The past weekend we had the opportunity to travel south to San Diego to do an event with the Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation. We were at a gun show and set up our BB gun range to reach the local community. We taught gun safety to children there. Since we were in California, I didn’t have a way to carry a firearm, concealed, legally. All because I didn’t have a “permit!” When I am in my home state of Oregon, I carry a gun everywhere I legally can, period. Being disarmed by a policy in a state that arguably has a crime problem was definitely a hard pill to swallow. One thing that I always stress in our concealed carry classes is how it is my responsibility to save my life! The government will never be my savior, no matter how many magical laws it creates. My goal is to educate the public on the responsibilities that they have to ensure their safety and the safety of their families.

Last week My friend Cameron and I started our journey to San Diego. It was 16 hours one way. Once in California we were both disarmed by policy for the safety of the general public. I hope you can detect my sarcasm. I am glad the public was safe because we weren’t. We found ourselves being super alert at all times. Normally, I encourage situational awareness at all times especially when lawfully armed. When you notice a potential threat early enough, it will allow you to de-escalate the situation. Since we were both disarmed, our tactics changed a little. We found ourselves being hyper-vigilant. This typically isn’t a problem, it just leads to being extra fatigued because we are always “ON” duty. While this can be exhausting, not having the ability to defend ourselves. The options were limited. When in public in California it was important to act as a team. There is strength in numbers and we presented a harder target. This is also a way to act proactively to help de-escalate any possible situations.

When we would go to a restaurant we would be very selective of where we sat. We also were aware of all egress or exits from the building. This would be important if there was an emergency. We also found ourselves in large groups of people. This can be not a good thing at times but in our situation. It was a numbers game. What I mean by this is that if there was a mass killing, chaos would ensue but the likelihood someone could overpower the shooter would be greater. I do realize the chances of this happening are relatively low but they aren’t ZERO! Did I tell you how much I hate being unarmed? It was just part of the deal, unfortunately. What amazed me while I was in California was how unaware people seemed. To each their own I guess. It has to be related to the lack of availability of training because of how restrictive the gun laws in California are. It was a different experience for us for sure.

In total, we spent 4 days in one of the country’s largest gun-free zones. We made it out safely. It was not the most comfortable for us but, our training helped keep us safe. We made sure that we stayed on the beaten path. This helped prevent us from drifting into the wrong areas where being unarmed could have been a real problem. I was really surprised at how clean the areas of California that we visited. It was shocking and for the most part, it felt safe. Coming home back to Oregon. I found a few things that I took for granted, I will use them as fuel to help power my journey to preserve my civil liberties and those of others. What I will never take for granted is my ability to lawfully carry my gun anywhere I legally can. I will continue to do my part to protect myself and others. I will continue to carry my gun habitually. I hope to never have to use it but I will have it with me just in case. The past weekend was also an important reminder to me that the freedoms that we currently have are hanging on by a thread. Vigilance is important, if we do NOT get involved. It wouldn’t take much for Oregon to turn into the next California.

Intersection with rainbow, palm trees, and crosswalk.

There is data that will support that more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens is actually a good thing. Training is an important component of carrying a firearm concealed for your personal protection. There is an old cliché that says “When seconds count, the cops are minutes away.” There is a lot of truth to that. I found it out the hard way back in 2013. It has been my mission ever since to educate the public on the importance of self-defense. My story has helped educate and empower others about the importance of guns in their everyday routines. It is this process that will help keep them and their families safer. Thus helping keep society safer. A gun is worthless if you don’t carry it. Get the gun, get training, and carry it every where that you can legally. It is that important.

Until next time. Be safe!