Do Guns in Your Home Make You Safer?

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U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Does a gun in your home make you safer, or does it put your family in greater danger? That is a great question, but we don’t have easy answers. There are risks if you have a gun and risks if you don’t. To further complicate the question, your situation is different than mine. You have to weigh both sides to know if you’re safer being armed.

We’ve seen new parents sell their guns because they had children in their home. We’ve also seen new parents purchase firearms because they had irreplaceable lives to protect. Some of the news articles that report on the decision to go armed are extremely misleading, so I’d ask you to read very carefully. Here are some obvious questions that measure your possible risk and your possible reward for owning a gun.

Do you face a risk of violent assault? If you have zero-risk of violent attack, then there is no benefit of having any defensive tools with you. Nor is there any benefit for learning how to defend yourself and your family. This situation would apply to you if you are a researcher in the middle of the desolate antarctic. Also, you wouldn’t be safer with a gun if you’re living on the space station. Out there, you won’t face any problems that a firearm could solve.

A more down to earth answer is that most of us face some risk. The FBI says that more than one-out-of-four of us will be victims of violent crime during our lifetime. I think of it this way. On average, you or your family will be victimized. Your chances of being attacked are much higher if you live in Baltimore and your relatives are druggies. In contrast, you’re much less likely to be attacked if you live a quiet life in Bismarck, North Dakota. Your chances are never zero. I’ve met people who were violently attacked for no good reason. Fortunately, they were armed. Having a gun saved their lives.

You probably don’t need to worry about physical protection if you already have paid professionals guarding your house. This would apply to high-ranking politicians or celebrities who purchased a full time security detail. There is very little you can contribute to your own physical security at home that they have not already done for you.

That isn’t how most of us live. When it comes to our families, most of us have to provide our own protection. Even then, it doesn’t make sense to incur the cost and the risk of a personal firearm in the home until we take simple precautions. I’m thinking of things like locking our doors and our windows. Improving the physical safety of your home with good locks, screws and safety film is much cheaper than having a gun and taking firearms training. A locked door and safety glass can keep a bad person away from the people you love.

That brings us to the heart of the discussion. A gun is an inanimate object. It doesn’t prevent bad things from happening. A firearm can be a useful tool of self-rescue if you’re attacked. A gun buys us time until the police arrive. That assumes you know how to use your gun. We’ve learned a lot during our centuries of experience living with firearms. Armed defense is simple, but not easy.

Earning the advantages of armed defense takes work. It requires both training and practice. A firearm is only part of a larger personal safety plan. Does your family know what to do if someone breaks into your home? What if your family is attacked on your driveway or front steps? While you can hope to be lucky in your violent encounter, we find that people who educate themselves and then train have better outcomes. The more you practice the luckier you get.

Buying a gun won’t make you safer. Safety depends on knowing when and how to use your firearm.

Buying a gun and storing it carelessly might put you at greater risk than not having one at all. Safety isn’t something a firearm delivers to you. Safety is the result of using your knowledge and your tools to protect your family. A gun is just another tool.

I can’t know your situation. We know you’re hundreds of times more likely to protect yourself with a firearm than to have an accident with one. That shows that most people have learned to operate a firearm carefully and to reap the rewards of an armed defense. I record examples every day where people used a gun to save their lives. You can build a safety plan for you and your family. A firearm can make your family safer, but it needs your help.


About Rob MorseSlow Facts

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.

  • 14 thoughts on “Do Guns in Your Home Make You Safer?

    1. The availability of firearms is not what protects or threatens us; ownership and immediate access to firearms does not make us safe. It is the constant carry of a firearm and WILLINGNESS TO USE IT WITH MAXIMUM VIOLENCE OF ACTION that helps us be safe!!

      A firearm is worse than useless if a gun owner does not cultivate the survival mindset necessary for the successful deployment of it, and advertise to potential attackers that you are ready and willing to do battle!

      “The price of freedom is the willingness to do sudden battle anywhere, any time and with utter recklessness.”
      – Robert A. Heinlein

    2. Yes, it does make one safer. Pretty much why I keep a fire extinguisher in my home too. Response time for LEO is 12 minutes and fire dept. 8 to 12 minutes. Defending myself can happen within seconds of the incident and the same for a fire, perhaps I can get it under control sooner and save my home instead of enduring a potentially dangerous situation.

    3. The safest place to have a gun in the home, with kids present is the same as it is everywhere else–on your side–in your possession–under your control–period.

      While it may be that someone gets a lucky shot on a bad guy the proper, righteous thing to do is get trained. Cops can’t be everywhere all the time. Not that anyone wants to live in a police state anyway. MOST of the time, by the time they arrive on site, the issue has already been decided. Most of the time they are there for “clean up detail” Most of the time an engagement takes seconds and the cops are just minuets away. YOU are responsible for your own safety and the safety of your spouse, children, friends, neighbors, people you work with and the person on the street.

      If you are not armed 24/7, get that way. If you are not trained as to when and when not to deploy and engage a threat with a weapon, get that way. If you can’t hit an “A ZONE” sized target @ 25 yards @ the rate of one round per second, you need to practice !. I hope the day never arrives when you realize that seconds can last a lifetime. A good way to get good with a gun is join a combat pistol league and/or try out a 3-gun competition, even cowboy action matches should be seriously considered. This will hone the skills you do have and get you skills you don’t have. They are all timed events and when you realize how much time, rather, how little time it takes to run a course of fire, you will know how important it is to be trained and practiced. All skills are learned and are therefore perishable if not practiced.

      There is a comfort that one has when one knows one can deal with a situation. That feeling is called freedom.

      Arm up, carry on.

      1. I’m FAR better off without the cops (until afterwards, at least, thank you very much. Who needs incompetence and stray shots around the place? (Been an officer for many years and worked with and around too many of worst of them to blindly put my trust in most nay of them to trust them with the security of my family, friends and neighbors.

    4. Your grandmother is an outlier, and undoubtedly a most spunky lady. Some people do OK without training or practice, but it sure helps. The fact that a .38 S&W worked for her doesn’t make it a defensive round any more than getting lucky the first time means you don’t need to practice.
      The assailant wasn’t an animal. He was a subhuman. Animals don’t have moral reasoning for the most part. Those who prey on others are something less than human, i.e. subhumans since they should know better. Did the orc succumb to his injuries?

    5. Wrong!
      People really can, and do, protect themselves with guns without ever taking a class.
      My 67 year old grandmother was attacked in her Detroit home.
      She did not have a gun.
      But, when the animal came back, days later, she did.
      When she shot him with a borrowed .38 S&W, it was the first time she had ever fired a gun!
      I’ve had extensive gun and martial arts training, but it does not take extensive training and practice to defend oneself with a gun. Ask my grandma.

      1. Take Grandma shooting or better yet, enroll her in a shooting class. Present her with her own .38 S&W as a graduation gift she can use during the class.

      2. I’d rather have a gun and no training than training and no gun.

        My guess is that most DGUs by non police are by untrained people. Certainly most criminals don’t train and manage to shoot people and use guns to rape and rob in spite of it.

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