Social Question

Jude's avatar

What are your thoughts on packing heat (carrying a gun) when working in a high crime area?

Asked by Jude (31966 points ) June 8th, 2011

Would you?

My SO has to work in the “D” (downtown Detroit) and will have to go to some sketchy parts. She has a little pistol and will carry it for protection.

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101 Answers

JilltheTooth's avatar

Is she really experienced with it? Practice at the range and all that? My main worry would be about someone taking it away from her.

YoBob's avatar

I think that it is ones right to carry firearms (and/or other forms of weaponry) for personal protection regardless of whether or not one is working in a high crime area.

Of course, I recommend compliance with the concealed carry laws in the particular area you are in to avoid unnecessary run ins with local law enforcement. Most states require a bit of conflict resolution training and a proficiency exam in order to get a CHL.

incendiary_dan's avatar

As long as you’re trained and safe, it’s a good idea.

@JilltheTooth Concealed carriers almost never have their weapons taken away from them. It’s a common myth told to people protecting themselves, particularly women. Police are several times more likely to be disarmed, because of their open carry and people expecting them to be armed.

Blackberry's avatar

I can’t blame anyone, I’d want to carry one, too. On a side note, I just thought it was funny how you used slang, and put the actual phrase in parentheses lol. Why not just say, “What are your thoughts on carrying a gun…” lol?

JilltheTooth's avatar

@incendiary_dan : I didn’t know that, thanks. But if she had to use it, it would be out there, that’s why I wondered about her experience.

Jude's avatar

@Blackberry That’s how I do it. ;)

I have no idea.

mazingerz88's avatar

I’ll pack heat if I trained for it. But it’s not just about carrying a gun and knowing how to load and shoot. I think one has to enroll in a class where they teach you how to handle a suddenly dangerous situation without freaking out, shooting somebody by mistake or having someone grab your gun from you. There should be mental training for people who have a gun in their purses and backpacks along with their iPads and lip gloss.

Jude's avatar

I told her that it’s a good idea. “The D can be scary and you’re little. I don’t want anything to happen to your nor your ass.”

crisw's avatar

@Jude

As I asked above, does she already have the permit? If not, it’s probably a bad idea.

Jude's avatar

@crisw She will soon be working on all of that.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@Jude May I ask what type of handgun it is? And I might suggest a couple backup weapons that can be carried without getting in the way.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I think she should just carry @incendiary_dan with her. I know I’d feel safe!

Jude's avatar

It’s a Beretta .25 caliber. I think it’s called a Spitfire. ( she’s a tiny gun).

SpatzieLover's avatar

If I were working in Detroit, I’d probably feel the need for a weapon of some sort…I’d also have pepper spray on my key chain & have my thumb on it, ready for action.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I carry all the time. It’s good practice and it helps with the campaign to let the bad guys know they’re going to face an aroused citizenry.

ratboy's avatar

I’d prefer that criminals not go armed into high crime areas.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@JilltheTooth To paraphrase one of my favorite bumper stickers/T-shirts “I carry a gun because incendiary_dans are too heavy”.

@ratboy Good luck with that.

Jude's avatar

Here it is.

JLeslie's avatar

I hate guns. I grew up never thinking about them, never thinking about owning one, and as an idealist I want less guns not more out there.

However the big D, like the city I live near, Memphis, does have a lot of armed people, so you start to kind of feel like you might need one. Hell, just as a woman in general a gun can be the great equalizer. Without guns, man vs. woman, the man has an incredible advantage generally.

I think she should do whatever makes her comfortable.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@Jude That sounds more like it would just piss someone off with some minor injuries. I wouldn’t trust my life to anything smaller than a 9mm. My dad has a really nice compact 9mm, I bet it would be good for carrying and not interfere with fashion choices (one of his reasons for usually carrying that one.

tinyfaery's avatar

Whoa. Geologists shouldn’t need guns. If she works for the city or state she should be provided protection to do her job. Damn, even in the private sector. Is carrying a weapon part of her job description? If she is confident using it and is well trained and if it makes her feel comfortable, I don’t see a problem. But, if she is carrying it out of fear, I’d be scared that something would be more likely to happen if she does have a weapon.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’m with @incendiary_dan . The .25 caliber has so little stopping power it’s probably going to piss em off more than hurt them.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@tinyfaery

Never, ever depend upon someone else to be your sole means of defense.

mazingerz88's avatar

It is my preference not to carry a gun but ride to work in an Abrams tank. : )

tinyfaery's avatar

@CaptainHarley You think your way and I’ll think mine, mmmkay?

Cruiser's avatar

Make sure she practices drawing the weapon over and over and over. She needs to get flawless with this move or it will be pointed at her forehead if something ever goes down. She also has to know without a doubt that she will pull that trigger if and when.

Jude's avatar

@tinyfaery She recently had to go to a shitty neighboorhood in Detroit and knock on a huge steel door, waiting for someone to let her in. It scared her a bit. She does a lot of (outside) field work on her on when in Detroit. I don’t like it either..

CaptainHarley's avatar

@tinyfaery

“No need to get snippy!” – Albert Gore

TexasDude's avatar

DO NOT CARRY WITHOUT A PERMIT

The law/DOJ/ATF will literally skullfuck you to death if you are caught carrying a concealed handgun without a permit. I don’t know about Detroit specifically, but Michigan is a “shall issue” state, meaning that if you meet the requirements, it is relatively easy to obtain a concealed carry permit. Therefore, it is best for her to obtain a permit as soon as possible. Direct her to this link for more information.

Additionally, I cannot recommend carrying a .25 as a self defense weapon. The .25 ACP round does not meet the minimum amount of penetration recommended by the FBI to effectively stop a threat. She should go with a .380 or larger, and she should train with it regularly until she is fully capable of putting rounds on target safely and efficiently, and under pressure, because in a self defense scenario, she would be held responsible for every single round she fired, and it’s best that they all go into her would-be attacker as opposed to a bystander or someone’s property.

That said, I’m 100% in support of law abiding citizens carrying concealed if they feel the need.

@ratboy, lol wut?

JLeslie's avatar

I have found out that I sometimes am a deer in the headlights, unfortunately, so I agree with cruiser, she needs to know she will react appropriately. Once in action I think I could pull the trigger though.

Jude's avatar

@tinyfaery She works for a private company.

tinyfaery's avatar

If I were her, I would say something about it to management. I’m sure they do not want the liability. Maybe she can call ahead to places and make sure she is in contact with someone at all times. Even if she does carry the gun, she should do everything she can not to put herself in that situation.

Jude's avatar

I am going to ask them to ship @incendiary_dan our way.

I still want to call you “Honeydipper Dan”.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Hey, I’m a small woman, can I have an @incendiary_dan , too?

WestRiverrat's avatar

I pack heat in low crime areas. As long as she practices with it at least once a month and takes the appropriate training, I see no down side to her carrying. I would suggest she upgrade to a S&W Model 65 Ladysmith revolver.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@tinyfaery I didn’t know criminals only attack people in certain professions. Know if they go after wilderness skills instructors or security guards?

It’s been a long time since I’ve had to say this, but: ladies, there’s more than enough of me to go around. :P

Besides, @Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard is way better armed than I am.

Jude's avatar

I’m all about a two for one. Fiddle, you down?

TexasDude's avatar

@Jude of course I am, my beautiful Canadian dream lover.

incendiary_dan's avatar

To build on what @Cruiser said, she might want to practice yelling something like “Stop!” while drawing quickly. I’ve heard people tend to yell something anyway when they’re being attacked, might as well not make it something that’ll make it harder to argue self defense (like “die motherfucker!”).

CaptainHarley's avatar

Jeeze! Y’all git a room! A BIG one! LOL!

Jude's avatar

Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

incendiary_dan's avatar

Talk about remembering to bring protection.

TexasDude's avatar

Lol, this always happens.

CaptainHarley's avatar

OMG! HAHAHAHAHAHA!

TexasDude's avatar

@Jude well if whatever is in my pocket looks like this then… yeah, I am just happy to see you.

@incendiary_dan well… that’s what social is for!

YoBob's avatar

@Jude – She should really consider carrying something with a bit more punch that a .25.

Just to be clear, I am not one of those bigger is better guys. Further, I quite understand that a .22 to the head is more effective than a .45 to the foot. However, “stopping power” is a very real thing when it comes to self defense with a firearm. Frankly, popping a couple of .25 rounds into a 350 pound crack head intent on doing you harm is likely to do little in the immediate term other than piss him off (even if you do hit something vital)!

Unlike the movies, the bad guys don’t just fall over dead (or incapacitated) just because you flung a projectile at them. Said projectile has to have the capability to deliver enough correctly placed energy to render them immobile. Sure, you can do this with a .25 if you happen to be able to hit them in exactly the right place while you are literally in fear of your life and in a close up and personal combat situation. However, something with a bit more ft/lbs of energy and a bullet designed to loose that energy quickly on penetration (thus delivering all of it into whatever mass you hit instead of punching a nice clean hole) is much more likely to make the crackhead slow down.

I would highly recommend something along the lines of a compact .40 SW or even a compact .45. Both come in fairly small packages these days and are worth a look. As for bullets, go with a nice JHP designed for maximum expansion.

As my firearms instructor once said: “Never enter a gunfight with a gun that has a caliber with beginning in anything less than the number four.”

janbb's avatar

Just something I could never do.

JilltheTooth's avatar

OK, Now I want an @incendiary_dan and a @Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard hidden on my person!

flutherother's avatar

We never need them here I’m glad to say and I hope we never do.

_zen_'s avatar

I never leave home without it.

flutherother's avatar

We must be the most heavily armed website on the Internet.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@flutherother not even close, just about any hunting website will have this one beat.

flutherother's avatar

All right you’ve persuaded me, I’m going to get one of these (for self defence.)

incendiary_dan's avatar

@flutherother Does it come with a concealment holster?

flutherother's avatar

No, but it comes with half a million rounds of ammunition and a set of wheels.

TexasDude's avatar

@flutherother, lol, hardly. That honor probably belongs to these guys.

cookieman's avatar

My wife has worked in a prison, physically removed babies from crack houses (alone) as a state social worker, and performed surprise house visits on dozens of violent criminals as a probation officer. For well over a decade.

She had a bat swung at her, her tires slashed and emptied a can of mace on a drugged up “mom”.

No gun. Lots of street smarts – and sure, lots of luck. Knowing my wife, had she a gun, it wouldn’t have made a difference. She’d never use it.

As she said to me once, “that’s what separates us from the criminals.”

TexasDude's avatar

@cprevite As she said to me once, “that’s what separates us from the criminals.”

I have a really big problem with that line of thinking. There is nothing wrong with being prepared to use a weapon in self defense should the situation arise. I know a girl who would have been raped twice if it hadn’t been for her firearm and I don’t think she’d be somehow morally superior if she had remained unarmed and let it happen. Your wife chose to do without and she was fine, and that’s her choice and her situation. But @Jude‘s lady has chosen to arm herself and she isn’t a criminal in any way because of this. Anyway, forgive me if I’m misinterpreting you, but I just felt the need to respond to that particular line.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@cprevite My guns are what separates me from criminals. Usually by at least a few yards.

cookieman's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard: I see your point, and I realize my wife has had years of experience dealing with criminals and probably more street smarts than your average bear. Most people (such as @Jude‘s lady friend) are not comfortable in less than desirable neighborhoods.

So no, carrying a legal gun does not make her a criminal. It makes her a scared person looking for a way to protect herself from what may happen. However, if she has to use it and maims or kills someone – she’ll be just as scared and will have to live with the fact she took another life.

And sure it’s self-defense, and better them than her, but regardless, that’s a burden I personally wouldn’t want to carry. A choice I wouldn’t want to make.

What bothers me more is the cavalier nature about life and death as displayed by some gun owners (see @incendiary_dan‘s response above).

I simply know there are other options to explore first (as @tinyfaery points out above).

incendiary_dan's avatar

@cprevite There’s nothing cavalier about my attitude, just your perception as such. I have firearms for hunting and self-defense. That’s reality.

cookieman's avatar

@incendiary_dan: Simply because you choose that as your reality doesn’t mean it is the only choice.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@cprevite Wanting a gun for self defense does not necessarily make anyone a scared person. I am no more scared when I leave my CCP weapon at home or in the truck than if it is on my hip or under my arm.

I looked at all my options before choosing the most suitable method of self defense for my situation. A firearm was the best option for me, I realize this is not true for everyone.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@cprevite Of course it’s not. Got any other easily verifiable truisms? Or just other distractions from your mistatements?

I was having fun on this thread. Please don’t turn it into one of those nonsensical arguments where people with weak arguments keep jumping around to new points to save face. Nonsensical hilarity is much better.

cookieman's avatar

I am no more scared when I leave my CCP weapon at home or in the truck than if it is on my hip or under my arm.

@WestRiverrat: Then why choose to carry it at all?

TexasDude's avatar

I second @WestRiverrat. Preparedness ≠ fear. Just because I have a fire extinguisher under my sink doesn’t mean I live in fear of fires in the same way that it doesn’t mean I live in fear of violent attackers because I have a .45 or a shotgun, and so on. Having a housefire and being attacked are both rare occurrences, but they still happen so therefore there is nothing wrong with being prepared and it is silly to wax poetic about how that makes you a fearful person, or whatever.

cookieman's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard: Not waxing poetic. But my point is (and I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear above), carrying a gun for self defense puts you in a position of possibly having to use it. This may result in maiming or killing someone.

Are you prepared to live with that? As I said above, I am not.

If you think you are, then great. But for me (and my wife), we prefer other options.

TexasDude's avatar

@cprevite yeah, and that’s fine that you and your wife aren’t. Different strokes for different folks. Personally, I’d rather live with knowing that I had to hurt someone than… well… dying. And I wouldn’t use a gun in self defense if I didn’t seriously think that my life was in danger anyway. I am aware of the responsibility. But anyway, to each his own and I understand what you were saying earlier now.

woodcutter's avatar

In that neighborhood it will be assumed that everyone else is wearing a strap. It’s a shame there are places like that but who wants to suck hind tit in an arms race, not me.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@cprevite for one thing I am getting too old to fight like I used to, it is easier now just to kill the miscreants. I no longer feel the desire to wait the average 30 minutes it would take a cop to get to my house if I called 911. I spend a lot of time in the fields and woods, meeting up with cougars, coyotes, rattlesnakes or rabid raccoons and skunks is a real possibility.

I am fully aware of the responsibilities carrying a gun entail, and the results of misuse of a firearm.

woodcutter's avatar

@WestRiverrat Yeah the best solution is to run away if you can, ( I can’t, and I’m too big to hide) But if thats not an option having an equalizer is usually the only way to not have to take a beating. It’s one thing to just hand over your stuff and they leave you alone, but why do they have to beat their victims (or kill) after they get what they want?

JLeslie's avatar

I think having a gun to protect yourself against a wild animal is totally different than having a gun to shoot someone. I guess if someone is trying to attack or kill you, then they are a wild animal at that point, but the reason I bring it up is because…being someone who would prefer all guns go bye bye, I would never try to say that hunters, or people who live out in the woods, cannot have a gun to protect themselves. I’m afraid of the coyotes too.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@JLeslie

But that’s why we carry… to be able to shoot the animals when they attack. : )

WestRiverrat's avatar

@JLeslie if you spend enough quiet time in the woods you will surprise some animals, and be surprised by dozens more.

So far it has resulted in the animal or me backing slowly away and going about our business elsewhere.

My encounters have taken place at distances of 6 inches to 30 feet.

JLeslie's avatar

I am quiet in or near the woods every day. Deer, raccoons, snakes, foxes, coyotes, mice, moles, bunnies, turtles, birds. That is my property. Luckily, I don’t see the scary animals very often. I am nervous to walk in the pitch black on my property because of the coyote, although they typically are deeper in the woods. Once in a blue moon I see a snake during mating season, but not even one every year. Deer almost every day, can’t wait to see the babies in a month or so. They love my yard, they lay down and rest in the shade.

crisw's avatar

@JLeslie

Why are you scared of coyotes? Unless they are rabid or overacclimated to humans, they are essentially harmless. Your average ‘yote only weighs about 25–30 pounds- not really a fearsome critter.

JLeslie's avatar

I am afraid of dogs already. Let alone anything wild that comes close. I hear them howl in the middle of the night at times. Doesn’t sound good.

TexasDude's avatar

@crisw coyotes are typically harmless to people (aside from destroying property and killing pets, sometimes) but me and some friends were confronted by a rabid coyote once. It was about to attack us when I shot it. I was camping once, and my entire campsite was surrounded by a pack of them and they just howled and howled in the woods and wouldn’t show themselves even though they had to be only a few feet from camp. It was scary as fuck.

Blackberry's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard Whoa….What did you shoot it with?

YoBob's avatar

@cprevite – Regarding the “caviler” attitude towards life and death, I must concur with @incendiary_dan. The attitude is anything but caviler.

I saw a Larry King interview with Ted Nugent and, in his usual flamboyant style expressed the attitude quite well. He said (paraphrased):

So… I read a news story the other day about a repeat violent offender bless his heart who beat an elderly woman to death. Now given a choice between the elderly woman being beaten to death or the violent repeat offender being killed by an old lady packing heat, I would far prefer that the violent repeat offender be killed. Does that make me weird?

crisw's avatar

@JLeslie

I, personally, think there are few sounds more beautiful than the howling of coyotes. One of the things I miss most about living in the country is the nightly coyote concerts. In the years of living in Jamul, I saw coyotes dozens of times, often just a few feet away. I was never threatened by them in any way…although yes, the chickens were a different story! Coyotes are amazingly graceful and agile.

They don’t howl because they are thinking of attacking you. They howl to bring their families together and to tell other coyotes that this is their turf. And one coyote can sound like six! And they can sound much closer than they really are.

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard

Was the coyote you killed actually tested for rabies? Rabies in coyotes is pretty rare – for example, only one case was reported in the US in a coyote in 2009.

cookieman's avatar

@YoBob: There are a lot of intelligent answers on this thread both for and against “packing heat” (including your earlier one), but if you want me to take you seriously, quoting Ted Nugent doesn’t really help your case IMHO.

But I understand your earlier point. I hope you understood mine.

YoBob's avatar

@cprevite – Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Regardless of your personal opinions towards Mr. Nugent, I do believe the sentiment he expressed in that particular response strikes at the heart of the issue.

I fully respect your opinions as well as your decision to exercise your rights by choosing not to carry a firearm for personal protection just as I trust you respect the opinions and rights of myself, @Jude‘s SO, as well as the millions of other law abiding citizens who exercise their rights by choosing to carry a firearm (for whatever reason, be it self defense or because they simply enjoy spending time at the shooting range).

One of the great features of the country in which I live is that it is OK to have differing opinions provided we do not allow those differences of opinions to infringe on the rights of others.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@YoBob

Exactly! : ))

TexasDude's avatar

@Blackberry a 30–30 lever action rifle with a scope. I can’t remember the make or model. From less than ten yards. It literally came out of nowhere.

@crisw I don’t know if it was actually rabid or not, but it looked very sick and haggard. I have seen healthy coyotes up close and this was definitely not a healthy one. Plus, the fact that it was growling and lurching toward us from the bushes (something I know a normal coyote would be very unlikely to do) was more than enough motivation for me to shoot it. We were younger at the time, so we didn’t think to have someone test the body, or anything like that, though we probably should have.

JLeslie's avatar

@crisw I should have been more specific. What we hear every so often in the wee hours of the dark of night is a bunch of barking and painful sounds that seem to be a pack killing prey.

crisw's avatar

@JLeslie

I’ll have to see if I can find a recording of what I think you are hearing- it can sound pretty scary and painful, but it’s really just a couple of coyotes :>) Coyotes generally don’t hunt in packs (some big Eastern coyotes, who actually have wolf blood in them, are an exception) but I do admit that the sounds of a dying rabbit are pretty gruesome.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@crisw coyotes may not hunt in packs where you live, but they definately run and hunt in packs out here. My friend and I were calling them once and we had 7 running around the base of the hay bale we were set up on. There were also at least a couple more out there that we didn’t see.

YoBob's avatar

@JLeslie and @crisw – FWIW, I rarely hear coyotes “howl” when out at the ranch. But what I do hear about an hour or two after sunset is the coyotes “yipping”. It’s a hard sound to describe, but it is somewhere in between a bark and a howl and it sounds like multiple individuals that all cut loose around the same time. (It sounds to me like the canine equivalent of a bunch of kids at a pep rally getting fired up for the big game) It is one of my favorite sounds.

I am surprised with @crisw‘s assertion that coyotes don’t hunt in packs (although I am quite confident that she knows a heck of a lot more about coyote pack behavior than I). I always assumed that the whole purpose of the “yipping” thing was to call the clan together for the evening hunt.

JLeslie's avatar

@YoBob I think you are describing what I hear.

crisw's avatar

@WestRiverrat

I realize that I was unclear. By “hunt in packs” I meant as wolves do, with the members working together to kill one larger animal such as a deer. As far as I know, only Eastern coyotes, as I mentioned, do that. Cooperative hunting, where the family members work together to catch a rabbit or other small animal, is different.

Where they are left mostly undisturbed, coyotes will live in family groups; usually the mating pair and offspring of the year.

buster's avatar

I’m all for packing heat or having firearms nearby at all times. Boy Scout motto. Be Prepared.

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