Fact Check

Carry Permit Granny

Well-armed old lady with a carry permit isn't afraid of 'a damn thing'?

Published Jan 30, 2012

Claim:   Well-armed old lady with a carry permit isn't afraid of "a damn thing."


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, November 2011]

I made a traffic stop on an elderly lady the other day for speeding on U.S. 166 Eastbound at Mile Marker 73 just East of Sedan, KS. I asked for her driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance. The lady took out the required information and handed it to me. In with the cards I was somewhat surprised (due to her advanced age) to see she had a conceal carry permit. I looked at her and ask if she had a weapon in her possession at this time.

She responded that she indeed had a .45 automatic in her glove box. Something — body language, or the way she said it — made me want to ask if she had any other firearms. She did admit to also having a 9mm Glock in her center console. Now I had to ask one more time if that was all. She responded once again that she did have just one more, a .38 special in her purse. I then asked her what was she so afraid of.

She looked me right in the eye and said, "Not a damn thing!"


Origins:   This story about a well-armed elderly woman driver stopped by a law enforcement office appears to have begun its online life in May 2011, after it was reportedly told at a Brush Country [Texas] Republican Women's meeting when the topic up for discussion was that state's concealed carry law. That rendition of the tale was framed as a third-person anecdote about an elderly lady and a highway patrolman, with no details provided as to where the incident was supposed to have taken place.

Later versions changed the story into one purportedly related by the police officer who had encountered the well-armed old lady and supplied the putative location of the traffic stop (e.g., "on U.S. 166 Eastbound at Mile Marker 73 just East of Sedan, KS;" "on MN State Highway 210 at Mile Marker 197 just East of McGregor, MN").

In December 2011, we encountered a Canadianized version that was presented as the account of an OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) officer (e.g., "I made a traffic stop on an elderly lady the other day for speeding on Hwy 115 Northbound at Taunton Road"). That repositioning made the tale even more wildly improbable, because in Canada concealed carry permits are almost unheard of. (In Canada, unless you're an armed car guard or a trapper, to gain an "Authorization to Carry" you would have to make a strong case that your life or that of a loved one was in imminent danger from one or more other individuals, that police protection was not sufficient in the circumstances, and that your possession of the firearm could reasonably be justified for protecting you or your loved ones from death or grievous bodily harm.)

In January 2012, the well-armed senior tale circulated on the Facebook social networking site, where it was presented as a "Story from a Minnesota State Trooper" in the form of a graphic fashioned to resemble a newspaper clipping (likely not a real newspaper article, but the invention of some unknown person enthralled by the story):

Carry permit story

Feisty armed elderly women feature in other urban legends: the armed granny who blew the testicles off the two men who had raped her granddaughter, and the old lady who pulled a gun on a pair of thugs she found seated in her car. Unarmed yet still dangerous distaff seniors appear in yet more apocryphal tales: The granny who beat up six airport security guards, and the old gal on the witness stand who let loose with her assessments of the two lawyers trying the case she was part of. In the realm of urban folklore, sharp-tongued or sharpshooting old women are the ultimate "victims who aren't victims" figures, seemingly frail and vulnerable members of society who — appearances to the contrary — are more than capable of taking a round out of any bad guy fool enough to trifle with them. Such stereotype is one of empowerment: if sweet, little old ladies can effectively stand up for themselves, surely we, their more able and younger societal counterparts can easily do likewise.

As to what to make of the well-armed granny tale, a coda supplied on one of the numerous e-mail forwards provides a clue: "Seniors - Don't mess with them. They didn't get old by being stupid."

Barbara "granny get your gun" Mikkelson

Last updated:   30 January 2012

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