Thanks to the great State of Oklahoma, I have a Concealed Handgun License. While I would rather not have the state involved at all in how and when I carry a gun, at least Oklahoma is a "shall issue" state, and the regulations are not onerous. So, I figure to live with 'em.
When it has come up in conversation (rarely), I have had otherwise reasonable and intelligent people ask me why I carry a gun. They ask me if I'm afraid or if I see myself as some sort of Rambo or vigilante. Or, they tell me they are afraid of guns. They then pontificate on the evils of guns, all the damage guns do to "our society," and how, if it were in their power, they would ban guns.
Well, for the record, I'm not afraid (most of the time) of anything (almost), nor do I see myself as Rambo or a vigilante. I carry guns (Yes, I typed guns.) for the same reason I wear a seat-belt; for the same reason I wear a helmet, armored jacket, boots, and gloves when I ride my scooter; for the same reason I have insurance on my house, car, truck, and scooter. If you need any of these, you're going to need them right now. I, for one, don't want to be looking for something to protect myself if someone attacks me or a member of my family, especially since I'm what they call a high-mileage model. (Hand-to-hand combat training was a lot of miles and a lot of wear'n'tear ago.) I'm not looking for trouble, but I intend to be as ready for it as I can.
For those people who are afraid of guns, my mother included, I can only ask if they are afraid of kitchen utensils, tools, cars, and their hair dryers. A gun is a tool. It won't go off by itself. It won't turn the person holding it into a slathering, wild-eyed, murderous monster bent on wreaking havoc amongst his family, friends, neighbors, and strangers. It has no motivation, morals, or ability of its own. That is not to say that a gun should not be respected, but a gun can't make anyone do anything.
(My mother has acknowledged that her fear of guns is irrational, but, when a woman down the street from her house was murdered in cold blood after surprising burglars in the middle of the day, she insisted that either my brother or myself, with our guns, come stay with her until the police apprehended the killers. This we did, because that's what family does.)
As for guns damaging our society, I would say that criminals damage our society. Criminals don't obey laws. Banning guns won't change that because criminals won't obey the laws banning guns, leaving the law-abiding defenseless. The gun banners, when I ask them what to do if threatened by an attacker, say that I should let the police handle it, "That's what we pay them for." They get a bit flustered when I say that their response to an immediate threat is to hope that people with guns come to their aid in time to save them. They get more flustered when I tell them that the police have no legal responsibility to protect any individual who doesn't have a pre-existing relationship with the police, i.e. a snitch...excuse me, a confidential informant.
It is a sad commentary on our "society" that people abdicate their responsibility for their safety, for their families' safety, and for their very lives to others.
So, I will continue to carry concealed handguns.