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You're Off Duty
"I feel naked without my off duty weapon"

I recently went on vacation to a northern city in California. Working as a Police Officer in the state, I had the option of taking my off duty weapon with me. I carry a Beretta 92fs 9mm handgun pretty much everywhere I go these days. Because I had to fly to my destination, I opted to leave the gun at home.

Animated Gun
It just seems like such a hassle to check in a weapon at the airport. First you have to get there extremely early and contact the security desk. You have to show them that your gun is unloaded and secured… in front of hundreds of people who are walking by… might as well have a blinking sign on my back saying "COP".

After the security guard (who usually can’t even handle an automatic) is done inspecting your weapon, they slap a florescent "GUN" sticker on your bag and you can not take it on the plane with you. This means that some $6/hr baggage handler will handle my bag. I don’t know about you but I’ve seen enough TV special reports about what happens to luggage behind the scenes.

So, the gun stays home and I’m on my way to a great relaxing weekend, so I thought. To be perfectly honest, I felt extremely insecure without a weapon. It’s funny, my friends who work at offices and stores never carried a gun in their life, yet they are calm and relaxed most everywhere they go. Maybe I became paranoid after dealing with victims out on the street. Maybe I am less na´ve then my civilian friends. What ever it is, it’s a feeling I can’t get rid of. I was walking in downtown, with thousands of people around but my eyes were scanning for the culprit. It’s hard to enjoy yourself when you’re worried.

Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast but that feeling was always in the back of my head. So, what’s the solution? I guess if I knew it – I wouldn’t be writing this article. My weapon gives me a sense of security both on and off duty. It’s a trade off between the hassle and the concern of someone else handling a bag with your gun, knowing there is a gun in there and leaving that sense of security behind. I know one thing for sure: If I was put in a situation where I could have used my gun to protect me or my family from harm and I did not have my gun with me, I could never forgive myself.


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