First, it’s just a fact that for the vast majority of people, the instant they start carrying a gun is the instant they change their relationship with the state. No longer are they a protectee. They’re suddenly and substantially less dependent. They become a protector — of themselves and others — and that transition has a powerful psychological effect. It grants them greater security in their home, and it grants them greater freedom in their community. For many people, it gives them freedom from fear.

Along with the independence, I’ve seen a measurable increase in personal courage. Most people who carry guns also think through scenarios where they’d be required to use that weapon. They’ll discuss tactics with instructors, practice using their weapon at the range, and they’ll talk about troublesome scenarios with friends. Along the way, their mindset changes. They often subtly change from a person who can protect others to a person who will protect others, from a person who will run from danger to a person who will run to danger. A sense of resolve sets in, and the armed citizen actually feels a greater connection with those around him. He’s aware, alert, and ready. Not alarmed. Not frightened. But calmly confident.