I’m a vocal advocate for Concealed Carry, but I believe more in Responsible Carry. What is responsible carry? It means you regularly go to the range and practice your skills, not just plinking, but drawing and firing, assessing the threat, firing again if needed. It means you understand that the annual range trip is not enough. Shooting is a perishable skill that needs to be kept up. Responsible Carry means you train, beyond whatever the minimum was to get a permit, you take defensive training, you work on supportive skills as the gun is not always the first choice. You choose not to go areas where you have a high risk of needing your gun. You’ve made the decision, deep down inside, that you are prepared to use your firearm to defend yourself or your family. You understand that there is great risk in interfering in a situation that you stumble on and don’t have all the facts. Finally it is understanding when not to carry, such as when you are not able to practice due to injury or physical instability. It is accepting that you are dangerous if you can’t be confident in your skills. The only way to be confident is to practice. When you are injured you more vulnerable, and that may make you think you need your gun, but if you are not physically able to practice, you are not in a good position to use your gun defensively, you put yourself and bystanders at higher risk.
Be smart, be responsible, be safe.