Part I: Before My Concealed Carry Permit
Updated: Jul 31, 2018
by Guest Blogger, Kimberly Shepheard
I was an English Literature major with a concentration on Writing and Rhetoric. I also have an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice and did my internship with the Suffolk County Police Department when I was 19. I’ve only ever held a handgun once. I was 21 or 22 and a friend owned one (legally) on the Upper East Side in New York. He handed it to me. I picked it up, pointed it at the window (which had bars on it), and promptly put it down. How could I have ever thought about becoming a police officer without knowing what a gun feels like in my hand? I even took the NYC police test by that point. I was a bartender, and volunteered for undercover liquor stings while in school. Gun ownership just wasn’t for me.
Since my early twenties, when I had written off guns altogether, I have had zero interest, and had progressed to completely being against the whole idea of citizens owning or carrying. What do we need them for? Let the professionals handle it. Honestly, the thought of having drinks with friends in a bar, knowing they are carrying, doesn’t make me feel any safer. There are police officers and armed forces who are trained to use these things in the right situation. Someone who grew up with guns might argue that it is for protection of you and your loved ones in unexpected scenarios. All of the data that I’ve seen shows that is not quite how it works out. Fear of accidents happening, children getting ahold of them, and increased risk of suicide by firearm has decidedly kept me away from gun culture.
I have since lived in South Florida for 10 years, and now Colorado for 9, and I have come across – and made friends with – Americans from all walks of life with various outlooks and worldviews, including those that feel they have a right to carry. The Constitution says so. With all of the workplace and school shootings over the last couple of decades in the U.S., the dangers of widespread firearm availability to virtually anyone who desires one has made the idea of citizen ownership sound more and more ridiculous to me.
However, an open mind is required here. Many parts of the country have less available “protection” from authorities than others. I understand feeling the need to own a gun if you live in a remote place, or if you hunt – and I’m grateful to those who must hunt or put down animals so that we may eat. I’m also starting to understand that when you are brought up in a culture where guns are commonplace, and it is normal to know how to use one safely, it is not a big deal to you, and that people like me are generally afraid of things they don’t understand.
So, I’m taking my concealed carry permit course to see what it is truly like to hold, load and fire a gun at a target. I think it is important to at least try to understand a thing before passing judgement on it. I’m eager to learn, and I’m excited about this course. I have no idea what things it will make me feel, besides a sore hand and shoulder (and possibly other muscles I didn’t know I had), but I’m going to find out. And I’ll tell you about it in Part II.