Personally, I hate giving my business to places that ban guns. Whether it’s an individual store or a whole country, I’d rather my shopping or tourism money go somewhere that respects my rights. But, I also have to live in the real world, and sometimes, we just don’t get a choice. There are times when an anti-gun shopkeeper is the proverbial only girl in town, and sometimes our significant others demand to go on that cruise to Mexico.
But, all hope for safety is not lost. Many of the things you may have learned about self-defense in a good CCW course still totally apply. Perhaps more importantly, even if you never plan on going someplace without some iron on your hip, knowing how to keep your gun out of the fight can be a valuable skill.
Avoiding Problems To Begin With
The biggest way to stay out of trouble is commonly called the “Rule of Stupids” or “The Three Stupids”. Basically, you want to avoid:
- Stupid Places
- Stupid People
- Stupid Things
If you look at where crime happens in your town, it’s not uniform. There are places like bars that attract a lot more trouble than nearly anywhere else. There are also bad neighborhoods where crime is a lot more common. Those are “stupid places,” and in many places the stupidest places (often bars) ban firearms.
Personally, it’s extremely rare for me to need to use or threaten force against people, but I worked Uber on the weekends during 2018, and found that the big money happened when the bars closed in El Paso and Phoenix. But, with that big money came times where I had to threaten to shoot people, break noses and even pin a man down and search him for weapons because a bar’s security guards were being complete goobers.
So, whether in the U.S. or abroad, stay away from the bars if you want to stay away from trouble. Stay away from drunk people and revolutionaries. Stay away from protests, riots and other dangerous things. They might look fun or merely interesting, but you’re increasing your chances of trouble significantly.
But, despite your best efforts to avoid them, sometimes stupid people and their trouble will come looking for you. So, just like at home, you need to keep your head on a swivel. Pay attention to your surroundings. Most of the time, a criminal attacker will not come after you if they can see that you’re paying attention. Like all predators, they’re not looking for a fight. They’re looking for an easy meal.
Another thing you can do is blend in. Whether you’re visiting an anti-gun city by airplane and can’t carry or going overseas, you should avoid doing things that make you stand out like a sore thumb because that attracts the attention of both criminals and corrupt government officials (which are basically the same thing).
For one, find out what people wear in a place you’re going. Self-expression is fun and cool, but if it makes you a target, it’s a bad idea. Dress business casual in places where business casual is common. Dress like street people if you’re going to be in a place with street people. You’ll find from many accounts of bad situations that people got into trouble because they didn’t fit in.
It’s also good to learn at least a little bit about the culture and language of a place where you’re going, even inside of the United States. I grew up in rural New Mexico, and found myself experiencing some mild culture shock the first time I went to New York City, but figured out pretty quickly what the differences were. My aunt also warned me ahead of time how to avoid fights with people, because she had lived there.
Outside of the United States, you’ll often find that you gain a lot more respect from people by not being the stereotypical “self-important American.” If you show up expecting everyone to speak English and do things your way, that won’t go well in some places. But if you show up and know a little bit of the language and customs, many people overseas will be impressed that you respected them enough to try to learn their language, even if you’re not great at it.
So, spend some toilet time with apps like Duolingo before an overseas trip and watch some YouTube videos about the culture and history of a place you’re visiting.
If all else fails or you’re going someplace where you know they don’t like Americans, get a Canadian flag T-shirt and be super polite.
Nonviolent Dispute Resolution Skills
Whether you’re going outside the pro-gun wire or not, it pays big time to learn about de-escalation and dispute resolution skills. I could write a whole series of articles on this (and might do that one of these days), but I’ll just point you in the direction of buying this book and watching this video:
Just because guns aren’t allowed doesn’t mean you can’t defend yourself. Especially overseas, it’s a good idea to avoid this if at all possible, because some legal systems are not very nice to foreigners (that’s you.) But, it’s still a good option.
First of all, I don’t know of any places that ban the possession of fists and feet. If there is such a place, definitely don’t go there no matter how bad the wife wants to take a cruise there LOL. But, being physically fit and having some basic hand-to-hand defensive skills is always a good idea. Just like firearms instructors, it’s a good idea to make sure you don’t sign up for Rex Kwon Do. BOW TO YOUR SENSEI!
Finally, many places still allow things like pepper spray, pepper ball guns and tasers. You’ll definitely want to check ahead of time on the legalities of possession and use of such things, but if it checks out, that’s another good option.