I talk to a lot of people that are on the fence about getting their permit to carry. Many of them say that they probably won’t carry a pistol around with them so there’s not really a point to getting one. That’s fine. You’ll never find me trying to convince anyone to carry a handgun because its a very personal decision. There is a great deal of responsibility in owning, maintaining, and carrying a firearm. You must be absolutely dedicated to maintaining control of it, whether its locked up in a safe or secured in your holster, you must be the gatekeeper to that weapon. You’d be surprised how many times I found a pistol sitting on a toilet when I was in the Marine Corps. Marines would go to the bathroom, set their sidearm on the back of the toilet so it wouldn’t fall on the ground when they dropped their trousers, and then forgot it there.
Even if you don’t want to get the permit, it may be good to at least attend the class. You’ll learn some shooting fundamentals, legal aspects to carrying, how stressful events affect your reactions, and you’ll get to do a little shooting too. If its still not for you, then don’t apply for the permit. Even if you get the permit, it doesn’t say that you have to carry, only that you can carry, and that might be a right you’d like to exercise in the future.
The most important question you should ask yourself before deciding to carry a pistol is “am I going to train?” There are a lot of people out there that do carry, that probably shouldn’t. The point of carrying a weapon should be to make you safer. Shooting accurately is a learned skill that requires hours and hours of practice. Shooting accurately in an intense, violent encounter takes very specialized and intense training. Unfortunately, when we are faced with an event as stressful as a life-or-death attack, our body and mind don’t operate as smoothly as they do in regular day-to-day activities. Without the appropriate, continual training, it is very likely that you will be unable to effectively defend yourself should you need to. If you are ineffective with your weapon, then it has become a burden, or worse, a weapon for the attacker. In this case, carrying pistol has made you less safe.
Getting your permit to carry doesn’t take long and for most people its affordable. If you’re considering it, I’d say “go for it!” But before you start carrying your gun, get some training. Find a course that specializes in defensive shooting so you get the training that prepares you for an actual attack. Train the way you fight.