As a husband and father of a 4-year-old, this topic is extremely important to me. The safety and security of my family is arguably more important to me than my own. But as a human, I am limited by the physical properties of this world. For example, I can't always be there to protect my wife or daughter. So I asked my myself a few questions. First, ‘can my wife defend herself in my absence'? Second, ‘do my wife and daughter know what to do if they are with me and I have to use deadly force'? Third, ‘when we are together, do we have any plan on performing as a team during an incident'? I started to answer these questions by first, ensuring she got her concealed carry license. That was pretty simple, I happen to know a guy who teaches firearms classes. Now, while I have seen an uptick in the number of couples attending my concealed carry training classes, unfortunately, I still see many students attend who tell me their spouse either does not like guns or is not interested in them. I get it, not everyone is a ‘gun person', and I am not advocating using force to get your significant other to get their concealed carry license with you. But here are a couple of points I want to make in favor of having your spouse attend, even if they are not a ‘gun person'.
- If you carry a firearm, you know, with proper training you ARE SAFER. When you aren't around, doesn't your spouse deserve to be as safe as they were when they were with you? We also know carrying a firearm every day (or even occasionally for the casual concealed carrier) is a lifestyle. As a couple, you chose that person AND their lifestyle. One of you carrying a firearm means there will be a firearm in the house. This means your partner, at the very least, should take a gun safety course so they are safe around the firearm. One of you carrying a firearm means you both may have instances where you are out of the home with a firearm. This means you now have to worry about the local laws in reference to firearm possession. If only one of you has a license, and, for some reason, the unlicensed person is left in the vehicle with the firearm, while the other person goes into an establishment that does not allow firearms, (however unlikely) you could stumble into a legal issue that is not even worth the hassle.
- If one of you is trained and armed, two is even better. For obvious reasons, having both you and your significant other licensed, trained and carrying, exponentially increases the likelihood of successfully handling situations requiring a firearm.
- It will enrich and strengthen your relationship if you can share a common interest. They may not initially be a ‘gun person' but I have had so many people come through my class who were not really into guns, only to get out on the range and catch the shooting bug. They leave pumped up and wanting to shoot more and more. I mean honestly, wouldn't going shopping for a gun with your spouse be pretty darn cool? And date night could be a lot more fun if you were sending lead downrange instead of always watching a lame movie?
Hopefully I have given you sufficient ammunition to at least get your significant other to consider attending a training class or getting their concealed carry license. So lets address some important considerations when you become a concealed carry family. Any unit regardless if it is a sports team, fire team of Marines, or a sales team, is stronger when they function together. Knowing their role and their job is important to the success of the unit. This is no different for the concealed carry family. Consider this:
- During an incident there are various roles that you can be tasked with. For example, if one of you uses force, and the other can clear themselves to safety, they could be tasked with safeguarding the young children of the family. Evacuating to a safe spot and beginning to make the 911 call would be a great plan that would allow the person using force to focus more on the threat and less on 911 calls etc.
- Having code words to alert the other partner. When I was a police officer, I did this with my wife. While off duty and out in town, you never know when someone you may have arrested recognizes you and may wish to harm you. In this instance I could give my wife a one word command that could alert her to break away from me. A code word word better than yelling something like ‘run away'! The idea is that if it can be done in anticipation of danger and calmly, the bad guy may not recognizing my wife or daughter is with me. This prevents my family from becoming a target. Knowing your significant other is capable of defending themselves not only when you are not there, but if you have to focus on a threat, can free you up to engage the threat differently, than if you also had to concern yourself with safeguarding a defenseless family member.
- Training together will give each person an idea of their partners abilities. This is critical if one person cannot get to their firearm and is relying on the other to use deadly force, as in a hostage situation or close quarters fight. If we know or spouses capabilities, we can potentially influence the incident to play into our partners abilities. For example, if we know our spouse is trained and proficient in making a contact shot, instead of fatally fighting to break contact with a suspect who physically overmatches us, we could suck in close. Take the attacker to the ground and go to a guard position knowing that our spouse is capable of making the contact shot without harming us. Conversely, if we knew they could not make a contact shot, our only response may be creating space, and this may not always be a viable option.
- Finally, at least a basic proficiency in first aid could be a game changer. I am a huge advocate of anyone with a child knowing CPR. With the high choking risk children face, it only makes sense. But how about an understanding of self-aid and buddy-aid? Simple first aid techniques that can slow or stop bleeding until paramedics can arrive on scene. Think about either carrying a tourniquet, or knowing how to make and apply a hasty tourniquet. This could be the difference between life or death.
Still not convinced a concealed carry family is best? Consider this incident. An off duty deputy is attacked outside his vehicle while at a gas station. His wife is in the vehicle, and is able to fire shots at the suspects. The suspects do not expect to be shot at and flee, only after braking the deputies jaw during the assault. We do not know if she has a concealed carry license, but we do know she had access to a firearm, and at the very least, knew how to use it.
It may sound cliche, but the family that trains together stays together. Or better yet, survives together! Stay safe out there and God bless.