The 2nd Biggest Mistake Gun Owners Make?

The 2nd biggest mistake gun owners make?
The 2nd biggest mistake gun owners make?
The 2nd biggest mistake gun owners make?
The 2nd biggest mistake gun owners make?

The biggest mistake gun owners make is violating one of the four safety rules. Those are obviously non-negotiable and breaking the rules costs many people their lives and limbs. But, I believe the second biggest mistake gun owners make is not carrying their firearm often enough.

Yesterday, I got a call from my brother who lives in Utah. As soon as I picked up the phone he said to me, “Did you hear what happened at Smith’s,” (a grocery store in Utah.) Apparently, a man walked into Smith’s and purchased a kitchen knife. On his way out of the grocery store he started stabbing random people.

In the parking lot was a man who was passing through on his way home to Idaho. As he watched the madman stab two people he quickly drew his concealed carry gun and pointed it at the attacker who was now coming towards him. As soon as the attacker saw a gun was pointed at him, he stopped, and the Idaho man held him at gunpoint until police arrived.

Not surprisingly, Salt Lake City newspapers and TV stations are calling the man a hero.

He no doubt saved many lives by having a gun, including his own. As soon as my brother finished telling me this story he said to me, “I think I need to start carrying my gun more often.” I told him he was right.

In fact, this past weekend – being the super romantic man that I am – I took my wife on a surprise trip to Berkeley Springs, WV. It’s a tiny town that is famous for its hot springs and because George Washington used to visit there often.  The town is full of antique shops and craft stores and pretty much a million other little shops that no sane man would ever enter, unless he was with his wife.

Well, the guns I brought along to West Virginia were my 1911 and Ruger LCP.

I don’t mind carrying a 1911 on a regular day when I’m running errands and not on my feet much. But when you’re on your feet all day and looking at quilts for 10 hours (yes, they had a quilt show and my unborn daughter now has a $65 baby quilt… and no, unfortunately that isn’t a typo) the 1911 starts to feel quite heavy.

Because of all of this walking around, I decided to pocket carry my LCP for a while instead of my 1911.  But I still had a gun on me all weekend no matter what craft stores we were in. The point I’m trying to make is that we are blessed to live in a day and age when we have more firearms choices than ever before and there is little excuse not to have your gun on you.

Again, just think what would have happened if the man from Idaho didn’t have his gun on him in the grocery store parking lot. Just think of how many more people in this country would be dead if responsible gun owners weren’t carrying concealed.

(Now you have a good reason to tell your spouse you need a new lighter, smaller, gun.)

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Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and author of The Covert Guide to Concealed Carry. He is also the creator of the Ultimate Concealed Carry Experience, which allows you to take your concealed carry training without leaving home. For full details about this training, please visit Concealed Carry Academy. You can also follow him on Google+ and Twitter.
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The article I read did not say that the gun owner pointed it at the gun with the knife. In fact, in my state it would be wise to point it in a safe direction until you shot.




You sir, need better reading glasses.


A Glock is lighter than a 1911 and holds more rounds of (pick your caliber) SD ammo than an LCP. I’m just sayin’.


The point is well taken Jason.   It doesn’t matter so much as to what gun you have, just so long as you have one with you.   Many times I get tired of carrying my Kimber .45 and resort to my little Kahr .380 instead just to have something with me quick and dirty.   Your point is correct . . . get into the habit of at least having a firearm at the ready.    A tool left at home in the drawer is a worthless tool when you suddenly need it out in the field.


I just started to carry my new S&W Governor. It is difficult to conceal, but I don’t think about missing my target.


This is why I hate that I live in IL.  NO CARRY at all. 


 But you have no crime in IL, right ?  🙂

Joseph Martin

I do concur Jason, although being in the military i feel extremly unlucky that i can hardly carry at all because of driving on base so often. as you may know: possession of a weapon or any ammunition on a federal installation is illegal by “Title 18 US CODE § 930. and i live in virginia where there are some stores ex: “Babies’r’us” where it is also illegal to carry a firearm. unfortunatly for all virginians anybody can make their property (commercial, industrial, and residential) a !”GUN FREE”! zone.


I just read “Title 18 US CODE § 930.  The way I read it , it prohibits possession in a federal facility, and that is defined as a building or structure. It does not cover or prohibit on installations.  This would make sense, since many installations have public roads and highways going through them.


But the caveat is “or part there of”.  Being an installation is part of a federal facility that is where they have you.


I still do not get installation from the below definition quoted from the code. the grounds or out of doors is not a facility, or part there of.

(1) The term “Federal facility” means a building or part
thereof owned or leased by the Federal Government, where Federal
employees are regularly present for the purpose of performing
their official duties.


(1) The term “Federal facility” means a building or partthereof

Legal definition provided by a provost marshall a couple of years back when asked about this very subject is “Part thereof” which means parking lot, roadway or anywhere on post that the post commander has deemed that the post security has jurisdiction.  He also stated that this is ANYWHERE on a federal military installation.  So they got ya tacked down pretty good.


The problem with the provost marshals opinion is do employees regularly perform their duties in the parking lot or roadway? The parking lot is a place employees pass through to go to their jobs, they do not perform their job there. Because the PM has his opinion, does not make it law. Post security has jurisdiction anywhere on post and that is not even germane to the issue. They enforce federal law and post regulations. If the post has regulation, that is a different matter. But if the PM is trying to call it federal law, that is his opinion and he is in need of remedial training. The following is the exact wording from Title 18 USC. It appears to me that using commonly accepted definitions, a good attorney could have the PM back tracking on his opinion.

“I still do not get installation from the below definition quoted from the code. the grounds or out of doors is not a facility, or part there of. (1) The term “Federal facility” means a building or partthereof owned or leased by the Federal Government, where Federalemployees are regularly present for the purpose of performingtheir official duties.”


The provost will refer charges to the magistrate who will determine if federal law was violated

Carry a weapon on ANY PART of a federal installation and get pulled over by post security and have a handgun and see what happens. 

You can argue the fine point of the law, but unless you are traveling to or from a registered hunting area and your weapon is unloaded and secured in a trunk you will face federal gun charges as well as whatever charge the security officers initially pulled you over for.

Read any sign at any federal installation civilian or military and weapons are forbidden.  PERIOD  no forgiveness nor discussion of said CFR.  Your gun will be confiscated and you more than likely will never see it again.


As a side note, I’m retired Army and I was traveling from Boise, ID to my home in Twin Falls. Decided to stop at Mtn Home AFB.  I was carrying concealed and stopped at the front gate on how to visit the BX and secure my weapon at the same time.  I was told to unload my weapon and place it on the dash in plain sight and drive to a designated unit to store in their arms room.  While it was a hassle, I did not break any federal laws and was able to shop and retrieve my weapon on the way home.  One of the Air Police suggested next time I just hide it.  NEVER, EVER, do that (at no time did I ever consider it).  Of course that was pre-9/11 so I don’t know if the same rules apply now.  (And no, I’m not really a guest).

Joe T.

 I carry whenever I legally can.  As an earlier commenter pointed out – I hate having to make a choice between obeying the law and staying safe. 


I find it ironic that an ex-CIA officer is advocating people should carry their concealed weapon “everywhere” and people don’t carry it often enough. Many businesses will not allow a concealed weapon in their business so now you have to be aware at what businesses allow and don’t allow and, oh man, don’t cross state lines to a state that doesn’t allow, and etc., etc., etc. It can actually get people in a lot of trouble if they are not intimately aware of the concealed carry laws. 

What is MUCH more important that carrying a gun (where you may find after the fact that it isn’t legal) is to have situational awareness. Awareness of your surroundings will help you to avoid 99% of bad or dangerous situations. And it is a better approach since it keeps you out of court and out of law enforcement’s “radar”.


In all fairness, Jason never said weapons should be carried “everywhere” as you claim he said.   All he seems to be saying is people often miss out on taking full advantage of carrying more often than they do.   He also never said a firearm should be taken into places where they are prohibited.   He has in fact written right here about “situational awareness”.

Finally, this web site is about Concealed Weapons Carry.  It’s not about advising people to leave their weapons home where they can do you no good should you need them, as you clearly seem to be suggesting.   Yes, we should be aware of our surroundings, but we also need to remain prepared for trouble in those surroundings.   I hope you don’t take offense to my thoughts.   I just think you were a bit harsh on Jason.


The whole business thing really depends on where you are. In my home state of Michigan there are very few businesses that post no gun signs. Really the few I’ve seen are places where it’s illegal to carry a concealed pistol. Only place I’ve noticed that does prohibit guns is MC Sporting Goods (and only 1 particular MC) and the funny thing is they sell guns for concealed carry! The state of Ohio, however, has more no gun signs than guns. 


Norton, I’d rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. 

Situational awareness is extremely important, but there may be a time that being aware of a situation will not remove you from it–and that may be when you need your CCW.

Caleb Alexander West

Yet another reason I love living I Utah, where a businesses signs mean nothing legally. If they don’t know I have it, they can’t tell me personally to not carry there (which is what it takes, exception, churches, federal buildings etc) if I see a no guns sign, I laugh, go in anyways, then open carry on my way out to show the steeple (yes there was a man who carries a gun, and no one was hurt.


I went to salt lake from Blackfoot idaho i called salt lake police to ask a few cwp questions i have always carried my cwp in Utah with my idaho cwp. The officer told me utah doesn’t accept idahos cwp and i would be in big trouble if i carried while in utah. He gave me his website where his info was on and idaho wasn’t on that list. But on Idaho state police website it says clearly it is accepted in Utah. So i called utah state police and told them what the slc officer told me on the phone. The state police in Utah said um as far as they know and can see online yes utah allows idaho cwp. He stated the utah publice safety web site has errors and didn’t add idaho on its list so the salt lake police will arrest any idahoans who carry with an valid idaho cwp. I sent them a message on the site about the error and no one replied back.


The stores dont know your carrying a concealed weapon. So how can they ban it if they don’t see it? I ignore unconstitutional laws rules and sheeple idiots. I carry for me and my family as for saving others mmm that depends on the situation. I won’t get involved in domestic violence fights between a couple. I would just call police. Even if someone has a weapon and using it on the other. I am not sticking my butt on the line to fight in court with out millions of dollars. It isnt worth it unless its a childs life in danger or my famly.


Well I find it ironic that you woud think Jason is out of line with his article.  The truth of the matter is we as Concealed Carry Permit holders need to know who does and dosen’t allow CCW in their store, and we should refuse to go into any store that does.  I find it interesting that “norton” would have any question of who or who dosen’t allow carry States or otherwise.
I am a former Law Enforcement Officer myself and never in 12 years did I have a negative contact with a legally armed citizen.  I agree in total with Jason on this issue we all need to carry at all times.


Amen brother!


Bad things do not happen to Good people only when they expect it.  Carry Always and be vigilant.


This story and the commits made are a good example why we need a federal concealed carry law that is the same for all states thereby eliminating the need to worry about crossing state lines and basically the same as they did with commercial drivers licenses. Call your state representatives to get them on board.

William D Tipton

 The problem with that is that means the the FEDERAL government would be in control.
I am not good with that idea under any circumstances, but especially with the Feinsteins around.


There needs to be national reciprocity. Just like a drivers license, with my MD license I can drive in any of the other 49 states

William D Tipton

It would be nice if the STATES could come up with a plan for reciprocity without the FED being involved.

Angela Skinner

if the states would stop being so catty with one another and come up with a solid standard…mutually without fed involvement, it would be a beautiful thing…but I live in SC and we don’t even have it in Georgia because we didn’t find their standard high enough and wouldn’t honor theirs so in retaliation they don’t honor ours…even though it’s a higher standard to get it here and tougher…

Jim Isbell

When I got my permit I made a decision to carry anytime it was legal.  I carry around the house (P3AT in my pocket).  I made that decision because I know “Murphy”.   Murphy will tell you that according to his law, the time you need the gun will be the time you dont have it, simple.  If there is no time that you dont have it, Murphy will not be able to get to you.  Before I got my permit…and afterwards as well…I always carried a pocket knife.  Not for defense, but because I often had need to a cutting device.  I was so in the habit that I felt “neked” if it wasnt in my pocket.  Just like wearing a seatbelt in the car, I felt uncomfortable without it.  I made an effort to train myself in the same way I was trained to carry a pocket knife ot fasten my seatbelt.  I dont ask myself, “do I need it?”, I just put it on when I get out of bed in the morning.  While sleeping it is within reach.  Am I afraid of something?  No, its just a habit, and I will hopefully never need to draw it.


Congratulations on your impending addition to the family, Jason! (Ten hours at a quilting show — now that’s either a lot of love or a lot of resistance training!)


Conceal carry is just that—-showing off your weapon can get you in trouble—-stores,don”t know you are carrying and if they are that ignorent that they don”t want you there with a gun,take your business else where. My true sence 


I went the other way… I took my wife to a gun show to find the gun that fit her and her hand. She decided on the Walther PK380 for hand-fit and easy loading. I then bought two. Now we have matching conceal-carry weapons. If either of us is in need, the other has spare mags. (P.S. She is a much better shot than I am.)

William D Tipton

I carry every waking moment.
When I take a shower the gun is in the bathroom with me.
I dont leave the house without it….ever.
I just dont go into businesses that dont allow me to carry.


That is how you vote with you spending dollar – don;t go into a business that won’t allow you to carry – but to be effective, you have to let them know that if they did not prevent you from using one of your constituional rights, you would be shopping in their store right now. I know as a business owner that it gets my attention in the tough economic atmoshpere of today. Bully for you for standing up for the cause!

David Maiville

Good IDEA!   I’m gonna tell them.


I wish I could carry freely, my wife is so scared I have a hard time taking the gun out just for target practice.

David Maiville

My wife does not want to deal with guns but she has no problem with mine.  I carry concealed only and I do not even tell her when I am carrying so she does not worry about it.  I have told her about Luby’s Cafeteria slaughter which occurred several decades ago in Texas and she is OK fo’ sho’ with ME carrying.

William D Tipton

The wife and I went into a Chase bank about 3 years ago to start a checking account and get our direct deposit set up.
The bank ended up having someone trying to rob it thru the drive through…I think it was a bomb threat or something.
This was months before I got my CHL.


Your point?


You don’t get it?


when is calif going to wake up,,i once asked a gang member here in l.a. why he was carring a gun,and didn’t he know it was illegal and would get in trouble to the tune of 5yrs in prison!! he replyed i would rather get caught with one than without one. this remines me of jasons story, the gang member was worried about running into a rival gang member,and not having a gun,at the same time i would and am wooried about running into anyone who may harm me or my family.


You really need to take a writing course.


And who are you? The grammar police? I find Jason’s conversational style friendly and informative.


I agree with you SweetTart.   Jason isn’t perfect and neither are any of us.  He’s not a grammar professional and neither does he need to be within this kind of a forum.   His thoughts convey just fine.   All I can say is at least he takes the time to contribute here.  It’s easy to throw stones at those who step up to the plate.   I very much appreciate those who present articles here for the rest of us.  I’m not looking for perfect . . . I’m looking for good discussion.   Thanks for saying what you said.


I work on a federal installation that am not allowed to carry concealed or open, just like the Post Office. When not working, carry pt740 in NRA select carry pistol pouch, (fanny pak by yesteryears standards.), and it is really hard to notice that there is such a thing inside this pouch around my waist. Carry keys and cell in the ends. There is also the “clipdraw” that holds ISWB, or between belt and waist band with jacket or tail-out shirt to hide it. Taurus pt740 is 40 caliber with the stopping of any regular 40, minus the full hand grip. Only carries 6rds, down side, but needing more than six, the pistol pouch will hold extra magazine. Gun owners; Keep it Growing!

Dan Ess

Many of us in agreement here and I am sure throughout the USA. If you are going to acquire a permit (if required) to carry conceal, why wouldn’t you carry? I too carry everywhere (legal) I go, been doing so for almost 4 years. Never had a issue with maintaining concealment. Carried everything from my S&W460V (backpacking) to my NAA Black Widow 22WMR (summer dress). Weapon of choice, Kahr MK40 or SA EMP 40; though there are times I carry my Bond Snake Slayer IV or LCP. Generally they are carried as a secondary weapon. Recently I acquired a S&W629 3″ 44 to carry when I go hiking. It weighs about 1 1/2 lbs. less than the 460V! That’s a lot when hiking for 8 hours.I was extremely happy when they signed the law that allowed carry in most all National Parks. 

Charles R. Lewis

Yes! Thank you. Who signed that law? President Obama. So can we agree, the man is not out to get every privately-owned gun in America? Can we discuss regulations without going to extremes?

David Maiville

Can we all try as a group to force news media to run stories about when someone saves his family or life by legally using a gun?  All they ever run are stories about slaughters by madmen which amps up the tree huggers who are misinformed because they do not hear the “other side” stories which I believe outnumber the crazies 10 to 1.

Dan Ess

Yes, it is sad that in our society, Evil & Danger are big sellers when it comes to what the Media publishes. The days of Good (ie: Andy Griffith & Goober) are things of the past. To say Tree Huggers are anti-gun rights is incorrect, as I know plenty of Environmentally aware people who are Pro-Gun and who carry; I’m one myself.

Bob Solla

awesome article jason!keep them coming!

Charles R. Lewis

Liberal claims that guns are never used by civilians to save or protect life are just as false as conservative claims that having more guns will not lead to more gun violence. Many of us liberals are not “anti-gun”, I believe every American should have the right to own them, but banning private sales, without background checks, is a smart move. Sensible regulation does not equate to a “slippery slope” that will result in the confiscation of all guns…this is America, that will never happen. Its the paranoia of some gun rights advocates that frightens most of us non-gun owning citizens….very few people are actually arguing for a complete gun ban, and they will never achieve their goals in our freedom-loving society.