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A fool, his folly… and his firearm?

Carrying a firearm is a serious responsibility. As Beth Alcazar from the USCCA points out, when people abuse this responsibility, not only do they create dangerous situations or make them worse, they also negatively impact the way the general public thinks about concealed carriers. You may not be able to do anything about people who carry irresponsibly – but the thing you can do is to make sure your own behavior is above reproach.

As any responsible concealed carrier knows, the only time your firearm should ever come out is if you or your family are in immediate physical danger, and only as a last resort. If you find that you have trouble de-escalating situations – or if you tend to be the one starting confrontations in the first place – you need to take a minute and really think about your motivations for carrying. Your firearm is not there to back you up in a fight – it’s an emergency self-defense last resort, for when all other options have failed.

That is something that these carriers should have remembered. Instead of deciding to use their firearms defensively, they chose to act aggressively:

During the hustle and bustle — and, quite possibly, the insanity — of getting ready for back-to-school activities last month, two pairs of women physically tussled over the last notebook on a shelf at a Michigan Walmart … until one of them pulled out her gun. Folks have been arguing that the mother was rightfully defending her daughter from the two other women who were beating her over the said school supply. But I can’t help but wonder about who instigated the fight, how all four women seemed to have kept the fight going, if there were opportunities to stop and remove themselves from the altercation and whether or not death or great bodily harm were part of this equation.

For all of these questions and more, I believe that this notebook dispute is a perfect example of when NOT to use your firearm. And all of this got me thinking: How many more stories like this exist, in which gun owners made poor choices, irresponsibly or irrationally pulled out their guns … and ended up making all of us look bad?

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