Those who know me know that I carry a self-defense firearm at almost all times. I generally choose not to go to those places, including entire states, that do not honor my most natural of rights—the right to protect myself and others from violence. Laws and rules that stymie this right are immoral. I was a victim of a violent crime once, and I promised myself then that I would do everything in my power to not let it happen again. Helplessness is a horrible thing.
I am not paranoid. I am simply accepting of the fact that bad things can happen anywhere, and I choose to be as prepared as possible. It is who I am. In my vehicle, I wear my seatbelt and carry tools like a fire extinguisher, glass breaker, tourniquet and tow rope. It isn’t a macho thing, either. Choosing to carry a firearm at all times is a burden. There is nothing comfortable or cool about it.
I am simply accepting of the fact that bad things can happen anywhere, and I choose to be as prepared as possible.Nearly all my friends have a similar mindset. Life is short, and I don’t tend to want to spend time around those who don’t have the will to fight when it’s time to do so. Knowing that someone regularly carries a self-defense firearm instantly allows me to know so much more about who they are as a person. They are independent, assume responsibility for their own actions, and don’t allow emotions and wishful thinking to blind them from the harsh realities of the world.
Of course, there are those on the other end of the spectrum who actively seek to make their fellow citizens as helpless as they choose to make themselves. They are the gun control crowd, and I’m proud to say that I have spent a good part of my life ensuring that they fail. This is the business of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, or NRA-ILA. It is NRA’s lobbying arm.
NRA-ILA has worked tirelessly since it began in 1975 to ensure the gun laws in America are as freedom-oriented as they can possibly be. It does not have financial resources anywhere near the likes of gun control statists like Michael Bloomberg and George Soros, but it has done a heck of a lot of winning through the decades. Much of this is due to very hard work, a never-say-die attitude and the backing of millions of NRA members. Unlike the gun controllers, the NRA’s power comes from its people.
It is frustrating when I see friends and other good people not taking full advantage of the rights and powers NRA-ILA has worked so hard to secure for them. One friend who has a self-defense mindset and has concealed handgun permits issued by two different states recently moved from Oklahoma to Texas. There are those who simply can’t be helped, but she is not one of them.
I recently learned that she has not been actively carrying her handgun in Texas because she didn’t think those permits would be honored under her current circumstances. She assumed that she was required to have a Texas permit. She assumed incorrectly and could have been carrying legally under the authority of those other two permits the entire time. Thankfully, her time of need never arose during the period when she allowed her ignorance of the laws to render her defenseless.
Another friend recently took a business trip to a state on the East Coast. He called me during the trip and told me that he was uncomfortable not being allowed to carry the Glock that he carried every day back home. I informed him that he was wrong and that his carry permit from his home state was recognized by the state he was visiting. He told me that he assumed his permit would not be honored and didn’t take the time to do any research before his travels.
It is frustrating when I see friends and other good people not taking full advantage of the rights and powers NRA-ILA has worked so hard to secure for them.These are smart people who just don’t know their rights and powers as still-generally-free Americans. In today’s age, there really isn’t any excuse for ignorance. NRA has made it extremely easy to learn the general gun laws of each state. A person can simply go to NRA-ILA.org and click on the menu in the upper left-hand corner of the page.
“State gun laws” is the third option in the drop-down menu, and clicking on it will display an alphabetical list of states. Most of what a person will ever need to know is listed here, including an easy-to-use, interactive concealed-carry reciprocity maps. As an NRA member, you should always see the NRA as a resource belonging to you.
Using the "Contact Us" function on the website can help you acquire any information that cannot be found in a search of the site. While NRA-ILA cannot provide you with legal advice (this is something that must be left to your attorney), it can certainly help you determine the objective truth of federal, state and local gun laws.
With the plentiful resources provided by your NRA, there really is no excuse to be anything but fully informed of your rights as a gun owner, whether it involves your day-to-day life in your home state or whether it’s time spent on a vacation or business trip. Having a responsible, self-defense mindset and the self-discipline to implement it is most of the battle. Acquiring basic information on gun laws is the easy part.
Darren LaSorte lobbied with NRA-ILA for 14 years and now lives and works in Dallas. His passions are shooting, hunting and self-defense training.