Now that I am dating a new woman for the first time in a long while, I am facing a problem that many in the gun community face: how your date feels about guns in general, and concealed carry in particular.
My new girlfriend was born and raised in New York. The attitude that is fostered there when it comes to guns in pretty well known to those of us in the gun community. My current girlfriend's opinion towards guns is a sticky problem, but not insurmountable.
She has never fired a gun before, but says that she would love to learn how to shoot. She has never even HELD a firearm before. As far as concealed carry, she states that she once went alone on a 5,000 mile road trip up I95 from Florida to Maine, across to Chicago, and back down to Florida without needing a gun, so she doesn't see why I feel the need to carry one. After all, she reasons, if an unescorted woman can make a long trip like that without needing to carry a gun, why should a man need one?
We were at a baseball game this weekend (the Rays v the Yankees- she is a Yankees fan) and a fight broke out in the crowd. One of the trouble makers was being escorted out by a cop, and he decided to punch the cop in the face. The cop took the guy down hard with a leg sweep. The assailant landed on his face hard enough that I heard his face hit the concrete from 30 feet away. After it was over, she was visibly shaken, and told me that she doesn't like violence, and it makes her sick to her stomach. (Of course, she keeps a baseball bat under her bed in case of burglars, so I guess she isn't TOO afraid of violence. Women.)
I explained to her that I am morally opposed to the initiation of violence against anyone, and that I believe it to be morally wrong for one person to initiate force against another. With that being said, I also believe that we are each responsible for our own protection. I view carrying a firearm to be similar to having a fire extinguisher: It is good to own one in case there is a fire, because when you need one, nothing else will work as well. That doesn't mean that you are hoping for a fire, just that you want to be prepared if there happens to be one.
Like fire extinguishers, certain situations and neighborhoods demand that you own different fire extinguishers and keep them closer at hand than do others. For example, Orlando has a violent crime rate of 10.34, which is more than double the average Florida rate of 4.87, while the community where she lives has a crime rate of just 1.15. Statistically, you are far less likely to need a firearm in her community than you are in Orlando, or even where I live (which has a violent crime rate of 3.91).
So for now, I have accepted that I just don't carry when I am in her town. I know that the risk is not zero, the already unlikely event that would require a firearm is even less than where I live. We are talking 90% less. I will teach her to shoot using my .22LR Mosquito, and eventually she will come around to see that guns are not scary. Who knows, I may even stop carrying for good when in her town. We will meet in the middle, I am sure.
What is going to be hard is the road trip we are doing this summer. We are driving from here to New York to see her family. Even if I wanted to have a weapon, I cannot. That will be a new experience for me, as I have carried a weapon for over 20 years.