I’m starting to see a lot more of these around town.
Now in the State of Texas, this sign by itself, legally, means exactly nothing. But still, it makes me wonder why such animosity towards guns, and more specifically gun owners. (I see more of the proper Texas legal signage as well.)
I have a Concealed Handgun License, or CHL. Other states have similar licenses but may be called different things. Concealed Weapons License (CWL), Carry Concealed Permit (CCP), Carry Concealed Weapons License (CCW) and so on. But for the most part there is one thing they all have in common. They allow to owner of the license to carry a firearm on their person for the purposes of self-defense.
So why the signs? I would imagine it is based on fear and ignorance. Those of us with permits are not anxious to ever pull out our firearm, unless we are at a gun range. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t ready to though. And we do anticipate trouble; it’s an alertness level that we maintain (or at least should) in case something does go horribly wrong with accepted society behavior in our immediate presence. That doesn’t mean we want it. We are probably the nicest people you will ever meet. There is a reason for that as well. We will put up with an unbelievable amount of BS and attitude from people, not because we don’t carry a firearm, but because we do. We absolutely cannot be seen as the aggressor if there ever is a catastrophic breakdown in social interactions. Let me repeat that last part. We absolutely cannot be seen as the aggressor.
We won’t raise our middle fingers to you in traffic if you cut us off. We cannot be seen as the aggressor.
We will simply smile and say “that’s fine” when you bring 137 items into the 12 items or less check out lane. We cannot be seen as the aggressor.
When you can’t remember your PIN at the ATM and take 20 minutes to figure out what you are doing, we will be there behind you, watching your back, and patiently waiting. We cannot be seen as the aggressor.
You can berate us and belittle us, and yell at us, and insult our family heritage, and call us names. And we will sit there and smile, because we cannot be seen as the aggressor. We can’t be the person who brought a conflict, or instigated a fight. I’m not talking about YouTube pseudo celebrities ranting about politics, I mean out in the real world. Where you are. At the bank, at the grocery store, in Best Buy, at Home Depot, etc. If you want to be the pushy asshole, that’s fine. We will probably just take it, because we absolutely cannot be seen as the aggressor.
“I worry about disgruntled employees.” I’ve heard that one as well. I don’t think this says something about the CHL holder, but rather something about your business practices and how you treat your employees. At my workplace they have a strict “No-guns” policy. I personally think it’s misguided. So even if we are let go from our jobs, we absolutely cannot be seen as the aggressor. (If you do worry about disgruntled employees, you need to look at your business practices, and see what needs to change on your end.)
Physically threaten my life, or my family’s, and now I am not the aggressor.
When something goes wrong, and you are buying a microwave burrito in a gas station that is being held up by armed robbers, and you are praying for the police to show up, because the criminals are waving guns around and threatening to shoot everyone, including your children, guess who will probably be Johnny on the spot to come to the defense of you and your family (and mine), long before the police even know that something went wrong here. (Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that we don’t like Police. We typically get along great.) Yep. That would be us. The ones you didn’t want in your store because you were afraid. The ones you didn’t want standing next to you in line while you were shopping for groceries because you were afraid. The ones you were terrified might be standing behind you at the ATM.
And just so you know, they don’t hand out those licenses to anybody that has a handgun and $150. In order to get that license, there are some requirements that I had to meet. (Please note that some of these are specific to Texas.)
I have never been convicted of a felony… Ever.
I have not been convicted of a class A or class B misdemeanor in the past ten years. (basically nothing worse than a traffic ticket.)
I had to pass a Federal background check. (A lot of you complain about the Government invading your privacy, and I practically invited them in. They found nothing.)
I had to pass a State background check.
I had to pass a Federal fingerprint check.
I do not have any restraining orders or protective orders against me.
I do not owe any back state or federal taxes.
I am not delinquent on any student loans.
I am not delinquent on child support payments.
I am not chemically dependent. (My heart medicine doesn’t count. I’m not addicted to any “recreational pharmaceuticals.”)
I had to pass a class on what the laws around carrying a firearm are.
I had to prove my proficiency with a firearm.
and Yes, I had to pay a fee.
And if I want to keep my CHL, (here’s a hint, I do) I have to keep it that way.
Oh, and different states have different laws, but here in Texas, I’ve heard it described this way; (by licensed instructors no less) If, for any reason, I show my pistol, whether or not I pull the trigger, I’m probably going to take a ride with the Police and chances are pretty good I’m going to spend the evening in custody. In Texas, a Grand Jury decides whether I was justified, or need to stand trial. If I was the aggressor, I’m probably going to trial. If I was the aggressor, I’m probably going to lose that trial. So even in a situation that is seemingly cut and dried, I still have to go in front of a Grand Jury. I would really prefer not to. I absolutely cannot be seen as the aggressor.
So there you have it. Instead of being afraid of us, you would probably be much better off being best friends with us. I won’t shoot you over a parking space. (This was one common complaint when the CHL laws were enacted; that there would be “blood in the streets.”) I’m not going to wave my gun at you for poor service at the IHOP. I’m not going to pull back my coat to show you the grip of my pistol to show you that “I mean business.” Chances are, unless you know me, you probably won’t know that I am carrying a firearm. I’m probably the nicest guy you will ever meet… because I absolutely cannot be seen as the aggressor.