by Amy Dillon
I refuse to live in fear. It is not about empowerment. It is not about making a statement. Every day that I choose to carry a handgun for self-defense, it is an unspoken reminder to myself that I am free and that I have a choice on how I will live–without fear. Often times, as I introduce myself to someone new and the subject of my profession comes up, which happens to be in the firearms industry, I get asked the question, “Why do you feel the need to carry a gun? Are you afraid something will happen?” Sometimes it is hard for me to convey that it is not fear, but freedom, that drives the decision for me to carry.
I have never been one to allow my fears to control how I live my life. I faced my fear of heights by going sky-diving. I faced my fear of the water by learning how to swim. I faced my fear of failure by enlisting in the hardest branch of the military and graduating basic training a United States Marine.
It was during my tenure in the Marines where I received my introduction to firearms. Because of my experiences in the military, I did not fear guns; I was educated in safety and proper handling skills. However, it remained to be seen, that there remained an area of my life in which I had no control. This area involved the action of others to want to inflict bodily harm to me for reasons beyond my understanding. Unfortunately, it took some closecalls in my life for me to realize this. I would not wish these experiences on anyone, but would hope that the motivation to not get into these types of situations would be a factor for anyone looking to receive an education in the safety and responsibility that comes with being a gun owner.
A part of being a responsible gun owner is having situational awareness. This can be defined as having the ability to identify what is happening in the vicinity in order to understand how one’s actions will impact the present and the future. As a person who regularly carries a handgun for self-defense, I try to see the bigger picture of “situational awareness.” Although I do my best to avoid potentially dangerous situations, I know I can rely on my own power and resources to defend myself. This is not because I am empowered; I am self-reliant. I prefer not to have to explain why I carry a gun. I carry because I have the freedom to choose to do so under the 2nd Amendment. It is because of this right that I am free and I choose to live without fear.
Amy Dillon is a former Marine Corps Drill Instructor and Combat Marksmanship Instructor. Amy served 12 years active-duty and is now committed to pursuing her goals in the Firearms Industry and Legal Community. In addition to her military certifications, Amy is certified as a Concealed Weapons Permit Instructor by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, State of Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification, and Georgia Carry Organization. She is a certified pistol instructor and Range Safety Officer by the National Rifle Association, as well as a Personal Safety Academy Instructor for the SABRE Civilian Safety Awareness Program. Amy is employed as a Firearms Instructor by Palmetto State Armory and is a current student in the Legal Studies Program at South University in Georgia. She resides in South Carolina.