I've had a lot of people ask me why I feel the need to carry a firearm with me wherever I go. I've also had people tell me they 'don't see the need for someone to carry a gun. It makes them look paranoid and I don't think paranoid people should be carrying guns'. It seems that the majority of people don't understand firearms and, as we know, people fear what they don't know.
That fear translates into a belief that I must be paranoid because I'm carrying a firearm. And that belief leads to the questions... Why do I carry a firearm? Am I paranoid? Am I afraid of something?
The answer is that I'm not paranoid. I'm not afraid. I carry a firearm because it's a tool, an instrument of my desire to take care of my children, my family, my friends.
As some of you know, my family is basically anti-gun. My parents are both medical professionals and have seen their fair share of damaged caused by criminals or firearms negligence. Those experiences have led them to view firearms as dangerous, life threatening objects used only by criminals to commit crimes or as the cause of tragedy.
My mother told me once that she hoped i didn't have a firearm in the house with my boys. I couldn't understand why she didn't want me to have the ability to protect myself and my boys from a possible attack. Why would I leave myself or my boys open to becoming victims? What most anti gunners, even my own parents, fail to take into consideration is the use firearms have in defending law abiding citizens - and the frequency with which it occurs.
Most gun owners use their firearms the same way a golfer uses their clubs. While all golf clubs are designed to hit a golf ball, some clubs are better suited for specific tasks such as driving, putting, or getting out of the damn sand. Likewise, firearms are designed to shoot projectiles and each gun has it's own purpose - home defense, competition, hunting, concealed carry just to name a few.
So owning a gun doesn't make us paranoid it simply makes us better prepared for certain situations. This begs the question of whether being prepared for situations make us paranoid? When someone asks me why I'm 'paranoid' I typically give them this example:
If you're at work and suddenly someone yells "fire" and your workplace has no fire extinguishers, you're going to have to wait for the fire department to arrive... that's a long wait when your life is on the line.
By the time help does arrive the situation has escalated, possibly out of control, and damage has been done. Whereas, if a fire extinguisher was available, you could possibly help prevent or slow down the fires growth and keep it from escalating.
Even the staunchest anti-gun advocate understands that situation because it's common sense. Yet they seem baffled when I take that same dynamic and apply it to a someone holding a knife and approaching aggressively in a poorly lit parking facility late at night. Should you wait for the attack to happen and then call the police after the fact? Or should you use your tool (your firearm) to help prevent said attack or at least keep it from escalating. I, my friends, will stop the fire before it spreads.
Being prepared doesn't make you paranoid or crazy. Being prepared makes you smart and keeps you one step ahead. And in a life or death situation, that one step may be what brings you home to your family.
Lil Red Danger is a firearms enthusiast, firearms instructor, and spokeswoman for the firearms industry.
Raised in an anti-gun household, she first fired a gun 3 years ago and it was love at first shot.
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