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I live in England, but I spent a year studying at Skyview High in Vancouver with an exchange program.

While I was cross the pond I never really thought about guns, I never saw one and none of the friends I made ever brought it up. That and I was also preoccupied with not being able to have a beer or buy my own fags. But a mate told me the other day about 'carrying hidden' (a handgun) and 'open'. I always knew you had not many gun laws but from some googling I can't believe that was true.

So I'm here because I lived in Vancouver for a year and know you all aren't crazy for the most part. I wanted a 'normal' Americans perspective on this.

I guess my questions are:
Why do you keep a handgun with you all the time?
Are you afraid of being attacked?
Are you worried about it ever just going off?
What's it feel like to be around a gun and other people? Stress/pressure?

Also, I may be including some comments in a report I'm writing for university. I would only identify you by your screen name from this site and it would be 'the United States' as your location. If you would not like me to use your comment please indicate that on your post.

Thanks in advance, Cheers!
 
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Welcome to the forum. My wife was born in NY, but lived in Eastbourne on the south coast when she was in what we call High School here and then graduated from the University of Sussex before moving back to the US with her Father.

So for your questions about guns. The reason I carry a gun is that I realize that ultimately I am responsible for the safety of myself and my family. As much as the police would like to stop every crime, robbery, assualt, and murder, they just can't be everywhere at once. There are some that say "well the police have a duty to protect you.". Those people are wrong. In fact the Supreme Court of the US ruled on that issue and determined that the police do NOT have a duty to protect you.

Am I being afraid of being attacked? No, but I do want the ability to be able to protect myself in case someone decides to try to harm or kill me. Do I think that is very likely? No, but I only have one life and I want to give myself every advantage possible in that situation. One of my favorite quotes is "If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck.".

Am I worried about it just going off? :s0114: Not really. I never met a gun capable of independent thought or action. I am really not making fun of your question, but it is the kind of question people who have no experience with firearms typically ask. I'll guarantee you I can lay one of my loaded pistols on the table and watch it for the next 20 years and it will not go off. People do sometimes talk about accidental discharges with firearms, but if you start really probing them about the circumstances around the accidental discharge, in probably 99% of the cases it was a NEGLIGENT discharge where unsafe handling of the firearm caused it to fire.

What's it feel like to be around guns and people with guns? Do I get stressed? It depends on who the people are. If I am in a neighborhood infested with hood rats and I have no firearm I am definitely stressed. If I have a firearm I know I can protect myself if need be. (Ideally you don't put yourself in situations like that in the first place.) It also has a lot to do with the way I was raised. I grew up around guns and hunting. To me, it's just another tool like a hammer or a circular saw. They each have their role to fulfill.

I will say this as well, in many cases the mere presence of a gun will quickly make some thug think twice about trying to accost you. Most strong arm robbers are cowards and try to look for people that they perceive as weaker than them. There have been two times in my adult life where just the presence of a firearm kept me from potentially being assaulted. Both times, I didn't have to fire my pistol. I didn't even have to draw it. I just opened my coat, put my hand on the butt of my pistol, and said "Think about it.". In both cases my would be assailants retreated a warp speed.
 
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I live in England, but I spent a year studying at Skyview High in Vancouver with an exchange program.

Why do you keep a handgun with you all the time?
In my opinion part of being an American is the a duty of being self-reliant and independent. It is also a great responsibility and a great honor to be able to own and carry a firearm. We pay homage to those who came before us and fought for this Right to be able to defend oneself, our families and our country by carrying.
ps. It is true the police don't have a duty to protect you by law, but also consider this, when was the last time you heard of the police interrupting a crime? Police would love to be able to do that ALL the time, but in reality they are usually there to record what happened after the crime. Your true first responders are the victims. I believe we as a society need to learn more about how not to be a victim, I am not talking about vigilante justice or anything, but I am also not talking about doing what ever a bad guy says either, as most criminals cease their actions when presented with resistance.


Are you afraid of being attacked?
I am not afraid of being attacked, but I am also prepared to defend myself and my loved ones if necessary. Guns are a last resort, I'd rather talk or run my way out of a confrontation. I also limit my risks as well though, I don't hang around bad neighborhoods, I'm not usually out between 12am and 4am, I don't drink while I have a firearm, I don't drive agressively, etc.

Are you worried about it ever just going off?
Technology has come a long way, guns aren't made anymore that can "go off" even when loaded, the liability from making such a poorly made firearm would put a gun company out of business so fast, if not from a poor reputation, then definately from a lawsuit. I am sure there are guns that used to just "go off" back in the 1800's, but not now. Realistically if you carry a firearm in a holster(like they were meant to be) that covers the trigger and keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on your intended target, accidents won't happen. Most accidents happen due to negligence, lack of training and unsafe practices, be safe, get training, follow the rules of gun safety, no problems.

What's it feel like to be around a gun and other people? Stress/pressure?
I have carried a gun so long now it's a non-issue, but when I first started carrying, it took some getting used to. As for stress and pressure, nope, none. Train, train, train, they say you don't rise to the occasion, you fall back to your level of training. Be responsible and get training, stress and pressure is caused by not knowing what to do next, you need to be responsible enough to put the time in to think about "what next", if not, don't carry.

Luck to you on your report. We here on this side of the pond would love to read it when it's complete if you do not mind.

-A few things to remember.
1. A gun is not a magic talisman, it is a tool, I am thankful to be in a country that has few limits on the tools we can use to defend ourselves.
2. Outlaw guns and it's only criminals that have guns. Pass as many guns laws as you want, criminals by definition do not obey laws, then guess what happens? The law abiding follow the laws, the criminals don't and in the end, the only person inhibited by the new laws are the people that are supposed to be "protected" by the law.
 
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I would be happy to help in your research. To address your questions:

Why do you keep a handgun with you all the time?
I am responsible for my own safety. I do not live in a city and the county I live in (Crook) covers several thousand square miles. There are very few deputy sheriffs on duty at any one time and they are spread very thinly. Response time can be very long in the event of an emergency.

Are you afraid of being attacked?
I am not afraid of being attacked. But as you can see from my first answer I must be my own protection. I am trained and alert and have no doubt about my ability. I have extensive training from the military as well as from civilian training schools.

Are you worried about it ever just going off?
No. Properly handled and maintained firearms do not "just go off"

What's it feel like to be around a gun and other people? Stress/pressure?
There is no stress or pressure because I am confident in my ability and skills. I carry a concealed weapon ( a .45 caliber automatic) daily and it has become second nature to me. Those around me never know I have a weapon.

I hope these answers are helpful. Good luck.
 
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My cousin married a man from Germany. On a recent visit, we sat around a fire talking and discussing some of the differences our countries have. He was completely shocked that our government allows us to name our children anything we want. They have a list of approved names over there. You can't name your child Lake or Tree or Whisper because those aren't human names. He was also very surprised that we can go out to the woods, put up a tent and just camp. They have approved camp sites that sounded similar to an rv park.

When we give up our freedoms, in time, we forget that we ever had them or how great they are. We adjust to the government controlling our lives, and it becomes easier and easier for them to take more control in every aspect.

Why do you keep a handgun with you all the time?
To answer your question...because, for the time being, I still can!:s0155:
 
Hiyer mistah! (what follows is a monstrously long post... btw '2A' is common shorthand for the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution)
Always fun to talk about this stuff, and share the vast range of opinions and political identities we gun-totin' Americans have. Interesting (and I'm sure you know this) are the differences in gun ownership laws throughout the UK.... my family comes from N. Ireland and the gun ownership laws there are less restrictive (on some points) than in the rest of the UK Especially post-Good Friday agreement... ah but I digress...

For an interesting view on US gun culture & owners that's a definite counterweight to ideas held by many inside and outside the states, I'd suggest looking up american gun culture report . It's more in the spirit of a DIY 'zine than a glossy big-$ monthly. It's published by a member here who goes by the handle AGCR. it features articles by lefties, righties, libertarians, anarchists, and every other POV on the spectrum. There's often a focus on issues of history, social justice and the importance of our entire Bill of Rights, not just the 2nd Amendment. Really well written stuff and very informative. The publisher is a VERY hard working pro-2A activist and a Liberal/Progressive person (as I believe he refers to himself). He (and the magazine) definitely help to show that those of us who choose to carry a gun for self-defense are not aligned to any particular political clique. I think many people around the world would also be surprised that there are a lot of LGBTQ gun owners/CCL holders here in the US. Strength in diversity overcomes adversity. Or something pseudo-profound like that :D:rockon:

I'll do what others here have done, and give ye my views in Q & A format inserted into your quoted post below... I'm certain that many of my answers might raise other questions; PM me if you'd like.
(*edits to his original post are mine*)
Why do you keep a handgun with you all the time?
--Some of it comes from my past experiences of being on the receiving end of unprovoked, senseless violence; being assaulted and neither being able to flee nor defend myself in any way. I have 'Young-Onset Parkinson's' (YOPD for short), but those incidents happened before I'd been diagnosed 7yrs ago, though I was experiencing the symptoms when the incidents happened. Since I now must walk with a cane (sllllowwwwly) and am not at all physically imposing, I carry a gun as an absolute last resort. I'd much rather flee or talk my way out of a bad situation, but it might not be an option. I sure as **** would not shoot someone unless I absolutely had no other choice.

Also, witnessing acts of totally unprovoked violence against other people-- here and in other countries-- contributed to my decision to get proper training and carry a gun. In those violent episodes, all the assault victims were weaker; not armed in any way; and/or impaired mentally, physically, or by drink or drugs... ugly, ugly scenes… As I come from a long family line of religious Pacifists, it took a lot of soul-searching to decide that I cannot in good conscience consider myself a Pacifist. Truth be told, it took me until age 36; I'm 41 now.

But after MANY years of self-reflection and thought, I decided to buy a gun, seek training, practice regularly and obtain my CCL (concealed carry license). The training and practice are ongoing, and target shooting/plinking are fun in the bargain! Especially as I was flat-out afraid of guns before I purchased my own. And carrying this gun every day has forced me to be more mindful & attentive in every aspect of my life. I may have Parkinson's, but learning to shoot accurately has been a huge confidence booster. And more so as I shoot with what used to be my non-dominant hand, since my formerly dominant hand is the most affected by the YOPD.

Portland is quite a safe city really, though my neighborhood has a fair number of 'hard drug'-related crimes, screaming 4am fights, property theft, B & E, etc. I certainly wouldn't have shot the person who stole garden tools that we'd carelessly left lying about. I'd never shoot a person if it could be at all avoided, and I pray I never have to draw my gun in defense. But if I am left with no other choice, and my loved-ones or I are in jeopardy of losing our lives... well, I have the option of having a firearm that I can use with competence. There isn't any way for me to know definitively how I'd respond if such a moment occurs. I'd be lying if I told you otherwise... I hope I'd make the correct choice. It's a horrifying thought to have to shoot someone, but the thought of someone killing my wife or other loved-ones is a greater horror.
Are you afraid of being attacked?
--I'm not. Living in overwhelming fear of a violent attack (or anything, really) can lead to very poor decision making, ending up house-bound & paranoid, and will warp the soul. I don't feel cocky or macho while I'm carrying a gun, and I'm quite certain that no one can tell that I'm carrying. It does give me a feeling of measured confidence, and an awareness of great responsibility to pay attention to my surroundings.
Are you worried about it ever just going off?
--Years ago before I knew anything substantive about modern firearms but was pondering gun ownership, that was a worry. But now, it is not. You can PM me for more details on this if you'd like.
What's it feel like to be around a gun and other people? Stress/pressure?
-- The only stress comes from seeing the occasional wannabe tough-guy heading towards a rather obvious 'meth lane' in my neighborhood acting as if he's carrying (i.e., hand inside opposite-side coat jacket, or riding his bicycle while clutching SOMETHING in his waistband using a handgun style grip, etc); likewise the eejits who don't clean up after themselves at outdoor shooting areas in our National Forests… There's stress there because those few make ALL of us look like eejits too…

I wrote a bunch more to you in a PM... truly Joycean in length...I think I've rambled on here plently long!
You're most welcome to use any of this or the PM, though I think I'll ® that line about "Strength through diversity overcomes adversity" or whatever it was :D
 
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This is brilliant gentlemen! Thank you for all the responses!

I'll be sure to include this great information, and let y'all (that is my american slang!) read it when I'm done!

PS - Keep it coming if you have anything else
 
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