This August will mark my first year of living in Texas and boy has my life changed in the last 12 months.
I moved half way across the country, became the host of a new Network for the NRA, and filmed This Old Horse episodes all over the United States.
One of the biggest changes this year has to be the journey I decided to take to get my License to Carry a Firearm. Let me give you just a little bit of background on why this revelation became a crucial part of my life.
Me with Susan LaPierre, Co-Chair of NRA Women's Leadership Forum
I grew up on a grain and cattle ranch in Central California where my family has been for 7 generations. We grew up doing everything you can think of that involves the outdoors; horses, hunting, fishing, camping etc… Even though guns were a big part of my life already, the idea of using a gun for personal protection never crossed my mind.
Growing up in the country, the world can seem so innocent. I went to a school in a very small town where everybody knew everybody. After graduating with a class of 24 kids I decided to take the next big step and attend a university where I could pursue my dreams.
I moved from my little hometown of Shandon, population 700 to Los Angeles where I attended University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). To say the least it was eye opening. Tons of people, tons of different perspectives, tons of room for growth but also tons of room for fear.
The first year I lived in the dorms and would have to walk long distances from class to campus and a lot of my classes happened late at night. When I moved off of campus I began taking the public “Big Blue Bus” to school because parking was a nightmare to deal with. When my classes would get out at 11pm I remember my family as well as myself being fearful of making the trip alone back to my dorm or back to my apartment on the bus.
The bus would drop me off on a street parallel to my apartment and the fastest way back home was through the alleyway behind our place. Keep in mind that lots of the homeless inhabited the area and the alley behind our apartment was home to them. We also lived just a few houses over from where the OJ Simpson murder took place.
Therefore, being paranoid and on high alert was always a part of my late night trips home routine. My aunt had bought me mace to carry for safety, but the more I thought about it (after having been effected by mace when it wasn’t pointed directly at me) I felt like this really wasn’t going to solve my problems of being protected.
I always felt like I needed more. However, everyone always made owning a hand gun or having your concealed carry permit seem outrageous and unnecessary, let alone the fact that its extremely hard to get in California. So I never attempted or thought it was an option.
Another instance that led me to think twice about my own wellbeing was a few years ago. My dad and uncles shops were robbed. Just 50 yards from my parents house while everyone was a sleep, armed men with rifles and wearing gloves and masks tore holes in the tin of both shops and stole $50,000 worth of welding equipment. They hit all the shops in the area and even went back and hit shops again a second time months later knowing that people would have to replace the stolen equipment.
We felt so violated. Knowing these strangers were armed walking around our unprotected property with my family there like sitting ducks was scary. We knew that we needed to be prepared if something like this was to ever happen again. Shortly after the robbery, a state-of- the- art security system was installed, but it just didn’t seem like enough.
My world wasn’t so innocent and protected anymore. I began to think about all of the “What-ifs” and how I would handle different situations because they can happen to anyone. With all of the traveling I do for rodeos and work alone, I knew that I was missing something when it comes to the ability to protect myself, but I never knew what the answer was until I moved to Texas.
When I got to Texas I noticed that the 2nd amendment right was embraced in and out of the agriculture world. It seemed to be widely accepted and the norm for people to have their license to Carry (LTC). The more I looked into it the more I realized so many people around me had their LTC already. Also, many people were in the same boat I was in and wanted seriously to get it but didn’t know what avenues to take to get there.
So, I started to do some research on how to get my concealed carry and I realized there really wasn’t any great platforms out there to help women, and people in general, know where to start. It seemed so overwhelming. So I decided to take on this challenge of navigating my way through the LTC world and I wanted to document it so that those who were just like me could have a place to go to for guidance, questions, as well as the dos and don’ts by following my journey.
If I could help one-person gain confidence to face fears and accomplish their goals in gaining independence and safety then all of my documentation would be worth it. So I began vlogging my journey. Everything from confessionals on why I’m doing this, to the classes I have taken to real life situations I’m going through where having my LTC would be an asset. All of these instances would help convey #MyCarryLife and maybe assist others in theirs.
Although I am only halfway through my journey, my life has changed so much. With the little bit of training I’ve had, I already feel like I have found confidence, and eliminated some of that fear in my life. All just by taking control of my personal wellbeing and equipping myself with the tools necessary to not be a sitting duck.
Please join me in following my journey and watch #CarlyCarries. We can do this together!