How I Got Comfortable With Guns

Part III

Goal: Get GG comfy with open carry

I am a fretful person. When I’m teaching Sunday School and one of my little students stands on his chair or leans his chair back, I can picture him falling and getting hurt in my head clearly and easily. I rush over to get him down off of the chair or to right the chair correctly with all four feet on the floor. Just as I can imagine my little students getting hurt, when GB began open carrying and invited me to open carry too, I imagined myself getting hurt.

I had no fear from GB. He has always handled his firearms in a safe manner. I can’t emphasize that last sentence enough. Introducing someone to firearms when they have an opinion against them only adds to their negative ideas if you handle your firearm unsafely in their presence. Your careful and safe treatment of yourself, those around you and your guns goes a long way in building a positive impression of guns. Anyway, I wasn’t afraid of him, I was afraid of myself. Would I shoot myself in the foot while holstering or unholstering my firearm? Would I drop my gun getting in and out of my car or taking down my pants in the restroom?

I’m not only fretful, I am also easily embarrassed and flustered. I imagined not just incidents where I shot myself in the foot, but incidents where people confronted me. Yelled at me. Threw me out of my favorite stores and restaurants. Police came and interrogated me.

To assuage my shooting myself fears surrounding open carrying, I carried with an empty gun at first. No round in the chamber and an empty magazine in the gun. Yes, it was little more than a paperweight as far as its usefulness in an emergency situation, but I needed those baby steps. And those baby steps added up. From there, I carried an unloaded gun with a loaded magazine in my pocket. Then, I carried a gun with a loaded magazine, but a round not chambered. Baby steps add up! If someone you know wants to get comfortable with guns and starts on these types of baby steps. Don’t laugh, ridicule, belittle! Of course my gun at first was useless in a survival situation, but now it isn’t. And I got there. That’s all that matters.

These graduated steps solved my safety concerns, but what about my embarrassment ones? Well, GB helped a lot there. He explained to me in simple easy sentences what to do if… someone asks us to leave, the cops show up, etc. And he held his head high while we were out. No shame there. He also stayed right with me at first. We went down every aisle in Walmart together. He even went down the aisles no men usually want to go down because I was terrified I’d be confronted, asked to leave, escorted out of the building in handcuffs alone and he wouldn’t be able to find me. Again, baby steps. First we went together down each aisle, then we were a half an aisle apart and finally half a store apart. Don’t mock the baby steps; they work and that’s the important thing.

Thank you GB for letting me take small steps and for having patience with me. It has made all of the difference in the world for my progress in getting comfortable with guns.

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