When grandma packs, we all feel safer

February 24, 2011

Roger Freberg

OPINION By Roger Freberg

Have you ever had to defend yourself or someone you love from an intruder?

Part of the worries of a modern world is waking up in the middle of the night to the sounds of someone breaking into your home. What would YOU do? Call 911 and hope someone comes along to save the day?

This very situation happened to me during a home invasion by two men in, yes, San Luis Obispo. Although no one was hurt, I think that placing my handgun between the eyes of one burly intruder persuaded both of them to run away. I was asked why I didn’t shoot and I said that I thought being faced with the possibility of imminent death was punishment enough. When the police came, Laura was very quick to point out that my gun wasn’t as scary as the fact that the intruders were faced with a large man with a gun, who also happened to be very naked. Thanks Laura for making that part of the record.

Unfortunately, all too often today, nice well-meaning people expect that someone else will teach our kids what they need to know, help us through our interpersonal relationships and defend us from all the nasties in our world. Too few citizens rely on themselves or take responsibility to solve their own challenges. This is not only sad, but not realistic. For example, with a handful of police officers on the streets of San Luis Obispo at any one time, what would you do to ensure your safety and those you love during a home invasion or possible period of social unrest? In San Luis Obispo, I hear people saying that they would ‘reason’ with the intruder; well, that might work.  ;)

You might think we’re a long way from needing a weapon outside the home, but the combination of impending drops in public services (police included) coupled with ever-increasing drug gang and cartel activity (Salinas is a war zone and Santa Maria is becoming one of the most dangerous cities of its size in California) makes this less certain in the very near future.  Possession of firearms and ammunition in Mexico is “illegal,” at least if you’re a law-abiding citizen.  With beheadings becoming a regular occurrence in such formerly safe spots as Acapulco, we shouldn’t be too smug here.

“To know what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice.” — Confucius

In most places in the U.S.A. today, carrying a concealed weapon is considered “normal,” providing you have the proper license and training. There are some places in the world that have lagged a bit behind in this progressive thinking, like New York, Iran and California. Let’s talk a little bit about conceal and carry.

First, let me frank, the CCW license gives you the right to conceal a handgun, but not to use it. Should you find a dire need to use a weapon, chances are you will be initially arrested and treated as the criminal that you might be, until everything is sorted out. However, there is an old saying that “it is better to be judged by 12 (jury) than carried by 6 (pallbearers).” I think that those who care about you might agree.

There is this other little thing called “states’ rights” that many in the federal government like to forget or ignore, but “states’ rights” has a big effect on CCW permit holders (Carry & Conceal Licenses). It has to do with “reciprocity.” When one state recognizes the permit of another, this is called “reciprocity.” For example, your state permit(s) may be recognized in Utah but not in New Jersey, so those who carry and travel (a lot of truckers, for example) hold multiple state permits.

There are many states for which handgun conceal or carry permits are not a question:

“Vermont is (a state) where firearms carry of any kind (open or concealed) is properly viewed as a right not subject to regulation. The state does not require a license to carry a firearm. Individuals may carry handguns on their person in a concealed or open manner almost anywhere in the state.” (from “Travelers Guide to Firearms laws of the fifty states 2010) For more information, consult: GUN LAW GUIDE.

So, how does one obtain a permit? Well, in some cases, you have to be a resident of that state; however, there are many states granting permits to nonresidents: Virginia, Florida, Texas and Utah to name just a few. Secondly, you usually have to demonstrate proficiency and understanding of handguns, sometimes even the specific handgun you wish to carry. There are many local instructors who will help you in this process, including a frequent sponsor of this site. Thirdly, you have to be finger printed and clear an FBI check, and you can’t have a history of mental illness. These precautions were put in place to restrict access to weapons of deadly force to certain folks like: criminals, politicians, and public employee unions.

Let me be clear that I don’t feel that everyone should be “packing a 9,” especially politicians. I know that not everyone has grown up hunting, fishing, and viewing the NRA as the great organization it is — as I have–but it may be time to reconsider whether or not you really wish to go quietly in the night as our world becomes a little less friendly or stand tall.  I have always been haunted by the story of an Algerian father who attempted to pry a brick off his roof to protect his family.  Before he was murdered, his attackers made him watch as each of his loved ones was killed.

BTW, it goes without saying that you should never own or carry a gun if you can’t visualize ever using it; so if you buy one, take the training and practice often so that you feel comfortable.

Be safe.

Roger Freberg is a San Luis Obispo resident who is using his retirement to write a culinary-inspired blog, comment on important local events and occasionally enjoy getting sued for his journalistic excellence.

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Oops, Grandma shot a twelve year old: