Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thinking about getting one

Saw this story on channel 4 last night:

(Yes, the 9:00 news. We're old and tired and go to bed early.)

Interesting lesson about the stolen garage door opener and keeping your address in your car. (I guess you should put your insurance card in your wallet/purse, and throw away all your receipts with identifying information?)

Anyway, the most interesting part to me was at the end of the story - the thief ran away because the homeowner had a gun. If that homeowner had been able to do nothing but call the police, he could have been dead and the thief long gone before help arrived.

I respect and and am grateful for the police, but I've been thinking about self defense for a while now, and more and more stories like this catch my attention. We've considered the pros and cons of having a gun in the home with children. Would we hide it from them? Are they old enough to know about it and be trusted not to play with it? Is that a real concern, since they're never left home alone anyway? Does the potential for something to go wrong outweigh the benefit of being able to protect ourselves? I do travel quite a bit, and MamaLlama would feel secure if she was packin' heat. If someone broke in, would it be enough to hit the panic button on the alarm system and shout out, "I have a gun!"? They say a barking dog is the best deterrent, and we have two of those. And a machete (I have ninja skillz). Would we keep it loaded?Dangerous if it is, useless if it isn't... Our neighborhood has very little crime, and an active citizen patrol. We live very near an elementary school - is that a deterrent, or does it actually attract vandals and punks? Do vandals and trespassers deserve to be shot? What if you think someone is going to break in and kill you, and they were just TP'ing your house? If you shoot an intruder, will the circumstances look fishy despite your best intentions, and you end up in jail, or the intruder sues you? Should we get a concealed carry permit, so we can bring it in the car? Isn't a cell phone and OnStar enough protection on the road?

MamaLlama was raised in a family of gun owners. Not in her own home, except for some non-loaded, non-working hunting rifles inherited from her grandfather. But all the uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandparents kept them in their homes. I'm sure there were some on my side too, and I think my brother-in-law has one. I don't know that any of them have ever needed to use them on an intruder, or that there were ever any accidents.

Is this all just paranoia, or a healthy desire to protect ourselves? Are we just feeling like bad-ass Texans since we've been to San Jacinto? Are we feeling like bad-ass Republicans, and want one just because it's our consitutional right to have one?

We keep arriving at the conclusion that it only takes a minute for someone to cause harm. Better to have it and never need it, than the alternative. We'd take the classes, practice at a shooting range, etc. Learn from the experts. Safe, responsible gun owners, that would be us.

We don't know the first thing about which type to buy, where to buy it, where to take classes, how to register it, etc. Research is in order. As you can imagine, MamaLlama's only criteria is that it be cute...

I ask you, reader(s), do you have a gun at home? Why or why not?

Is pepper spray enough?


Steph B said...

The thought that I always come back to is: for every story of someone successfully using a gun for self-defense, how many opposite stories are there? How often is someone's gun used against them? How many home accidents happen because parents had a gun (even if they do usually keep it locked and unloaded). How often is someone accidentally shot because the gun owner thought they needed to protect themselves? I doubt these stories always make it to the news. It would be interesting to see statistics on police reports to know what the numbers really were. I know, for myself, I would worry a lot more with a gun in the house than I worry about possible intruders.

MommaLlama said...

And PINK... I'm just kidding, I never said it had to be cute, just small! And just to clarify my mom had a revolver she kept in our home that was her pride and joy... and it worked! My extended family has had to protect themselves... they were broken into and my aunt was taken hostage for a time while the rest of the family was tied up!

My dad has been on me since I was 18 to take a gun safety course even though I had no desire to have or shoot a gun. Times have changed and I am at a point where I would like to consider my options!

underthewillow said...

Hubby has a BB gun that is loaded but put in an adult accessible only shelf and this is our weapon. Okay, after you finish laughing at us for admitting we have a BB gun that we keep for defense let me say this is not your toy BB gun. The thing is heavy and it looks and feels like a real gun. (IMO anyway.)

Stop laughing!! It's not MINE - it's HIS!! I'd rather NO guns in the house. Not even toys.

Daddio said...

That's right, I forgot about that incident with your aunt.

Steph B, I'm going to have to do some research, but I've heard of studies and watched a documentary film about guns, and if I remember correctly, there are actually many more unreported instances of civilians with personal guns stopping and preventing crimes, than there are accidents in the home with untrained kids snooping around in closets.

The BB gun is not a bad idea. As long as the bad guy thinks it's real. And it will hurt like a son-of-a-you-know-what, enough to send him running I bet. Plus there could be a stray dog sniffing around, or some other instance where you don't necessarily want to kill the animal, but you do want to get rid of it.