They Don’t Feel Safe

They Don't Feel Safe
They Don't Feel Safe
They Don't Feel Safe
They Don't Feel Safe

I am in a position that doesn’t lend to making friends at work. Because of what needed to be done, I fully expected this and this is what I do. I don’t claim to be perfect, but I have experience understanding what it takes to make a place profitable and a major part of that is having the right people to do the job and protecting their efforts by surrounding them with like minded people. SO, needless to say, I have a target on my back by those that feel I am asking too much or stepping on toes.

However, I have to make a comment on recent events.  I carry a gun. I have for almost twenty years. I have had to defend myself with a gun when violent criminals tried to take my life for greed. I have also had to threaten the use of the gun to protect others lives from criminal violence. I train law abiding citizens to use the utility of violence to protect themselves against criminal violence. No matter how much you believe violence is not an answer, I can tell you that when your life is in immediate danger, where it takes less than one second for someone to pull a trigger or two seconds for them to step to you and bury a knife in your chest, and the police are an average of 11 minutes away, violent self defense is almost always the only option you have to save your life or the life of another. The owner of the company I work for understands this, knows my background, and has authorized me to carry at work.

I served my country with honor. While doing so I also was certified as an auxiliary police officer through the D.O.D. police. I have held secret clearance, been background checked on almost a yearly basis. I have had psych eval after psych eval. I’ve been through hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of training in threat assessment, conflict negotiation, violent behavior analysis, unarmed and armed self defense tactics, executive protection, fugitive apprehension, surveillance, etc. I have been entrusted to wear a badge in the name of the law, to break through criminals doors to bring them to justice, to put my life on the line to protect others. I have been vetted.  When law enforcement and private security officers need training to learn how to operate in instances of mortal combat, they have come to organizations I have worked for and to myself for training on how to do it right; How to minimize danger to the public and themselves while engaging violent people to stop them from killing. Anyone who knows anything about me and the few friends I have know that I would put my life on the line to protect them in almost any situation excluding anything that would put my family in jeopardy. If they spent as much energy learning who I am as they do trying to derail my efforts they would not say they don’t feel safe because I carry a gun.

The fact is, there have been people leave this place who have considerable criminal records. Some have had violent pasts they have done jail time for. Some have and were actively trafficking prescription drugs. There were and are thief’s in this organization. If any one of them decided that they were going to come in here and take life; while everyone else would be cowering under their desks or running for the nearest door, hiding and praying that God get them through the situation; I would be moving toward the threat after having pulled my gun, passing in the opposite direction of those who were not able to deal with the reality of life, and putting my life on the line to stop the evil. Stop the intention of that person who was willing to take lives because of their self imposed failures that they want to blame on someone else. I would be praying to God to keep my aim true, allow me to be able to strike first because if I’m killed everyone else could be killed before police arrive. I understand this. This is who I am.

The sad thing about this is that these people will go through life looking at people like me as some outdated or paranoid person; an anomaly. But if, God forbid, they happen to find themselves faced with the reality that people kill people for personal gain all the time, they will sacrifice their lives because they couldn’t do a damn thing about it. I’ve lived it and am still alive because I prepared. I feel sorry for their children if someone decides to invade their home, or tries to rob them on the street, they will have almost surely doomed them to be at the mercy of their attacker. Look up the details of the Petit family murders a couple years ago. Two attackers against a family, no guns in the house, and no one was trained for self defense. The mother and two daughters were killed and set on fire while the father was beat senseless and tied up in the basement. That wouldn’t happen in my house. My wife and older children are proficient at shooting a gun. They can, and most likely would, be able to use it in self defense. Could everyone be saved?….maybe not, but I’m sure we have a much better chance than if we had only the option of hoping for the mercy of the person who had already shown they were not against violence toward others. I have no problem saying I am absolutely livid at any parent who doesn’t prepare their child to defend themselves and doesn’t prepare themselves to defend their child.  I’m not talking about playground squabbles. I’m talking about when a human being decides you or your child needs to die for their personal gain.

Get out of the damn social media long enough to get a grip on what the world really is. I guarantee that you cannot think up any possible thing of violence or twisted, sadistic perversion of human decency that hasn’t already been done to someone by another human with no regard for life or empathy for another. It happens every day. Just a few miles away, Toledo has been identified as one of the major cities in the U.S. for human trafficking.  There is a major drug issue at play right now in Findlay. DEA is active in this city as I write this.

I know it’s hard to connect the dots when you’re hanging out with friends, snuggled up on the couch in the cushy little bar enjoying the buzz from the joint you just had. Laughing and flirting, being witty and talking about whatever seems apropos. I used to smoke some weed back in the day. Yes it was fun. But, I also know where that comes from now and what it costs in human terms and it’s not worth it to me. I don’t fault you for it. I just made a decision that it wasn’t for me. This stuff doesn’t just come from someone’s friend in Logan county or Toledo or BG. It also comes from those who commit the atrocities you can find on sites such as (check out the decapitation videos from the Mexican cartels) or the archived videos on from the border towns in Mexico.  When I see someone “burnin cause they got ‘em”, I don’t think about the buzz their going to experience. I think about the wasted lives I’ve seen that got that weed to the street. The tennis star in Columbus I put in jail in ’98 who wasted her life and promising career by becoming a “posh” dealer for her thug boyfriend, the mother who dealt from her efficiency apartment and when her house was raided her baby was found sitting in a crib with a puppy and dog excrement because she used the weed money to by crack and was in a crack coma when her door was kicked in. The men who tried to kill me in my driveway in ’95 (high on weed and booze) who stated in court they said “let’s rob this nigga” before they pulled in behind me and opened fire when I got out of my truck.

You may not feel safe because I have a gun, but I can assure you, if someone decides to take a life when I’m around, I’m your only hope of survival for at least 11 minutes (the average police response time to a 911 call). Then the guys who have the same training and vetting I’ve been through will be here in uniform, wearing a badge, to cordon the area off and fill out reports after you have “pumped out” on the floor.

Think about this, there are more than 250,000 concealed carry permit holders in the State of Ohio. That’s more than the Canadian Army. That’s an average of 2,840 per county. Knowing this, I know that when I walk into Walmart and I see the NRA stickers on the cars in the parking lot; there’s a pretty good chance there are several other law abiding citizens carrying their gun in there at the same time. Chances are, if someone tries to resort to lethal violence, I’m not going to be alone in my effort to stop them. I like that a great deal.

I like it when I see elderly women in line to get their CCW license renewed or when they come into a gun shop to get the wood grip repaired on their “pretty little pistol”; when I have people in my classes that have never shot a gun before that end up being greatly surprised at how well they do after realizing it’s just a tool. If you know the correct way to do it, it can be more important than medical training because it can prevent the need for medical care for you if you are the intended victim. I got a warm fuzzy when I saw a gun protruding from under the shirt of a guy in his late twenties walking with his toddler in a Penn Station in Perrysburg. He’s not going to let his daughter be killed for a lack of shooting back. Bravo-Zulu to him would be my comment. You would probably set and worry what his intensions are and scoff at the fact that he has a gun on him while he is with his daughter. I like the fact that his daughter is going to grow up knowing it’s ok to carry a gun.

One of the greatest stories I can tell is of a twelve year old boy in Dayton, Ohio whose family was vehemently anti-gun. He told them he wanted to learn to shoot and compete in pistol competitions. His family was open minded despite of their fear of guns and agreed to let him try it out with proper guidance. They enlisted the services of a great instructor who took the boy under his wing and trained him right. The boy is now competing in USPSA matches in the junior division with a 9mm. Seeing the great fun the boy was having and seeing the great responsibility and discipline training with a gun instilled in him, his family got involved. He taught his own father to shoot and it’s now a family sport they do together.  Why is it ok to put a child through martial arts training, to learn to use violence against another for sport for the discipline and respect it instills in the child, but it is not ok to train them with firearms for the same reasons, plus the added benefit of them being able to defend themselves with the gun? I have news for you; those Karate techniques are worthless against an attacker who’s 10 feet away with a gun and most criminals are cowards and use the gun to prevent injury to themselves. It gives them power over you they otherwise would not be willing to try to gain without the gun.

I DON’T FEEL SAFE….knowing that the majority of people around me are so uneducated and in denial to the reality of the capability of violent criminals that they refuse to arm themselves and don’t want me to be able to defend myself as well. I know that there is an almost certain chance, around these types of people, that I will be utterly alone in my effort to stop a violent attack, much like all the students at Virginia Tech who died because nobody could shoot back and stop the vermin.  People like me have been through training, been through background checks to show we are lawful people. The criminals are able to bypass all laws because they don’t care about the law. If you think you can predict what laws they will chose to break and which they will uphold, you’re simply an idiot. They simply get a gun, put it under their clothes and use it when they see fit for personal gain.  Their names are on no lists, they don’t show up as a firearm carrier on an officers’ screen when he pulls them over, the list goes on. A review of local police reports that have recently involved BATF, DEA and local SWAT officers will reveal just how many guns are in the hands of criminals here. A recent raid, in the last three months, involving all of the previously mentioned law enforcement, seized a considerable amount of marijuana along with numerous firearms and an RPG Launcher.  You think that joint you just smoked didn’t get to you through the hands of a criminal who has violent potential?  Sure, you got it from your friend who drives a new Isuzu, has a dog, a set of Bebe’ designer glasses and a cardigan; but where did they get that ounce? And where did that person get it before him. They are here just as they are in any major city. The difference is I know it because I have experienced it and survived it because I was carrying a gun because it happens. Your outcome would probably vary greatly.

Not even talking about drug related violence, did you know that more than 70% of all rapes were committed by someone the victim knew? How about the fact that one of every three women will be the victim of some sort of sexual violence? Or the fact that you could fill a 747 and crash it every month and it still wouldn’t equal the number of women killed by a husband or boyfriend every month in the U.S.? How about the fact that 70 children per day are killed at the hand of a parent or guardian? Think about that. Read that again and THINK about that. Have you prepared your daughter for this reality? I know it seems harsh to introduce a child to the fact that people may try to kill them at some point in their life. It goes against that whole warm and fuzzy, love filled childhood experience we all want to give our children. But what is your culpability in the situation that they come into such a circumstance and they have no means of surviving it because they were never told they had an option? They were never introduced to the concept of defending yourself or what people are capable of.

People spend thousands of dollars to buy sports equipment, toys, video games, etc. so their children have an enjoyable childhood. They spend thousands on education so their children have the chance to have a comfortable life. They spend hundreds every month on insurance to provide health care in the event of an illness and spend hundreds per year for life insurance so their family can get along without them in the event they die prematurely. Yet they won’t spend a dime to enable them to defend themselves and actually prevent their death or serious bodily harm in the first place. INCREDIBLE!  Are you kidding me?  They are able to live like this because there are people like me and like our military and law enforcement who are willing to do violence on their behalf, to keep the wolf at bay, to be a deterrent. There is a reason that as more and more people, law abiding good honest citizens, are arming themselves the violent crime rate is at a 47 year low. If I put a sign in my yard that said “I carry a gun and have used it to defend myself” and then put one in your yard that said “we don’t believe in guns” or “we oppose the carrying of guns by citizens”, who do you think is the preferred target of a would be home invader?

I, along with my friends and students, am a sheepdog, not a wolf.  You should be afraid, but not of me. 

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James Barnhart is a Veteran of the U.S. Navy, a former fugitive recovery agent and contract bodyguard and is a gunfight survivor. James has been operational and/or an instructor for firms such as Vance International, Dyn-Corp and the former Blackwater USA. He currently is an NRA instructor and teaches unarmed and armed self defense and lectures on the psychological and physiological aspects of training for violent confrontation. He has also been featured on the Dr. Gina Loudon Radio Talk Show. He can be reached at DefCon CCW and followed on twitter @defconccw.
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Thank you!


Well written,
    You have put in words what a lot of us feel.
I have decided that someone elses comfort, or lack thereof, about me carrying a gun is NOT my concern. I do what I feel is right and what makes me comfortable and my family safe, and yes, that includes packing a heater! Other peoples heads is no place for my peace of mind. they can get over it or get the hell out of my way  … I got things to do.

Bill Hurley

Very well written and made me feel right at home with a brother that is prepared to go the full course to protect both himself and others around him. You have written my feelings to a tee I also have most if not all and more of your qualifications with both the use and teaching the use of firearms. As a 65 year old man, I along with my wife of 40 years she being 62 years old both carry every day and will continue to do so because it is a fact that there are always more sheep then there are sheepdogs to keep the wolves at bay.
P.S. I was a LEO for over 25 years.
Bill Hurley
Det. Sgt.


i feel the same way


I carry a gun, not because if what WILL happen, but because of what CAN happen.
And it happens every single day to someone. Today it may be me.


Very well written I thoroughly enjoyed it and also fully agree!


Interesting and informative read but not really well-written…the guy should have a proof reader if he’s going to “publish.”  He needs some work on his spellinh and his grammar.


Yeah…I need the proof reader, too.

James G. Barnhart

I’ll work on that, sir…

James Moffitt

Wow, I am going to share this on our FB wall for people who question the need to carry a firearm and feel that violence will never happen to them.  Thanks


Cool piece…I’ve copied and saved it in a file to be used when I feel the urge to respond/reply to someone’s rant against law abiding citizens having the right to own and carry a handgun.  I carry because I can and I am the last line of defense against a stoned out of his mind and raging lunatic who thinks he is entitled to something, or someone, that doesn’t belong to him.

Stan Glomb

Well said. Thanks for putting it into words


Good job!


I own my life and body. I am the only one who is responsible for them. That is why I carry a gun.

I am a 65 year old woman, retired nurse. Also a certified instructor for firearms and self defense. I also do not need any “vetting” or “permit” to carry this gun. I am responsible for my actions and choices, and that is the only vetting I need.

Self defense is a basic right of all human beings – indeed, of all living things. When we require our fellow beings to beg permission from any “state” to exercise this right, we diminish and destroy it for everyone.


Excellent article!!!


I too “Carry’ wherever it is legal to do so.  I am retired Military, a civilian Range Officer for Isaac Walton League, and have a legal permit to carry a “Firearm” in my state.  I thank God that I have not been pressed to utilize any firearm I may be carrying.  Oh, btw, I am 75 years of age and regularly show up at one of the firearm ranges in my area.  I have my oldest son his first revolver (which he still has) and he too stays in touch with various ranges and meetings.  I am also a member of NRA and proud to display it.

Mountain Mama

RIGHT ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am amazed and appauled at what goes on here on this beautiful planet.  I WILL not be a victim – at least not without a fight.  I carry – and I am proud.

Thank you for so perfectly saying what is in so many of our hearts.

PEACE – hopefully!!


Love your perspective. Not sure that “70 children per day are killed at the hand of a parent or guardian” is a valid statistic for this position however. Is this a worldwide murder stat? Does it include accidental death such as motor vehicles, what about abortions (?)

James G. Barnhart

The 70 per d


ABQ NM is on the front lines of the illicit drug trade, as it’s chain of poison spreads Violent crime across the US. The Dependency Addicted are THE major cause. The problem that you describe, was exponentially accelerated by the onset of ‘The Great Society’, where Everyone was ‘Entitled’ to receive compensation for idleness, whether they Ever worked for it or Not. The cases most in the ‘news’, reflect the dysfunctional family structures (now at record numbers) of young mothers and ‘boyfriends’ or significant others. So many times the incidents are not reported because they are hidden by deception or ever more violent threats to Any witnesses. We only are made aware of the Most vile. Keep up the pressure Sheepdogs, the root cause is Not improving. As law abiding US Citizens, It is one of our last lines of defense, The OMEGA DEFENSE.


Well done!  (Thanks for writing the article.)  I have had carry permits since 1975 and carry on a daily basis.  Because I choose to carry all the time, I also maintain a very high level of situational awareness.    Being retired Army (Combat Arms), I have no problem employing deadly force or engaging a threat, but, I am very careful to point out to anybody who asks that employing deadly force is something that changes one forever. 

I cannot count the number of times I have NOT had to engage a threat simply because I was in Condition Yellow, saw the potential threat, quickly ratcheted up to Orange, and chose to “not go there.”


Your a retard .you need to get a life .If I listen you I would never leave my house.The world also has alot really good poeple .

pastor T

Before throwing the word “retard” around you might want to look at your  3rd. grade writing skills!  And yes, there are a lot of good people in the world, but it only takes one bad one to kill you or a member of your family!…so give that some thought before you spout off in arrogance and ignorance! 

James G. Barnhart

LOL…I have a very plentiful and varied life. It has been my numerous experiences with the best and worst of humanity that moves me to always be prepared to protect myself and those wonderful human beings I love and respect. It is because I leave my house often that I know the need for awareness and preparedness. I suspect your life experience is somewhat limited if you still haven’t come to terms with obvious product of denial.  I wish you well.


James, Nice, professional response. I wish you the best; please learn to ignore those who wish to disagree with the content of your beliefs by arguing trivia and technicalities, or by invective, rather than by the use of reasoned argument.  Heartless evil really does exist to some degree in this world. People who bury their heads in the sand regarding this fact are naive and unrealistic. I came face to face with evil as a young man and escaped without death or serious injury merely based on luck. The police at the time recommended that I buy a gun for self defense because it was impossible for them to protect every citizen from assault. I did so and have carried concealed ever since. I really enjoy people and am a very friendly and outgoing guy, but unlike the fish that have to swim in large schools in hopes that the barracuda will attack another fish, I choose to have the ability to at least hopefully be able to defend myself against the barracuda.

James G. Barnhart

Trugrit, thank you for the comment. I’m learning to balance my desire to be personal and engage those who take the time to comment, positive or negative. Still learning… usual.   🙂


Speaking of retards (that’s you by the way). You really need to go back to school. First of all “your” is possessive, the word you are looking for is “you’re”. A contraction of “you are”. Look it up if “you’re” capable of reading, which I doubt you are. There is no space before a period, the space follows a period. If you’re (there’s that word again. Only being used properly) starting a new sentence you capitalize the first letter such that “You” would be the correct way to begin “your” next sentence. Next up, again there is no space before a period. “If I listen you”? Who are you, Tarzan? Next you just totally do away with the space pre or post. “The world also has alot really good people”? I’m just not going to bother with that. Do not cast dispersions on others when with just 27 words you completely destroyed the English language. Remember, it is always better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you’re an idiot rather than opening it and proving you are.

Bill Penland Jr

AMEN, Brother! Very well said!


“The sad thing about this is that these people will go through life looking at people like me as some outdated or paranoid person; an anomaly.”You are not an anomaly, more and more people are coming out and expressing their feelings and they are parallel with your feelings.  I wish more instructors had your mindset.Take a look at the Waffle House thread in the forum section…it’s getting quite heated between an NRA instructor who feels its more detrimental and expensive to protect others, and a dozen other members who feel it’s morally right to defend those that are unaware.

James G. Barnhart

If you base your decision to help others on expense and detriment…..well, I’ll just say it’s a personal choice. I wouldn’t feel good about myself if I did nothing. To quote Edmund Burke – “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”


Hey, glad we are on the same wave length, that’s exactly the way I feel about their choice…it’s their choice.  Burke’s quote is my signature line in the forums section.  Good day to you sir.


Great article! This country needs to have every one in Congress armed and concealed carrier’s!


Armed would be good enough for me…though, if they open carried I would be even happier.

Rev. dave

Ha!  That would require replacing nearly everyone in Congress, so it’s a better idea than you realize!


I also have been privileged to have acquired advance training, mentally and physically to neutralize a threat with up most efficiency.  And I am more likely to leave my wallet at home before my firearm.  (My belt just doesn’t fit right without it).  But I must say,   Mr Barnhart seems to worry a tad bit to much about what others think of him.  You seem to be trying too hard to justify your unwillingness to become a victim.  Some people will never understand, and that seems to confuse you.  You are preaching to the choir here unfortunately.  I would welcome you into my business or home without hesitation.  As long as we fight to keep our right to protect ourselves, I personally have no compassion for anti-gunners when they become victims. 

James G. Barnhart

You got all that from my first article….geesh! How about waiting for me to get in a few more…LOL.  A mural says much more than an individual tile.


Nice to see a sheepdog and not another sheep.


I am that father, judged for my decision to protect my family by people living a fairy tail. I am paranoid ever since i looked down as this beautyful baby girl God has blessed me with. It would be a greater sin if i decided not to do everything in my power to protect her. Letting a criminal do her any harm would be just as terrible as if i was to do it myself. I chose to say not my baby girl and like the author of this i alao choose not your little girl either.

Christopher Matthews

I’ve always liked the questions, “You’re taking your handgun THERE? Are you expecting trouble?” And the reply, “Yes I am, and if I was expecting trouble, I’d take the shotgun too!”


Thank you for putting into words, what I have been thinking for years…

Billy Bob

“They Don’t Feel Safe” heading caught my attention, so I began reading the article to gain some understanding of this subject.
Immediately I was a bit confused by his somewhat rambling sentences for the first  several paragraphs. 

But I REALLY lost my concentration when I came across his statement:     “Anyone who knows anything about me and the few friends I have know that I would put my life on the line to protect them in almost any situation excluding anything that would put my family in jeopardy.”

To my understanding the word “excluding” used in that sentence means the EXACT opposite of “including” which would have made his comment factually and emotionally accurate. 

As some other readers pointed out he lacks the finer skills of proper spelling and grammar, and after regaining my senses of trying to “take it in” I continued to read the entire article.

My picky perfectionism set aside — I humbly and wholeheartedly agree with his attitude and mind-set. 

Also, the remarks/reply comments were “on the mark” with my Concern, Commitment and CCW Responsibility
I carry whenever and wherever it ls legally allowed.


James G. Barnhart

Billy Bob,  You are incorrect. “Excluding” is exactly what I meant.  If I were to witness someone else, outside of my family, in a lethal situation, I would help that person to the best of my ability unless doing so would put my children in danger, hence the statement “Anyone who knows anything about me and the few friends I have know that I would put my life on the line to protect them in almost any situation excluding anything that would put my family in jeopardy.”   I’ll put my life on the line for you, but not my family’s lives. Protecting my family is a foregone conclusion. Protecting someone else is a calculated risk.

Billy Bob

You have helped me realize that I completely misinterpreted the meaning of that sentence. Your point of clarity and explanation makes better sense. 
I  get bogged down all too often by the current journalistic typographic errors allowed by “senior” editors that are the result of newspaper typesetters who rely too heavily on their “spell-checker” button. 
Especially here in Phoenix with the Arizona Republic.  

James G. Barnhart

It’s always a trick to convey it through writing.  I don’t have any editors or typesetters, LOL. Just me, my laptop, my spellcheck button and my kids running around.


Aren’t you kind of preaching to the choir? What person, who carries concealed, hasn’t thought all of this through? If you haven’t you shouldn’t be carrying a weapon.

James G. Barnhart

It’s called positive reaffirmation. Some folks like it when they hear that others feel as they do and respect that position greatly. And, not everyone who carries knows all or has been exposed to all aspects of the self defense mindset as you may have been. I know I learn and strive to learn daily. That is accomplished by wading through the great info I have already been exposed to in order to find those little morsels of information that help me that much more.


Great article sir. I myself am 22 soon to be 23 and living in Arizona where it is legal to own and Conceal Carry a weapon everywhere. Except my school doesn’t allow CCW, as well as some restaurants in the area. I have been trianed by my JROTC riffle team with air pellet ammunition for proper stances and breathing techniques, I’ve also taken a hunting course and passed with an A. I’ve learned great responsibility while carrying my SW99. And I know I can always use more training, but I am also like you. I use a CCW for the purpose of protection of not only myself but those around me. I’ve learned that even though there is an anti-gun law on campus that many people do conceal carry. So I guess my point is, in your professional opinion, should I carry on campus as well? Last month a guy robbed someone in their dorm at gun point across the street from where I live… A year ago a student was shot dead when he refused to give up his wallet just a mile from my apartment. There was also a drive by some months ago just down the street from me. I am a law abiding citizen, but I do not see the law against guns on campus to be a just one. When I carry I am very careful of where my sidearm is, and always have it hidden. So as I mentioned, should I carry it on campus like many of the other students? I personally feel safe and secure when I have it with me, and I always like finding out who other law abiding citizens are on campus and to know I’m not alone in holding on the 2nd amendment.

James G. Barnhart

Ok, the slippery slope appears. First and foremost I want to point out that under no circumstance does my opinion reflect the opinion of USA Carry or any other entity that may reproduce this correspondence. As for carrying when and where you aren’t supposed to be carrying, it’s always a calculated risk. There are decisions that must be made and I will always choose the option of living.  Would I not give up my wallet to a guy with a gun? No, I would hand it over. Now, knowing that he may shoot me anyway, I would probably attempt to produce my gun and stop him. If I was not carrying a gun, I most certainly give him the wallet and hope for the best. If after handing him the wallet I would be looking for his next immediate action. If he didn’t immediately retreat, I would attempt to disarm him because I have trained for that…..Carrying illegally, which is what you are basically asking about, is not recommended or suggested for legal concerns. Sacrificing your safety or life to uphold a law, I can’t say I could justify that.  If you put thought into it, no one should ever know you are carrying and so it would never be an issue unless you needed it to save your life. At that point, the legal aspect of whether or not you should have been carrying will be miniscule in comparison to the threat on your life.

LeRoy Archer

At least you have a choice as to whether you carry or not,(most places, anyway). I am Canadian.
An excellent piece James.
I hope that it stirs emotions enough to get the fence sitters over, and more on on the fence from the other side.


James G. Barnhart

Stirring emotion was my intention for this. The next few articles will be on the neurological and psychological aspects of training.




Well written and point on!


Great article. I have always liked guns and started carrying concealed recently, I am also a veteran and also withheld a Top Secret SPECAT clearance for some years. I got my wife in to carrying concealed as well. There is one thing many people do not understand, its better to have someone who is carrying a weapon legally next to you then not. The person who takes the time to get a CWP and learn the statues of their state will not pull a gun out to wishfully inflict pain on someone else.


Was just wondering who the tennis star was you arrested in 1998? Was there a news article archived somewhere I could look up __ I lived in Columbus for 37 years and was a sports reporter for 22 of those and my memory is failing me on that one…

James G. Barnhart

I knew someone would ask, LOL, I’ll have to dig and find her name, it’s been on the tip of my tongue since I wrote this. She was a high school phenom.  She had scholarships offered and turned them down for this guy. His street name was “Big Baby”. He got her into it, the dealing, and she got lost. I’ll get back to you.

Sheryl Jensen

I am proud to be an American! It makes me feel alot better knowing that great,good, and responsible people carry guns.
It isnt just the criminals anymore.
I believe most people who carry guns are not hot-heads, going to shoot at the first person that angers them. I believe that they will do what they can to avoid shooting someone but if they or someone is seriously threatened, they have defense and protection.
The ones you have to worry about are the ones who never legally carried a gun. They usually have very little regard for other peoples lives. They take what they want even if they have to kill to get it.
Most people are apalled at the idea of killing another human, but it appears to be trivial to them. They will always carry a gun or guns, and they use them without much hesitation. A gun is only dangerous in the hands of the wrong people.


I have never been in the military, but I am the son of a Marine, and carry a gun daily. It’s a part of my morning routine… shower, shave, pants, shirt, holster, belt, gun, shirt, shoes… You get the picture.

In the course of my job as an appraiser of automobile damage for insurance claims, I have had to go to many locations that were “shady” at best, and some that were almost like war zones. On one occasion I was inspecting a vehicle in someone’s driveway, and had to look underneath the vehicle’s front bumper for damage. A neighborhood thug was watching me as I knelt down to see under the car, and I “sensed” him approaching from behind. (I suspected he might have unkind intentions so I was alert as to his location) As he approached, I made a show of placing my hand on my gun, and turned to face him, asking “Did you have a question?”. He immediately turned away, and walked briskly down the street.
I firmly believe that action saved my life. His approach was meant to be quiet, sneaking up to snatch my weapon, which was certainly printing against my shirt as I was bent over. I am also certain he would have used my gun to do harm to me, and to others had he managed to grab it.

Having a gun is only part of the equasion. Situational awareness is also essential in surviving a confrontation. I, for one, am delighted to know that a large number of my friends and acquaintences are armed as they go through their daily routines. People like you, me, and our responsible friends and neighbors are definitely our first line of defense against the evil that lurks just outside our doors..  

Jim Waters

Great Story and although I agree with much of what was said I wish that there were more stories like this from people who do not make their living in dangerous professions or are instructors and trainers who may not be as objective as someone outside their field would. I would be interested in a surburban accountant telling his or her tale as that is closer to the lives of many of us. From asking the many people I know coming from a very large family and moving 13 times around the US, I have yet to come across anyone who needed a gun for self defense. I will bet that most reading this do not know anyone who used a gun in civilian self defense. Heck I do not ever know any LEO that shot their gun in the line of duty after 20-30 years of service. My father retired as a fedearl agent after 25 years without even drawing his gun. It seems that most gun forums I visit always have an instructor or two that has a story that feeds the concern of some forum members. I have run across too many people who read too many stories and buy big guns to carry and we all know how that ends up for most. They leave the gun at home unless they think they will need it (I call them gun psychics) because they do not feel that carrying anything else will do.

I lived 60 years growing up in low income housing projects, stepping over junkies in the hallway and working in very high crime areas at all hours of the night. I have more than a few scars on my face and head but never got into any situatuion where I either needed a gun or would have had the opportunity to use one. I even wonder if I would have come out of the encounter with just a few stitches if I put a gun into play. However, I am now older and have medical problems and can no longer run away, maintain a level of awareness of my surrounds as I used to do and unable to physically defend myself like in the old days. So I carry whenever I go outside of my home. I have guns of all sizes, capacities and calibers but they are all compact/subcompact in size and no more than 22.5 oz. I refuse to go through life uncomfortable or fearful that I need 15 rounds or a BUG to be safe. My point is to carry a gun that suits your lifestyle and realistically assess your personal risk. Many people have no idea of their risk based on facts; just news articles. Your race, location, and other factors all have a bearing on your personal risk factor. I checked out mine and found that I had a less than 1% chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime due to my current lifestyle. For others it may be higher but in most cases still lower than other risks to our life which we do nothing about. I always use the example of someone who  carries two guns and plenty of ammo but does not have a fire extinguisher or use his seat  belts in his car which pose a higher risk to his life than crime. It seems that when it comes to guns we tend to be more willing to think them important to our safety than the boring and less macho stuff. 🙂


I have shared and emailed this article with others. Well written, well reasoned, and spot on. Not everyone has the situational awareness and decision-making ability to carry, but not everyone NEEDS to carry (nor should). In my mind, the more people who’ve made the decision to not be anything more than a victim-in-waiting, the less likely it will be that criminals will risk their own lives and target other citizens.


Great article. I live near Findlay too and 100% agree.

Rudy Dragone


Dan Oblak

I’ve carried a pocket knife every day of my life since I was about 12 (not in school — it was against the rules). But at any age, I notice people bristle when I pull it out — no matter whether it’s a 4.5″ lockblade or a 1.5″ Swiss.

Fifty years ago, that reaction would be strange; but people of our generation have been conditioned by pop psychology to believe that the LIKELIHOOD & ABILITY to do harm is governed by the availability of objects, not any maturity of character tempered by responsibility and wisdom.

Because of this, we are comfortable regulating objects without addressing character any more. Talking about character sometimes means addressing morality and responsibility — two things that pop psychology have labeled as crimes that neither parents nor teachers should be permitted to commit.

*I* have a responsibility to protect my family and teach them to protect themselves; and I will do so, legally, no matter how uncomfortable it makes people around me.

James G. Barnhart

“but people of our generation have been conditioned by pop psychology to believe that the LIKELIHOOD & ABILITY to do harm is governed by the availability of objects, not any maturity of character tempered by responsibility and wisdom.”……..VERY good statement!


we pay taxes bummer, that’s how cops get a salary and protect you.

James G. Barnhart

Yeah!!!!! Right ON!!!!!!


I can see where you’re coming from but you must also realize that by promoting guns the way you do, you are in fact creating an environment for their missuse.
I live in Europe and there are hardly ANY gun-related crimes here. There have been ZERO (as in none) home invasions in my country in the last 20 years. The only shootings that happen here are domestic violence, usually murder-suicides. That is to say, we don’t hate guns, we just feel absolutely no need to use them. If you want to, you can go to the firing range, or get a hunting license, or apply for a permit if you really think you qualify. But owning a gun is by no means a right, and carrying one either openly or concealed takes a LOT more paperwork.

I’m pretty sure that if we allowed universal possession of handguns that the crime rate would spike. Also the media would love it, then fuel and perpetuate it.

An interesting tidbit. About a year back some spoiled rich kids from Italy crossed the border and held up the local post office. The cops got ahold of them pretty quick, and apparently one of the kids tried to shoot them. They did fire back, but just warning shots, and the kids surrendered. Their parents were so relieved they were apprehended alive that they got their ambassador to send our police an official thank you notice. In Italy, which sort of has the same problem you do, they would have been butchered alive.

Just food for thought, I guess.

James G. Barnhart

Matt, what country do you live in?


I´m not from the US and owning a gun sadly is almost impossible here. Of course the rule “bad guys know where to get one” applies here too, so I´m strongly in favor of your 2nd amendment.
Nevertheless, I´m also anti-alcohol, since both in my private and professional (medicine) life, I have seen no other drug do as much harm as `ya old bottled friend.
Besides alcohol being connected to the bigger percentage of violent crimes committed, there´s a lot of data on “drinking and driving” and how alcohol impairs a person.
So my question is: For people who always carry concealed, are they allowed to drink? 
Nobody would have a few beers at the range, but what about celebrating your newborn with some friends at a bar?
I´m totally fine with law abiding citizens carrying guns, but not if the bigger part of them on a friday night is more disinhibited, has blurred vision, poorer judgement, impaired motor skills aso.