As an outdoors journalist of 28 years (started when I was 19), I have seen many changes in gun laws, gun culture and have heard every conceivable argument for and against concealed carry.
I would like to take this space to shoot from the hip so to speak to take down some misconceptions and perhaps start conversations on this important and serious issue.
Point #1: To reiterate my opening statements, the blessing of having carry options in Texas is that we are going against the grain of many states. On top of concealed and open carry we now have campus carry which in a world where college shootings seemingly happen on a monthly basis, there will now be a balancing factor at hand.
Point #2: Concealed carry hasn’t made Texas “the wild West” as anti-gunners always claimed it would and neither will open carry. There will certainly be a more “interesting” period of adjustment to open carry but it will become part of the culture and will certainly not contribute to any more shoot-outs than we already have. In fact, it will likely contribute to fewer.
Point #3: Those planning to start carrying for the first time would do best to go with something they can easily handle and maneuver. A .38 special revolver is a good option for first timers and also for ladies who might not feel comfortable with a semi-automatic or larger caliber. It might not be the flavor of the week but it will get the job done.
Point #4: According to the National Institute of Justice is is estimated that the percentage of completed or attempted rape victimization among women in higher educational institutions may be between 20 and 25 percent over the course of a college career. However less than five percent of rape victims report the crime. Additional studies shows that freshman and sophomores are more likely to be raped than juniors and seniors.
The bad guys always go after the most vulnerable.
This statistic alone should have us considering getting our daughters and granddaughters trained with a handgun and licensed to carry. There are many handguns and holsters designed with a woman’s touch so this would be a great starting point of conversation with a young girl.
As a father, I would certainly rather get the call saying my daughter shot a guy who tried to rape her than she is in the hospital after a rape. I know you would too.
Point #5:Training is important. Being proficient with your weapon is crucial as being able to draw and fire it under a high stress situation puts you in the zone to make mistakes.
No one wants to have to use their weapon but it is certainly better than getting killed by a maniac. Someone with a cool head and who is competent in the mechanics of their handgun and in shooting in different situations will fare better than others.
Point #6: An article on politifact.com cites some interesting statistics on violent crime in Texas since concealed carry went into play in 1996.
“From the CDC, we found reports online covering 1996-2010, drawn from death certificate information reported by medical professionals and coroners, and we got 1996-2012 data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, most recently updated Sept. 16, 2013, with information on murders and other crimes known to law enforcement agencies.”
“By the CDC tally, the rate of firearms homicides in Texas 1996-2010 fell 32.2 percent. Calculating with the FBI data for 1996-2012, the rate fell 42 percent.”
Point 7: A poll conducted by usacarry.com gleaned some interesting facts about preferred concealed carry calibers. The 9mm was first with 39 percent, .45 ACP with 29, .40 S&W had 25 percent, .380 had 13 percent and .38 special had five. A variety of other calibers had much lower favorable ratings
Point #8: Carrying is not just about protecting oneself from muggers, murderers and rapists. It can help save you from animal attack.
A few years back I used my concealed handgun to defend myself from a pit bull attack. Dog attacks are increasingly common in Texas and I daresay you have a better chance fighting off a knife-wielding mugger than rabid Rottweiler, pit or other big, powerful dog.
Point #9: It is crucial to educate children about firearms, especially those in your home and vehicle. Kids are naturally curious and should know that firearms are not to be feared but that they should also not be handled without an adult around for supervision.
Make sure and drill into their heads that they should assume any gun is loaded. As we all unfortunately know, many have been killed by “unloaded” guns.
Point #10: It’s better to have the option to defend yourself or our family than to wish you had that option when it’s crunch time. Carrying can save lives.
Texas has a rich history of gun culture and with the advent of social we have many so called “experts” running around espousing their techniques, opinions, etc. Carrying isn’t about being macho. It is not about a political statement. It is about defending life and therefore we should take it very seriously.
We at Texas Fish & Game are dedicated to providing monthly features like our Dept. of Defense and continuing coverage of the latest in firearms news. Fish and game are our forte but we have long recognized the importance of not only firearms but the right to keep and bear them.
God bless the great state of Texas!
Chester Moore, Jr.