Although you may be in the “right” when you defend yourself with a handgun, if you are not legally armed, you will lose in court.

At a recent state championship pistol match, a fellow came to watch and mingle, and found himself very much welcomed, as is generally the case. He was chatting with me after I had completed a stage, and asked if I was going to carry concealed when I went home from the match. I answered yes, of course, explaining that the same gun I was shooting in the event would be loaded with JHP instead of ball ammunition, and riding on my hip on the drive back. “So,” I responded, “do you carry?”

“No, I don’t,” he replied. I asked him why not, thinking he might be just exploring the concept and here at the match to do some research. “Because I won’t pay the state for a God-given right,” he answered instead.

If you are willing to buy a good holster and a quality handgun, spend the money on a CCW permit to keep yourself legal, and keep your CCW license on you at all times.

I make most of my living with words, in one way or another—in a classroom, in court, or in venues like this one—and I’m not usually at a loss for words, but I sure was this time. The man was a stranger to me, but obviously a gun guy, and I couldn’t think of a way to say what was on my mind without sounding insulting and judgmental. “Fella, you’re gonna be helpless if you need to protect your family in public, because you don’t want to pay a license fee?” No, I didn’t say that. But I was damn sure thinking it.

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