Currently Browsing: Carrying / Self-Defense

Chicken Little on National Reciprocity

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s editorial board doesn’t like Act 192 very much, or National Reciprocity. The media has been chicken little on this issue since the 1980s, and it’s always been a big nothing burger once it passes and blood fails to run in the streets. I also very much enjoy this meme promulgated by ignorant journalists:

The bill would hold hostage states with stronger gun laws (Pennsylvania, for instance) to those with weaker ones (such as Florida).

What? Despite our opponents best efforts to lie this meme into existence basic research, even ten minutes on Google, would have shown this to be complete nonsense peddled by groups who aren’t afraid to lie to make their case.

All it took to get my PA License to Carry was to go down to the local County Office, fill out a form, get my photo taken, pay $26 dollars, and one week later the license came in the mail after clearing the PICS check. That’s it.

To get a Florida license, I first had to get a training certificate. That wasn’t free. I think the one day course cost about 150 dollars. Next, I had to go down to my local police station and get fingerprinted. They charge ten dollars to do that. I had to get passport photos, so another $15 or so dollars. I had to fill out a form that was much more involved than the one Pennsylvania requires. I had to write out a check for 112 dollars, and send the application packet in. I had it sent back, because they require the LEO contact information to be on the fingerprint card, and I had forgotten that. Then I had to wait while they ran the FBI check. The license came in about 4 weeks.

No one who has ever had to use both systems would argue that Florida has the weaker system.

I’d also point out that no one on the editorial board even bothered to look up that Pennsylvania and Florida already have reciprocity, and that the bill currently in Congress would not allow a state resident to carry in her-or-her own state solely on an out-of-state license. So with regards to their objection about Florida, the bill in Congress would change absolutely nothing.

The New Glock 43

Massad Ayoob takes a look at the new Glock 43. I may be interested in this firearm. I tried the .380 caliber 42 when it came out, and thought it was a bit large for not being a 9mm. This may be something I could carry in summer, I’d have to see. I may have to get one, just to see what can be done. I’ve found Bitter’s SIG 239 to carry easier than my Glock 19, but I’d prefer something like the 43 over a SIG, since I’m used to Glocks.

I carry a Glock 19 in the winter when it’s easy to conceal under a jacket. Once upon a time, when I was younger and thinner, I successfully concealed a Glock 19 in the summer with just an untucked shirt. I’ve found as I’ve gotten rounder, the 19 is hard to conceal without a jacket, since my waist is no longer thinner than my shoulders. Maybe the 43 is small enough as to not print. I usually carry the 19 at 4:00. I used to be able to carry it at 2:00 without much problem, but again, being rounder makes that much less comfortable these days.

I’ve been looking for a alternative to the Ruger LCP for pocket carry, even if it’s a little bigger, but these single stack offerings from Glock seem too big for the pocket. My major complaint about the LCP are the front sights are useless. If you buy an LCP or its twin the Kel-Tec P-3AT, you really really need the laser option. I should have gotten the laser, but then Bitter went and got me a lovely Mitch Rosen pocket holster to go with the LCP for Christmas, and it won’t accommodate the laser. I hated for it to go in the dead holster drawer ahead of its time, but to this day, I still can’t find the front sight on the LCP when I draw it, so it’s time for a change sometime in the not so distant future. Whether that’s a laser and a new holster, or another pistol, I don’t know yet. I’ve looked at other options, like the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380, but it’s a bit bulkier, even if I like the feel better than the LCP.

Anyone out there successfully pocket carrying a firearm that isn’t an LCP or P-3AT? Keep in mind I don’t like deep concealment options. Pocket carry is slow enough on the draw as it is.

Emily gets to carry her gun

Emily Miller’s application for a carry permit was approved. About time.

My guess is they figured that doing so and hoping she went away was better than the alternative

Kleck: Defensive Gun Use is Not a Myth

It’s very good to see Politico willing to publish a retort by Gary Kleck against an article recently published in the same by the trolls over at Armed with Reason. Be sure to read the whole article, but I will quote from, and comment on a bit here:

But what DeFillipis and Hughes carefully withheld from readers is the fact that I and my colleague have refuted every one of Hemenway’s dubious claims, and those by other critics of the NSDS, first in 1997, and again, even more extensively, in 1998 and 2001.

I’m shocked (shocked!) to discover pro-gun control folks not presenting all the facts, and misleading people into believing their conclusion. This is standard operating procedure for our opponents. Dr. Kleck pulls no punches:

The authors, a couple of Oklahoma investment counselors with no graduate degrees, do not claim to have had any training in survey research methods. Like Hemenway (who is also untrained in survey methods), they believe that it’s perfectly plausible that surveys generate enormous over-estimates of crime-related experiences, as if this were the most commonplace thing in the world.

In other words, the people criticizing his studies have no credentials. I’m not one to argue that un-credentialed people can’t produce good science, because they can. But DeFillipis’ and Hughes’ operation looks more like slick marketing rather than science. It would seem Dr. Kleck agrees:

Left unmentioned will be one simple fact: in all of H’s commentary, he does not once cite the one thing that could legitimately cast doubt on our estimates—better empirical evidence.

That’s because they can’t produce it. Even very conservatives studies, like the National Crime Victimization Survey, put the number at 80,000 events a year, and that was also done in the early 1990s, before concealed carry was broadly legal. Even anecdotally, I know two people who did quite legitimately defend themselves with a firearm. In both cases, there were no shots fired; the attacker(s) fled.

Stagecoach Mary – The Well-Armed Woman of Montana

I have to admit that I adored reading this write-up on Mary Fields of Cascade, Montana. She was the second woman and first African American to deliver mail for Wells Fargo Co.

In her stay in Montana, she took on many tough traditionally male jobs and those were sometimes dangerous enough that she would slap a gun on her hip. Even beyond being a well-armed woman, the legends surrounding her seem pretty epic. Consider that the article says she was “one of very few black people in the new state at all, and most likely the only one with a pet eagle.”

By the time she retired from her mail route, apparently her birthday was celebrated as a local holiday for the school kids.

Training for the Hoosier Carry Permit?

At least one Indiana lawmaker thinks this is necessary. Currently, Indiana does not require training for their carry permits. I think it’s always hard for our opponents in the gun control movement to wrap their heads around our assertion that, “Yes, training is a good idea. Everyone who carries a gun should seek training,” and “No, the government should not mandate training.” Part of the disconnect is they don’t realize what we mean by “training.”

I’ve used this analogy before, but for the sake of new readers, I’ll repeat it; mandating a training class to carry a gun in the name of public safety is like mandating a violin lesson before playing a violin in the name of the public’s ears. Sure, someone who’s taken an violin lesson might, on average, be off to a better start than someone hasn’t, but let’s not pretend one lesson is going to turn anyone into Itzhak Perlman.

The kind of people who will benefit from a training class probably aren’t the kind of people you really need to be worried about. They are likely the kind of person who would have sought training on their own anyway, will pay attention in class, and be committed to regular practice thereafter. The Cletuses of the world aren’t going to get much of anything out of the training, in the same manner a kid forced to take violin lessons by his parents, and never practices, probably isn’t ever going to rise above a level of playing that makes everyone in earshot want to stab out their own eardrum.

Overall, I don’t think the amount of benefit derived from a training requirement is high enough to justify the not insubstantial costs it places on the exercising of a fundamental right. This equation also doesn’t change if you just require more training, as the burden scales with the amount of training mandated.

The Media Will Spin Things For Their Own Purposes

I was a bit concerned when I noticed that The Truth About Guns was running a high profile “simulation” of the Charlie Hedbo massacre given that site’s propensity for grandiose self-promotion. I don’t think my fears were unwarranted. The resulting story in the press essentially conveys the notion that armed self-defense is useless. It was even linked approvingly by our favorite Brady Board member.

I’m absolutely not criticizing the idea of running a simulation like this. It’s never a bad idea to see what we can learn. What was a bad idea was inviting the media along in the name of self-promotion and publicity, before the results were understood and digested. Even if TTAG’s subsequent analysis turns out to be very useful, the media’s version of the story is already out there; running away is a better tactic than armed self-defense. It only adds to the arguments of our opponents.

It may very well be that in a Charlie Hedbo scenario, you’re pretty well screwed no matter what you do. No one except fools argue that a defensive firearm is a talisman that wards off all evil and harm. Nor would anyone argue that sometimes a hasty retreat is the best way to stay alive. But that’s a very different thing than offering the media and our opponents an opportunity to reinforce what they already believe: that armed self-defense is a myth, and you’re better off just running away.

The Danger of Off-Body Carry

One of the big stories over the holiday is the unfortunate accident in Idaho involving a toddler who got into his mother’s carry purse, and managed to shoot her dead. I lean more toward Bob Owens position, “I hate off-body carry with an unbridled passion, and personally feel that if you can’t carry a weapon on your body, that you should not be carrying a firearm at all,” but I’m an absolutist about damned few things. That said, it’s I think it’s a pretty terrible option. Anyone who feels they need to carry this way needs to think long and hard. Are you a forgetful person? Are you prone to misplacing your purse, satchel, or briefcase? Are you habituated to leaving it unattended, even for short periods of time? How would you access it if you had to use it? Is your draw technique safe enough to deal with the fact that you will have to cross-draw with a purse?

Deciding on your method of carry, or whether to carry at all, requires serious introspection. I had considered briefly keeping a pistol in a jacket pocket, but I remembered that one time I left my coat at a restaurant. I’ve left my laptop bag in a restaurant once. Two incidents is enough to convince me that off-body carry is not an option for me, because I’m too careless with items that aren’t directly on my person.

The other big issue with purse carry is that in perusing concealed carry purses with Bitter, I’ve come to the conclusion that they are all pretty awful. Most models I’ve seen just have a special pocket you stuff the gun into. Some of them provide an access opening so small, you couldn’t effectively and confidently draw from it. You almost certainly couldn’t re-holster the firearm intuitively. None I’ve seen have adequate protection for the trigger. None I’ve seen have good enough retention to keep the firearm in the purse if you decide to leave the compartment unzipped. If there’s retention at all, they often have awkward passive retention, often just velcro. A simple polymer sleeve, fit to the gun, would be enough to provide both good trigger protection and to keep the gun locked in sleeve until broken by the draw. I’ve never seen a concealed carry purse that had such a thing, or could even reasonably accommodate it. In belt holsters, we mock the sausage sack, but I’ve never seen a concealed carry purse that had anything better than one, if it had anything in the gun compartment at all.

That said, if you have enough people, with enough guns, the law of averages is going to catch up with you eventually. This case is the first I’ve ever heard of like it. With probably about 10 million people having toters permits by now, many of them carrying regularly, one incident is hardly an epidemic. With the need to keep bringing more women into the issue, I’d hate to demand that all women eschew off-body carry. But I do think off-body carry requires a lot more habituation and training than other methods, if it is to be done safely. Holster and carry purse makers designing better options for women wouldn’t hurt either.


30 Years Ago Today

goetzBernhard Goetz shot four muggers on the New York City Subway, and got the country talking. He was acquitted on all charges, except for carrying a firearm without a license, for which he was sentenced to a year in prison, of which he only served eight months. Newspapers everywhere called his act of self-defense vigilantism. In fact, he was called the “subway vigilante” by the media.

This incident is regarded as being a prime contributor to the concealed carry movement that would begin to sweep the nation starting with Florida passing the Jack Hagler Self-Defense Act in 1987.

Interesting Development in PA Spree Killer Case

I noticed last night the media reported the spree killer attempted a carjacking in Doylestown, which is the seat of my county. What the media didn’t report is that he may have made the error of bringing a knife to a gunfight, and gotten himself shot at by the guy he tried to carjack. They don’t report whether he was hit, but I would bet not. Not the wisest thing to do, to try to carjack people in a state where about one in every 6 adults has an LTC.

UPDATE: I’m told local news sources are reporting the incident may not have happened. I’m still going on the last police statement on the matter, bad spelling and all.

UPDATE: The spree killer has been found dead near his home. He shot himself. So the guy who did the Doylestown carjacking wasn’t him. Now, if it turns out that the guy who claims to have fought off a carjacker was making a false report, trying to be the hero, you can bet your first born the media will be sure to spread that far and wide.

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