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A photographer asked 17 people in Alabama why they carry a gun. What’s your answer?

A photographer asked 17 people in Alabama why they carry a gun. What’s your answer?


Since this is Friday, I thought I’d leave you with something a little lighter for the weekend.

Last year the Alabama News Group (which owns the Birmingham and Huntsville newspapers) sent a photographer out to talk to seventeen concealed carriers (CCW holders) who carry their guns regularly. The premise was simple: why do you carry a gun? The resulting pictures show normal, everyday Alabamans who exercise their right to self protection, and to carry the most efficient tool for the protection of their lives (and the lives of their loved ones.)

This is an interesting news story, because Alabama only recently (in 2013) became a “shall-issue” concealed weapon state. Before that, they were classified as “may-issue”; the local Sheriff had the discretion to issue a concealed handgun permit. If he didn’t want to, there was nothing a citizen could do. May-issue permits are, in some areas, a de facto ban on concealed carry if the Sheriff doesn’t cotton to the idea of his constituents being armed.

A shall-issue state, on the other hand, is statutorily required to give a permit to anyone who applies and meets the objective criteria. The majority of states today are shall-issue, and despite cries of impending doom in each one the practice has been proven to produce safe, responsible gun owners and carriers.

For the folks in Alabama, the idea that anyone who isn’t crazy or a convicted felon is free to exercise his or her Constitutional rights is still a new concept, and seeing pictures of people — average people, the kind you might see at your local high school football game or in the produce aisle at the grocery store — no doubt helps relieve the anxiety many still (and will) have with the practice.

I must say, I don’t think the photographer could have found a more average group of people. They come from all walks of life and are pictured with honesty and sincerity; no fear mongering, no posing to intimidate, just straightforward shots of normal folk. It’s refreshing, actually, and very different than how papers in, say, Illinois would have covered the same story.

It’s interesting to look at the pictures and guess who’s had good, relevant defensive handgun training and who has not. You’ll see some questionable gun choices (the .22LR derringer would be just about the last thing I’d recommend to anyone as a defensive tool) some questionable carry methods (the ankle holster and clutchbook carry are both sub-optimal for general self defense), along with some holster choices that could be better (a cheap nylon holster with a thumbstrap is never on any savvy defensive shooter’s wish list).

Still, despite those things they have one advantage over their fellow citizens — they’ve at least thought about what they’d do if their lives were threatened, and they’ve taken one step to prepare themselves: they carry a gun.

That’s half the battle.

-=[ Grant Cunningham ]=-

  • Posted by Grant Cunningham
  • On February 6, 2015

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