What do Doctor James Mortimer, Taylor Swift, John Steinbeck, Three Dog Night and Wild Bill Hickok have in common? Whether by script, lyric, composition, song or preparedness, they all advocate the notion that two are better than one. Such sentiment can even be found in ‘the good book’; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 begins “Two are better than one.” Is carrying two guns common practice for you? If not, perhaps you should consider carrying more than one firearm. I’m not referring to Hollywood-style John Woo dual wielding like Neo in the Matrix or Clint Eastwood in the Outlaw Josey Wales. I’m referring to carrying a BUG (back-up gun), more like John Wayne as Big Jake with his Colt SAA (Single Action Army) and his double-barrel 1866 Derringer referred to as “Betsy”. Watching the news on the Baltimore riots makes me give pause to the numerous scenarios in which the good guys are out-numbered and under armed. There are several valid reasons as to why carrying more than one firearm is prudent. Like Jack McCandles says, “It pays to be careful.”
Scenario 1: Firearm Malfunction
You are in a life-and-death situation. You draw your gun, aim, pull the trigger but it jams….
Carrying a gun is about being prepared for the worst. Regardless of the quality of your gun or the discipline of your gun maintenance, like any other mechanical device, guns do malfunction. Hopefully you will be at the range when you encounter dud rounds, hang fire, feed or ejection failures but what if a malfunction occurs during a life-and-death situation? Having an extra gun to draw can make the difference between your survival and your demise.
Scenario 2: Reload Time
You carry a gun and an extra magazine. You are walking down an alley and a group of several thugs with weapons are approaching and threatening you. One pulls out a gun. You draw your gun, aim and fire. You fire once, twice, again and again until the mag is empty. You wounded only one of the thugs and the others are quickly coming at you. You try to reload but they overtake you before you can do so….
Reload time can be an issue regardless of what type of gun you carry. Do you carry an extra magazine? Could you just as easily carry a BUG? How long does it take you to reload? How long would it take you to reload under attack or duress? In a situation where a few seconds can make a difference, switching out that extra magazine for a Ruger LC9, Walther PPS or any compact handgun could save your life.
Scenario 3: Trusted Others
You are driving to an event and your wife is in the car. You run out of gas in a crime-ridden neighborhood. There is no phone service. Your wife is recovering from recent surgery and she can only walk very short distances. You decide to walk to the gas station while your wife stays in the car….
If you carry an extra firearm, you can lend your BUG to a trusted individual should you get separated or need an extra shooter. This is only one of several scenarios that I can think of where you may need to lend an individual your additional gun in order to remain safe and/or to defend yourself. It should be noted that you should not lend your firearm to just anyone. It should only be done in very specific situations and only if the individual is able and responsible.
Scenario 4: You’re Disarmed
You are walking behind an elderly woman as she is robbed at gunpoint. As you draw your gun, the assailant jumps you, punches you and wrestles your gun from you….
It is easier than you’d think to have your gun taken from you. According to a study done by the FBI, in a ten year period, 5.1% of all cops that were killed were killed with their own weapons. If it happens to the trained professionals, it could happen to you. Many police officers carry a more compact gun in a holster attached to their ballistic vest under their uniform shirt. Doing so has saved the lives of many officers and could do the same for you.
The above scenarios are only a few reasons you may want to consider carrying more than one gun. The Navy Seal’s motto ‘one is none and two is one’ rings true given many situations. But, is it legal to carry more than one firearm? The laws vary state to state and I don’t claim to be an expert on the legal aspects. Interestingly, in my home state of Pennsylvania, upon reading statute 18 Pa.C.S. 6106, I notice that it refers to the word “firearm” and not “firearms.” When the courts analyze a statute, they use what is called “a plain reading of the statute.” What that means is that the court looks at the words used and applies a simple language and grammar check. Such reading would be based on what the courts call a reasonable person standard. Here the word “firearm” jumps right out at you. The word appears in its singular possessive form. That means that when the legislation was written, the writers were thinking that a person should have the right to carry a single weapon concealed on their person. They probably did not even consider whether or not a person would try to carry multiple firearms. Therefore, a plain reading of the statute connotes a singular weapon concealed on one’s person. That said, I am not aware of anyone being arrested in Pennsylvania for carrying multiple guns with a CC license. Is it legal? Well, it’s not illegal.
Carrying a gun whether open carry, conceal carry, one or many is about preparedness. The manner, type and even the number all vary on preference, situation, legality, availability and training. Whether it be a make and model that can share the same magazines or something different and much smaller, if you encounter the possibility of any of the scenarios mentioned above, consider carrying a BUG. Be like the Boy Scouts, be prepared.