By Tom Demerly for tomdemerly.com
People are talking about carrying guns, gun laws and mass shootings. I was in a Long Range Surveillance Unit in the U.S. military and I grew up with guns in my family. But I don’t carry a gun. Here’s why:
- I Don’t Want To Live In a Community Self-Governed by Threat of Force.
I’ve traveled all over the world. Been to conflict zones on three continents. I have seen first hand what it is to live in a community governed by threat of force. That is not how I want to live. Our society and culture develops congruent with our vision. If our vision is an armed society, that will be our reality. If our vision is a society less reliant on arms to solve and prevent problems, our reality will manifest that way. That is how I want to live. So I do.
- Carrying a Gun is Inconvenient.
When I did carry a gun it was a significant responsibility, and it was inconvenient. The heavy pistol concealed on my belt caused my pants to fall down when I went to the bathroom. The handgun dug into my back when I sat in a car. I couldn’t draw it in a hurry from a concealed position in a car anyway. When I got home at night I had to secure the weapon in my house. It was a lot of extra work and responsibility. I don’t want that.
- I Probably Couldn’t Hit Anything Anyway.
I haven’t pulled a trigger in over a year. I am not current or proficient in combat shooting. And, with the small pistols commonly carried as a concealed firearm, I doubt I could hit anything beyond 10 yards accurately and dependably anyway. For me to carry a gun and then employ it effectively and safely in a civilian setting I would need extensive re-training and then ongoing proficiency training. In the military we had to qualify with our weapons on a regular basis. I haven’t done that in a long time. Despite my military and civilian experience, I’m not qualified.
- I Don’t Want The Responsibility of Deciding Whether or Not to Take a Life.
If I carry a gun to defend others, and myself but I make a bad decision and accidentally shoot the wrong person, I would regret that- and cannot undo it. Carrying a gun is making the decision that you are willing, and ready, to kill. I am not- at least not at a moments notice in a civilian setting.
- It Is Unsettling to People, Especially Some of My Friends.
I have friends on both sides of the firearms debate. Some carry firearms, some are opposed to even owning guns. I respect both perspectives. I also consider myself an animal rights advocate, but I don’t brandish my animal empathy in front of someone eating a steak. Ultimately, we all have to get along. I am a shooting enthusiast, I love to shoot, and I own guns. But I do it respectfully. I know carrying a gun, openly or concealed, makes some people uncomfortable. I don’t want to do that.
- It’s unlikely I’ll Ever Really Need It.
I’ve climbed mountains, fallen in crevices, jumped out of airplanes, visited all seven continents, swam with sharks. I’ve never been in a civilian situation where I needed deadly force. The odds are, I never will. I have had to take medications to save my life when I had a heart defect. I still have that heart defect, but I don’t carry the medications; because I likely will never need them again and it is inconvenient. I view having to use a gun to save my life as a very remote possibility. I don’t carry a fire extinguisher (although my house is full of them), a CPR mask or a personal flotation device with me (I live near water). Like a gun, it is statistically unlikely I will need any of those things on a daily basis. So I don’t bother with it.