View Poll Results: Do you carrry a handgun on the AT?

Voters
170. This poll is closed
  • I am a woman and I carry a handgun

    6 3.53%
  • I am a man and I carry a handgun

    43 25.29%
  • I am a woman and I do NOT carry a handgun

    13 7.65%
  • I am a man and I do NOT carry a handgun

    108 63.53%
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  1. #1

    Default Carrying a handgun on the AT

    I did a little research on this before posting, but another discussion on a horse forum about carrying handguns for self protection has me wondering how many AT hikers feel it necessary to carry a handgun while hiking? My impression is that most here do not approve of carrying guns but I thought it would be interesting to see how many do and by gender.

    I did some research and there have been like 9 murders through 2008 on the AT. That's not so bad when you figure there are probably 9 murders in one night in New York City.

    First off I'm going to state that I am not against anyone's right to own or carry a gun. I am a veteran and I have served in a war...yes, I am also a woman. Not too many of us who can say that but after the last few decades, more and more can.

    Anyway, I have carried bear spray on the AT but it never occurred to me to consider carrying a handgun or a concealed handgun. I worry more about the possibility of accidents or accidental shootings than I'd worry about someone assaulting me. Generally I do not hike alone but with my husband. I suppose if I were alone, that might change my thoughts a bit.

    Anyway, I'd appreciate a friendly discussion on the topic.

  2. #2
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    Forgive my lack of modesty, but those interested in the topic might first read that section in my article "Law for Backpackers 101." There is more to the question about "carrying" than just deciding to put a gun in your pack or holster.

    TW
    "Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond, For us who are true to the trail..." --- Robert Service

  3. #3
    Section Hiking Knucklehead Hooch's Avatar
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    "If you play a Nicleback song backwards, you'll hear messages from the devil. Even worse, if you play it forward, you'll hear Nickleback." - Dave Grohl

  4. #4
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    I fully support the Second Amendment, but I would not carry a gun on the AT.

  5. #5
    Registered User whisperingwind's Avatar
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    Just added weight for no good reason. Just my opinion. I have not carried a gun on the AT, and never needed one.
    It's not how you start your hike, it's how you finish.

  6. #6

    Default

    Sorry, I wasn't trying to start a fight...just really curious about how many people feel the need to carry a gun. I have someone on this other forum telling me what an amazingly dangerous thing it is to hike in the woods and on the AT...and I disagree with her. Quite honestly I was stunned at how many people recommended a gun to a woman who asked about personal safety equipment to acquire while walking her dogs in a public park in daylight.

    I did research the topic and I would not carry the weight either unless there were some major changes in the crime rate on the trail. So if this topic offends anyone, I'm sorry. Perhaps the mods can delete it.

  7. #7

    Default

    I think Hooch is right, if you were to carry a dead horse and then procede to beat it whenever you feel threatened, then beat the ***** out of the dead horse, no one will mess with you, except for PETA

  8. #8
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    I think the poll results will be interesting.

  9. #9
    Registered User slugger's Avatar
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    If you do a search I'm sure you will see a few other threads going over this topic.
    21.1% Done

  10. #10
    Registered User Tuckahoe's Avatar
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    Daydream -- the topic comes up quite often on the forum and there are most have a pretty firm opinion one way or the other. I am of the belief that it is very valid and even responsible consideration to arm one's self. It's certainly not a question of being fearful but a realization of the fact that you and only you are responsible for your own protection and self-defense. NO other soul has the responsibility or obligation to protect you.

    I do not believe that those who do choose to arm themselves are not skittish people that live in fear of aspects of society. Those that I know are responsible people who see having a piece as merely a tool to protect themselves should it ever arise to that point.

    Weasle -- I read your article and realize that from a legal standpoint, as well as the reality that there are 50 different state laws to contend with, but I was wishing there was more to section #5 on weapons. You may want to note for example that Federal law will change in February 2010 to bring National Park Service regulations on weapons in line with state laws making concealed weapons legal in NPS sites located states where concealed carry is legal.

  11. #11
    Registered User Tuckahoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FritztheCat View Post
    I think the poll results will be interesting.
    I think that the pole will reflect much the same breakdown as in society in general between those that have permits and carry and those that do not.

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    the more that carry, the merrier

  13. #13
    Formerly "Totem"
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    There hasn't ever been a murder on the trail north of PA.
    up over the hills, theres nothing to fear
    theres a pub across the way with whisky and beer
    its a lengthy journey on the way up to the top
    but it ain't so bad if you have a great big bottle o'scotch

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Totem View Post
    There hasn't ever been a murder on the trail north of PA.
    yet..........

  15. #15
    Registered User A-Train's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daydream Believer View Post
    I did a little research on this before posting, but another discussion on a horse forum about carrying handguns for self protection has me wondering how many AT hikers feel it necessary to carry a handgun while hiking? My impression is that most here do not approve of carrying guns but I thought it would be interesting to see how many do and by gender.

    I did some research and there have been like 9 murders through 2008 on the AT. That's not so bad when you figure there are probably 9 murders in one night in New York City.

    First off I'm going to state that I am not against anyone's right to own or carry a gun. I am a veteran and I have served in a war...yes, I am also a woman. Not too many of us who can say that but after the last few decades, more and more can.

    Anyway, I have carried bear spray on the AT but it never occurred to me to consider carrying a handgun or a concealed handgun. I worry more about the possibility of accidents or accidental shootings than I'd worry about someone assaulting me. Generally I do not hike alone but with my husband. I suppose if I were alone, that might change my thoughts a bit.

    Anyway, I'd appreciate a friendly discussion on the topic.
    You don't need a gun or bearspray on the AT. You'll only risk hurting an innocent bystander with either. The AT is a safe place filled with wonderful people. Camp away from roads and you've got nothing to worry about. Don't give in to societal paranoia and insecurities.
    Anything's within walking distance if you've got the time.
    GA-ME 03, LT 04/06, PCT 07'

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuckahoe64 View Post
    Weasle -- I read your article and realize that from a legal standpoint, as well as the reality that there are 50 different state laws to contend with, but I was wishing there was more to section #5 on weapons. You may want to note for example that Federal law will change in February 2010 to bring National Park Service regulations on weapons in line with state laws making concealed weapons legal in NPS sites located states where concealed carry is legal.
    Tuck-

    That's a very good point. Would you mind going to the article area and leaving a post there with the above and anything else you can add? That will serve others as an "update" until I do another revision, probably early next year. I'm also going to look for what restrictions may still be permitted by the NPS.

    Thanks!

    TW
    "Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond, For us who are true to the trail..." --- Robert Service

  17. #17
    jersey joe jersey joe's Avatar
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    I never saw a need to carry a gun on the AT.

  18. #18
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    Whatever one's feelings about guns, the following sums up most of the practicalities:

    1) If by "gun" one includes long guns and shotguns, they are far too heavy and will terrify most other people along the trail, especially out of hunting season.

    2) Handguns usually can't be carried easily in belt holsters by backpackers, and so must be carried inside a pack or, perhaps, in chest or thigh holsters, both of which make backpacking much harder. That makes "external carries" impractical for long hiking trips, but it also makes them inaccessible in the event they are needed while walking.

    3) Revolvers in packs are dangerous if loaded, since shifting gear can cause an accidental firing, unless a trigger lock is in place, which makes immediate use even more difficult.

    4) Automatics tend to be heavier than revolvers, but can be finicky in the presence of outside contaminants, e.g. pack crud. So they need to be in a case/holster/bag to protect them, including from water when it rains and your pack lets some water in. This also makes them harder to use quickly.

    5) Most modern automatic pistols will weigh about 1.5 pounds unloaded. A full clip will add about another pound, and holstering/cases will add about 1 more. That means that the weight for a pistol will be about 3-4 pounds, or roughly 10% of packweight. That's a very major addition.

    6) Clips will hold from 8 (plus one in the snout) to 30-odd rounds. If you need more ammunition for any reason, you cannot mail it, and resupply is much harder that for other resupply items.

    7) Carrying a firearm into some restaurants, stores hostels (particularly those operated by churches), libraries, and government buildings may be a criminal offense. This includes United States Post Offices (and other federal buildings) even if a valid CCW permit is held. Similar laws may apply to state and local government buildings. This can mean that it is necessary to leave a weapon with your pack or elsewhere, which can also be a violation of state laws (leaving a weapon in an unsafe location accessible to others) and is dangerous in any event, leaving aside the risk of loss.

    8) Handguns tend to be expensive, with prices for automatics ranging from a few hundred dollars into the thousands. This makes a handgun a very expensive part of your gear.

    These are simply practicalities: Carrying a gun for a thru hike is very, very difficult.
    "Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond, For us who are true to the trail..." --- Robert Service

  19. #19
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    Guy goes into a gun store. He tells the salesman he's going to walk the entire Appalachain Trail. He needs to know what kind of handgun he should carry in case he runs into a bear.

    The salesman says, "Carry any handgun you want. But if you're going to shoot a bear with it, be sure to grind off the front sight."

    The guy looks perplexed. "Why should I grind off the front sight?"

    "That way it won't hurt so bad when the bear takes it away and shoves it up your arse."

  20. #20
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    silly rabbit. a gun ain't for the bears, they're harmless. it's for the gary hilton's of the world

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