In response to the article "Not Bashful in Asheville," which ran in the Mountain Xpress the week of May 17, self-defense classes, pepper spray and whistles — really? Let me know how effective that is against multiple attackers who are armed. Why should the LGBT community limit itself in its self-defense options? North Carolina is one of 36 states that has a shall-issue concealed handgun permitting process, meaning that if you don't have a criminal record and meet the requirements for a license, you must be issued one. Handguns are the great equalizer of men (and women).
Full disclosure: I carry a handgun like I carry my cell phone. Not because I'm paranoid, but because if anything is worth protecting, it's your own life. And the police aren't there to protect you. Response times for police are awful, and when seconds count, police are just minutes away. However, it must be noted that handguns are the last line to personal defense. Good situational awareness combined with a little common sense can help to avoid most violent encounters.
So LGBT community, why limit yourselves? The application fee for a North Carolina concealed handgun pistol license is $80, the course is around $100, and a good personal defense firearm is in the area of $300. While this is a costly proposition, what is the greater cost? A handgun and concealed handgun permit or your life and well-being? While I understand that carrying a concealed handgun is not for everyone, if potential hate-crime attackers were to get word of the LGBT community packing heat, they'd think twice and would probably heed the warning of "We're fabulous, don't f**k with us." Criminals are not looking for a fight; they're looking for an easy and passive target, which is a stereotype of the LGBT community. Defend yourselves, because your lives are worth defending.
— Chris Smith