So we've rambled on about home defense for both those who can bring themselves to use a gun and for those who can't, but what about self defense? What about defending ourselves and our love ones when we aren't also defending our home? Well before we go too far, let's first revisit the most important question of self defense. Can you kill someone if it's needed to defend yourself and/or your loved ones? Seriously, can you? I know I'm repeating myself, possibly even harping on it a bit; but everything in the world of self defense comes down to how you answer that question. Even if you do what I consider the smart thing and enroll in a martial arts class, you still must answer that question honestly since how you answer it will determine which martial art you study. If you absolutely cannot bring yourself to kill, then something along the lines of Jujitsu, Aikido, or Hapkido is where you need to go while if you can then you may be happier in one the harder martial arts such as Shotokan, Tae Kwon Do, or my own American Kenpo. Why? Because in the softer arts you will learn locks, throws, and holds that are designed to stop your attacker and, in most cases, force him or her to give up; while in the harder arts you will learn techniques that can, but not necessarily will, kill or permanently maim your attacker. Of course, you will also learn to know when it's necessary to go all out and when it's not which may be the most important thing to learn. Let's be honest here. If you kill an attacker when you don't need to, you have not defended yourself, you have committed murder; and that's true whether you're a black belt using your bare hands or a gun. Stand Your Ground Laws do NOT give you the right to kill if there is any way to save yourself without killing, and the more training you have the better the chance you have of finding that way.
But what to do while you're learning that skill? That's when you need what's commonly called an Every Day Carry Kit, or EDC for short, and what goes into your kit depends on how you answer that all important question. Some things should be in your EDC kit no matter how you answer. A flashlight, a first aid kit, a good knife or 2, one for when you need to open something or cut a length of cord, tape, or what have you and one (if you have the training to use it this way) to fight with, plus some form of a non-lethal weapon such as pepper spray or a stun gun. And then, if you have decided you can kill to defend yourself, it's time to consider a gun. The question then becomes what gun, right? Well, actually, no.
Before you even consider a gun for self defense, there is some basic research you need to do first, starting with the laws of what ever state you live in. First, do you live in a state where open carry (defined as the right and ability to carry a gun in plain sight of man and God) is legal? The constitution does give us the right to open carry, but there's nothing in it that keeps your home state, or even your home town from making it illegal. Secondly, if you do live where it is legal, do you really want to carry openly? I have my own opinions on that question but we'll save them for another ramble so this one doesn't get too long. If you don't live in an Open Carry state, or you don't feel comfortable with it, what are the Concealed Carry laws where you live? Do you live in a state that is set up as Shall Issue, meaning that as long as you pass the background check they must issue you a permit if you should ask for one? Or do you live is a May Issue state where you must show a reason for carrying a hand gun (and in many of those state, for self defense in case I'm attacked is often not accepted as a reason). Then, once you know that, what is required to get a Concealed Weapon Permit in your state? Some just require you to pass a background check pretty much identical to the one you need to pass to legally buy a gun under federal law when you're buying from a licensed dealer, while others require you to take a course and a test to prove that you know how to use a gun safely. My home state of South Carolina is an example of that.
So I think that needs to be your home work this week. Research the laws of your home state and find out what is required and what is allowed. The NRA's website is an excellent place to start as they keep track of that sort of thing. USA Carry is another one. Or sometimes the easiest is just to call your local police department and ask them. Indeed, that may be the best since that will also give you an idea of how your local police view people who have concealed carry permits. Find out what you can, and next week we'll start in on carry guns and what you need to consider.