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  • Robert Farago

Guns and the Art of Motorcycle Protection

Can I squeal like a pig? With a bit of luck, I won’t face a Deliverance-style hog-calling test during my year-long motorcycle tour. As a geriatric James Bond advised us, never say never.

I’ll be taking the road less travelled, deep into the heart of rural America. Places where an itinerate motorcyclist’s motivations may be subject to suspicion, misinterpretation and enmity. Especially if he throws around words like enmity.

I know: I’m far more likely to encounter the predator – prey thing in urban environs. But in bumfuck Georgia no one can hear you scream.

In any case, you don’t get to choose when and where the excrement hits the rotating air circulation device.

After sixty-four years on the planet, experience exploring foreign countries (some of them “developing”) and a short stint as a patrol officer I know a thing or two about situational awareness.

And I have some basic Krav Maga training.

Be that as it is, I don’t want to travel without some form of armed self-defense. The desire to equip myself with a bacon-saving apparatus leaves me with two basic choices.

Ruger LCP .380

Gun guys deride the Ruger LCP (Little Compact Pistol) as a “mouse gun.” Let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be a mouse – or a two-legged varmint – looking at the wrong end of Ruger’s diminutive defensive device

Accuracy is a bit of a bitch beyond bad breath distance, but it’s good enough for “shoot and scoot.”

In terms of portability and access, Mickey Mouse’s semi is ideal. It fits in my front pocket (LxWxH - 5.16 x .82 x 3.6 inches) and weighs a scant 9.6 ounces, plus seven rounds.

Is it legal?

I have a license to carry from the great state of Texas. My Lone Star State LTC is recognized by…

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

It is not recognized by California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island (where I have a license to carry), Washington, and the District of Columbia.

I’d like to travel through all of them save Hawaii and New Jersey (polar opposites save antipathy to the Second Amendment). If I’m caught with an unlicensed firearm in these states, I will be in deep shit.

I could play the “get out of jail free” card under the federal Firearms Owners' Protection Act of 1986, guaranteeing “safe passage” when transporting a firearm from one state where possession is legal to another state where possession is also legal. Only…

The firearm must be unloaded. The gun and the ammunition must not be “readily accessible.” In the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver's compartment (i.e., a motorcycle), the firearm must be stored in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.

Here’s the kicker: the owner can only make short stops for food and gasoline.

A FOPA defense would only work if I could convince a cop discovering my gun that I’m within my rights, despite the fact that I’m not, legally. Hypnosis FTW?


Alternatively, I could carry a TASER Pulse. The conducted energy device is legal in all states except Rhode Island (my home state!).

The Pulse delivers a 30-second debilitating charge (to a single scrote), giving the user time to drop the gun and escape. Send TASER a police report and they’ll replace it free-of-charge. How great is that?

On the downside, the one-pound plastic Pulse is taller than the tales of a Texan who deployed one. With a LxWxH of 8.15 x 7.8 x 2.32 inches, the Pulse isn’t pocket carry compatible.

Walking-up to someone open-carrying a Pulse (as below) may be a tad… off-putting in states where I can’t conceal-carry a “proper” gun. Ironically enough.

Decisions, Decisions

My choices…

  1. Carry my Ruger LCP and avoid states that don’t believe law-abiding citizens have the right to defend themselves by force of arms (setting aside the possibility of living by the gun guy mantra “concealed means, concealed”)

  2. Carry a TASER I can’t hide for toffee (as the Brits are wont to say)

  3. Go about my business unarmed (except for my wit and wisdom)

My gut says Ruger, my head says TASER and my lawyer and liberal friends says door number three. What do you think?


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