On Guns 1/21/21

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

In a couple of my recent posts, I mentioned that I will be getting a new gun. I’m hoping it’ll be tomorrow as of the writing of this post, but a couple of days ago if it posts as planned. I’ve written on guns before, but I think maybe I should write on my gun philosophy again for my new readers.

Nobody would argue with me if I were to say that gun ownership is a serious thing, and it’s important to consider gun ownership carefully before buying one. First, it’s important to think about why you want to own a gun. I am not one to carry a gun; it somehow just doesn’t suit my style. This gun is for home protection and target shooting. I honestly don’t think I’ll need one to protect my home, but I do live alone which means I could appear an easy target. But in addition, I do like target practice as well. I suspect that will be the only real purpose for it.

As far as personal protection goes, probably the most important consideration is one of resolve. You do not buy a gun to show it as a threat, to fire warning shots or to shoot to wound. Parts of the body where wounding is an option are small and often moving (arms and legs) making them difficult targets. Firing a warning shot or hesitating to say “I have a gun” is the reason most “self-protection” guns are taken from the gun owners and used against them. You do not pull a gun until you are ready to take a life, and you shoot to kill since the torso is the easiest shot. If you are not ready to take a life, and take it immediately, then don’t get a gun. You’re better off with a less lethal self-protection device, like mace, or a taser or even a club. If you do get mace, get at least two canisters, and get the kind with the dye so if you have to use it, the person cannot claim they were never sprayed. You need at least two because you should practice with it. Take one to a field and shoot DOWNWIND to practice. How far will it shoot? How many seconds will it fire? How accurate is it? You want the answers to these questions before you need to use it.

If you’ve decided that you want a firearm, the second step is to determine the type of firearm you want based on the purpose for which you are purchasing it. Assault rifles are very popular today, but for close quarters (as in at home) they are unwieldy and awkward. Because the barrel of rifles extend so far, it’s not difficult to close on a rifle and wrestle control away from the person wielding it. They are good only for long-distance. I want a gun for home defense, which means I’ll probably be in the same room if I need to use it, so a pistol is probably best for me. You also have to decide on the style (revolver or semi-automatic) you want, and the caliber. Mine is a .45 caliber semi-automatic Glock with a sealed firing pin (no hammer) and finger safety. I prefer a thumb safety, but none were available. These days, 9 mm is probably the most popular. The ammunition is less expensive, and more rounds can go into a clip, but if I have to fire, one or two rounds will probably be easiest. I chose a semi-automatic because they are quick loading (more on that in a bit), and the .45 has better stopping power than a 9 mm. In addition, the semi-automatic is probably more intimidating than a revolver.

The gun going off prematurely is something I do worry about. With no external hammer and a trigger safety (the thumb safety would actually be better), the Glock is unlikely to go off if I were to drop it even if it were loaded. But one of the major mistakes so many people make with a semi-automatic is that they carry it not only loaded, but with a bullet chambered. For example, my gun can carry thirteen bullets in the clip which is more than enough, but you can get fourteen by putting on in the chamber and ready to fire. The problem with this is that guns are far easier to fire if a round is in the chamber. This is how so many parents are shot by children who pick up guns from purses or drawers. Any time I hear about somebody getting shot by a toddler, I immediately know there was already a round in the chamber. Pulling back the slide to load a bullet in the chamber is not terribly easy, and a toddler probably couldn’t load a semi-automatic even if the clip were in the gun. This is why I won’t keep a bullet in the chamber. Loading a clip and pulling the slide can be done quickly enough.

Having guns for fun or sport is fine as well. I’m currently in the market for a .50 caliber Magnum handgun (specifically a S&W500). I have had one previously (I gave it up because my living situation made it impossible to properly secure it safely. They are so much fun to fire, but exceptionally impractical as they can easily shoot through multiple walls, but the main reason I want one is because they’re so big that they make me laugh every time I see one. I can’t help but wonder how insecure you have to be as a man to have to own one. That would never be used for home defense because it would cause more in damage to the house than anything a robber could take, but it’s just a fun gun. It’s fun to say you have one, it’s fun to display, and it’s fun to fire.

I truly believe that any gun ownership should come with liability and responsibility. Any time someone underage gets a gun (handgun or otherwise), the person from whom they got it should be held as liable for any harm that person causes whether or not the gun owner was aware the gun has been taken. That just means the gun was not properly secured. Buying a gun, I accept that I am responsible for anything that happens with it. That is responsible gun ownership.

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