As a retired, veteran police officer, this is a question that I’m asked on a regular basis. We live in an increasingly violent society and many people are concerned for their safety and that of their family. The police are often reactive rather than proactive and usually show up after the robbery, assault, or rape has occurred. Buying a gun is a big decision and should not be approached lightly. There are many questions that should be answered before going out and purchasing a firearm.
1. Am I prepared to take someone’s life? This is an important moral issue that everyone thinking about getting a gun needs to come to grips with. If you aren’t sure that you could shoot and kill an attacker, then you are better off getting a big dog and a can of pepper spray. Just having a gun is not going to scare off a determined assailant. I have actually had people tell me that they would scare their attacker off by just pointing their pistol at them. A drug crazed rapist or robber is not going to be impressed. If you have a firearm, you must have the mindset that you can and will use it to defend your life and the life of your loved ones.
Often this question is only explored in the context of someone’s personal safety. I have talked to women who told me, “I could never shoot someone. I just don’t think I could pull the trigger and harm someone, even if they were hurting me.” My follow-up question is, “What if this attacker was trying to hurt one of your children?” This scenario usually changes the way that they look at guns. “Oh, well, if they were trying to hurt my daughter, I think I would do whatever it took to stop them.”
2. Am I willing to get the proper training and practice regularly? Most states do not require any training before you purchase a firearm. That does not mean that you should skip this very important step. If you are going to spend several hundred dollars on a gun for self-defense, then go ahead and spend another few hundred dollars and get some hands-on training from a professional firearms instructor. They will teach you how the gun functions, proper safety tips, how to shoot, and what the law says about self-defense. To stay proficient, I also recommend going to the range and practicing at least once every month or two. Remember, practice breeds confidence.
To be continued…
If you have any questions about this subject, please feel free to submit them in the comments section. I will try to answer them all.
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