Being “Armed” is like having an affliction. You can’t drink when you’re carrying a gun, traveling with it is difficult and wearing speedos at the local pool impossible, or at least downright uncomfortable. Uncle Ben said it best, “With great power comes great responsibility” and if you’re going to own a gun you better be responsible about it.

As a child my father always kept loaded weapons around the house. As a Sheriff in San Mateo County, Ca. guns were nothing more than “work tools” to us kids. He taught me gun safety and always offered to let me “checkout” his guns as long as I asked. I never touched them without his supervision and when at friends houses I was the only one comfortable, and familiar, enough with guns to leave them alone.

Having successfully made it through childhood without an incident it was my intention to utilize the same gun philosophy my father did when I had kids. That was right up until I attended my first concealed weapons carry class. The gentlemen teaching the class taught me two very important things regarding gun safety and management and I serendipitously learned two more things on my own that have stuck with me ever since. Here are the four (04) basic gun safety and management rules I’ve adhered to over the years.

1 – Locking up your gun: What if someone robs your house?

Okay sounds super obvious, but I just hadn’t thought of it. I mean that’s what the gun was for, but obviously I wouldn’t always be home so leaving an unsecured weapon behind when I was gone made no sense. I didn’t care if I lost the guns, but I did care that I could have inadvertently armed a human being that was twisted enough to enter another human being’s house to steal things.

The moment he asked this question was the moment I made keeping my guns locked up and tethered to something my number one rule.

The first safe I bought was a small handgun safe that would supposedly allow me to put my hand atop an imprint and then trigger the combination without looking. I thought it would be perfect to mount on my nightstand so that I could open it just before bed and close it first thing in the morning. Another bad idea.

2 – Walking to your gun: What if you have a nightmare or you “PTSD out” and wake up with your gun in your hand?

So it’s not uncommon for people to wake up and find themselves already in some sort of defensive action. He described cases where people kept their gun “under their pillow” and had accidentally woken up with it in their hand.

If it’s never happened to you this can sound unlikely, but I’ve, no less than 7 times, woken in a state of action yelling and reaching for a “dream” weapon and or, to my wife’s displeasure, reaching for her neck (those times I wasn’t really sleeping, but don’t say anything to her – she scares me). I don’t consider anything I’ve been through to be all that dramatic, but it doesn’t take much to put a guy on high alert. SEAL training alone produced a certain level of what I call “Training PTSD” that has kept me vigilant to this day. Just two nights ago I woke from a dream and punched a water glass off my nightstand while trying to subdue a non-existent attacker.