Concealed Carry as a Young Minority

Six pack or a revolver? That was an easy choice for me. When I turned 21, the last thing I wanted to do was spend my day at a bar. I wanted to spend my day at my local firearms dealer. My father accompanied me when I purchased my first gun, the same place he purchased his first gun. Together we spent months looking at all the handguns. I saved my hard earned cash up and couldn’t wait until I was able to purchase my first handgun. I have been around handguns since I could remember and been shooting since I was 12. I was even on the high school rifle team, but this was my own gun. With it not only came great responsibility but also great fear. I brought my concealed carry permit that same day, but was I ready to carry?

Life changes when you carry a live gun on your hip and you’re out in public. It’s different from getting your first car. You get your first car and drive off the lot. You can’t wait for your friends to see you in your new car. Your excitement is running through your body but you buy your car and forget about what it is capable of doing. You forget that your new car can instantly become a weapon and can take you or someone else’s life. When I carried my gun for the first time I felt it on me. It was awkward and heavy.

I reminisce at times when I recall my first time carrying a firearm. It felt weird and wrong because I was the first person my age who I knew that carried a gun and in the beginning I felt like I was breaking a law. As a minority, I felt even more cautious. I never saw stories of black concealed carry people defending themselves in the newspaper or television but I saw black people committing crimes with firearms. It also illustrated a stereotype that black people who had a gun were criminals. I knew that wasn’t true but most people see a young black male carrying a gun as trouble.

Most firearms related crimes committed in my city involve minorities killing other minorities (black on black violence.) Other than my father my godfather, and a few minority policemen, I didn’t know any black people who carried a firearm in my city. I live in a city with a population of about 14,000 people and an increasing amount of violent crimes and a drug epidemic.

As a young boy, I rarely saw anyone except police, military, or criminals with guns and was taught in school guns kill people. It wasn’t until I became a teenage and my father started to educate and teach me about firearm education, safety, and marksmanship, I knew that school was spinning me an incorrect narrative. In high school, I joined the rifle team and continued learning marksmanship. The rifle team furthered my firearm training but I also learned that there was a lot about shooting I still didn’t know. I found out that in the urban high school I attended, the vast majority of the team never shot a rifle in their life. The suburban teams we played against the majority of the team had been exposed to firearms before joining the team. I realized that minority families were less likely to expose their children to firearms. My school and my community were not educating young minorities about gun safety.

I carry a firearm daily and educate myself on laws. I train consistently and love exploring the firearm culture. I recently brought a precision rifle to start training long range shooting and I plan on going deer hunting for the first time. Since carrying my first handgun, I don’t feel awkward anymore. I just wake up, take a shower, get dressed, put my gun on and head out the door. My conceal handgun has become an extension of me. With the increase in violence and the backwards politics in my city, I fear that people will restrict firearms from law abiding citizens but not restrict the criminals from obtaining firearms. I plan on being a firearm activist and to be a positive influence in the firearm community. I plan on trying to bring gun education to the inter city schools and working with pro gun groups to get young minorities.

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Round in the Chamber?

How many of you conceal carry a semi-automatic handgun, or have friends or family members that do? After knowing this, have you ever wondered their stand point of why they carry, or the amount of training they had with the firearm? Now a question with a twist; how many of you keep a round in the chamber or prefer to charge your firearm when the time is needed? This was a conversation a fellow soldier and I had a few weeks ago; it was interesting but I was in total awe.

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 A few weeks ago I was honored to be a participant in the Marksmanship Master Training Course held at Ft. Benning, Georgia. This is a course put together by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit to get everyone in the military who has anything to do with marksmanship instruction to be on one accord instead of putting out bad info, and also to debunk some myths all relating to shooting. One day while on break a question was asked to me from SFC Scarborough of Ft. Hood. He asked “When you conceal carry,do you keep one in the chamber or not?

Automatically, I knew this would be a good conversation (or a debate with others listening in on our words). My response was, “Always carry one in the chamber, not having one in does not compute with me.” My reason for saying this is easy, that is how I train. SFC Scarborough responded by stating that he does not feel safe with a round in the chamber, but that is how he trains. Now my thoughts are really trying to make sense of this, but then again, training prepares you for a serious encounter… right? Again my thoughts lead me to multiple past experiences in relation to a firearm as well as mentally putting myself in a position where manually I have to put a round in the chamber under a situation of stress and a deadly threat. Even walking the streets of Baghdad, Iraq we kept one in the chamber. There were a number of people who joined in the conversation and the mix of what they do or what is “correct” was evenly divided. The one point being made when was when the firearm is pulled out is that enough time to charge the handgun putting a round in the chamber in which I did not agree with. My response was more scientific than reason, but stating something I have seen and experienced firsthand.

Adrenaline and stress cause people to react in different ways, but now add in a complex real world situation where you have to pull out your firearm and pull the trigger. This same conversation started by me with a select number of buddies with whom I normally hang with. Their conversation took a different spin. The mindset was more aggressive and in aggreance with my initial response. In the event there is a reason where the firearm has to be engaged for your safety, I would prefer to be in a situation where my firearm is ready to fire, and my focus is more on the situation of changing the behavior of the threat versus having to get my firearm in a state of readiness. Time and space are your friend when a threat presents itself, so isn’t performing fewer steps with a concealed firearm better under a stressful situation? In my opinion the safe factor is to train with your firearm more than twice a year, but carry as you train. My tip is to keep one in the chamber.

This was a friendly conversation between two Soldiers sharing a common interest. From past training events that I was a part of, it was proven that a person can run at you from twenty-one feet and grab you or the firearm before you pull the trigger. A thought might sound good until you put it through a test and see if it works. If not it is time to go back to the drawing board.

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