While I was at the Rangemaster Polite Society Tactical Conference on the outskirts of the outskirts of Little Rock last weekend, I received an interesting interview request. A reporter wanted to talk about guns being left in bathrooms, after two guns were found in a short period of time in bathrooms at the University of Texas at Austin.
The reporter who contacted me said he was a bit sheepish about doing so given the topic. I told him that how to go to the bathroom while carrying a firearm is something I’ve heard many people discuss in classes, forums, and on the range.
Perhaps it is not discussed enough, but comments on my Facebook post about this mentioned discussion of the issue in Reddit (H/T AT) and an article in RECOIL from 2013 (H/T Shooting Solutions). The Cornered Cat Kathy Jackson says she discusses this issue in her classes, usually right before the first bathroom break when students may confront this issue for the first time (H/T KJ). And so on.
The reporter also asked if I knew about “statistics” on how often people leave their guns in bathrooms, saying he had found a dozen or so reports in the past couple of years. I said they don’t keep statistics on events that rare, especially since in most cases no one is injured as a result (but see Utah teacher shoots self in leg in faculty bathroom).
Here’s the reality as far as I’m concerned: Large scale concealed carry by average citizens is relatively new, the modern shall issue movement breaking through in 1987 in Florida. With 16 million concealed carry permit holders and 12 states allowing permitless carry, there are a lot of people who can legally walk around “packing heat” who would never be able to do so 25 years ago.
And they ARE walking around.
Consider the article “Loaded Handgun Carrying Among US Adults, 2015,” based on data from the National Firearms Survey (NFS). One of the questions on the NFS reads: “The next questions ask about times in the past 30 days when you may have carried a gun away from home. In the past 30 days, have you carried a loaded handgun on your person?”
Of Americans who own handguns, 21.1% said yes.
That is roughly 9 million people who have carried a gun on their person away from home in the last 30 days.
My calculation of this follows:
- 250,000,000 adults in the US
- 17% own handguns per NFS = 42,500,000 adults
- 21.1% of handgun owners carried in last 30 days = 8,967,500
Assuming the NFS underestimates the rate of gun ownership in the US, the number is likely well over 9 million.
Given these astounding numbers, it’s not surprising that an entire (cottage) industry has emerged as part of Gun Culture 2.0 to help people address the challenges of living a concealed carry lifestyle, both in terms of guns/gear (see my posts from the USCCA Concealed Carry Expo) and training (see my long series of posts on the civilian gun training industry).
How to go to the bathroom while carrying a gun is just part of the overall challenge of living with guns.