The Coronavirus pandemic may not be the zombie outbreak we gun owners have been jokingly talking about for the last decade or so, but it’s definitely proving something that we Second Amendment supporters have been arguing all along: In times of crisis, all Americans are our own first responders. As I write, local governments nationwide are releasing prisoners from jails in an effort to slow the transmission of COVID-19. And despite my 80-word-per-minute typing rate, I cannot keep up with the number of “blue states” that have either closed, or are trying to close, gun stores. (Each of those links in the last paragraph is a separate news article about gun store closures.)
What’s next? Well, sadly I’m not Nostradamus and can’t tell you whether this virus is likely to mutate into something less virulent, or simply do a slow-burn until we’re able to produce a vaccine. However, there are some things that are established facts, and they’ll point us to what is likely coming at us.
First, we know that viruses do not discriminate and that the people at greatest risk for catching COVID-19 are healthcare workers and first responders–and for this discussion, we’re focusing on law enforcement officers. LEOs, like their medical brethren, have no option to quarantine themselves. Although the overwhelming majority of COVID-19 victims will survive, we can expect that law enforcement agencies will have staffing problems as their officers sicken and recover…and the smaller the police force, the more serious that will be.
Second, we know that the Supreme Court has established very clearly that law enforcement has no duty to protect citizens. They have no duty to protect when there isn’t a pandemic, and that goes treble when there is one. Don’t get me wrong–they absolutely will if they can–but you can’t hold them liable legally if they don’t.
Third, we know that although we’re being told that the prisoners currently being released from jail are “low-level offenders,” many of them will indeed be dangerous. After all, they’re returning from having been incarcerated to an economy that’s already shedding jobs, and competing for those jobs with other recently unemployed people who have clean criminal records.
Now, let’s take those facts and extrapolate a little. People who defend their lives and families’ lives with lethal force are not always treated fairly by local district attorneys and the press. We can guess that the mainstream media will be working to discourage armed self-defense, and that it’s very possible that they’ll try to “make an example” of the next self-defense shooting that hits national news. Even if they don’t, remember this: You can’t sue the police for not being there to help you during a robbery or rape, but the robber or rapist’s family can sue you for shooting them. Many of us who carry concealed do so because, as we like to joke, we can’t fit a cop in our pocket. Many of us are also now choosing to purchase self-defense insurance, because we can’t fit a lawyer in our other one.
Recently, Tim Schmidt, president and founder of the United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA), and Tim Kennedy, an active-duty member of the U.S. Army Special Forces and nationally known self-defense expert, held a live panel discussion with Kevin Michalowski, executive editor of Concealed Carry Magazine about what you can do to protect yourself and your family in these uncertain times. The video is below–and if you’re interested in learning more about the training (which can be done from home!) and legal protection they offer, click here.