“Safe Guns” Cost Lives – How Long Should We Wait in an Emergency?

Handgun Self Defense Home Invasion
How Long Should We Wait in an Emergency?

U.S.A. -(Ammoland.com)- This was supposed to be “common sense gun-safety legislation”, but what gun control groups asked for this time isn’t common sense at all. I was confused at first when I studied firearms safety and safe firearms storage. It isn’t easy to tell the good ideas from the bad ones because we don’t face emergencies every day. Even emergency responders have a hard time collecting all the facts. What sounds like “common sense” might be a very bad idea. For example, the so called mandatory “safe storage” recommendations for firearms could cost lives. Let’s look at all the facts.

On one one side we have emergency room doctors who are sick and tired of treating gunshot wounds on their innocent patients. Worse still is seeing children who found a firearm hidden in a drawer or stuffed between couch cushions. Storing your guns that way is irresponsible.  There were a total of 495 accidental deaths in 2016 due to firearms. According to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 64 of those avoidable deaths were to children under the age of 13. One child is too many.

On the other side of the argument are the millions of people that the emergency room doctors never saw. They are the honest gun owners who defended themselves from death or great bodily injury with a firearm. We seldom see their story in the news papers, so the six to eight thousand people who use a gun for self defense every day are only a statistic to us.

Let me make them real to you. Here are two of the many news reports I saw last week.

Near Bend, Oregon, a 31 year old man saved his life by stopping an armed attack. He might have also ended a larger killing spree.

In this case, a neighbor broke into the victim’s home. The victim woke up with the intruder in his bedroom. That is where the intruder spoke some unintelligible gibberish and the victim told him to leave. Minutes later, the victim’s roommate came home and the intruder attacked the roommate from outside the home by shooting through the front window. The victim ran upstairs, grabbed his handgun and then defended himself when his attacker again entered his bedroom. Police and EMTs arrived minutes later.

None of the men involved had a criminal record. There was no known cause for the attack, no ongoing fight or argument.

In theory, we’d be safer if the victim had to open his gun safe, open the separate locked storage compartment where he keeps his legally purchased ammunition, and then load his firearm before he could defend himself. That doesn’t make sense.

That costs minutes when seconds count. It costs lives.

I found another story from Clarksville, Indiana. A mother and her 9 year old daughter were being beaten on the sidewalk at 10 at night. A neighbor heard the attack and he rushed outside to help. The defender ordered the attacker to stop. The two victims escaped, and the defender thought he’d saved their lives without firing a shot. That changed when the attacker rushed him and the defender used his handgun to stop the attack. The mother and 9 year old daughter were rushed to the hospital due to the severity of their injuries.

I did not ask this defender, but knowing what he knows now, I suspect he regrets every second he hesitated. Next time, how long would you like the defender to wait while he retrieves and loads his firearm, the tool he used to stop this beating?

We want our laws to make things better, not worse. We want to save lives rather than take them. We have to understand both sides of an issue to make that judgement.

We have to look at lives saved as well as lives lost.

Over five dozen children dying each year due to firearms accidents is too many. The solution is to be responsible and securely store your firearms. On the other hand, three million people defending themselves from attack each year isn’t enough. The answer is to be responsible and have the defensive tools you need to protect yourself and the people you love. Millions of us do both. That makes us safer.

Misguided legislation makes it worse.


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.

  • 11 thoughts on ““Safe Guns” Cost Lives – How Long Should We Wait in an Emergency?

    1. I have kids.
      I keep a loaded gun “Israeli style” empty chamber in the downstairs drawer.
      Another in the upstairs closet, empty chamber, loaded magazine.
      One of the display carbines on the bedroom wall is loaded the same way and wedged in the display, not locked in like the others.
      When the kids were little, they knew where the guns were and that an awesome punishment awaited anyone who touched a gun without permission.
      Now they are teenagers and have been to the range and know how to load and use them.
      If I am not home, I am certain that are able to shoot anyone that needs shooting.
      And they won’t play with or show off the loaded guns to their friends.
      My wife and I raised a couple of responsible kids.
      We will not comply with any safe storage laws

    2. It’s a nice thought to have a firearm handy to grab no matter what room you are in, but if others can also grab it, or even worse you start forgetting where all your defense-ready firearms are stashed, then there is a big problem. Basic rule: if the firearm is not directly under your control, then it needs to be safely secured (but not necessarily unloaded, for goodness sake!). This is why it is better to carry your defense firearm with you at all times (or, if a long gun, keep it in reach) than it is to stash guns here and there. An exception might be if the stashed guns are all in small, secure safes or locking devices that can’t be jimmied or removed. But to say that more kids die from eating Tide pods than are harmed by finding unsecured firearms is a cheap way of denying responsibility and promoting unnecessary funerals, however sincere and innocent such a comparison might be. Gun owners MUST take responsibility for knowing how to properly use and manage their weapons and ensure the safety of what they do, making firearms a recognized symbol of great benefit rather than tragedy. This keeps a critical right from continually becoming a tragic embarrassment that gun grabbers eagerly exploit. Anyone who can’t fathom the first four basic rules that cause nearly all negligent discharges, those of assuming loaded condition, not pointing at people or things, identifying target and background, and keeping finger off trigger, but also a fifth rule about always controlling access, should either train to full competency or stay away from firearms — the right assumes responsible people who will be sure to know what they are doing well enough to effectively defend themselves and their nation; it isn’t rationally meant to encourage people to just have a firearm because they can, so that they put themselves and others in danger. That said, all patriotic Americans who are able should embrace their precious, freedom-preserving right in the greatest of diligence and sober respect.

    3. How’s about letting ME, who know ALL the circumstances and details of my personal day to day sitiation, decide what is “safe” storage for EACH of my lawfully owned firearms? Most will live in one of the safes I’ve managed to acquire. They are cheap tin ones, but sold as “gun safes”. I have anumber of tools that would make short work of accessing, without using the designated locking system built in to the “gun safe”, the contents of any of them. But I do nt have the cash to buy a REAL safe large enough… though I do think it would be better to have two or three smaller ones. I also keep some “unsecured”, in specific places, but then I live by myself so no one else is around to snoop and discover. If a thief breaks in and finds them, oh well. My guess is he’ll see one of the cheap safes and get to work opening that up, and never even look for the ones stashed. If children are ever part of my household, my plan is to get them accusotomed to guns and proper handling of them. They will learn not to touch the woodstove, or carelessly use a sharp knife, or to hit their little brother with a baseball bat or hammer. Nor will they point a gun at the little guy……

      But when Nannie has to come round and poke her crooked long schnozz into how I conduct MY business in MY domain, unsolicited, she’s out of order. What, will she next come round and order me to store the eggs from the henhouse “just so”? BUT WHAT ABOUT SALMONELLA? she will whinge…… Yeah,what ABOUT salmonella? that’s MY problem not yours, and you may not be bright enough to understand how I have assured there will be no problem with salmonella…… nor decent enough to believe that I can and will WITHOUT your long crooked nose poking about within MY castle. Away with you, wench………..

    4. Never forget that more kids die in bath tubs and swimming pools than from accidental gun shot wounds (I leave out the gang member morons in the Ghettos)
      Doctors kill more people than firearms
      Kids die in automobile accidents

    5. in my 59 years I have never witnessed alcohol make a person drink , a fork make a person fat , a vehicle hurt/kill anyone , or a firearm kill/injure a single human being , it was in point of fact the human/person that was the only/sole cause , and almost always involved emotion/ignorance , but if anyone anywhere ever manages to capture any of the aforementioned instances I would pay money to see that , remember you can inform ignorance but you cant fix stupid 😉

    6. The moral of the story, is that kids ruin everything.
      I understand keeping some guns in the safe when you own multiple firearms. If you’re home you should maintain awareness/control of accessible guns, but when you’re away either the gun goes with you, or the house and/or room should be secured. If you have kids “secured” is just not a realistic concept. I’m sorry to break it anyone as yet unaware, but your kids are stupid. Even if your kid has a genius level I.q. aces every test, you’ve taught them all the ins and outs of gun safety, and secured your guns when you leave there’s no guarantee they won’t get to them and do something stupid. Hell, if your kid is a genius the safe and separate ammo might not even stop them.
      To put a finer point on my ramblings, this proposed law won’t make a statistically relevant number of people safer. It might look like that if you you operate under the assumption that
      “adoption of law = atleast 50% owner compliance therefore 1/2 if all
      guns in safe = most kids not getting unsupervised access to guns”
      But that is an idiotic assumption to operate under.
      All this will accomplish is the creation of one more criminal charge that can be used to prosecute people when the police and prosecutors fail to find sufficient evidence of another crime. It will be used to further disproportionately incarcerate and prosecute the poorest of our citizens because honestly, who really expects anyone to buy a safe that costs more than their entire collection of hi-point or 25yr old $60 25acp pistols? I suppose they’ll leave wiggle room by defining “safe” as “secure lockable container”. So you don’t need an expensive safe. Just take time from searching for a job to build your own ghetto lockbox or do it during your 60hr week of struggling to pay your bills, and the probation fees and/or fines we’ve structured to trap you in an endless cycle of poverty with their compliance penalty’s to maintain your underemployed status. If you don’t make this simple lockbox you’ll go to real prison instead of the pseudo debtors prison we’ve created for you.
      In summation… yeah that’s a very bad law.

    7. While this story involves a proposal of a anti-gun/ anti-self defense nature this sort of nonsense is also alive in the “gun community” as well.
      Last week at Canadian Ranges, a gun range east of El Reno Oklahoma, I was told that I could not wear my handgun uncovered. Even though I have a Open/concealed CCW license from the state. I also shoot USPSA every month and have done so for twenty years. The reason given was because if someone wore their handgun exposed they might feel compelled to draw from the holster and shoot at their target which is not allowed at that facility. When I asked if they thought I would do such a thing they replied, “No, but we have to make the rules for the lowest common denominator person.” This is not much, if any different, than those that would require “safe storage” of ALL firearms. And that is but a small step from requiring storage in an “approved” armory. So it isn’t just Antigun people who wish to foist their antifreedom ideas upon you.

    8. The solution to this issue of loaded guns that are easily accessible is to insure they are guarded. WEAR YOUR DEFENCE FIREARM!!! Of course, the leftards have made that nearly impossible in many states.

    9. A gun is a tool same as a hammer, you just don’t no if who is ether going to beat you to death, or shoot you! A gun is simply a tool, object in which you the human, decides to defend, yourself and others, or are the person commenting a criminal act!

    10. “Safe Storage”…… Who’s gonna know ?

      Will your local, county, state government sending door-to-door inspectors randomly and annually at license-renewal time like they do in Australia ? As it is, in the ‘blue’ areas, you can bank it 100% at any trial, those same ‘oh-so-benevolent’ government officials take the word of a p.o.s. criminal over any citizen defending their home, family, life, etc.

      In my 59+ years on the planet, I never had even a passing thought it would get to the point where it would take more than just voting to stop the insanity. I’m praying it doesn’t ‘go there’, but Democrats know no bounds, have no ethics or morals and when they gain majorities in locations, nudge for nothing less than total control over every aspect of life.

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