Opinion by Richard Bleil
Although it might not seem it were you to meet me in the street, I have been a handgun owner. Not currently; I find handguns don’t quite fit my style but having been a civilian employee for a police department, I was immersed in gun culture. No, I was not a police officer, but I took the opportunity to learn about guns, and get gun training. It’s because of this experience that I feel the right to post this blog.
Watching the news, I’m so tired of seeing toddlers and school kids doing the shooting. Not long ago, a story was in the news about a toddler picking up a handgun from her purse and shooting her own mother. This should never happen.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not “anti-gun”. Heck, I loved my .40 Glock, and my favorite gun was a fifty caliber Smith and Wesson Magnum handgun (a S&W 500). Trust me; I enjoy guns. But I also practiced safety.
I understand the desire for some people to want to carry a handgun for self-protection. I have a very good friend who purchased her gun for this very reason. So, to have a gun in the purse, well, that’s personal choice, and with the war on women, I support those women who do so. But there are some things that a person really has to think about if they are going to be a handgun owner.
• First of all, very carefully consider if you are willing to take a life. I mean cold heartedly, suddenly and without warning. No comment, no warning shots, no shooting to wound. If you own a handgun, commit yourself to pulling it and shooting it and aiming for the torso before the assailant even realizes that you have a gun. A majority of people who carry guns for protection have the gun taken away and used against them. If you are feeling threatened enough, shoot as soon as possible. Don’t even aim. Pull it out and shoot to kill. If you cannot fathom being so cold about it, don’t get a handgun. Without this mentality, get pepper spray (with the dye in it), taser, brass knuckles, something other than a gun so you can still act quickly.
• Never keep a round “chambered”. My automatic was a Glock G22 .40 caliber. It could hold up to 15 rounds in the clip. But many people who own handguns like to carry that extra round, with “one in the chamber”. That means, load the gun with a round ready to fire, and then load the 15 round clip. The “safety” on these guns are built into the trigger, so there’s no extra little switch; you can pick it up and if one is loaded just fire. This is how toddlers shoot parents. If one is not “in the chamber”, then you have to pull the slide before firing, but if you have the time to pull the gun, you have the time to pull the slide. Without one chambered, pulling the trigger does nothing, and the strength required to pull the slide is well beyond the capabilities of toddlers (and even if it weren’t the parent would hear the slide before the toddler could shoot). My S&W 500 was a revolver, which could hold up to five cruise missile sized rounds. Even here, I kept one chamber empty. With a hammer, if the hammer were accidentally struck, it could go off unless the chamber is empty. With a revolver, you’ll get one fewer shot, but it will fire on pulling the trigger.
• Too many people with guns kill loved ones in their own homes because they believe them to be a burglar (I would have never used my .500 for home protection; the damage it would cause would cost more to repair than the value of anything the burglar would take). At home, use a form of identification before firing the gun. You can have your gun in hand, but here, call out before trying to see the person. Don’t worry about waking up other people in the house; a gun shot would certainly do that as well. If it’s a burglar, they don’t know where you are, and if you don’t announce it, they don’t know you have it. Call out for identification. If it is a burglar, then stay safe and let them rob you; it’s just stuff. But if they are approaching you, again, shoot to take a life. And aim for the torso. It’s the larges target. All of those movies where they shoot to wound, or worse, shoot to disarm are nonsense. We’re talking real life here, and YOUR life at that.
• Finally, for the love of God, keep your guns at home LOCKED UP. No child should ever have access either to your tun or your ammunition (which should be locked up in a separate location). I firmly believe that every time a minor is found with a gun, or anything that occurs because of the gun, if the parents own the gun then the parents should be held personally liable for any and all harm and crime performed. Yes, I said it. If a child steals their parent’s gun and kills a child at school, the parent should be tried for the murder of that child. Period. The insanity must come to an end.
Again, these are opinions. I hope that I have given you something to think about. Gun ownership just isn’t for everyone. I personally never carried my guns for personal protection (I did maybe a half dozen times but realized it wasn’t for me), but I did enjoy shooting them for target practice. But I don’t think I could take a life, so, fine; no guns. And no, it does not make me less of a man. If anything, it proves that I don’t need my courage to come from a barrel.