I decided to obtain my concealed pistol license (CPL) about six years ago. While I really never intended to carry a gun, my husband was taking the class, so I figured, why not take it, too? I could always learn more about guns, and I liked the idea of knowing I could carry one if I choose to. I wanted the training to teach me what it meant to carry and the fundamentals of how to be a responsible gun owner, and I liked the idea of personal protection, but I never thought to take it to the next level.
My husband always carries a gun, so I didn’t feel the need to carry, myself. I saw the struggle my husband went through with finding the proper holsters, pants and shirts to carry concealed, and I just couldn’t imagine the struggle that would entail for a woman. Women are built totally differently than men are. I like my yoga pants, tight jeans and tank tops. But then I had a child, and the whole game changed. I decided it was time to start carrying a gun when I went out, especially when my husband wasn’t around.
To his dismay, I started out carrying in my purse, but I soon found that off-body carry wasn’t the best option for me for several reasons. First, toddlers always seem to want to dig around in purses—maybe it’s because of all the goodies us moms keep for our children in there. Second, if someone was going to attempt to rob me, what’s the first thing he’d probably go after? That’s right, my purse. The same purse that has my gun resting inside that’s supposed to be available for me to use to protect myself from someone who might attack me. Now the bad guy not only has my purse but also my gun, and that would be a very bad day for me indeed.
I then tried carrying inside the waistband of my pants. That didn’t work either, as I still prefer tighter clothing, so carrying was extremely uncomfortable for me. I would have to purchase a whole new wardrobe. But as much as I love buying clothes, I hated the idea of buying bigger clothes. I looked into bra holsters and outside-the-waistband holsters, tried some of my husband’s holsters and even resorted to not carrying a gun at all. It took being followed around a local grocery store by two mid-30s men to get smart about safety.
I knew the two guys were following me when they continued to go out of their way to watch my every move. And I noticed eye contact and gestures out of the corner of my eye. I could feel my anxiety and adrenaline skyrocket, and I was sick to my stomach, so I kind of panicked. Then I went through the checkout line, paid for my groceries and sprinted out into the parking lot. I locked my doors and sped out of there just as the men approached my car. I felt terrified.
While I should have called the police and found a store employee to help me, but panic overshadowed my rational thinking because I knew I didn’t have a way to effectively protect myself. No gun, no knife, no pepper spray, nothing. I felt helpless. At that moment, I knew I never wanted to feel that way again, so I gave in and decided to start buying some larger clothes in order to carry concealed inside my waistband. With proper clothing and the right holster, this proved to be the best option for me. Slowly, concealed carry became a normal part of my everyday life.
Concealed Pistol License Holder: Always On Alert
As I get older, I really don’t trust anyone. My friends think I’m kind of crazy and somewhat paranoid because I’m constantly screening and watching people when we go out. I’m also the only individual in my group of friends who has a CPL and one of the only ones who’s into guns and shooting. I’m always aware of my surroundings when I’m by myself or when I’m with my son, who’s almost five years old now. Scanning, people watching, observing cars, noting how long people are standing around and their body language, observing who’s around me when I get out of my vehicle and even paying attention to where I park at the store—all of this makes me a much safer person but also generates a bit of ridicule from friends and even family.
My son knows that both my husband and I carry guns. He saw and held my gun; he knows it’s not a toy. He’s been around guns his entire life, so he knows exactly why my husband and I carry, and he understands it’s a secret that no one else should ever know. Before he can even hold a gun in our home, he must tell us the four rules of gun safety. We raised him to respect guns and knows that they’re for protection and to keep us safe.
We promised him his first gun for his 5th birthday, and he’s beyond excited to be just like mommy and daddy. The fact that my son has been exposed to and knows so much about guns at his age brings its own challenges in today’s world. I have family and friends who act like we’re bad parents because we carry guns. People judge us daily and sometimes even ridicule us if they see a photo of Colton with a gun.
Why I Do It
I feel in control and have more confidence when I carry a gun. I know I have the ability to effectively protect myself and my family if a situation arises. Most close friends understand what my husband does for a living. He has his Federal Firearms License (FFL), teaches concealed pistol license classes and is a professional photographer in the firearms industry, so they just assume that at least one of us is carrying when we go out. It’s a hot topic, and it does make me a bit nervous to meet new parents during play dates or while out with new people. What if they ask what our professions are? Or what if they aren’t gun nuts like us? What if we’re judged for what we do or how we’re raising our son?
I always approach the subject openly; I want others to understand why I carry and why it’s a benefit to them, even if they don’t understand. And I cannot allow or rely on anyone else but myself to protect me and my family. The first time we met one of Colton’s friends’ parents, we were extremely nervous. What if they asked about our careers? Should I order a beer, or do they not drink? As we introduced ourselves, we noticed that the other dad was wearing an NRA cap. Yep, instant friends. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that we all could talk about guns and my husband’s job. Hell, their son had already started shooting at their home range!
Living the Concealed Carrier Life
But I certainly don’t go out of my way to talk about my concealed pistol license and carrying if I don’t have to. With all of the recent child abductions, I’m even more observant of what’s going on around me, especially when I have Colton with me. I’m on especially high alert when we go out into a public play area. I literally size up anyone who looks suspicious or even remotely gives me bad vibes. I will protect my son with my life, even if that means I’m reaching for the gun on my hip.