Staying Off a Government List- Imagined Security Versus Real Safety


2014 Crime Rates per Washington Post

U.S.A. -( Every firearms instructor I know has heard this before…


“I’d get a gun except I don’t want the government to know that I have it. I’d carry the gun, but I don’t want to get my permit and be on a government list.”

Let’s give people with this attitude the benefit of the doubt. But are they safer being armed or unarmed?

I can’t see anything good that comes from me being on a government list. In theory, being on a list means that if our government was taken over by a tyrant, then the political enemies of the state could be rounded up. That happened in other countries. It also happened here, and it started our Revolution of Independence from Britain.

On the other hand, crime is real here and now. We read about it in our newspaper every day. Fortunately for most of us, violent crime is also rare. It only happens about once per family. In your lifetime, one member of your family will probably be the victim of a forcible robbery, aggravated assault or sexual assault according to FBI statistics. But are you safer being armed or unarmed?

Recent FBI statistics showed over a million violent crimes each year.

Crime rates vary up and down by a factor of 10 depending on where you live and what you do. Maybe it will never happen to you because you live a charmed life. I wonder if the rest of your family will be that lucky. It seems to me that you’re betting on luck rather than protecting your family. Is your family safer because you go unarmed? Not according to what I’ve seen.

The FBI reported over 135 thousand rapes last year.


It sure looks like a plurality of states allows CCW.

We face different problems protecting ourselves depending on where we live. Some states make it easy to carry a concealed firearm, and some states make it effectively impossible even to have pepper spray. That varies by state, county, and town. Some jurisdictions in six states won’t let you carry. In contrast, thirteen states have some form of constitutional carry where you don’t need a permit. In those states, you’re allowed to carry a concealed firearm in public if you’re a legal gun owner and obeying the law.



Full-Time Bodyguard

The rest of the states fall everywhere in between. About 30 million people have their permit or don’t need a permit to carry in public. Young people are also carrying at a much higher rate than their parents. Because we carry concealed, you walked past us and never knew we were there.


Some people want a permit, and some people need one. Firearms instructors get students who were threatened and suddenly have to learn to defend themselves. It touches my heart when I meet them. I want these people to protect themselves without going to jail for carrying a firearm illegally.

I’ve given people a crash course in self-defense when they were in a dangerous situation. That training is intellectually focused and emotionally grim, but it is the exception. I want us to learn firearms safely while we have the luxury of time.

I want us to learn from other peoples experiences rather than from our own misfortune. People who are armed are much less likely to become victims of violent crime, and I want that to be your experience too.

What should we say to our friends who don’t want to be on a government list? Perhaps they could they consider this. Setting aside the issue of crime, is government tyranny more likely if the people are armed or disarmed?

We live in an imperfect world. Are you protecting your family by giving up your guns, or by having them with you?

I’ll go armed to protect the people I love..even though I’m on a list. Should you? Will you?

Slow Facts

About Rob Morse

The original article is here.  Rob Morse writes about gun rights at Ammoland, at Clash Daily, and on his SlowFacts blog. He hosts the Self Defense Gun Stories Podcast and co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast. Rob is an NRA pistol instructor and combat handgun competitor.

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The Revelator

Mr. Morse, First, I would like to offer my apologies for not being able to offer this comment to you as soon as this article went online. I had family difficulties which prevented my being online since mid last week, but wish to offer this now in full public view. For full disclosure to everyone here, I was the individual who criticized your last article in September a little more than a week ago. I would like to say the issue I had with that article is completely addressed with this one. This was a well written and argued article,… Read more »

Robert Morse

Thank you. As you see, I can’t cover every side of an issue in a single article.
Best wishes.

The Revelator

@Robert Morse You are quite welcome. The only reason the first article generated a response from me is due to my own belief that we should not engage in the same tactics we condemn from those on the left. As stated I have been a fan of much of your previous work which I found to be more evidence based compared to just editorial opinion. That is why I found that first article out of character, and thus penned a slightly satirical critique of it to illustrate how it came off as opposed to how you may have intended it… Read more »

Mark Koernke

Here is how we deal with the list problem. MAKE YOUR OWN. The police state in AmeriKa is out of hand and bloated beyond anything other than the traditional communists/soviet socialist police state. We have been making lists for years and all of you should too. They are making lists of gun owners and the cops are more than happy to follow any order a communist in power gives. Don’t think so, point to a place where, when given an order, they said…NO! (I do know of about two but lets see if anyone can guess when and where in… Read more »


The government can revoke a license in a heartbeat. Taking away a Constitutional Right proves pretty difficult for them.


If you don’t believe the NSA has every transmission copied, collated and stored, I feel sorry for you. The fact is that they have a million square fr building in Virginia because their Utah facility vant handle the amount of indo. This is not from outside the us. If they only cares about that, they would only monitor the 20 some odd international lines coming into the us. Nor would the government have helped Foogle or paid Bezos to buy a couple media outlets for propaganda. Sad but true. Any email, phone conversation line or cellular, or text is a… Read more »

Mark Koernke

That is why everyone needs to Organize, Arm, Equip and Train as Militia for mutual defense. Set up a 5/10 program in your AO. Logistics, the key to victory. Prepare medical, communication and transportation units now. Buy a case of ammo of what ever type and promote others to do the same. Get all that we can OUT of the warehouses before they chain them shut. You are already at war. They just don’t think you have figured it out yet. Our strength has always been to stand together. Liberty1775


I get the sentiment. However, that being said, we’re all on a list somewhere with regards to our firearms ownership. If you purchased a gun or something gun-related from a website, that transaction data is stored somewhere. While I’m not at the point where I think the NSA copies every transmission online, I do know that most hosting companies and transaction providers will roll over for the government if it suits them. Tech is rife with statism, after all. Also just by jabbering away on here we’re leaving a trail of evidence that we own firearms. While having to get… Read more »

Wild Bill

@pod, I did hear a rumor, once, that some people at the top of the federal law enforcement food chain did try to pick the next president.


Constitutional Carry where I live, “don’t need no stinkin’ permit”. I’m as cool as the other side of the pillow. I’ve never gotten a moving violation or a parking ticket. Never been arrested, detained or questioned. (Well, there was that one time, about ten years ago, at the Four Corners on the way to Cortez…) I’ve been on one kind of list or another since high school. I successfully held and maintained an FFL for nine years. I try to get on as many lists as I can. Always buy firearms accessories and ammo with different credit cards each time… Read more »


Years ago I was still living in California (Mexifornia) and went to my local PD….a town East of LA. When I spoke with the “portly” Sergeant in charge of gun permits and requested an application for a carry permit he said to me….”It will cost you $2500 and I’ll THINK about issuing the permit”. When I complained and said that I would report him to his supervisors, he laughed and said “You think that I’m the only one getting paid”. At that point I told him where to put his permit. THAT is the REAL difference between a MAY issue… Read more »


Washington State. $65 and show ID and proof of residence (driving license works, passport does not.. no proof of residence). Had the first Mother May I Card in ten days, renewals in three. Oregon State, take a three hour sit down class ($35 most places, plenty around), then visit your local LE office, another $65, proof of residence and ID, permit in the post in a week. Residents, its Shall Issue, non residents in contiguous states with home state cards it is may issue, but its easy enough to “shop” for a friendly sheriff who issues to all who ask.… Read more »


We do not need a permission slip to exercise a Constitutional Right. What is really disconcerting is so many gun owners are content in allowing our Government to do this. The founders would flip if they knew we were getting permission to own, carry in anyway, buy or sell a firearm from the very government they were trying to protect the people from in the first place. It’s asinine.


I totally agree. But until you get the Army on your side, you are out gunned. No pun intended.

Mark Koernke

No, we are not out gunned. In fact we are better deployed and have a deep tactical logistic system already in place with no time to wait as deployment is required. We don’t sign out our weapons and we don’t ask permission to use them. Many, like myself, when in uniform already knew/know which side we will be on when the regime makes its move to play bigger police state and that is WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. Talk to your family members in uniform and make note if they delay or hem and haw when asked if they would fire… Read more »


Hi Mark good to see you’re still educating PATRIOTS since I last met with you in person in 1998. Trump may be POTUS but the same statist forces arre still at work undermining our liberty, we still need to be 100% locked-on and squared away… Keep educating all that you can! Your brother in Liberty, Will A.

Wild Bill

Koernke, You write, ” … and have a deep tactical logistic system already in place…”
I do not believe that that is true. Perhaps you can explain a little more clearly.

Mark Koernke

One example of a deep logistic and tactical support system in place. Do you own a gun? How many people own a gun in the USA? About 70 Million but if you go higher of lower it makes NO DIFFERENCE. Does each gun owner own ONE GUN? TWO? FIVE? More? we will go with ONE GUN. That means that there are 70 million guns out there. More if we are honest about real numbers. Does each gun owner have ONE BULLET? TWO? TEN? FIFTY? 500? 1,000? Well, we know that each gun owner has at least “one” bullet for each… Read more »

Wild Bill

Koernke, What, no food, water, transport, POL, comma, crew served weapons, resupply, command and control, Tradoc, or resupply? One bullet (or even a thousand bullets) and one gun is not my idea of a logistical system. It is a recipe for disaster.


Bottom line. If our “government” (whatever that word may mean to you) wants to show up at your door, they will. Doesn’t matter if you think you are on a “list” or not. That’s just silly. My ethos in carrying is “first to run, last to fight”. My only purpose is to protect my wife and daughter. That ethos, in general, will also keep me legal in most any situation. Lastly, just a comment on those that carry visible. Whatever you may think, carrying visible makes you a target. I know that when I walk into a situation I immediately… Read more »

Roy D.

Only the ignorant worry about being on a list.

Mark Koernke

…and those who are smart find out who is making the lists and then putting every last one of them on OUR LISTS to deal with them when they start the “dance”. KNow who and where they are and do to them, in spades, what they THOUGHT they were going to do to you. Buy more ammo. Liberty1775

Wild Bill

@mac Koernke, I agree that the patriots would need to identify their targets, but how? I doubt that one could find out the top twenty in the Famous But Incompetent crowd, much less the top twenty in each federal agency. Nor would the top twenty be sufficient to cut the head off of even one federal agency. Then there is the states, their subdivisions, and their agencies. The Fat Boy Institute brags that they have infiltrated every militia group in the USA. We do not even have secure communications. I admire your enthusiasm, but I think whom ever revolts first… Read more »


Once enough examples are made the sheep will melt into the back ground. One always cuts the head off the snake in order to kill it. Yes much blood will be spilled and the will be untold anguish. As their has been in the past. What that will be important at the end of the day will be. Was the cause just ? Was the outcome worth the cost ? Where will it go from here ? These are all questions that had to answered after every fight. The question for each person now is. Am I willing to do… Read more »

Mark Koernke

Look at the police state commentaries. Every time they have a GUN GRAG MEET UP on stage all of the bottom feeders are up there in front of the CAMERA. They want to be there, they want to declare that they are going to send the cops/secret police to get you guns, mags, ammo and kill you and you dog. They LOVE putting their own faces up there and flapping their mouths. That is a great place to start. Who are THEY working with, affiliated with etc…. same thing the police state brags about what they do to get YOU… Read more »


JI’m surprised at the map indicating the amount of crime for 2014.
Especially my part of SC. NY,NJ,Cal etc look like angels.
I have my reservations about what the W Post posted.

Dan in Detroit

Seriously, drop the guy’s name and toss him a link. I know he’s pretty generous with letting people use his images, but he deserves credit. Also, giving the link will let people find MANY more high quality pro-gun images like that.


You assume that people won`t carry just because they have not taken a course..made their efforts to stay off lists.
Some of us don`t require the government permission, paying the bribe.. I mean buying a *permit*. Extra trouble with out the bribe..sure. You as an individual need to make your own choices.

Ansel Hazen

This is one government list I’m happy to be on. Let them stew on just how many guns I might have, cause in my state private sales are legal.

Dan in Detroit

Early in grad school I got in trouble for having a gun on campus. I fought 10 months in court and was cleared, because I know the law, I know the policies, and I know my rights… but the police illegally shared my state pistol registry info with the deans, who told me they had concerns about letting me back in the buildings, knowing “how many” guns I have. I laughed right in the face of one of them and said “Oh, that’s just the pistols. You have no idea how many rifles and shotguns I have, but it’s a… Read more »


In my state, private off book sales USED to be legal, but Bloomie bought enough voters to make it otherwise. HOWEVER< two things.. that was recent enough most of us had plenty long before he spent his corrupt money. AND, since all but two sheriffs in this state have openly declared they will NOT enforce the backgrond check mandate, private sales amongst folks who know each other are very common. I'd bet that two thirds of the guns owned in this state do not trace back to the original owner per ATF Record of Sales books. There never was a… Read more »