Just the other day I got some rather surprising and disturbing news. I found out that the police officers in the town I live in are not allowed to carry firearms while off-duty. The current police chief will not sign for their Concealed Carry Weapons permits.
I was shocked to hear this. I had always assumed that police officers were Encouraged to carry a firearm while off-duty. I believe in some departments it is actually Required. In the past I would occasionally see officers from our town’s police department out at restaurants or walking downtown and always enjoyed having them around as I felt they added an additional layer of security beyond just those officers on duty in squad cars. Doesn’t it make sense that those entrusted with protecting our community (and highly trained to) should be able to do so even when not officially on-duty? And if local cops aren’t getting their CCWs what chance do I, an ordinary law abiding citizen have? Zero. Zilch. Zippo.
There are currently about 300 million people living in the United States, three million of whom have Concealed Carry Weapons permits. One percent. Sure, the numbers are higher in states like South Dakota, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Idaho, where the percentages of citizens with a CCW are more like 4-6%. We also have a few True Right To Carry States like Vermont, Arizona, Alaska, and Wyoming but still the numbers of citizens who are allowed to legally carry firearms and choose to do so is very very low. For more information on what’s happening in each state take a look at this information on Wikipedia.
With such a small number of ordinary citizens armed our society is increasingly reliant on our local police and sheriff’s deputies to keep order. Leaving many people with little options to defend themselves should there be an interruption in police services due to any emergency or disaster that has their small forces overwhelmed. This has happened in two or three of the last hurricanes just in recent memory.
I like to think of this over reliance in the same way I think about the overuse of antibiotics. Bear with me for a moment here, I’m on to something. When a person takes antibiotics too often they degrade their own immune system’s ability to fight infection. Now think of the general population as our country’s most basic line of defense against crime. In other words we are society’s “immune system”. Police forces are our antibiotics. They’re there for emergencies but should not be counted on to always be available.
In my opinion, the more responsibly armed citizens we have the stronger our communities Immune Systems will be. If you live in a state that has a “Shall Issue” policy then I would encourage you to go out and get the proper training and then apply for a permit to carry. That doesn’t mean you have to carry all the time, but there may come a time when you find it very handy to be able to keep yourself armed without having to break the law to do so.