Gun control series Part I: Why I’m armed

Most Americans have already chosen a side in the debate over gun rights and are all magically transformed into constitutional scholars as we pontificate on the purpose and meaning of the Second Amendment. One side knows the Second Amendment restricts the right to bear arms to a well-trained and well-regulated government militia, while the opposing side knows that it guarantees the individual’s right to bear arms.

But who’s right? I don’t know. And whether you like it or not, neither do you.

Rather than reinforcing your chosen side, I hope this three-part series on gun rights and gun control will move you to reassess your beliefs and motivate you to engage in a meaningful discussion with those on the other side.

In part one, I’ll share the reasons why I’m personally armed. In part two, I’ll explore what can be done to bridge the gap between the two sides of the gun debate. And in part three, I’ll propose some actions that will keep guns out of the hands of criminals while protecting the right to bear arms.

Let’s start with the three reasons one might be armed.


I’m not really a hunter so I’ll simply state that if hunting (or shooting sports) were the only reason guns existed, I would probably agree with many of the gun control measures that have been proposed over the years, many of which have been covered by The Strident Conservative.

Prevent Government Tyranny

While this is a huge deal, I won’t go into it here since I’ve already published an article and video on the subject. We’ll also talk about this in part two of this series.

Self Defense

Late on a cold winter night in 1985, when I was 17 years old, I was on my way home after finishing a closing shift at McDonald’s. While stopped at a red light, a very large man opened the door of my Toyota Corolla station wagon and sat down in the passenger seat.

As this massive person turned toward me, I noticed several cuts and bruises on his face, and I could smell alcohol on his breath. With blood dripping from his face onto his army jacket and onto the seat of my car, he told me, “Dude, some a**hole just beat me up with nunchucks. I need a ride,” and then gave me an address to drive him to.

Not knowing what else to do, I followed his directions and hoped for the best. When we arrived at his destination, he got out and said, “Thanks for the ride.”

No harm done right? Wrong. He kidnapped me and could have killed me. Believe me, it made an impact.

Fast forward to January 6, 2019… I was running a quick errand and had just pulled into a parking spot when immediately after putting my truck into Park (which unlocks the doors) the passenger door opened, and a strange woman got in, reeking of alcohol, and sat down in the passenger seat.

Sound familiar? Yes, but this time I was prepared.

By the time she closed the door, and before she even turned to look at me, I had my loaded .45 in my right hand, pointed at the floor, finger off the trigger.

This strange woman didn’t say a word and just sat there looking at me as several questions went through my mind:

  1. Does she have a weapon and will I need to use mine to protect myself?
  2. Does she have an accomplice that’s about to attack me through the now unlocked driver’s side door?
  3. If I look away to try to lock the doors, will she use that distraction to attack?
  4. On a scale from 1-10, how glad am I that I have my own weapon; that I’m not relying on the police to arrive before she (or her accomplice) attacks me? (Answer: 10)

I looked right at her and said confidently, “You should get out now.”

But she didn’t get out. She just stared at me.

Without losing eye contact, I nodded in the direction of my right hand and explained that I had a fully loaded .45 and was prepared to use it if she didn’t get out of my truck immediately. After a quick glance at my gun hand, she quickly apologized and got out.

I was shaking, but thankfully both of us walked away alive and unhurt.

I may never know her true intentions for getting into my vehicle, but I know without question that my loaded .45 is what convinced her to her leave … and it may have saved my life.

The first experience taught me why I should be armed. The second experience reinforced my resolve to be armed.

Are you armed? Why or why not?

Next up: Gun control series Part II: Finding Middle Ground



Tom Milligan proudly opposes anyone who messes with the US Constitution, regardless of party affiliation. He is a pro-life, gun-toting conservative that supports the Convention of States and other measures to limit the size and power of the federal government.

Tom is the father of 4 great men and husband to an amazing wife. You can follow Tom on Twitter and Facebook.