– Ben Martens


Over the last couple weeks, I received my NRA membership card and my Concealed Pistol License from the state. Some people cheer when they hear that and others cringe. Why did I get them? Allow me to explain…

I probably wouldn’t have joined the NRA except that it’s a pre-req for the Snoqualmie Valley Rifle Club. MikeF took me shooting there a few weeks ago and it looked like a place that I want to join. Before I can even attempt to fill out a membership form, they need proof of an NRA membership so I joined. The NRA is like that friend that says things you generally agree with but says them in such an obnoxious way that you cringe a bit. So I’m a member, and I stand with them on just about everything, but sometimes I wish their tactics weren’t quite so divisive.

As for the Concealed Pistol License, there are a few reasons for that:

  • As anti-gun fever increases, I want to add one more to the stats of people who carry guns. It’s a stat that gets quoted in lots of news stories and the more of us there are, the stronger our silent voice is. If only 1 in 1000 people have a CPL, it might seem easy to get at law passed against them. But currently in Washington state, the numbers are more like 1 in 12. KIRO7 has a neat map that lets you see what percentage of your city has the right to carried a concealed pistol. (Note that everyone has the right to carry a gun in the open but you’ll probably end up getting busted for disturbing the peace.)
  • There’s a 5 day waiting period if you want to buy a handgun. If you have a CPL, there’s generally no waiting period. It’s one less hoop for me to jump through and saves me a trip.
  • A CPL relaxes a lot of the restrictions about transporting guns in your car. While I try hard to abide by all the rules when driving to and from the range, this gives me a little cushion in case I get pulled over and I’m accidentally doing something wrong. (This is a bigger deal in other states. Washington has very reasonable laws about transporting firearms.)

Those are the big three reasons. And of course, it does actually give me the option to carry a concealed pistol if I want to. But given that I don’t even own a pistol yet, that’s not going to happen for a while. And even when I own one, will I carry it? Probably not most of the time. I won’t ever carry until I know exactly when I would be willing to pull it out, and I’ll have to do some thinking about that.

For now my gun enthusiasm is targeted (haha) more at sport shooting and less at self-defense. Shooting is a wonderful sport that combines physical preciseness and mental control. I’m loving it!