Addison is a friend of mine since college. She never liked guns and only reluctantly went with my friends and I to the range once during our junior year. In her last year of college, she started going out with this guy named Jake. Jake seemed, at the time, to be a well-rounded dude. A bit of a slacker and not much of note, he seemed to keep to himself, be able to take a joke and Addison adored him.
They graduated college and, like me were able to stay in the state they both grew up in.
Addison works now as a registered nurse at a hospital not too far from where I work. We both live in the same town and, when I have a little free time, we both sometimes go down to the local bar and have a few beers after work.
One night I was down by the local watering hole when she walked in. She looked upbeat and normal bubbly Addison, but I could tell something was off. After about two beers and a game of darts, she let it all spill out. Jake and her had split. She wanted to move on and do something else. Jake didn’t. Addison claimed he was still very, very attached. Too attached. Like the type of attached that showed up outside her townhome before she went to go to work in the morning.
He was the type of attached that would call her work and try to talk to her.
Some serious red flags were popping up.
I offered to take her to the local shooting range to try out a handgun. Carrying a concealed firearm is a great way to take responsibility for your own protection, I explained. She really wasn’t into it but conceded that she needed to do something.
It wasn’t quite at the point where she wanted to get a restraining order against Jake, but she was honestly worried that his unpredictable behavior could develop into something worse.
I explained that even outside of Jake, there were plenty of other reasons to get some basic firearm safety training and carry a concealed handgun.
Over the next week, I walked her through the process. We started with basic firearm safety and transitioned into basic marksmanship. I didn’t have the time to commit to teaching her what I knew so I got her to the point where she felt comfortable selecting a handgun at the gun store and signing up for a local class geared towards women and defensive handgun use.
During that week, Jake tried to get in contact with her. When she didn’t respond, he started showing up outside her home. She told him that if she saw him outside her home one more time, she would get a restraining order. This apparently got through to him – at least a little – because she tells me he got real quiet after that. No more texts, no more calls, no more surprise appearances.
Still, it hammered home the fact that it doesn’t necessarily need to be a former lover to become a gun owner or concealed carrier. In fact, at work, she encountered patients that would stretch the line between professionalism. Her eyes were opened to a new world of dangerous possibilities that she had heretofore simply ignored.
She wanted to become a concealed carrier. However, her work would never allow it. It’s a hospital. And this specific hospital had a no weapons policy. They didn’t make exceptions for people who felt their lives may be in danger walking through a darkened parking lot. They didn’t care what a person’s case history was.
The need to carry everywhere got further hammered home when a heroin junkie robbed one of her coworkers by grabbing her and threatening to jab her with a dirty needle. This didn’t make the headlines of the local newspaper because the hospital wanted to downplay the threat of violence to their visitors and employees. It’s dirty, but it’s corporate reality.
She told me she started carrying into the hospital. She wouldn’t carry her handgun on shift, but she would put it in her work locker and equip it before she left the building. It gave her a degree of comfort and security as she headed out into a poorly lit parking lot.
I asked her if she would be fired if she got caught carrying her handgun. She said undoubtedly she would. There’s a strict policy, and the hospital administration would enforce it. Visitors have been thrown out and threatened to have the police called on them for carrying their guns into the building. She had no doubt she wouldn’t be an exception to the rule.
I asked her if it was worth it. She said it absolutely was. She had too much to lose if she didn’t carry than if she was caught carrying.
For me, I can carry my handgun at work, and my boss doesn’t care so long as it doesn’t scare the customers or disrupt business. I don’t lose my job for getting spotted with a handgun on my waist. Addison undoubtedly would. That decision, however, is completely up to her with the full knowledge that she would absolutely lose her job if caught.
I’m not going to sit here and tell people to break the rules or laws. I will say that, as an adult with full knowledge of the law and of policy, you must make the decision as to what you stand to gain or lose by abiding by it. As a lawful concealed carrier, I hope you would choose wisely.