While we ourselves do not carry guns, the nature of that portion of our business that deals with protective services in high-threat environments means that some of the people who work for us must.
In truth, most people who carry guns at our behest will never need to use them to protect themselves or our clients, because their job – our job – is to try to make sure that we avoid situations where use of guns is necessary. But it is equally true that if we fail in preventing this from happening, and they are in a situation where they need to use a gun to defend themselves and our clients, there will be no other emergency safety tool that can be used in place of a gun.
While this is a necessity that cannot be avoided – our clients sometimes work in dangerous places, where very bad people want to do very bad things to them – one of the things of which we are always mindful is the balance between the risks of carrying a gun and the risks of not carrying a gun.
The risks involved in carrying a gun do not relate to gun accidents: They are so rare that that they do not constitute a major concern in the trade. Rather, the risks are legal and financial.
One of our people recently attended a training course in Massachusetts on carrying a gun in that state. Since what happens in Boston is not dissimilar to what happens in New York or Phoenix or Los Angeles, it was interesting to note that the presenter felt if you shot someone, and the shooting was justified, your legal defense is likely to cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is in line with the general industry belief that the legal costs in a completely justified shooting will be a minimum of $40,000, and could be up to half a million dollars.
We can’t vouch for the accuracy of these figures, but we do accept that if you are forced shoot and kill someone you are likely to end up impoverished by the legal system. Even assuming you are not jailed, you are also likely to end up divorced, jobless, and suffering a variety of psychological ills.
The bottom line is that if you keep or carry a gun for protection, you should be as mindful as are we of the potential costs involved. While we have heard people casually say things like “Better to be judged by twelve than carried by six,” if there is any reasonable alternative to taking the life of another person, you should exercise that alternative, and avoid the whole issue.