As the Indy Star reports, a Franklin, IN man took his bolt action, .22LR caliber rifle and confronted a burglar. The burglar wrestled the gun away from the home owner, James Duncan, and shot him in the shoulder. Mr. Duncan survived, and there are important lessons to be learned here:
Lesson #1: Have the right type gun for home defense
A bolt action hunting or target shooting rifle, as used here, is simply not the proper gun for home defense. That is because bolt action rifles offer a rate of fire that is too low, and often a magazine capacity that is too low as well. During a home invasion, many people are understandably nervous, and may not place their shots as well as they would under more relaxed circumstances. That is why an action with a faster rate of fire, such as pump action or autoloading (semiautomatic) is preferable. The news article didn’t list the barrel length of James Duncan’s gun, but generally speaking, the minimum barrel length allowed by law is recommended for home defense shotgun or rifles. This makes it harder for the criminal to take the gun from the home owner, and is a major benefit of handguns, as they are even harder to take away from the user. This article addresses my suggestions for home defense firearms. This also underscores the fact that the Second Amendment protects gun suitable for self defense, not just “sporting” arms.
Lesson #2: Have the right caliber for home defense
.22 LR is simply too small of a caliber for effective home defense or self defense. Make no mistake about it: .22 long rifle, like all other cartridges, are deadly and must be treated with respect. However, a proper self defense cartridge needs to be able to stop an attacker right away, not in 3 hours. For that purpose, a larger caliber cartridge and/or higher velocity round is needed. This article addresses my recommendations for home defense ammunition.
Lesson #3: Use the gun effectively
One of the main benefits of a gun is that it enables one to stop an attacker at a distance. That means that one armed with a gun should not get too close to a home invader or burglar, as the criminal could then take the gun. Instead, the home owner should keep his or her distance, and fire the gun if need be to protect their life or the lives of their family.
Note: The anti gun lobby will seize upon this event to further their (untrue) claim that having a gun in the home does not provide improved security, but is instead a liability. The fact is that this one home owner did not succeed at defending himself with a firearm, however many other people successfully stop criminals every day.
Note 2: This article is in no way intended as criticism of the home owner mentioned in the news article. That is because (1) I don’t know all the details and can only go by what was reported in the news, (2) Mr. Duncan seems to have tried his best to defend his family, which is admirable and all one can really expect from a person, and (3) home invasions are difficult situations to be in, and it would be the pinnacle of arrogance for me to second guess someone who suffered such a home invasion. Instead, this article is my effort at making sure that people might who face a home invasion in the future will be in the best position possible to effectively defend themselves and their family.