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Just Because It’s Legal… That Doesn’t Make It Smart And…

The phrase I’m most remembered by in the CCW community is when I say “Just because something is legal that doesn’t make it smart; and just because something is illegal that doesn’t make it stupid.”

When teaching Utah concealed carry classes I sometimes wish that I could bypass the state ccw instruction requirements and take out the section that discusses justifiable force. I would replace that 1 hour lecture with a discussion about the emotional repercussions that come from taking someone’s life and where we should each draw the line.

Don’t misunderstand me; I see the value in understanding the law and how it is applied but I am always nervous that my students will leave the class more focused on what they can do instead of what they should do in self-defense scenarios.

I often explain this concept by making this point, “you would rather be in prison than dead.” Or just as often, “you would rather loose your flat screen tv than kill someone’s father, mother, child, or spouse. Human life truly is valuable and while the Utah Concealed Carry laws (Justifiable force) allow for us to defend our habitation and the lives of complete strangers we should all keep in mind the spirit of those laws.

I strive to be a law abiding citizen in our society but in regards to personal protection and self defense I honestly admit that its the spirit of the law and not the letter of the law that stays in my conscious. Here is the question that I always explain to my students, that I would pose to myself before firing the gun: ” Is this action worth any consequence?”

Truly I hope that most of us would draw that line in the place where we wouldn’t care what the consequences were in order to protect our own lives or the lives of our loved ones.

Jacob S Paulsen

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3 Responses to Just Because It’s Legal… That Doesn’t Make It Smart And…

  1. Bryan April 3, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

    Along the same lines, a discussion should be had that addresses how not to get shot by another CCW permit holder, or the police, if you do decide to take action to protect your life or somebody else’s.

  2. Charles Johnson Jr July 20, 2011 at 10:58 am #


    I will answer this the way I have in some of the classes I have given over the years.

    When you work you are spending part of your life in return for a benefit. How you use/value that benefit is how you will respond to a threat.

    In the wee hours of the morning when you have discussions with those silent vivitors have you been able to come to a resolution?

  3. Winghunter August 2, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

    Since you must be teaching that the imminent danger of life and/or serious bodily injury must be the condition met before pulling the trigger in self-defense, then the “action” MUST BE worth any consequence by definition.

    I could be wrong but, what I think you’re trying to say is that you wish you could better prepare everyone with more instruction such as a F.A.T.S system. I couldn’t agree more and I don’t see how bringing the subject up, explaining why you did and offering places they can go for training would cost you too much classroom time. (I personally didn’t feel comfortable with carrying until I knew the law AND more importantly, understood when and when not to pull the trigger.)

    Additionally, if our mainstream media didn’t fashion themselves after Pravda and actually reported all self defense incidents as the inalienable right that it is, bad guys would (and do) find much less dangerous ways to commit crime. Which, in turn, creates far fewer demands on law-abiding citizens to defend themselves/others.

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