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This may be an off the wall question, but...

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This may be an off the wall question, but...

Old 08-23-09, 01:02 AM
  #1  
frpax
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This may be an off the wall question, but...

How many of you tourers pack a pistol with you? I'd really like to hear the pros & cons...
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Old 08-23-09, 01:19 AM
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Touring Somalia?

Pros: none.
Cons: 1. Cannot be used anywhere on earth without attracting more trouble than you already have. 2. The fact that you have it can easily attract trouble where there was none.

Besides, those things are really heavy.
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Old 08-23-09, 02:16 AM
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Leaving aside the various hysterical responses to guns from the extremes, the basic issues would seem to be what about touring stimulates the need for a pistol? One could ask the same question about going to track meets, depending on the area of town, or about stuff related to comuting. I hang out on the Framebuilding section. Framebuilding takes me to some dingy will-call pick-ups, and craigslist rendevous. Do I need a pistol for Framebuilding?

My overall answer to that is that there really isn't anything particularly dangerous about touring that I require a pistol for (deep wilderness touring I would like to do aside - riding my bike into Churchill, Manitoba. ). Touring does have a high uncertainty index for me. I don't usually know where I am eating, sleeping, and only general stuff about my route, I could plan it out more, but I don't feel the need to. But that general worry level isn't really stuff a pistol would handle. There are a few dogs I would like to shoot, but realistically that could get very messy very fast.

But for people who's daily dress code includes a pistol, again, I don't think touring is all that different. Why wouldn't you carry one on tour if you carried one otherwise? There the only additional issues are the relatively minor ones of: 1) Jurisdictions if you are crossing state lines; 2) deployment from a bike; 3) conceiled carry, anything about your gear that would put you into that catagory; 4) And maybe some stuff about being on a bike that might be different, not too sure what that would be but could be shooting while wearing say heavily padded gloves, or when winded...

I suppose there is also another aspect to this, the fun pistol. For some it would be a serious fun thing to have a pistol, probably a .22. Some self-defense potential, though no .45, but mostly a few rabbits for the pot, a little plinking where the terrain allows. Recreational kind of thing, like the threads on carrying a fishing rod, though I asume this isn't the purpose of the OP.
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Old 08-23-09, 03:30 AM
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Pros:

you'd probably sleep better at night

Cons:


You'd probably end up in prison if you ever had to use it.
You'd probably end up in prison if the police caught you with it.
You'd probably hate it when climbing hills.
You'd probably hate yourself if it got stolen.
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Old 08-23-09, 04:13 AM
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If you don't feel secure touring in a given area without a gun maybe you should reconsider your route.
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Old 08-23-09, 05:25 AM
  #6  
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there are times when i wish i was packing a shotgun only to blow the wheels off off the car 's that run me off the road,(that's a joke btw) no i would never carry a gun of any kind,sooner talk to people or animals that to kill them.
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Old 08-23-09, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by frpax View Post
How many of you tourers pack a pistol with you? I'd really like to hear the pros & cons...
Pros- Can't think of any, maybe shooting tin cans on the camp site to relax after a long ride? (see "Cons")

Cons- I'd end up in prison if it was found in my possession.

(I'm in Europe )
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Old 08-23-09, 06:20 AM
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Pro- You feel safer. Whether you really are or not is a whole other story.

Con- You take a tumble the weapon discharges and blows off a toe or an a** cheek. Funny to read about, sh*tty if it happens to you.
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Old 08-23-09, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by jspeezy View Post
Pro- You feel safer. Whether you really are or not is a whole other story.

Con- You take a tumble the weapon discharges and blows off a toe or an a** cheek. Funny to read about, sh*tty if it happens to you.
Happened to one of our very own......
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=428714
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Old 08-23-09, 06:34 AM
  #10  
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My 85 year old mother in law often mentions that she wishes that I would take some "protection" with me. I chuckel to myself and rember those Navy Drs. speaches about "protection"
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Old 08-23-09, 06:57 AM
  #11  
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I think a high powered brain is way more effective than a high powered gun. I think everyone should carry one on a tour.
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Old 08-23-09, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by dave nault View Post
i think a high powered brain is way more effective than a high powered gun. I think everyone should carry one on a tour.
+1
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Old 08-23-09, 07:29 AM
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I think touring is about using your senses, learning how to evauate a situation quickly, listening to your gut feeling about someone ect... A gun would only blurr all that. Just get some Street Smarts.
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Old 08-23-09, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Ziemas View Post
Happened to one of our very own......
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=428714
Wow. I'll take quick wits and street smarts over guns any day.
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Old 08-23-09, 10:49 AM
  #15  
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The last time this question came up here this is how I answered:

The only weapon I have taken on bike tours around the world by myself is my positive attitude about people. Strangers have consistently responded to and reinforced this attitude by their kindness and thoughtfulness to a stranger in their midst. In many languages the word for enemy is the same as that for stranger historically. The benign and familiar nature of the bike is non-threatening to most people. The bike is my communication bridge.......

In case you think that I live in some fantasy world that is fact free I offer the following: I am a retired peace officer well versed in guns and weapons for my whole life. Guns only provide the illusion that one controls a situation and hides ones fear behind the gun. On tour I leave my car and my gun at home. A gun is unnecessary and actually detrimental to the best touring experiences in my opinion.
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Old 08-23-09, 11:42 AM
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I think this can be a difficult topic to discuss. It is also difficult to find relevant, unbiased data on which to make a risk assessment. A lot of one's perception of the need to defend themselves with a gun is based on a person's experiences and influences.

In my personal 61 years of international travel I have never felt the need to defend myself with a gun.

In California, it is legal to carry a hand gun out-of-sight if it is locked up and separate from its ammunition. Surprisingly, you can also legally carry a hand gun in full view as long as it is unloaded although this would probably attract a lot of unwanted attention. When you establish a campsite the gun can then be assembled and loaded inside your tent (or hotel room) for your protection. (Note that carrying a gun is most National Parks in prohibited.) This sounds legally simple but if you invoke the firearm there is a heavy legal burden to justify that it was necessary.

The upfront question is "under what conceivable circumstances would the positives of doing this outweigh the negatives?"

Some things to consider are: What are the odds you will really need a gun vs the odds that you use the gun by mistake? Are you trained to use it effectively (not just thinking about how good at target practice)? Are you really under threat or is it some friend or lost soul stumbling into camp late at night? Have you ever assessed a situation to be different from what it really is? If you wrongly assess a situation when you are armed the consequences could be disastrous. Will you have the presence of mind to exhaust all alternatives before invoking a firearm? What did your intuition say about being there in the first place? Will possessing a loaded gun change your behavior for the better or worse? What are your motives, really?

My opinion is that the negatives of carrying a gun are far greater than the positives unless you are deliberately looking for trouble.
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Old 08-23-09, 12:18 PM
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Family members have offered me guns to carry on my upcoming trip- I quickly shot down the idea (...) for the reasons mentioned above. I don't want any legal burdens- I don't want to be approached at night in whatever state by a park ranger or cop and have to explain or hide a handgun from them. I'm not bringing a fishing pole partially for the same reason.

I'm bringing pepper spray, my knife, and a slingshot- and the slingshot only because I found it boxed away with some of my other stuff from my teens. It might help out against aggressive hungry critters or snakes, at worst.
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Old 08-23-09, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by arctos View Post
The last time this question came up here this is how I answered:
+1 Well written.
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Old 08-23-09, 01:31 PM
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Many passionate responses... and typically, most people have misinterpreted or have made assumptions as to why I asked.

I have no intention of carrying one, myself. I was just curious as to who packs, and why, and their pros & cons. I know lots of people who backpack & carry, so I figured that there may be some who bikepack that do also.

I didn't really count on the anti-gun sentiment, but not all that surprised, either.

End of thread as far as I'm concerned.
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Old 08-23-09, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by The Smokester View Post
I think this can be a difficult topic to discuss. It is also difficult to find relevant, unbiased data on which to make a risk assessment. A lot of one's perception of the need to defend themselves with a gun is based on a person's experiences and influences.

In my personal 61 years of international travel I have never felt the need to defend myself with a gun.

In California, it is legal to carry a hand gun out-of-sight if it is locked up and separate from its ammunition. Surprisingly, you can also legally carry a hand gun in full view as long as it is unloaded although this would probably attract a lot of unwanted attention. When you establish a campsite the gun can then be assembled and loaded inside your tent (or hotel room) for your protection. (Note that carrying a gun is most National Parks in prohibited.) This sounds legally simple but if you invoke the firearm there is a heavy legal burden to justify that it was necessary.

The upfront question is "under what conceivable circumstances would the positives of doing this outweigh the negatives?"

Some things to consider are: What are the odds you will really need a gun vs the odds that you use the gun by mistake? Are you trained to use it effectively (not just thinking about how good at target practice)? Are you really under threat or is it some friend or lost soul stumbling into camp late at night? Have you ever assessed a situation to be different from what it really is? If you wrongly assess a situation when you are armed the consequences could be disastrous. Will you have the presence of mind to exhaust all alternatives before invoking a firearm? What did your intuition say about being there in the first place? Will possessing a loaded gun change your behavior for the better or worse? What are your motives, really?

My opinion is that the negatives of carrying a gun are far greater than the positives unless you are deliberately looking for trouble.
That...is one absolutely amazing post. It indicates a highly evolved mind-set in general. Thank you.
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Old 08-23-09, 04:07 PM
  #21  
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I believe in the whole karma thing - you get what you give. If I give trust and caring, then that's exactly what I get. If I feared enough to bother carrying a gun, people would react with fear - and I might just need that gun! I've toured many thousands of miles through many countries and can't ever think of a situation when a gun would have been necessary! Just trust people and they'll trust you back.
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Old 08-23-09, 10:38 PM
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First, let me say that I am a "gun nut"!

Second, I do NOT cary one on a bike tour!

I think the best thing anyone can cary is what's between your ears! It's a bike trip for goodness sakes! If I where that afraid of people in general I wouldn't sleep at night in my own house, much less in a tent! I vote more trouble than it's worth to pack heat!
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Old 08-24-09, 12:05 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by frpax View Post
I didn't really count on the anti-gun sentiment, but not all that surprised, either.

End of thread as far as I'm concerned.
Did you count on the fact that there are many of us from many part of the world, and tour many parts of the world? Part of the world where carrying guns isn't a legal or a desireable thing to do?
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Old 08-24-09, 04:00 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by The Smokester View Post
My opinion is that the negatives of carrying a gun are far greater than the positives unless you are deliberately looking for trouble.
That's pretty much the bottom line really. While it's legal to carry in many parts of the world, I can't think of too many places where you could actually use it without causing a heap of problems for yourself. That alone probably defeats any purpose that carrying it might serve, so why bother? Besides, if I ever felt like I'd need to carry a gun somewhere, I'd just go touring somewhere else.

Originally Posted by Raiden View Post
Family members have offered me guns to carry on my upcoming trip- I quickly shot down the idea (...)
I'm just blown away by your humour.

Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Did you count on the fact that there are many of us from many part of the world, and tour many parts of the world? Part of the world where carrying guns isn't a legal or a desireable thing to do?
I think the thing the OP didn't count on was the possibility that people might post different opinions to his, or to the ones he wanted to read. Public Internet fora are like that sometimes.
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Old 08-24-09, 04:30 AM
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Arthur Frommer has recently boycotted AZ tourism because of their liberal gun laws. This is in response to the cadre of armed people who showed up at a public civic function in Tempe for the president of the united states, some with assault rifles. The OP is from Tempe.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...12156827&ft=1&

I'm from Tucson AZ originally, and grew up seeing people carry in the supermarket, on the streets, in stores, and outside school... I also grew up hunting elk in the mountains. My grandfather was a deputy when he was a younger man, and I still have his police model S&W .38 in storage in AZ.

Now I live in the UK, where guns are more or less illegal. Most police officers here don't have them. If you're interested in the effect that has on the safety of society, please look into the rates of gun crime and murder from guns and compare it to the US numbers. Suffice to say that when I lived in the nation's capitol, Washington DC, many more people were murdered in one month alone from handguns than in the entire united kingdom in a whole year. Gun crime in the UK is so low, that in order to feel as tough as the yanks they boost their numbers by including crimes committed using BB guns.

Im not anti-gun, but if you choose to carry, please understand that this choice serves to create a certain environment for all around you. You may feel safer, but everyone nearby will feel less so. Simply put: I do not fully trust anyone who has a gun, because they could murder me so capriciously. If you're a bike tourer with a gun, I will not get to know you, I will not talk to you, and I will fear you. If you have no gun, I'll probably ask you over to the campsite to share a meal, a smoke or a whiskey.

Depends on what sort of experience you want to have I guess.
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