1. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    Would a drifter carry a gun?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by mg357, Oct 5, 2015.

    I am working on a story about a drifter he is an ex-cop and he is going west to Texas to rebuild his life after being shot in the line of duty and I need a little help with part of the story regarding the stuff he is carrying with him.

    would the drifter character carry a gun with him during his journey west?

    since he is a former law enforcement officer and was trained in the use of firearms he knows how to safely handle and use a gun but I don't know if he should carry one with him or not.
     
  2. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, of course he should carry one. Why would he not? Guns are cool, as is smoking.
     
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  3. Indigo Sugar
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    Indigo Sugar Member

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    I would hope that being he is an ex-cop he knows how to defend himself. Since he is a drifter, a gun might not be his first form of defense but he could definitely acquire one at some point. Perhaps he ends up buying an unregistered gun of an old gang member he busted back in his rookie days?
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2015
  4. Bookster
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    Bookster Banned

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    Not necessarily. Check Lee Child's series about Jack Reacher, who rarely carries a gun.
     
  5. ADreamer
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    ADreamer Banned Sock-Puppet

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    Questions to ask yourself:

    1) Why does he need a gun? Is it his "security" blanket or is he in a rough sort of town / city where having a gun means you'll be waking up tomorrow [either thugs or animals].

    2) Is the gun loaded or not? Does he have additional ammo? A handful of bullets and a pocketful of lint?

    3) Where'd he find it. His gun, he took with him? Busted it off some thug? Or found it lying around in the bushes - people toss weapons ALL the time.

    4) Is the gun important? Or are you merely giving him a gun to differ him from all the other "street bums" on the side of the road and without it, he'd be no different than the drunks loitering on the sidewalk?



    Though my more pressing issue is why is a cop, who was shot in the line of duty, a drifter? Unless he got shot because he screwed up & got fired, why is he high tailing it out of "dodge".
     
  6. DueNorth
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    DueNorth Active Member

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    A drifter is a wanderer, a vagabond, a hobo--someone without a purpose, a direction, or a particular place to go. If your character fumbled around for some time without direction, lived as a drifter for a time, then got a fire in his belly, decided to make his way to Texas to start a new life, then yes, he might pick up a gun to protect himself on the trip. If he is truly living the life of a hobo, however, a gun is probably not a priority item. Is he a drifter, former drifter, or impersonating a drifter? Does your story require him to be a drifter?
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2015
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    He's your character. The question isn't whether a drift would carry a gun. It's whether this drifter would carry a gun, and you're the only one who can answer that.
     
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  8. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is the only answer you need to take note of, mg357.

    In truth, what my answer is saying is my drifter would carry a gun.
     
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  9. JustinCupcake
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    JustinCupcake Member

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    This is the best answer, this is a perfect opportunity to better flesh out your MC. Is there a story behind the gun he carries, is it his service pistol, Something they turn in when they retire, why does he still have it?Is it his backup from when he was on the force? (Normally given by there mentor or could be given by a mentor) Is it the gun left at the scene of his wife's murder? (Obviously just throwing something in there to spark a question) Its a good tool to better round out your MC and one only you can really answer. I am sure many drifters have guns, I am sure many more dont but this is the MC of YOUR epic story. every detail is important when fleshing out your MC. The more you can fall in love with them the more fun you will have writing them! GOOD LUCK!
     
  10. Daemon Wolf
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    Daemon Wolf Active Member

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    I don't mean to me mean but that seems like a really dumb question.

    1st he is a drifter so he doesn't know what his surroundings will be like from one day to the next so carrying a gun would ensure his survival.

    Secondly he is an ex-cop. That makes it more likely for him to carry a gun in that situation especially since he knows what is out there and what is possible in the streets.
     
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  11. JustinCupcake
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    JustinCupcake Member

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    I am not sure that is a fair statement. Like it was said before its really his call. Its character development there is know dumb questions and no wrong answers. Its what they feel it to be wouldn't you agree? Historically in America back when drifters were more commonplace a lot of them were returning soldiers from WWII wondering the states looking for work. All proficient with fire arms but very few carried them. On a practical thought to it. carrying a fire arm is very risky in it self. they would need permits cleaning kits, some states have very strict weapon carry policies. In all honesty drifting from town to town state to state with a fire arm could potentially be burdensome and land the MC in jail more often than not. so its really a development standpoint more than anything. I think its a good question to tackle.
     
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  12. Daemon Wolf
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    Daemon Wolf Active Member

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    That's assuming that drifters follow the law and whilst smaller towns may notice drifters not many other places would. Now we don't know why said ex cop is now off the force but if it was me I would feel safer taking laws/judgement into my own hands than expecting police officers of other towns because again he would know what is out there. And would you personally rather (if you were a ex cop) wait for other cops to get to a scene as you try to defend yourself and probably have them find your dead body or would you rather have a gun to keep the wrong people away that you could easily hide on your body? Because hiding weapons on your person is not as hard as it seems. There are plenty of different weapons that you can hide whether that be a gun of some sort or a blade. I usually have at least 3 knives on me at one time and nobody notices.
     
  13. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Would he carry chewing gum?

    It depends.
     
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  14. Daemon Wolf
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    Daemon Wolf Active Member

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    Double Post
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2015
  15. DueNorth
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    DueNorth Active Member

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    I agree that mg357 should develop his character however he wants. However, I am an advocate for believable characters, and this one, as briefly summarized above sounds too goal-directed at present to be described as a drifter. Whether or not he has a gun, whether he rides the rails or hitchhikes to TX, whether he is on a pension plan as a cop wounded in the line of duty, whether he is fighting a battle with Jack Daniel, may all be interesting story and character elements, but may or may not preclude him as being characterized as a drifter. He can be a fascinating character without being described as a drifter when he appears not to be such.
     
  16. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Does he travel across state lines at any point? I've understood concealed or open carry are not ok everywhere, but then again, if he carries it in concealment, no one would probably notice anyway. Handguns are easy to conceal, if that was his choice. I understood from your post he'd stay in Texas, though, so different gun laws wouldn't pose a problem.

    Whether he carries it or not depends on what kind of person he is. Guns provide safety, and being an ex-cop, he probably understands that. Then again, if he has trouble acquiring one, then he'd probably rely on his hand to hand skills or a mêlée weapon to defend himself if things went south.

    It's your call in the end.
     
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  17. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    Wow! thank you for all of these replies all of you have provided lots of useful information you also asked a lot of questions please allow me to answer them.

    he is an ex-cop and he was shot in the line of duty and he is medically retired from the department the gun is Not his service pistol he was required to turn that in since it was department property he never carried a backup weapon just his service pistol.

    He choses to become a drifter and yes he will be traveling across state lines he also carries a Swiss army knife and a Leatherman Multi-tool.

    regarding the gun itself I was thinking that it was given to him by a relative as part of his inheritance when that relative died.

    He also does not drink alcohol but he is a gum chewer and he is a bachelor I really like the idea of the gun coming from a woman, if the gun is an inherited gun it might have come from a female relative mostly likely a sister since I have a sister myself and she likes guns.

    Regarding Ammo he will carry some for it if he carries it the weapon will be concealed in a shoulder holster.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2015
  18. NobodySpecial
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    NobodySpecial Active Member

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    Carrying a gun could represent a link to his former life, something to hold on to from the past. Or, at the same time, choosing to not keep a gun could show the PTSD from his wounding and refusing to live that life any longer. Like others have said the choice is entirely yours, but the question itself opens a wide field of possibilities.
     
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  19. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    A @KaTrian alluded to, there might be good reason not to carry one as well, particularly if he can defend himself in other ways. A drifter may be more likely to draw the attention of law enforcement, and a pat-down search has a pretty low bar. Getting caught with a concealed weapon with no permit would mean a lot of trouble for the guy, and the law is going to vary state to state.
     
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  20. wellthatsnice
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    wellthatsnice Active Member

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    yes. Homeless people and drifters are statistically at a much higher risk of being assaulted, robbed or sexually assaulted than the general population. (as much as 40 times higher)

    This is due to the fact that the people who target them are aware that drifters do not report crimes committed against them (since they want to remain off the radar) and that if the crime is reported, their word will be believed over the drifters in a court of law. This makes drifters an easy target, even if the payoffs are much lower.

    For safety it would not be surprising at all that a drifter would take to carrying a weapon. As an ex-cop, your character would be aware of these types of statistics, and as a result would probably be more likely to carry as a result.

    https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2003/11/4701/sexual-and-physical-assault-are-common-experiences
     
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  21. hkbstudios
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    hkbstudios Banned

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    I don't know any LE officers that do not carry guns, so yes, even after they leave the force.
     
  22. ESSPEE
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    ESSPEE New Member

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    OK, so like so many others said, the important question is if YOUR character would carry a gun.

    If you're asking that question on the basis of realism, though, I think the answer is "probably not".

    Drifters live on the ragged edge of society. As others said, crimes are committed against them, many of which go unreported. On first thought, that would make it seem more likely that a drifter would carry a gun, until you consider why so many drifters don't report crimes committed against them .....

    Cops don't like them.

    They get rousted a lot. They get the crap beaten out of them a lot, and are illegally told to "move on".

    Cops catch a drifter with a gun, and it's likely going to be a beating, and an arrest, and maybe their ass gets shot.

    In the old days, drifters used to carry "hobo sticks"; walking sticks that were actually for their protection. You don't see them anymore because all a cop has to do today is say he, or she was in fear for their life, and they can kill you with impunity.

    Last week a female cop in Pennsylvania was acquitted of murder charges, despite the fact that her body cam showed the guy she shot in the back twice while he was laying on the ground on his belly convulsing while being continually tasered by the cop simply had his hand under him.

    "Show me your hands!"

    "I am showing you!"

    BLAM! BLAM!

    Yeah, you don't see hobo sticks any more.

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/nov/05/pennsylvania-officer-acquitted-murder-david-kassick

    I really doubt a drifter would carry a gun.
     
  23. whoopee!
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    whoopee! New Member

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    You'd need to check the Concealed Carry laws for EACH STATE he will pass thru. EACH state is different, and some are very strict Being a drifter he may not be elIgible without a stable address and if his mental state is question (due to him bein shot and losing job ,, PTSD maybe?) could also be a deterrent to him bein permitted to carry a gun. There are a LOT out r things to consider. Just because ex cop dOesn't mean he's still ok to have a gun, and even if he is, he's still going to have trouble because of the traveling and instability. Could make for some good conflict tho
     
  24. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    The majority of states are open carry. Once you qualify to legally buy a gun, you can open carry.

    A CCW (Concealed Carried Weapon) requires a deeper background check to include an FBI background check.

    Many states are "shall issue" which means once your BG is cleared, they will issue a CCW license, but the person with a CCW must present his CCW and driver's license (or other official ID) upon request from police or sheriff's dept. If he doesn't have a permanent home, he may not have a DL so that would invalidate his CCW privilege.

    I found out just yesterday that taking a firearm into your car qualifies as concealed (because people can't see it in the car). If he's on foot, it would be no problem to OC.
     
  25. whoopee!
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    whoopee! New Member

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    I beg to differ, Robert S. Most states do NOT allow 'open carry' And some states barely allow any carry at all. Try to get a permit in NYC - or D.C. - Illinois -: good luck! I believe I just heard DC issued something like 48 permits in the past year. You'd do best to check each state's status BEFORE you send your man thru it. I wouldn't want to be the one caught with a concealed (or open) weapon in a state that doesn't allow me to bring a gun across their border. The consequences would be felonious, to say the least! Btw, if you are permitted to bring a gun into a particular state, you MUST follow the rules of the state you are in, NOT your home state, I would advise the writer to be diligent in her research. The various rules for concealed carry from state to state are complicated, but it's important to get it right, lest you lose the trust of your gun-saavy readers. Good luck!
     

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