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In the last six days I have: (Friday) Obtained my… - Omnia mutantur, nihil interit.
January 13th, 2005
04:50 am
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In the last six days I have:

  • (Friday) Obtained my concealed-carry permit. It was almost trivial, really—the hardest part was physically finding the room where I needed to go (well, assuming you don't count the previously executed step of obtaining character references). I went to a room, showed ID, filled out a form, and they printed the permit on the spot.
  • (Sunday) Purchased my carry gun, a Glock 19.
  • (Tuesday) Bought a holster and some hollowpoint ammunition.
  • Carried in public for the first time.

It's interesting that having a carry firearm seems similar to how I imagine it might be to have an infant in one's care—there is a certain physical object for which, if one forgets its existence for even a brief span of time, Bad Things can happen. Any particular time when one does forget, the chances of something bad happening are small, but they accumulate rapidly, necessitating a constant state of mindfulness. Right now I'm extremely mindful because I'm learning the ropes, but I will have to retain that state of mindfulness throughout the entire time that I carry, or I will be a danger to myself and to others. Of course, it seems unlikely to cause any harm to be mindful by default, with any exceptions (sleep, allowing oneself to consume alcohol, etc.) being deliberately chosen.

I'm amazed by how easy the process was, though. All the concrete steps necessary for me to carry a firearm occurred in the last week. The background checks were instant. I don't think this is “wrong”—in fact, I suspect that the legal process functions as a filter, with most people who would commit crimes with firearms carrying illegally—but I still find it surprising.

In Pennsylvania, one of the fields on the CCW application form is “reason”. I checked “self-defense” since that's my primary goal, though I expect to use my carry permit for easier compliance with the rules regarding transportation to and from shooting ranges as well (though the possibility of doing so without a permit is nice, the rules are a little arcane—they ban such things as carrying any ammunition in the same compartment of the car as the firearm and stopping at a friend's house en route to the range, if one doesn't have a CCW). In, e.g., Maryland, on the other hand, one has to give a “real” reason for a CCW application. The last such reason listed, which is (I guess) somehow supposed to accomodate the need for self-defense, is “6. Personal Protection; must be documented evidence of recent threats and/or assaults, supported by police reports and/or notarized statements.” (source: packing.org, which URL was incidentally written on a sticky note given to me by the officer who issued my CCW, had I not already known about it). I find this frightening—the government dictating when you do and don't have a good enough reason to defend yourself. Honestly, in a way this is more frightening than an outright ban, because the existence of such CCWs implies that the government admits it can't protect some people, but insists they fulfill requirements that will inevitably let some people who need protection slip through the cracks. Furthermore, such requirements deny those like myself who don't expect to need to employ deadly force in self-defense, but are willing to assume the cost and responsibility themselves, the right to do so.

Florida's system is more what I would consider reasonable if one wants to be very careful: a shall-issue law, but contingent on strong documentation, including proof of training. I don't think I support such strong requirements, but I see them as merely annoying, not actually unethical. In fact, Florida issues non-resident CCWs, and I might get one eventually—since their requirements are so strict, they're accepted in an awful lot of states. (The Pennsylvania CCW I already have is honored in: Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, and Wyoming. In addition, Alaska and Vermont allow carry without a permit.)

Do I feel safer? Yes, a little bit. I didn't feel that unsafe most of the time to start with, but in certain situations I can see this making a significant difference. I also feel a lot of satisfaction at having finally accomplished a long-range goal of mine (and a certain amount of embarrassment at having taken so unnecessarily long to achieve it).

Oh, my new gun needs a name. I think I'm probably going to need to pick it myself, but if you do have suggestions, I'll listen, and if one happens to strike me just right, I'll use it.

Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative

(13 comments | Leave a comment)

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From:ipmcc
Date:January 13th, 2005 02:06 pm (UTC)

Massachusetts worse...

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Just try to get a CC permit in Massachusetts. They're really hard to convince. I could document with reasonable obviousness that I lived in a dangerous area, in a low-security apartment, wore a $5000 watch, and had like $10,000 worth of computer and home theater equipment in my apartment. The sherrif's suggestion, as he denied my application, was that I "buy a different watch." I asked him what it took, and he said that doing cash drops for a retail business was his lower cut off. (i.e. that you had to demonstrate that you were in AT LEAST that much danger.) PA is much more sensible about these things.
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From:kenoubi
Date:January 13th, 2005 05:39 pm (UTC)

Re: Massachusetts worse...

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Yeah, discretionary licensing is a terrible idea. It can be done well, but putting the decision in the hands of someone whose job is made significantly easier the fewer civilians there are carrying is a good recipe for arbitrarity and unfairness.

That said, if I were in the situation you describe, I think I would have moved if at all practical. Your gun isn't going to do anything to protect your computer or home theater equipment when you aren't home. For that matter, couldn't you keep a gun in your home and gain all the benefits in defending that property that you could with a CCW, without having one? Or does MA require permits even for a handgun in one's own home? (Those make me angry.)

By the way (and I mean this in the friendliest of ways, as I do appreciate any comments I receive), who are you, why are you reading my journal, and is the location (Pittsburgh) given on your LiveJournal profile accurate?

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From:martinivixen
Date:January 13th, 2005 09:37 pm (UTC)
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what made you want a gun? I can understand self-defense to a point, but not really.

I'm just really curious. Guns scare the crap out of me (though the people who are stupid with them scare me more--not trying to suggest you're stupid with guns. You seem like a responsible gun owner) so I'm just wondering what are the reasonings for the gun and where you'd take it (aside from the shooting range)
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From:kenoubi
Date:January 13th, 2005 10:14 pm (UTC)
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what made you want a gun? I can understand self-defense to a point, but not really.

Let's see if I can explain this. First, the broad ideological factors: I'm a libertarian. I buy into many (though not absolutely all) of the things the Founding Fathers said, and that includes the ideal of a virtuous citizen as one who owns and bears arms. I realize that pistols didn't really exist when the Constitution was drafted, but I view that as a technological advancement that doesn't change the nature of the situation, or if anything makes it even more incumbent on defenders to be armed.

More on the practical side of things, the police are not really capable of protecting individuals from crime in most cases—unless an officer happens to be right there, they'll only get involved if a situation lasts for a while or to take a report after the crime has happened. I don't really feel like I'm in much risk most of the time, but if someone pulls a gun and starts shooting randomly into a crowd, I want to be able to take him down, not hope that he runs out of ammo.

To give a very specific reason, I used to have sort of a vague fear of guns myself, but changed my mind in Preston Covey's class when he presented what I had to admit was compelling evidence that gun ownership is a benefit. I was going to point you to one of his course websites, but it looks like CMU has recently added a login to those. Based on my interactions with him I have done a lot of reading and a reasonable amount of shooting.

I'm just really curious. Guns scare the crap out of me

Want to go shooting some time? Guns used to scare me too, but one's attitude really changes after shooting a few times. (At least, mine did.)

(though the people who are stupid with them scare me more--not trying to suggest you're stupid with guns. You seem like a responsible gun owner) so I'm just wondering what are the reasonings for the gun and where you'd take it (aside from the shooting range)

Hopefully I've explained my reasoning. As for place, there are some places where guns are either banned or a bad idea: schools, most colleges (CMU at least has a no weapon policy—I think it's incredibly dumb, but it's their property and I'll follow their rules on it), parks, government buildings, banks, bars, anyone's home if they aren't comfortable with it. I won't carry in any of those places, and I won't carry if I've been drinking or plan to. I expect to carry most times when there isn't a disqualifying factor. What good is the option of a last-ditch lethal response if it isn't actually available when you need it?

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From:martinivixen
Date:January 13th, 2005 10:29 pm (UTC)
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Want to go shooting some time?

yeah, I would, actually. my boyfriend in high school taught me how to shoot a .22 but thats the only kind of gun I've ever fired, and that was over 8 years ago.

I assume I dont have to own a gun to go to a shooting range?
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From:kenoubi
Date:January 13th, 2005 11:06 pm (UTC)
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I assume I dont have to own a gun to go to a shooting range?

Nope. It's very easy to rent one (I did for several months before actually purchasing one), and if you go with me you could use mine (I have a .22 Ruger in addition to my 9mm Glock).

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From:martinivixen
Date:January 13th, 2005 11:10 pm (UTC)
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cool! when do you want to go?
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From:kenoubi
Date:January 14th, 2005 12:16 am (UTC)
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I usually go on weekends. This weekend doesn't work, though, because my dad is coming out to visit. Though depending on when he leaves, Sunday afternoon might work. If not, then next weekend is definitely free. The Greater Pittsburgh Gun Club, where I'm a member and usually go, is outdoors and is open from dawn to dusk (the main road there is closed right now, though, and finding it is a bit of an adventure, though I have managed to do it once); Bullseye is indoors, a bit closer, more expensive, and open 11 to 7 on weekends.

By the way, if you need other contact methods for me: kenn@aspeiro.net, (412) 657-1395 (cell).
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From:annecognito
Date:January 13th, 2005 10:38 pm (UTC)
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I want to have a gun, because the idea of becoming a crime victim, or being aware of someone else becoming one and being powerless to act as a deterrent, enrages me nearly beyond reason. I'd also want to become very well-trained in the non-lethal use of guns to subdue attackers, because I never want to have to kill anyone unless I absolutely absolutely have to. Unfortunately, I have the dubious privilege of living in Maryland, which, while I enjoy its status as a bastion of the Democratic party, has gun-control laws which make it highly prohibitive for me to possess a firearm. Besides, I'm not living in a terribly unsafe area at the moment (though when I inevitably move out I'll end up somewhere bad until I can afford higher rent). I think I'm going to look into at least getting a SOG or some other kind of assault knife, though those take considerably more coordination to use effectively which sucks.

Guns never really scared me, except the one time I took my father's Beretta and seriously considered putting it to my own head and pulling the trigger. Hooray for psychoactive prescription drugs.
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From:kenoubi
Date:January 13th, 2005 11:11 pm (UTC)
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I'd also want to become very well-trained in the non-lethal use of guns to subdue attackers, because I never want to have to kill anyone unless I absolutely absolutely have to.

Huh. I mean, just pointing a gun at someone will usually make them run away, but if you actually have to shoot, I'd say that if there isn't a good chance of killing the person you're shooting at, you probably aren't using the gun properly. After all, you're never legally justified in shooting someone you aren't legally justified in killing.

Unfortunately, I have the dubious privilege of living in Maryland, which, while I enjoy its status as a bastion of the Democratic party, has gun-control laws which make it highly prohibitive for me to possess a firearm.

You'll notice that I used Maryland as my example of crappy CCW policy in my post. :-)

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From:papertygre
Date:January 14th, 2005 01:26 am (UTC)
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Wow. You got it from Amazon??
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From:kenoubi
Date:January 14th, 2005 01:37 am (UTC)
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Hahaha. No, that would have made it very unlikely for me to receive it on a Sunday, right? :-)
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