“It Happened to Me!”

I have owned and carried handguns for personal defense for…

I have owned and carried handguns for personal defense for a little over a decade. I currently live in Texas, which issues CCW (conceal carry weapon) licenses on a “shall issue” basis. Law-abiding citizens who meet reasonable and fair qualifications will get the license without having to prove “urgent need” or be subject to the discretion of an issuing authority. I travel a good amount on business and many of the states I travel to have reciprocal agreements to honor my Texas license. I always carry a handgun when I travel to a state where I am legal to carry. When I travel by plane I follow FAA regulations and the specific rules of the airline. My “travel” gun of choice is usually a 5-shot revolver. I pack the empty revolver in a small lockable case along with one box of hollow points and a couple of speedloaders. I then pack the small lockable case in with my clothes in a hard-sided, lockable luggage bag. I declare the firearm when I check in my luggage, sign the declaration form, lock up the cases, and when I get to my destination my life-saving tools are waiting for me at baggage claim.
A couple of years ago I was on a business trip and decided to have dinner with a few business associates in the downtown area. After a pleasant dinner I started on my walk back to my hotel, which was about eight city blocks from the restaurant. I was carrying my revolver as usual. As I exited the restaurant I didn’t notice anything unusual except for a scruffy looking guy leaning against a car smoking a cigarette just outside the restaurant exit. I didn’t think too much of this and continued my walk. At the next block I scanned for traffic before crossing and out of the corner of my eye I noticed that the guy was now walking about 50 feet behind me. I decided to cross the street diagonally and after I did I gave a quick glance back and noticed that he had crossed diagonally as well and was still behind me. I decided to test the situation by crossing back over to the previous side of the street, thinking that if he followed me again, then I would be pretty sure I was in trouble. Sure enough he crossed over with me, and by this time he had gained on me and was only about 20 feet behind me. My heart was racing and the adrenaline started to pump. I knew I had to do something or I was going to be prey for this miscreant.

I decided to try the element of surprise rather than waiting for him to close in on me. I quickly spun around, reached back and placed my “strong-side” hand on my gun’s grip, and at the same time raised my “weak-side” hand out in front of me as a kind of “stop” sign, all the while now walking backwards to maintain my distance. I didn’t want to draw my weapon until I was sure the threat was real, but I thought that the warning might just prevent a mishap. Luckily for me, my actions took this predator by complete surprise and threw him off of his game plan. He immediately stopped in his tracks with his eyes bulging open as he put up both his hands and started slowly walking backwards away from me while shaking his head from side to side as if he was saying “No—let’s not do this!”
I waited until he was well on his way before I finished the journey to my hotel, which of course was finished with a little extra hustle. When I got to my room I sat down on my bed, still shaking, but very grateful that this did not escalate into something really bad. I dread to think what would have happened if I did not have my gun with me. I guess the first rule of a gunfight—“always have a gun”—is the best advice anyone can heed. It may be a bit inconvenient when traveling, but inconvenience never killed anyone.

—AN, TX

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