I’ve heard of gun owners who decided to get rid of their guns when their children were born, on the theory that the guns were a danger to the children. I find myself in wholehearted disagreement with such a decision, as it renders one’s household more vulnerable to criminals, and since proper gun storage and gun safety education virtually eliminate the risk that a child will find and misuse a gun:
Giving up firearms renders one’s home more vulnerable to criminals
A home without a gun is a home where criminals can leverage their superior strength, the element of surprise, and their own guns to harm their victims. All too often, criminals inflict unspeakable harms upon the children of such homes:
Lawson and the three other defendants were all teenagers when police say they barged into a 35-year-old woman’s apartment, raped her repeatedly, beat her 12-year-old son and then forced her to perform oral sex on the boy. The victims were doused in chemicals to clean the crime scene, and police say their attackers discussed setting them on fire before fleeing. [Full article here]
Ledezma, 22, was armed with a BB gun that looked like a real handgun, an ax, a hunting knife and a stick that looked like a police baton, said Assistant State’s Attorney Maureen O’Brien. He first robbed the family, which also included the wife and two daughters, ages 7 and 10, in the living room. O’Brien said Ledezma then forced the family down into the basement and forced them to strip naked. He then locked the parents and the younger daughter in a bathroom and assaulted the older daughter. [Full article here]
Police say they are looking for three to four men after a violent home invasion in which children were tortured and a mother and daughter were burned with hot oil. According to police, the men started choking the kids and threatening them with weapons and hot oil. They reportedly tried to shoot at a baby and the family dog, but the gun jammed. Relatives told News 13 the suspects [also] put the 15-year-old girl’s hands on a hot stove. The teen and her mother were both treated for second- and third-degree burns. [Full article here]
On the other hand, statistical evidence and real-life examples make clear the fact that armed self defense works – even when the victim is seemingly at a disadvantage due to a surprise attack. Guns enable mothers to save their children from violent attackers. They enable pregnant women to protect themselves and their unborn children. Guns allow sons to protect their mothers from burglars, and fathers to save their children from harm. Guns make it possible for uncles to defend their nephews, and son-in-laws to protect their mother-in-laws. Guns allow individuals to defend themselves, sparing their loved ones from the pain of losing a relative to violent crime.
Am I suggesting that every single violent crime could be stopped by armed citizens? Of course not. Just as car seatbelts can’t prevent every traffic fatality, gun ownership doesn’t render a person invulnerable to every conceivable crime. However, a great many violent crimes can be stopped by armed citizens. Moreover, each time a criminal is fatally shot, shot and then apprehended by the police, or held at gunpoint until the police arrive, there is one fewer violent criminal out preying upon innocent victims. There is also less of a risk that police will erroneously arrest the wrong person, harming that innocent person while leaving the true criminal free to victimizes more people.
Safe and responsible gun store virtually eliminates the risk that one’s child will find and misuse a gun
I understand that those who give up their guns do so out of a desire to protect their children from a perceived danger. However that danger is one that can be easily and effectively mitigated – without giving up one’s guns.
Using a gun safe to store one’s gun virtually eliminates the risk that child (or other unauthorized person) will gain access to gun. Gun safes with quick-access number pads and/or fingerprint readers also allow the gun to be safely stored, yet accessed in just seconds by the owner. Additionally, teaching a child the basics of gun safety from an early age has been shown to greatly reduce the risk that the child will ever misuse a gun.
When my wife became pregnant with our first child, the issue of my gun ownership became a pretty frequent debate in our household. It wasn't my wife so much as it was our relatives who were, for the most part, aghast at the idea of a gun in a house with a child.
Rather than react angrily (although sometimes their emotionally shrill cries that I should get rid of the guns made me want to), I reassured my wife that I was a serious, responsible gun owner and upon doing my research about how to have a child and guns safely coexist in a house, came across an excellent book.
The book is entitled, "Gun Proof Your Children" by Massad Ayoob. Ayoob mentions in the book that, when his children were very small, he tried all manner of ways of making his guns inaccessible to his kids, while still having them able to be ready at a moment's notice if necessary.
Basically – Ayoob found out that there was no way to truly "child-proof" his guns, and so he took a different tack. He decided to "gun-proof" his children by educating them about gun safety, understand what they should do if they encounter a loaded gun when there aren't any adults around, and to be able to approach a firearm with knowledge and safety, instead of childlike ignorance and curiosity.
I have been hesitant about having a gun in my home so I can understand the concern that many have, especially when there are children around. Since becoming educated about the reliable security available with quality gun safes I have become much more comfortable. While a good gun safe can provide security it doesn't have to come at the expense of quick access as the author suggests. Gun safes can be mounted in a hidden but accessible location and the gun can be accessed quickly and quietly if necessary. When shopping for a gun safe be sure you speak with a knowledgeable and trustworthy sales person. You are making an important purchase and you want to be sure you are getting the kind of security you want.
12 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD OWN A FIREARM
1. Because You Own a Fire Extinguisher. Bad things happen. You can still call 911, but when seconds count, you need to act quickly to save your life and the life of those you love.
2. Because Shooting Is An Olympic Sport. Shooting is an Olympic sport and the United States holds more gold medals than any other nation.
3. Because Most Americans Own Guns. You’ll be in good company as a gun owner; nearly fifty percent of households in the U.S. own a firearm.
4. Because You Respect The U.S. Constitution. Sometimes you won’t like it when people exercise fundamental freedoms protected by the Constitution, such as freedom of speech. But that simply doesn’t matter: The Supreme Court ruled that every person has a constitutional right to own guns. So respecting the Constitution means respecting the right of others to exercise those constitutional rights.
5. Because You Are More Likely to Die By Falling. There were 613 fatal firearms accidents in 2007, one-half of one percent of all fatal accidents. You’re more likely to die by driving, poisoning, drowning or falling than by a gun accident.
6. Because Guns Stop Burglars. Last year, the CDC estimated that Americans used guns about 498,000 times to frighten away intruders attempting to break into homes.
7. Because Gun Bans Increase Murder Rates. After D.C. banned handguns in 1984, the average murder rate jumped 73 percent while the U.S. murder rate fell 11 percent.
8. Because Guns Don’t Cause Murder. A New York Times study of 1,662 murders in the city found that 90 percent of the killers had criminal records. Murderers are not ordinary, law abiding adults. Instead, virtually all murderers are extremely aberrant individuals with life histories of violence, psychopatholoy, and substance abuse.
9. Because Gun Owners Win Political Battles. Gun rights groups have donated $22 million in political campaigns over the last decade, while gun control groups gave $1.8 million.
10. Because Ignorance is Dangerous. At current homicide rates, 1 in 240 Americans will be murdered this year. You need to know how to operate a tool that will immediately stop a threat and save your life and the life of those in your household.
11. Because Guns Don’t Make Countries More Dangerous. Switzerland has one of the world’s highest gun ownership rates and also one of the lowest homicide rates. In contrast, the countries with the world’s worst homicide rates—South Africa, Columbia, Brazil, Mexico, Filipines, Taiwan—also prohibit law-abiding citizens from owning guns. Compare the 20 per 100,000 homicide rate in Russia, which bans guns, with the 2 per 100,000 rate in neighboring Poland. Compare gun-free Luxembourg’s 9 per 100,000 murder rate with Germany and France with rates of 0.93 and 1.65.
12. Because Gun Control Laws Don’t Increase Safety. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences failed to identify even one gun control measure that had a statistically significant reduction in violent crime, suicide, or gun accidents. The Center for Disease Control reached the same conclusion in 2003.
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