My rights, your benefit – an open letter to anti-gunners

By David A. Liapis

Photo by Joe Pellegrino

Dear Anti-Gun American,

I’m your neighbor. I’m the guy sitting behind you at the restaurant. I’m the woman standing in line in front of you in line at the grocery store. I’m potentially every person you come in contact with on a daily basis. I’m one of 14.5 million Americans who has a license to carry a concealed weapon.

I’ve heard many people who don’t like the fact it’s our Constitutional right to own a gun say that they are terrified of guns. They hate them and don’t want anyone to own them, and especially to carry them around in public. Here’s the truth of the matter – legal carry happens all the time, and “gun-aphobes” have no idea they, according to their sentiment, should be scared. But here’s another truth – they shouldn’t be scared. In fact, they should feel safer knowing there’s a good guy with a gun in close proximity who could, if needed, potentially prevent a massacre.

I carry my gun everywhere the law allows, and I’ve never once come close to using it – and I hope I never do. But, if I’m ever in a situation where lives are at risk and there’s no law enforcement around (which is typically going to be the case for at least the first five minutes of any situation), I’m licensed, trained and practiced, and I will employ deadly force to protect myself, my family and, yes, even you – someone who wants to disarm me, infringe on my Constitutional rights and malign me for my choices. Think about that for a while.

There’s a fine balance between rights and privileges. Driving a motor vehicle is a privilege, not a right. You must be trained, licensed and insured for the safety and peace of mind of everyone around you. While I may not agree with you that everyone shouldn’t have guns, I also don’t believe everyone should carry a gun even though it’s a Constitutional right. I also feel that anyone who does should be well-trained in handling their firearm and well-acquainted with the applicable laws and the use of force.

It takes very little in the way of research to find ample evidence that states and cities (take California or Chicago for instance) with strict gun laws have higher rates of violent crime in spite of their tough gun laws. Additionally, it doesn’t take much to see, if you’re objective enough to accept the truth, that most mass shootings have occurred in “gun-free” zones.

It’s dumbfounding that so many people refuse to accept the truth that bad guys don’t care about “gun-free” zones, signs, laws or your life. Only law-abiding citizens with guns, i.e., the ones you want around when things go bad, are going to obey the law and care about your life.

Imagine a couple of scenarios if you will. Here’s the first one:

You’re in a “gun-free” restaurant enjoying a meal when someone comes in shooting. What do you do? Duck for cover? The table is too small. Escape out the nearest exit? You can’t get there without getting closer to the shooter. Pull out your phone and call the police? They will likely take at least five minutes to arrive. The shooter is aiming at you now. You’re shot. Will you survive? Will the cops clear the scene so the paramedics can come in and treat you before you bleed to death? What about the dozens of other gunshot victims? Five minutes seems like an eternity as the death toll rises until the police arrive and neutralize the shooter.

Second scenario: You’re in a gun-friendly restaurant enjoying a meal when someone comes in shooting: What do you do? The person at the table next to you quickly jumps behind a support beam, pulls out their concealed weapon, take three quick but accurate shots at the shooter, knocking them to the floor, disarms them and then puts their own gun away and waits for the police to arrive. The whole episode lasts mere seconds. You’re alive, and only one person was shot and is being given first aid by a bystander.

Neither scenario involves you possessing or even owning a gun, and I’m not trying to convince you that you should get one. The first and deadliest scenario also involves other law-abiding citizens not possessing guns because of restrictive gun policies, while the second one involves citizens trained, prepared and allowed to carry concealed weapons.

What’s the point of all this? The point is to convince you that my gun isn’t evil and that you should not fear it nor advocate for me to not be able to own or carry it. Here’s what you should be concerned with: a situation where you run into terrorists and their sympathizers, violent criminals and anyone else willing to do harm to others without you having the means to protect yourself (or having someone like me around who does).

I hope you change your mind about guns and realize good guys with guns deter bad guys with guns. But, even if you never do, I will continue to be willing to protect you and everyone else to the best of my ability so long as the laws allow me to be armed. However, if you succeed in your crusade to disarm me and other law-abiding Americans, I’ll be racing you to the nearest exit as we hope and pray the bullets of an active shooter miss us.

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