Concealed carry has been a toxic subject among Illinois residents since the state adopted its concealed carry law in July of 2013. I call the subject of concealed carry toxic because of the many myths, beliefs, and speculations being dramatized by those who fear guns and those who simply don’t like them. Like many children today, I can recall a time back in my youth where I could not stand the taste of vegetables, I simply did not like them regardless of their nutritional value. However, my grandmother would not allow me to instill my distaste for vegetables upon my younger brother, thus deterring him from consuming something nutritious and healthy.

If you’re still reading, you’re probably wondering how am I speaking of vegetables and concealed carry within the same subject matter. Well, the two have nothing to do with one another. But I will say that in preparing to lead a healthy lifestyle, vegetables must be included in one’s daily meal plan. Otherwise one may find him or herself lacking some key nutrients which are essential to healthy lifestyles, at least as it pertains to a nutritional diet. Likewise, if one plans to survive a world of crime and mayhem, preparation comes first. A concealed carry handgun should be included in the preparation process. Otherwise one may find him or herself less equipped to combat criminals who primarily prey on those who are not prepared or under-prepared. Those who fear guns or simply don’t like them should not attempt to deter the minds of those who seek to protect themselves from criminal predators by arming themselves with a handgun.

In the book “Art of War” written by Sun Tzu, in chapter 1 titled “Laying Plans” Sun Tzu says “The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.” The aforementioned entails the same concepts a person must possess in preparing to protect themselves and their loved ones from receiving great bodily harm or death at the hands of criminal predators. The subject of self-defense is a subject of inquiry and can on no account be neglected or belittled. Our society is at war against crime and all law-abiding citizens must prepare to defend themselves. This I call “The Art of Preparation.”

Acts of violence occur daily and I don’t have to convince anyone of this fact, just watch the daily news. Every single day someone falls victim to a violent crime. Yep, acts of murder, rape, armed robbery, and aggravated battery occur on a daily basis. This statement is ever so true for the great city of Chicago, where law enforcement authorities are working rigorously to find an answer to the daily acts of violence that occur within the city.

In fact, according to the “2015 United States Crime Clock Statistics” prepared the FBI, a violent crime occurred every 26.3 seconds. This same report showed that one case of murder occurred every 33.5 minutes and rape occurred every 4.2 minutes.  Statistics such as these explain the reasoning behind why every law-abiding citizen should train and equip themselves with the necessary equipment to protect themselves from violent acts. I’m certain that in a number of these incidents the victim was overpowered and likely to have had a deadly weapon used against them.

Criminals are using illegally obtained guns and other deadly weapons to inflict pain and death upon their victims. These acts alone makes a handgun an essential tool for the law-abiding citizen as we prepare to defend ourselves from these deadly and traumatizing assaults. After all, how else can criminals with guns and other deadly weapons be stopped? Don’t get me wrong, there are a number of methods out there that will aid in defeating violent criminals. However, just as an auto mechanic utilizes different tools to perform certain repair task, so must the law-abiding citizen be prepared to utilize different tools of self-defense based on the circumstances that they are confronted with. On the other hand, I will say that if citizens are preparing or planning to utilize a handgun as a self-protective tool, there are some very important steps that must be followed.

The first step in the art of preparation is to always conduct yourself as a law-abiding citizen. When we behave like criminals, we are assumed to be criminals. Law-abiding citizens must conduct themselves in such a manner that there will never be a question of who’s the “good guy” and who’s the “bad guy”. Furthermore, in conducting ourselves as law-abiding citizens we acquire and maintain one of the prerequisites of being approved for firearm ownership and concealed carry permits.

After establishing yourself as a law-abiding citizen, the very next thing to do is to GET TRAINED! I know a number of people who purchase guns before receiving any type of training at all. It is my recommendation the law-abiding citizens undergo firearms training prior to purchasing a gun. Otherwise, how would he or she learn how to safely operate and store it. The absence of training is why we hear the horror stories of firearms accidents. Well, I call them horror stories of firearms ignorance. Trained individuals tend to avoid incidents of firearms ignorance. With training, individuals are taught to make certain that their guns are not accessible to unauthorized and untrained individuals. At T.R.A. Defense Training and Consulting our students are taught first and foremost how to safely operate and store a firearm. Safety is a key emphasis with our concealed carry classes. We emphasize having the proper attitude as it relates to gun ownership and carrying a concealed firearm.

Please do not limit yourselves to just watching YouTube videos. YouTube videos can be great resources, but not enough to gain an up close and personal understanding of firearms safety. I suggest hands-on training by way of a certified firearms instructor. By physically attending a training course you are afforded the opportunity to demonstrate your skills to a certified firearms instructor.  Having completed training you are more likely feel confident about purchasing a gun. I know this sounds a bit redundant, but DON’T PURCHASE A GUN WITHOUT TRAINING! Take the time to learn the proper skills necessary to safely handle a firearm. Training is preparing, GET TRAINED.

Thank you for reading, these are two important steps we felt are necessary to discuss as it pertains to gun ownership and concealed carry. There are many more. Gun ownership and concealed carry brings with it huge responsibilities, as law-abiding citizens we must prepare to bear the responsibility of protecting ourselves. Let’s not be discouraged by those who fear guns or simply don’t like them. Instead, examine your toolbox of self-protection and determine what tools are needed for your personal protection based on your circumstances. The haters will continue to instill their beliefs and fears of guns upon you. You must prepare to equip yourselves with the necessary tools of survival uninfluenced by haters.

Trained   Ready &  Armed.

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