Not looking to debate, just will state why I carry a firearm.
I live in Alaska, and hike in areas with high bear and moose populations. I've also, as a woman that hikes solo, had some sketchy experiences with men, particularly when they've been drinking. I have had two men come up on me openly voicing what they would do when they got to me, only to change their attitude entirely when they saw I was packing. I never had to even touch the firearm, it's mere presence on my hip was a deterrent.
I pack both openly and concealed, depending. Both are 100% legal without a permit in Alaska. Long time Alaskans don't get concerned when they pass someone with a gun. Granola type imports from California give us dirty looks though. If I know I'm hiking a trail high in that type of personality, I'll conceal my firearm to keep them from being scared. Mostly I try to get off the beaten path, however.
I do also carry bear spray, and which option I choose to use would depend on what my circumstances turned out to be.
Is it UL? Absolutely not. Do I think it's prudent? Yes. If I were hiking in a group, I probably wouldn't take a gun. I would be less likely to have problems with wildlife or people in a group. But since I hike primarily alone, I do think I have to consider my personal safety and take steps to ensure it.