When I Scare Folks Off Concealed Carry: My Response

Hey folks,

Today I had an interesting exchange that I’d like to share with all of you, having obtained permission from the other party, of course. It’s not the first time I’ve had an exchange like this, but it is the first time I’ve made the effort to post about it.

I had done a recent appearance on Armed America Radio, a program hosted by Mark Walters and sponsored by USCCA. (You can listen to my appearance on that show by clicking here.)

During that show I mentioned that a defender could do everything right in a violent encounter, and still end up losing either the physical or the legal fight. My point in making that statement was to encourage people to realize how high the stakes were anytime they get into a physical confrontation, as a way to discourage them from getting into confrontations that weren’t worth such risks.

UPDATE:  It turns out Mark actually read this email exchange on the air on his show.  If you’d like to hear that later show, you can do so by clicking the embed immediately below. Otherwise, skip the embed and keep reading.

Shortly after that appearance Mark received an email from a listener, an email he would go on to forward to me for a response. That email read:

Howdy Mark
Like your show and what you do to support the 2nd Amendment. That said, between Andrew’s book and your discussion with him on Sunday I have decided to quit my conceal carry. Yes I know I could regret it, but legally it’s just not worth it. Do all the right things and still possible go to jail? Nope. Don’t think so. I will continue to keep my firearm for home defense but not concealed. You all stay safe

At Mark’s suggestion, I wrote back to RK directly:

Hey RK,

Your concern about the legal risks of carrying are something I hear from time to time, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with having those concerns. They are reasonable concerns. Carrying a firearm for personal protection is a huge responsibility with substantial risks, and it certainly isn’t for everybody. And as I said on Mark’s show, it’s certainly possible that you could do everything right using a gun in defense of yourself or your family and still end up going to jail. Witnesses can lie, evidence can be lost, your defense attorney could turn out to not be very good. Stuff happens.

The reason I emphasize that point, however, is not to discourage people from carrying a firearm for personal protection, if they are otherwise prepared for that responsibility, but to make sure they are making an informed decision.

Knowing that I could do everything right and still go to jail, I personally still carry a handgun every day, and have done so for my entire adult life. Why? Because I personally believe that there are worse things than going to jail.

For me personally, dying would be worse than going to jail. Watching my wife or children be murdered would be worse than going to jail. Having my wife or daughters raped would be worse than going to jail. Being permanently maimed or crippled, or having a member of my family be maimed or crippled, would be worse than going to jail.

Were I compelled to use my handgun out on the street to prevent one of those outcomes from happening, and despite doing everything right I ended up unjustly convicted and in jail, I still believe it would have been the right thing to do, and I’m prepared to live with that outcome. It would suck, no doubt, but I’d rather have my wife and children alive and me in jail, however unjustly, than have them dead or maimed and me not worried about prison. I’d rather have that gun on my person, acknowledging all the risks and responsibility involved, than have myself or my family destroyed by a criminal predation while out shopping because I’d left my gun home in the safe.

That doesn’t necessarily mean YOU should have the same perspective, make the same decision, or be prepared to live with a similar outcome under similar circumstances—we’ll all draw that line in a different place, and where you draw your line is entirely up to you. Nobody else can or should make that decision for you. If YOU are more comfortable leaving the gun at home, then that’s the right decision for YOU. You certainly won’t hear me criticize you for it.

After all, it’s you who has to live with the consequences, either way.

Best regards,


I followed up that email with another offering RK a complementary copy of my book, The Law of Self Defense, 3rd Ed., to help him make an informed decision. RK responded a short while later:

After reading your email I have decided two things. One, I would appreciate a copy of your book. And two, I will continue to carry concealed and will read your book on arrival. I really appreciate your time. Be safe.

Thought that exchange might be of interest to a broader group, and RK was kind enough to grant permission for me to reproduce the exchange here.

And RK’s book is on the way. 🙂

Twitter: @LawSelfDefense
Facebook: LawofSelfDefense

About the Author

Andrew Branca
Andrew F. Branca, Esq. is currently in his third decade of practicing law, and is an internationally-recognized expert on the law of self-defense of the United States. Andrew is a Guest Lecturer at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy, a former Guest Instructor at the Sig Sauer Academy, an NRA Life-Benefactor Member, and an NRA Certified Instructor. He also teaches lawyers how to argue self-defense cases as a certified instructor with the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) system in numerous states around the country. Andrew is also a host on the Outdoor Channel’s TV show “The Best Defense” and contributor to the National Review Online. Andrew has been quoted as a SME (subject-matter expert) on use-of-force law by the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, and many other mainstream media, including nationally syndicated broadcast media. Recently, Andrew won the UC Berkeley Law School debate on “Stand-Your-Ground,” and spoke at the NRA Annual Meeting Law Symposium on self-defense law. He is also a founding member of USCCA’s Legal Advisory Board. In addition to being a lawyer, Andrew is also a competitive handgun shooter, an IDPA Charter/Life member (IDPA #13), and a Master-class competitor in multiple IDPA divisions.

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