I wanted to post my reason for not carrying loaded. When I first got my permit I carried unloaded for a few months to get in the habit of carrying and get comfortable with all my daily habits and routines. After a few months I started carrying loaded. I carried several different guns in several different setups and was totally comfortable carrying loaded.
I live about 2 blocks away from work. I go to work before the rest of my family is up. One morning my wife called me and asked me if I wanted to come home for pancakes. (She does this once or twice a year for some reason….) So I went home, sat down, and started wolfing down pancakes. About 5 minutes into breakfast my son, who was probably 10 years old at the time, came out of the bathroom, sat down at the table and said, “Dad, your gun is in the bathroom.” I about messed my pants.
I had been carrying a Ruger LCR in a pocket holster for a few months and that was the gun I had left in the bathroom. For some reason that morning in the 1 second it took to get my gun from its safe location and put it in my pocket I got sidetracked and set it on top of the vitamins on the countertop. And I left it sitting there, fully loaded. I had been at work for about an hour and hadn't realized I didn't have my gun in my pocket. My wife and other kids had been in that bathroom that morning and not seen it. At the time I had a 7 year-old, a 4 year-old, and a 1 year-old.
I hurried into the bathroom, got the gun, and put it in my pocket and sheepishly came out to the breakfast table. I told my son, “Kade, thank you. You did the right thing.” He replied something like, “Huh.” I repeated by self, “Kade, thanks for doing the right thing and telling me about my gun.” I explained to him I had forgotten my gun and had left it on the countertop and I was sure proud he did the right thing. He responded, “I thought you were testing me to see what I would do.” My wife was right here and didn’t scold me or say one word. She still hasn’t chastised me for being stupid. We have talked about this event several times, including with my kids.
Here’s my concern. What would have happened if my 4 year-old, or 1 year-old had found that gun instead of my oldest son? Would they have done the right thing? I’m not sure. I think my 7 year-old would have done the right thing, but I’m not totally sure about that either. If my 4 year-old or 1 year-old had gotten that gun and started playing with it, he could have killed himself or someone else. I PROVED that day that I make mistakes. I had been carrying for years and never done that. I have had times were I have “lost” my gun for a short amount of time though. I’ve left it in the door of my vehicle to run into the Post Office and forgotten about it for a few hours.
I decided right then and there, I would NEVER carry a revolver. It’s too easy for someone to “load” an unloaded revolver. Any child can do that. I also decided I will only carry semi-auto’s now. My youngest kids can’t load a semi-auto. I figured I would rather die because I don’t have time to load my gun, than attend my son’s funeral because I made a simple mistake. Anybody that doesn’t think they will ever forget their gun or leave it out is making a serious mistake. Remember it only take a few seconds of “forgetting” your gun for a tragedy to occur. Remember the grandma in Florida shopping with her grandchild?http://www.wistv.com/Global/story.asp?S=8451232
It can happen to anybody. It will happen to every person that is reading this post at some point. I guarantee it. If you think you will never forget your gun, you are being a fool.
When I teach my CFP classes I explain to my students that the decision to carry loaded or unloaded is a very, very, personal decision. Nobody should try to force another to carry a certain way, nor should anyone EVER scold or mock another person because his or her carry choice is different. I hear a lot of people say thing that are derogatory and demeaning to those of us that choose to carry unloaded. It offends me. My choice is one of safety and love.
Remember I PROVED I can leave a loaded gun out where my kids can get to it. I have yet to be in a situation where I have ever needed my gun. I figure the chances of someone getting hurt because I’m human and occasionally make careless mistakes is higher than my chance of dying because I don’t have a round in the chamber. I hope if I ever need my gun I will have enough time to rack the slide. It’s a personal decision.
Now having said that it is very likely that in the future I will probably start carrying loaded again. As my youngest kids get older I may. Who knows? Circumstances and situations change. Each of us are in different situations. I applaud anyone that chooses to carry a gun or have a gun to protect themselves or their loved ones. I will never judge a person for their choice to carry loaded or unloaded. So there you have it. Why I carry unloaded.