Originally from the 1911 Forums, I found it necessary to shorten it here or change the linguistics in some areas. Perhaps this will aid the curious or misinformed in understanding those who carry concealed firearms or other weapons on their person legally. What is legal in your state may vary, though it is important that we recognize the standards shared by those who take up the responsibility of carrying lethal force whether it is a blade or projectile.
1. Personal Safety Doesn't Only Involve Firearms. Every permit or license holder realizes that almost all dangerous situations can be avoided by vigilance, alertness and by simply making wise choices about where one goes and what one does. We don't walk down dark alleys, we lock our cars, and we don't get intoxicated in public or hang out around people who do. We park our cars in well lighted spots and don't hang out in bad parts of town where we have no business.
Awareness is the number one asset in any tool-set.
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2. We Aren't Cops, Spies, or Superheros. We aren't hoping that somebody tries to rob the convenience store while we are there so we can shoot a criminal. We don't take it upon ourselves to get involved in situations that are better handled by a 911 call or by simply standing by and being a good witness. We don't believe our guns give us any authority over our fellow citizens. We also aren't here to be your unpaid volunteer bodyguard. We'll be glad to tell you where we trained and point you to some good gun shops if you feel you want to take this kind of responsibility for your personal safety. Except for extraordinary circumstances your business is your business, don't expect us to help you out of situations you could have avoided.
3. We Are Less Likely To Be Involved in Fights or "Rage" Incidents. We recognize, better than many unarmed citizens, that we are responsible for our actions. We take the responsibility of carrying a firearm very seriously. We know that loss of temper, getting into fights or angrily confronting someone after a traffic incident could easily escalate into a dangerous situation. We are more likely to go out of our way to avoid these situations. We don't pull our guns to settle arguments or to attempt to threaten people into doing what we want.
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4. Guns Are Not Unsafe Or Unpredictable. People, individually, can be unsafe or unpredictable. Modern firearms are well-made precision instruments. Pieces do not simply break off causing them to fire. A hot day will not set them off. Most modern firearms will not discharge even if dropped. There is no reason to be afraid of a gun simply laying on a table or in a holster. It is not going to discharge on its own.
Accidents do occur and you're likely to see them over-dramatized in the media. Negligence on the part of a person does not make the firearm responsible nor does it make other gun owners responsible. One person's actions do not dictate the actions of others...
5. We Do Not Believe In The Concept Of "Accidental Discharges." There are no accidental discharges, only negligent discharges or intentional discharges. We take responsibility for our actions and have learned how to safely handle firearms. Any case you have ever heard of about a gun "going off" was the result of negligence on somebody's part. Our recognition of our responsibility and familiarity with firearms makes us among the safest firearms owners in America.
6. Permit or License Holders Do Our Best To Keep Our Concealed Weapons Concealed. However, there are times when an observant fellow citizen may spot our firearm or the outline of our firearm under our clothes. We are very cognizant that concerns about terrorism and crime are in the forefront of the minds of most citizens. We also realize that our society does much to condition our fellow citizens to have sometimes irrational fears about firearms.
We would encourage citizens who do happen to spot someone carrying a firearm to use good judgment and clear thinking if they feel the need to take action. Please recognize that it's very uncommon for a criminal to use a holster. However, if you feel the need to report having spotted a firearm we would ask that you please be specific and detailed in your call to the police or in your report to a store manager or private security. Please don't generalize or sensationalize what you observed. Comments like "there's a guy running around in the store with a gun" or even simply "I saw a man with a gun in the store" could possibly cause a misunderstanding as to the true nature of the incident.
7. Carry All Of The Time Or None Of The Time. If we believe a place to be unsafe, most of us would avoid that place all together if possible. However, we recognize that trouble could occur at any place and at any time. Criminals do not observe or obey "gun-free zone" laws. If trouble does come, we do not want the only armed persons to be perpetrators. Therefore, we don't usually make a determination about whether or not to carry at any given time based on "how safe" we think a location is.
You either carry or you do not carry. The grocery store or coffee shop may not be the place you'd expect an armed criminal to be. The criminal who shows at the "safe spot" is betting on misguided expectations such as these. I'm not advocating carrying in places you are banned from carrying by law, though history [especially in the past decade] dictates the zones criminals prefer to target. "Gun-Free Zone" signs do not and should not make you feel safer. The recent Las Vegas courthouse shooting can be cited as proof of such. If you need to be somewhere which prohibits your right-to-carry, get in and get out.
8. Some Citizens Being Armed Deters Criminals Targeting Other Citizens. Permit and license holders don't believe that every person should necessarily be armed. We recognize that some people may not be temperamentally suited to carry a firearm or simply may wish not to for personal reasons. However we do encourage you to respect our right to arm ourselves. Even if you choose not to carry a firearm yourself please oppose measures to limit the ability of law-abiding citizens to be armed. As mentioned before: criminals do not observe "gun free zones". Help by not supporting laws that require citizens to be unarmed victims.
9. Those Who Carry Legally Are The Most Law-Abiding. In the majority of states with a permit system, the permit holder has voluntarily submitted himself or herself to a background check involving local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. Most often, fingerprints have also been taken and submitted for examination. You can be assured that we are not criminals carrying under the shield of the law. Multiple levels of government have concurred that we have followed the law. In addition, we have spent a great deal of funds on training, equipment, and the permit process. We are not eager to jeopardize any of that through misconduct - we are well aware that if we misbehave we can lose every last penny of that investment as well as our very freedom.
10. We Would NEVER Use Our Weapons Unless It Is Absolutely Necessary In Order To Save An Innocent Life. Situational awareness does not end at knowing who is doing what or behaving in an awkward or suspicious way. A criminal does not care who is put at risk when the bullets start flying. Shooters train themselves to be aware of who/what is behind the threat. Taking a shot or even drawing a firearm can be detrimental to a situation if it puts innocent lives at risk. In a self-defense scenario you may need a knife, not a gun. Other situations may call for the use of non-lethal force in order to survive.