Guest Article: Why Do I Carry Concealed? by J.B.

I often get asked, “Why would you want to carry a gun?” My answer is usually a little different from other people’s. For me, it comes down to the experiences I had when I was younger. I grew up in Southern California. As a white kid, I was the minority at my elementary school. Maybe I was too young or just didn’t pay attention to the news, but I wasn’t concerned with my safety too much. There was a drive-by on my grandma’s street, and a stray bullet hit her house. Luckily no one was harmed, and having a gun wouldn’t have made much difference in that situation. Besides that, there was the occasional robbery in our apartment complex. It’s a scary situation when someone runs by your door with a gun and T.V. when you are only 4 years old.

We found out my grandpa had terminal cancer and was given one year to live. So to get him and the rest of my family out of the bad living situation, my family decided to move to Salt Lake City, Utah. We had driven through there many times and heard such good things about the city. Again, it might be that I am older or the media exaggerates bad situations, but I still have not felt safe here. It seems like there are more drug and shooting related issues here than there were where I lived in California.

The one specific situation that led me to feel the need to conceal carry happened when I was 14. My friend and I went on a double date to the Fun Dome close by a TRAX station. (TRAX is a trolley system out here.) We left around 9pm and started the two block walk to the station. About halfway there, a gentleman across the street started yelling at us. It sounded like he was trying to scare us, so being the stupid teens we were, we started yelling back. He then started threatening us with physical danger, and we could tell he was intoxicated. Being the oldest of the group, I told everyone to keep walking, and I stayed at the back of the group to make sure he didn’t follow us. Unfortunately, we had somehow offended this guy, and he started walking across the street. While he was walking, he pulled something shiny out from behind his jacket. He threatened me specifically to stop or he would hurt me. I couldn’t make out what the object was in the dim light, until he got about ten feet away from me. At that point I saw that it was a large stainless steel revolver. He had a hard time standing straight, let alone holding the gun straight, which made me even more worried that he would do something reckless. I spoke with him for about 15 minutes apologizing and begging him not to shoot me. He was finally satisfied and turned around to go back to the other guy he was with. I caught up with my friends to find that my friend had wet his pants and the girls had tried to call 911, only to get hung up on because the operators didn’t believe them. We called my mom, and she picked us up and took everyone home.

We were not under the influence of anything. We were not aggressive or anything, just some kids walking to the TRAX station after a night of fun. My friends tried to do the right thing and call the police for help, yet were ignored. Fortunately, everyone was okay, but no one helped us. That was when I decided that I don’t want to rely on someone else to protect me. I need to protect myself and the ones I love. Years and years later, I think back to that incident and how differently it would be if it happened now. I would now have a way to protect myself and those I care about. I would now not have to chance something bad happening or begging for my life. I could choose to fight for my life. Even though I think about that situation a lot, I hope I never have a situation like that again. Just because I carry does not mean I want to ever have to use it. It does not mean I am asking for trouble. It is strictly a tool I will use to protect myself and those around me from harm. It is a tool that I know inside out and I practice with frequently. I share my experience with others when they ask and thought that your blog would be a great place to share it with many more. I feel that if more people share their reasons for carrying, those that do not will understand and not judge.

Thank you for reading.