’t had the time to publish until now. I hope this holds you over…

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photo via freedigitalphotos.net

There is a subject that I have been kicking around in my head for about a month now. It has been written about many times in the past in one form or another, and a few times lately on various gun blogs.  Authors of these said articles have delved into the topic of why they own and carry firearms. There are a ton of entertaining quotes floating around social media and blogs pertaining to this matter; I could list a bunch of them here (as one writer did), and call it good. But, seriously, why? You are reading gun blog for goodness sake – which means you probably spend a decent amount of time reading other gun blogs, forums, and following gunners on social media.  You have already heard the clever remarks and read the quotes. While I feel that these little slurs and sayings as to why we carry are entertaining, and at times, somewhat accurate; I also feel that they only scratch the surface and that the heart of the matter is lost amidst all the hype and controversy surrounding not only the act, but the idea of individuals arming themselves.

Carrying a firearm is a sacrifice, a continual sacrifice.

We sacrifice money (and a lot of it): to arm ourselves with not only reliable side arms, but the many accessories that are needed to go with them. We pay for training in order to be able to use the sidearm effectively. There is the never-ending cycle of ammunition purchases that eat away at our wallets. And don’t forget all the range fees, protective gear, and targets. All in all, it’s easy to spend thousands of dollars annually on carrying a firearm.

We sacrifice time: The time we spend cleaning our guns, practicing, training, driving, researching, etc. can equal several hours.  Heck, it takes me an hour and a half just to get to my range. I spend three hours on the road every time I go shoot.

We sacrifice ease and comfort: No matter how comfortable your holster is, not carrying a gun will always be more physically comfortable then carrying one. It’s a hassle, and a pain the butt. But we do it.

We make a mental sacrifice: By carrying a firearm, we have decided that we will live with the consequences of using that firearm to defend. That alone is huge. We trade our youthful naivety for the necessary knowledge and wisdom it takes to carry day in and day out. Part of that mental sacrifice is having to know and understand the law to an extent that many people don’t have worry about.

We make a physical sacrifice:  Because we carry, we are held to a higher standard. We sacrifice pleasures such as alcohol consumption while carrying to keep to that higher standard. We sacrifice the freedom of going anywhere we want and doing whatever we please.

Why do we make all these sacrifices?  We make these sacrifices out of LOVE.  And that is the reason we carry. Not because a cop is too heavy, but because we have fierce love in our hearts for ourselves, our families and our neighbors.

This love is what calls us take on our responsibility to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

There will always be the men and women who carry for attention, to compensate for some insecurity, or because they think they are going to be a vigilante. These people are easy to spot by their tee shirts that declare to everyone “hey, I’m packing today”, their trigger eager attitudes and comments, and their continual need to “one-up” the next person who’s carrying. But I am not convinced that these people represent the majority of men and women who carry a firearm on a day-to-day basis.

The majority of people carrying firearms are housewives, husbands, fathers, mothers, daughters, sisters, brothers, accountants, food service workers, cashiers, bankers, teachers, democrats and republicans… you name it. They are all just regular people who want to protect themselves and their loved ones. Everyone has their own reasons for carrying, but when these reasons are broken down the common denominator is love.

Take a look at history, men kept guns to feed and protect their families. Out of that same love, women took up arms to defend and protect when men couldn’t.  The members of our armed forces take their guns into battle and fight out of love for their country and countrymen as well as their love for their brothers and sisters who are fighting alongside of them.

Firearms rights are a huge topic right now, and because of that we need to be extra careful when talk about why we carry. You can say that you don’t care what the gun haters think; but the fact of the matter is, you should. It is public perception that got us into this mess to begin with, and it’s public perception that is going to help get us out of it. Instead of throwing terms like “trespassers will be shot, survivors will be shot again”  in the faces of the uneducated public (please note that the mentioned phrase is not only one of the things that make us firearms holders look crazy, but it’s also declaring that we will commit an illegal act); Second Amendment supporters should be making statements that are positive, relatable, and educational.  (I know many of my readers are really good at this already).

Like I said before, the common denominator as to why people own and carry firearms is love. What is more relatable then the love held by regular, everyday people like you me? Let’s abandon the witty sayings that society can not relate with, and get back to the heart of the matter here people. We carry because we love.

© Packing Pretty, Grace McKee 2012