Last weekend I spent an entire beautiful day cooped up in a classroom, doing something very important: qualifying for my Utah concealed carry permit.
In Idaho, it’s fairly simple to obtain a state concealed permit. Since I had a concealed carry when I lived in Oregon 10 years ago, that training carried over. When we moved, I received my Idaho CC permit with very little trouble.
But I’m limited in where I can carry my firearm since neither Washington nor Montana have reciprocal arrangements with Idaho or recognize my authority to carry concealed. Here in the panhandle, trips over the border (particularly into Spokane, the nearest big city) are frequent; and I wanted the ability to protect myself and my daughters while grocery shopping or running errands.
But a Utah concealed carry permit will allow me to carry in 33 states, including both Washington and Montana.
Apparently, there are quickie shortcuts for getting a Utah CC that don’t require as much coursework. But since carrying concealed is not a responsibility I take lightly, I wanted as much training as possible.
So for eight hours I and the other students in class listened to a comprehensive explanation of the Rule of Law, reviewed firearm safety, learned the limitations of when someone can and cannot use deadly force, the science of ballistics and other relevant data. We were also required to demonstrate proficiency with our firearm. (I drilled 20 shots at seven yards in less than 60 seconds in a cluster four inches across; hold your applause.)
Our instructor had impressive credentials with many years of experience in the military, law enforcement, teaching, writing and testifying. We spent hours peppering him with “What if” questions. We wanted to know precisely when it was and was not acceptable to use (or even threaten to use) deadly force. He told us many sad stories of people who misapplied deadly force and had to pay the legal consequences under the Rule of Law.
I came away from the class fully qualified and ready to submit the paperwork. I also came away with an indelible understanding that carrying a concealed firearm is not something to undertake likely. It implies a grave responsibility.
But I don’t have my Utah CC yet. Oh no. First I must send in the appropriate paperwork, fingerprints, photograph, and then wait while the FBI does a complete background check on me. Then, God willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll be issued my Utah CC and can legally carry across many of these united states.
So why, you may ask, am I doing this? In this age of creepy and unconstitutional government surveillance, why I would voluntarily provide more data to the government, such as extensive fingerprints and a complete background check?
It’s because, despite all the unlawful and unconstitutional things our government is doing, I am still attempting to live my life as an honest, above-board, law-abiding citizen.
Look, we all – every one of us – have an extensive dossier already on file with the government. Unless you’ve totally dropped out of society (and don’t think I haven’t fantasized about it), it’s unavoidable. Providing more information by applying for a concealed carry won’t change that fact.
Oh sure, I probably could get away with flouting the law and carrying concealed while out of my home state. And I probably wouldn’t get caught. But that would make me a law-flouter, not a law-abider. If I’m going to teach my children to be upright and responsible citizens, I can’t do it if I’m deliberately and provocatively breaking the law. Instead, I will try to keep my character and record clean and honest.
There is an understandable movement among some people, driven by the patently illegal actions of our state and federal governments, to shirk the law. These people justify their actions (such as tax evasion, threatening elected officials, stealing from the government, lying, etc.) by saying, “The government does it, so can I.” I say this movement is “understandable” because they’re right: The government does do it all the time. Our elected patricians steal, lie, threaten, harass, slander and spy on a daily basis. It’s no wonder the attitude of many people is becoming, “If they can do it, why can’t I?”
But this solves nothing and brings us down to their level.
I have a friend who lives in California, land of insane government domination. He recently got his Utah concealed carry permit as well. “Why did you get a Utah concealed carry,” I asked him, “when you can’t carry concealed in California?”
“Because a Utah concealed carry demonstrates my character,” he replied. “It demonstrates that I am trained and a legally responsible citizen.”
And a clean and upright character, as I learned in class, can be helpful in a court of law.
Carrying a loaded firearm in public is NOT a responsibility to be undertaken lightly. You don’t shoot for revenge, because you’re having a bad hair day, or other violations of the Rule of Law. You don’t gun someone down because you disagree with his opinions. Those things can and are done in a lawless land; but at least in theory, America isn’t lawless.
Please don’t misunderstand, I am not suggesting that all of the laws of our land are good and just (look at California and you’ll know what I mean). I truly believe our government is insanely out of control and rapidly moving toward what may well be the downfall of our nation. But lying, cheating, stealing, or deliberately flaunting the law won’t help things. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
When I receive my Utah concealed carry permit, then and only then will I strap on my gun when I travel into Washington. Until then, I’ll have to take my chances that my daughters and I won’t be attacked by someone who wants to do us harm.
But our government demonstrates daily that it has no scruples about lying, cheating and stealing. It remains to be seen what good my concealed carry will do for me if and when jackbooted thugs break down my door because they don’t like my opinions.
But at least one thing will be clear: If that happens, then it’s the government who will be the criminals, not me.