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Self Defense, Should You Buy A Gun?

Updated on March 11, 2011

I often get asked my opinion or my stance about things like self defence and gun ownership. When talking about self defence I am often asked if an individual should buy a gun to protect their own well being and their family. While I am pro 2nd Amendment and believe in an individuals right to bear arms, I also believe that this subject requires a closer examination and can't be answered with a blanket yes or no. There are several things to consider when answering this question. To start with, is it legal for you to own a gun and use it for defense where you live? Do you know how to use a gun and can you handle it and store it safely? Also, are you willing and able to use the gun when it comes down to the moment where you feel like you have to?

Should Guns Be Considered In Self Defense?

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Gun Laws

First and foremost, you have to determine if it is legal for you to own a firearm in your country, state, county and city. I am writing this mostly regarding the United States, as that is where I have personal experience. You don't want to worry about getting charged for using your firearm if you do happen to defend your self with it. Check with your local law enforcement agency to determine what the law is about owning firearms. It is worth checking how the firearm has to be stored and whether you can have ammunition near the gun. Some locations may not have any restrictions, Colorado, for example. Other jurisdictions will require that the gun is locked, or maybe that ammunition is stored separately from the gun. It is also worth checking the laws regarding transporting your gun. Many places have different laws regarding firearms in a home vs. in a vehicle. Make sure you know, so you can avoid breaking the law.

You will also need to check into the laws of self defense in your jurisdiction.  Just because you are allowed to own a gun, doesn't mean that you can shoot anybody that commits a crime.  Learn how self defence is defined where you live.  Also look for case law which shows individuals that have used a firearm for defense and been covered by the law vs. those that have been charged with a crime for using the firearm.  Many locations will define defense differently, but you will often see that using a firearm, which is considered lethal force, is often only justified when death or serious bodily injury towards your self or another person are at risk.

How To Use A Gun

 While I am not going to tell you how to use a firearm, make sure you know before you buy one or handle one.  Guns are inanimateobjects and are not inherently dangerous.  The danger of firearms come from people that are either negligent in handling the weapon, or intentially try to hurt others.  If you have never handled a firearm, or if you have very little experience the first thing you should do is learn how to handle them safely.  A local outdoor store or gun shop will most likely be able to direct you to where you can take a safety class. 

A safety class that gives you time to actually shoot a firearm is even better.  You will need to know how to safely load, fire and unload your firearm.  If you can not perform all of those tasks with the utmost precaution than your new gun may be more threatening to your family than any threat that comes from outside your home.  Once you have taken a class and choose a firearm, make sure you take it to a firing range regularly.  It will do you know good to own a gun that you don't know how to use properly and safely.

Are You Willing or Capable Defend Yourself?

 The final question I want you to ask yourself is are you willing and capable of using the firearm to defend yourself?  It is no simple matter to take the life of another person, even if that person would have taken yours.  There is a very good chance that you will be investigated by your local law enforcement and at times feel like you are the criminal.  Hopefully if you followed the law and defended yourself in a manner that was appropriate, you won't be charged with a crime, but you might have felt like it. You may also be brought into a civil lawsuit by family members of the person that you defended yourself against, even if that person was trying to kill you or a family member.

Some people think that merely owning a firearm and perhaps showing it to an intruder will prevent anything further from happening.  While that might be true in some cases, it will not be true in all.  If you bring out a gun because someone is in your house, but you don't want to actually fire the gun, you may be in more danger if the home invader decides to try and take the gun away from you.

There are many things to consider when thinking about buying or using a firearm in self defense.  I hope that you will take these points into consideration if you are considering this topic.  Feel free to leave comments below on what you think about the topic of self defense and firearms.


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      RHReck 4 years ago

      Great thoughts Adventure Colorado. In my Hub "Joe Biden's Home Defense Plan, A Shotgun Approach to Deterrence", I briefly touch on the importance of making a commitment to whether the individual is capable of taking a life as a determining factor in acquiring a gun; "Everyone needs to seriously consider whether you’re willing and able to pull the trigger on another human being with the intent of killing them; not an easy choice. So, if you’ve considered the options and have determined that in a worst case scenario you could indeed take the life of your assailant to protect your life and those of your family, then the next step is deciding what type of shotgun to buy.” Your article takes that discussion to another level, and rightly so. Owning a gun is a privilege and should never be taken lightly.

      Additionally, I also encouraged anyone who owns or is planning on owning a gun to get professional instruction on its use, not only on the target range but in a real life scenario. Then and only then is an individual truly armed with the tools and knowledge necessary to defend themselves, their family, and their property.

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 5 years ago from Central Texas

      Excellent Hub and outstanding advice. Owning a gun is a tremendous responsibility and should be taken seriously. I am pro-gun and have been all my life. It's encouraging to note that there's now more information and instruction available (and people who seek it) pertaining to gun ownership and use. Voted up! Best/Sis

    • Adventure Colorad profile image

      Adventure Colorad 5 years ago from Denver,CO

      That's a great point Lily! A gun isn't inherently good or bad, it is an object. The way that it is used can make it dangerous.

    • Lily Luna profile image

      Lorri Woodmansee 5 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      Great article.

      My Dad told me when I first learned to drive that anyone can get a license to drive if they can prove they can drive...doesn't mean they will be responsible and courteous drivers ...

      I believe it is the same with guns. Some will be very responsible and others not so much.