I grew up with guns in rural New Mexico and would shoot my father's .38 Super semi-auto pistol from the age of 12 out in the pastures. When I left home to go to college in AZ, I had a Ruger Redhawk revolver that I kept in the car all the time. I've always had a pistol at home for protection and have always had a pistol in the car as long as the state I lived in allowed it. I was in the Army for several years and was stationed in California for a few years. They don't allow loaded guns (or unloaded as I recall) to be carried in the passenger compartment of cars, so it's mostly just the criminals that do so. I spent three years in Hawaii. Great place to live, but they're worse than California when it comes to guns. Following Hawaii, came back to AZ after getting out of the Army. Nice to be able to carry a gun in the car again. When I found out that you could get a CCW several years ago, I thought about it, but never followed through. I had a gun in the car and kept guns in the house with an alarm system and a small dog, so I figured I was covered pretty well for any road rage incident or home invasion.
The wake-up call came when some guy tried to steal a truck from right in front of our office building in broad daylight, immediately outside my office window on the ground level a couple of months ago. It was our receptionist's truck and she was yelling at him trying to stop him from getting into her truck (she was not in the truck at the time). He got in and was trying to get it started with some key he had. A delivery guy was in the parking lot and was helping her try to get the guy out of her truck by banging on the driver's side window. The guy couldn't get the truck started, so he got out of the truck and started yelling at them and threatening them. Another co-worker was on the phone to 911 telling them to get the police here as soon as possible. I grabbed one of the guys that works for me and we went outside. As we walked outside I kept my eyes on the guy's hands to make sure he didn't have any weapons and wasn't reaching into his pockets. The guy was still threatening the receptionist and the delivery guy and when we went outside, he came towards us and took a swing at each of us. I side-stepped the punch and tackled the guy to the pavement, landing on top of him and pinning his arm behind his back. I held him down until the police arrived about five minutes later. Turns out he was a felon with previous theft and burglary charges. He's currently serving an 18-month sentence in prison.
The adrenaline rush during that episode was an experience. I could barely talk for about 30 minutes because my throat was so dry. I had to drink a bunch of water and calm down before I could speak in complete sentences. A couple of days later, I scheduled the CCW class. I also bought a Mossberg 12-gauge security shotgun for the house. After I got my CCW permit, I bought a Glock 23 and a 27, along with a few holsters. I pretty much am either carrying or within 15 feet of a gun most of the time. I also now carry pepper spray and a one-handed opening folding knife (Kershaw or Gerber) or a hideaway knife in a sheath on a chain around my neck at all times.
I've taken both my kids and wife to the range and they've shot everything we own, including the shotgun with 00 buckshot.
I still worry about them every time I read some story about an attempted abduction or home invasion or some other random violent act by some drug user or violent criminal, but I think I'm prepared and protected more than most people.