Whoops...I accidentally hit post before I was finished writing. Here's the rest of my comment:
... is necessary for them to make it out unharmed. Do these situations come up? Of course. But the problem is one of judgment. It has been my experience that individuals who carry in case they encounter dangerous situations also tend to be far more likely to see situations as dangerous even when they really aren't. I have seen more than a few crime scenes in which a person carrying made a non-dangerous situation dangerous by virtue of their handgun and poor judgment. For example, I once saw a crime scene where an armed robber got whatever money he wanted from a store clerk and was on his way out the door when a "hero" in the store drew on the perp and shot. He missed and hit a person coming into the store and killed her. The robber then turned and shot this hero and killed him (this guy was wanted on federal charges for hitting a couple of banks in Virginia and West Virginia -- he was armed but did not fire his weapon in either if those robberies).
The problem isn't the gun itself but the person carrying the gun. When you put a gun into the hands of someone who is untrained, lacks good judgment, and/or who has some kind of hero complex (having seen too many episodes of "24", something that a lot of these hero types have in common...no joke), it often winds up that these "heroes" present more danger and cause more harm than the perps themselves. Sadly, there are far too many people on the low end of the IQ scale who have permits to carry. Thus, I agree that in order to get a permit, applicants should be required to receive substantial training, not just in the technical aspects of how to safely handle a firearm but with regards to when and where they should be used and (more importantly) when they shouldn't. Personally, I am not a big fan of guns, having seen the damage they can cause (both as an agent and when I was in the military). However, the Second Amendment establishes the right to possess them, and as such, people need to take personal responsibility with regards to their possession and use. Also, in response to the individual above who referred to gun possession as a "God-given right" -- No, sir...it is not. God didn't write the Second Amendment; our forefathers did. I'm pretty sure that guns aren't mentioned in any religion's foundational text...any major religion, that is. It makes me nervous to think there are people who believe that God has bestowed upon them their Glocks, Sigs, H&Ks, Barettas, S&Ws, etc.
Anyway, that's my two cents. Gun owners, please be safe and responsible!
Thanks! -- CM
This is an interesting discussion though it's disappointing to see some of the insults being thrown around. I thought I'd throw in my two cents. I'm a special agent with the FBI and assigned here in Georgia (previous assignment in the DC field office). I carry a Sig P250 (used to carry a P226). When not on duty, I carry a concealed P229 due to the nature of my job. However, if I was not an agent, I would not carry openly OR concealed unless I knew in advance that I would be in a dangerous situation or area. I'll explain in more detail below. First, though, I can already hear the responses to my "I would not carry" comment: "But there's no way to know when a seemingly harmless situation will become dangerous!". To an extent, that's true. But let's be honest -- the vast majority of Americans going about their normal business simply do not find themselves in situations in which they are truly in danger and the possession of a handgun