After the Supreme Court’s decision striking down the Windy City’s 29-year-old handgun ban, Chicago is set to introduce one of the most Draconian gun control laws in the country. It’s widely expected that Mayor Daley will ask the City Council to enact legislation restricting Chicago homeowners to a single handgun (per household). Corporation Counsel Mara Georges says the new law would be constitutional; it passes the [new] test for reasonableness. Apparently, one gun per household is “sufficient for self defense.” Yes and no. Mostly no.
There’s an old gun fighting maxim: the best gun is the one you have. In other words, if you don’t have a gun in your hand when you need it, you lose. So in theory, you only need one gun. The one you have.
The wisdom of the advice is beyond reproach. TTAG has blogged several stories where a homeowner had plenty of guns—but not enough time. The homeowner couldn’t get to their firearm before being assaulted, injured and killed. In one case, with one of their own guns.
Strategically, wearing a gun on your person is the best answer to that conundrum. If you have a gun in a holster, well, there it is, in your holster. If you need it, you got it.
There are a lot of reasons why people don’t walk around their homes packing heat—even when they have the legal right to do so. For one thing, it’s not the most comfortable of accoutrements. For another, many gun owners worry that close, regular contact with a firearm invites the possibility of negligent discharge (which it does).
And many gun owners don’t want to freak out their friends and family. They’re afraid that strapping a gun on their belt in semi-public brands them as dangerous, paranoid or dangerously paranoid.
So here’s the thing: if a gun owner’s home is being invaded, they’ll need to get to their gun quickly. Really quickly. Again, immediate access can be the difference between life and death. If their home defense gun is upstairs when they’re downstairs, they lose. If the gun is downstairs and they’re upstairs, or in the basement, they lose.
The best answer (other than a holster): store one gun on every level of your house. As apartments and condos are usually easier (faster) to invade, the same rule applies for smaller living areas. One gun on this side of the dwelling, one gun on the other. That’s two. At a minimum.
Now I could argue that a home defender should have a holstered gun AND one or two backups, but then I’d lose those of you who view all of this gun fighting business as a Wild West fantasy. I.e. all of you who don’t live where Mr. McDonald of the McDonald decision lives.
But wait! There’s more about more.
Strategically speaking, two armed home defenders are better than one. It’s common sense says. I make that one defender, one gun; two defenders, two guns. And no, they’re not going to shoot each other. It’s far more likely that the registered gun owner will either be away or “incapacitated” by the home invaders.
This assume that the Mayor’s new laws will not prohibit a non-gun purchaser from using a handgun to defend themselves. I have a sneaking suspicion that Chicago will attempt to thwart Illinois law in that regard, and prohibit anyone other than the registered gun owner from handling the weapon.
That would be nuts.
Anyway, it’s also worth noting that one resident may be better suited to one type of gun, while another might be more proficient with another (e.g. a small revolver and a large semi-automatic pistol).
Which raises a point about different guns for different purposes, even in the home. A homeowner who wants to carry a gun in the house discreetly might opt for a small hammerless revolver like the Smith & Wesson 640. At night, they might want to keep something more powerful nearby, like a Taurus Judge. Again, I make that two guns.
In short, “one gun and you’re done” doesn’t get it done, home defense-wise. Not that reality will intrude upon the Mayor’s calculations. But it’s the truth about guns.