Concealed Carry and Self-Defense
In my prior jobs, we often practiced something called OPSEC. OPSEC is short hand for Operational Security. The idea was we did not discuss our deployment, tactical operations, or anything work related outside of the specific sub unit that had a need to know for mission success. That meant that often times my family would have no idea what I was doing at work, or on the far side of the world. However, if you choose to use a firearm for defense, you need to take a slightly different approach. Because your family will, in some very critical ways, be part of your team.
Family and Safety First
First of all, if you are out with your family, and you choose to carry a gun, your spouse or partner should be fully aware of this decision. Furthermore, if you choose to not carry it with you for whatever reason (non-permissive environment, lack of proper concealment, etc) your partner should also be informed of this. It might change how your partner will respond to a threat.
Sharing such information with children or younger members of the party are another matter. This would be age and maturity related. And every child is different. The main worry is that someone in your party would reveal that you have a firearm, when such a revelation to other entities is not in the best interest of security. Which is almost all the time.
Your partner and yourself should have a solid plan for how to respond if you do need to draw or use your firearm. This plan must be well communicated and a role-playing rehearsal, while feeling silly, would be an excellent idea. Plans should include who would call 9-1-1 and what the caller would say, how they are to describe you as well as the bad guy for responding Law Enforcement. This could be critical as you don’t want any confusion as to your intentions when cops arrive. Make sure your partner can describe what you are wearing, or at least some obvious article of clothing. It doesn’t help to alert responding cops to the fact that you are wearing your lucky brow socks. Your dark blue, sports team jersey is a better choice.
Additional plans should include a generic re-unification protocol. If you do need to use your firearm, your partner might consider leaving the area for a safer location. While a second set of eyes in a tactical scenario is always helpful, you need to weigh the utility of this against the possible dangers to your family or group. Flight is often the best option for all parties. If your plans include a tactical, covered retreat where all parties leave, with you, the one with the gun, covering the retreat, you will want a mechanism for re-unification. This allows the other members of the party to know you are safe, and to be available as witnesses for the inevitable investigation that will follow. Re-unification can be as simple as a text or phone call. Or, if you have planned well ahead, it could be voice messages to your attorney’s office where the rest of your party can retrieve them via a phone call.
Home Defense Basics
The same considerations need to be made for home defense. If you keep a gun for home defense, strongly consider ensuring your partner can access and use the weapon. Particularly if they are frequently home without you. Furthermore, a plan must be in place for notifying 9-1-1 as soon as the firearm is deployed or trouble is suspected. On that note, waiting to call police, while you investigate the suspicious glass breaking downstairs is a needless delay. Better to call, stay on the line, then apologize and cancel response when you learn the cat knocked a vase off the shelf (one more reason dogs are better than cats, but I digress).
If you have children or care for others in your home, have a plan to consolidate all residents. It is much easier to care for and protect everyone when they are all in the same area. These things need to be discussed, and ideally, practiced, in the same manner as a fire drill or earthquake preparedness.
None of these things will happen organically. They must be considered and planned for. I understand that it feels contrived and overly in-depth, however, there is no other way, short of these plans, to prepare for such calamities.
About the writer
Military and Law Enforcement Veteran
FBI certified firearm instructor
MP5 and Sub Machine gun instructor
Defensive tactics instructor