The commitment to become a responsibly armed citizen is life-altering.
We commend you for it, and offer the following suggestions.
The decision to become a responsibly armed citizen is one of paramount importance. However, it may feel a little daunting at first. We commend you on for taking this journey, and suggest the following road map:
- First, make the commitment to be a responsibly armed citizen. Notice the commitment to be armed, and to be responsible. Understand why you are doing this (or don’t do it at all). This is a decision that requires mental clear-headedness, and emotional stability. Being a responsibly armed citizen requires that you have a mature understanding of your duty to act decisively, protect people within your ability to protect, and know your limitations.
- Firearm ownership. After you have made the commitment to be a responsibly armed citizen, the next step is actually owning firearms. For people that don’t own a firearm yet, this means you will need to purchase one. We avoid making specific “one size fits all” recommendations to people without knowing their situation, but we encourage you to be thoughtful about your needs. Remember, the goal isn’t to be Rambo, it’s to provide a layer of protection in your security plan. Storing some ammunition is part of this step as well.
- Secure storage. If you are going to keep firearms and ammunition, it’s imperative that you take full and complete responsibility for securing it. Accidents are a devastating reality of improper firearm storage (in many cases, these accidents involve children). Make the commitment that this will never happen with your firearms by committing to secure storage. There is a wide variety of exceptional gun safes available on the market today. Again, without getting into the specifics of different technologies, materials, and prices, we implore you to make this a priority.
- Firearms training. Proper firearms training might be the most overlooked component of being an armed citizen. Most people focus way too much on “What kind of gun should I get?”, and far too little on learning how to be safe and proficient with it. As a responsibly armed citizen, this is not you. Training is extremely important. Any firearm you own is a liability if you have not learned how to use it. This does not mean that you need to an expert marksman. As mentioned above, you need to be safe and proficient. There are plenty of fantastic training resources available today.
- Planning and communication. While it’s impossible to plan the “unplannable”, it is possible to think through a few scenarios where you may need to use firearms to defend yourself. If you’ve had defensive firearms training, you can apply what you’ve learned to your mentally think through incidents that might take place at your home, your work, your car, or otherwise. This is the perfect opportunity to talk this through with your spouse or family members. While it may seem silly to some family members to talk about shooting bad guys in your house, when the moment of need arises, the moment of preparation is past. Now is the time to communicate.
- Concealed carry. As you progress and become more comfortable with firearms, the ability to carry a concealed weapon is one that you should avail yourself of. Although it’s not permitted everywhere (or to all people), this is a critical aspect of firearm liberty and personal safety. Even if you initially don’t plan on carrying a firearm on a regular basis, you would be wise to get a concealed weapons permit if you are allowed to in your jurisdiction. There are concealed carry classes offered all over the country, and online. After successfully completing the class, you can apply for a concealed carry permit with your local government.
- Secure carry. Much like secure storage, if you are going to be carrying a firearm on you, you need to ensure that you have a safe and accessible means of doing this. Concealed carry holsters come in all sizes, styles, and materials. Think about the most safe, comfortable, and accessible way that you can carry your firearm. If you are not able to carry your firearm directly on your body, there are also concealed carry purses and bags available on the market (although this is a significant step down from carrying on your person).
- Commitment to ongoing training. This means both classroom training and hands-on, situational training. Once again, this doesn’t mean that you need to be Rambo, but you need to stay sharp. Being a responsibly armed citizen is not a single checklist item that you can do once and then forget about. Regular training forces you to think about scenarios in which you may need to protect yourself with firearms.