There are a lot of people – even here in Wyoming – who get nervous when they see a civilian carrying a firearm. For that reason, when I carry one, I carry it concealed. I’ve heard the argument that having a gun plainly visible deters people from doing bad things, and that is likely true, but it also fuels the fires of the anti-gun arguments. If some bad actor decides to do something they shouldn’t and there are people around with concealed firearms, my guess is there will be plenty of deterrence involved.
But even people who carry concealed often get asked why they do, or worse, they are accused of wanting to fight. Most people I know who carry a gun do not ever want to use it. They carry it to protect themselves and other innocent people, and they don’t do it for glory, fame or hero status.
I’ve heard people say, “I carry a gun because I can’t carry a policeman.” That is a valid argument out here in the West, where the closest law enforcement officer could be miles away. That might be different in a big city, but even in places where police forces are much larger, response times can be longer than the time a person has to get out of a tight situation.
My favorite quote was from a guy who was sitting outside a Cheyenne coffee shop. He had a gun on his hip, and a lady walking in asked him what he was afraid of. He said, “Pardon me, ma’am, what do you mean?” She said, “You have a gun. What are you afraid of, that makes you think you have to carry a gun?” His response was, “I’m not afraid of anything. I have a gun.”
I had to laugh, but I think the confrontation could have been avoided if he’d had his gun concealed. But nobody tried to rob that coffee shop while he was out there, either.