Self-Defense Tip: Home Carry

I’m astounded at the number of people who don’t carry a gun in their house. Why wouldn’t you? OK, I thought of Three Reasons Not to Home Carry. But that post was heavy on the irony, light on the WTF. But c’mon. WTF? It’s not like the gun’s gonna do anything. It’s just there. On your hip or in your pocket. Ready should you need it. Will you need it? I certainly hope not. But if you do need it, why, there it is. Here’s an example of a man who had plenty of guns in the house but couldn’t get to any of them when push came to shove. In fact, he did a lot of stupid things, but let’s focus on his home carry deficit first . . .

[David] Whalen [above] said he and his partner of 10 years, Ava Smith, were sitting on the couch just after 8 p.m. on Tuesday. She got up to go to the bathroom and there was knocking at the back door.

Then, two masked men kicked in the door.

“It happened really quickly,” Whalen recounted.

“They came in through the door same as a football team, charging in.”

Whalen said the one of the intruders had a handgun and the other had a knife with a brass-knuckle handle.

They started punching the 63-year-old man and he said they threatened to shoot him. Whalen fought back and one of their weapons cut him open near his eye.

As the pair subdued Whalen and used duct tape to tape his wrists, ankles and mouth, Smith came out of the bathroom.

“They choked her in the other room and dragged her in and put her on the floor and taped her up,” he said.

“Then they came back a second time and retaped her again.”

Yeah I had to read that twice too. I thought they “raped” her again. But the cbc.ca report is clear: the criminals were after Whalen’s guns. They knew about the firearms. That’s STFU Mistake Number 1.

Whalen says he would have shot the bad guys if not for his partner’s presence. Really? I don’t see how Mr. Whalen could have accessed his long guns (remember this is Canada) given the speed, surprise and violence unleashed by the invaders. Or the fact that an unsecured gun in Canada can get you thrown in jail—even if you were defending yourself.

Whalen also told cbc that next time he’ll shoot the perps through the door. That’s STFU Mistake Number 2 and a dodgy strategy on all sorts of levels. His guilt at his partner’s emotional distress goes to show you that sometimes it’s better to have fought and lost than to have never fought at all.

Really. Be that as it may, here’s the bottom line: Whalen was defenseless in his own home against attackers wielding deadly weapons, despite the fact that the Canadian home owner had plenty of deadly weapons at his disposal. If he’d been home carrying the outcome of this home invasion could have been very different.

[Keeping in mind that the outcome could have been very different even though he wasn't able to defend himself with a firearm. In other words, I've got two words for gun grabbers' argument that not having a gun keeps violence from "escalating" in a home invasion: Petit family.]

We can debate the odds of a home invasion happening to you, or your loved ones. We can talk about the dangers of keeping a gun on your person around the house (and the advantages in terms of normalizing guns for your children). But at the end of the proverbial day, when seconds count, you don’t want your gun to be minutes away. If worst comes to worst, you are not going to win a footrace to your gun. Period.

Do the right thing. Either strap a gun to your hip or get a smaller gun and carry it in a pocket holster. Why not? Oh and don’t live in Canada.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

74 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: Home Carry

  1. avatarMartin says:

    While I agree with you regarding the issue of having a gun holstered in the house, handgun laws in Canada make it quite difficult to do so. Handguns are heavily restricted there and seem to be much more difficult to acquire than long guns.

    • avatarRobert Farago says:

      Difficult is just a word.

    • avatarMoonshine7102 says:

      Any law saying you can’t keep a loaded shotgun next to the couch?

      • avatarRobert Farago says:

        In Canada yes. In the U.S. YMMV (Massachusetts would imprison you for a year without even thinking about it). Even where legal, that’s an extremely dangerous idea. It would be like leaving a loaded gun around.

        • avatarMoonshine7102 says:

          Perhaps I should have qualified my question with “while you’re sitting around watching TV”.

    • avatarsean says:

      Not that hard at all to acquire. We just can’t CCW and we can only use them at the range. You can apply to be able to use them for certain work purposes as well.

  2. avatarspymyeyes says:

    This story is the EXACT reason I am always armed with at least my 45. magnum.
    I keep my shoulder hoster on until I go to bed at night and put it on when I get dressed in the morning.

    For the times that I don’t want to wear it, I have 18″ mossberg pump that stays with me in the same condition as my pistol, locked and loaded. Since my shotgun strap is also my bandoleer, I have a varity of “hot” rounds as well as slug, buck, firequest specials, and a fully loaded tube.

    I take my second amendment rights to heart, one of the reasons I live in New Hampshire. It is an FFL, open carry, castle-law state, soon to add the “no retreat”
    law. Even with all of these freedoms, it still does not dicourge the crooks from doing the exact same thing here, kick your door in while your home to rob you, or worse. A number of people have met their violent ends at the hands of well armed citizens such as myself and it STILL does not discourge the crooks.

  3. avatarNot too Eloquent says:

    I was in more danger driving to the office this morning than from “home invaders”. I don’t spend my time hypothesizing about every possible gun-related scenario that could ever happen to me. I’m just ready in general for most situations, but not all. Where do you stop? 95% of possible scenarios?, 96%, 97%??? You will never reach 100%. I’m not into driving myself nuts to get another 0.1% covered.

    • avatarmp says:

      I get what you’re saying. I think I carry at home not so much to cover the 1/1000th of a % chance of badness as much as I LIKE to carry- at home or not.

    • avatarAnonymouse says:

      Agreed. the FIRST step to personal security is to know your threats, what probability, and what severity. As a Californian, its motorcycle accidents, car crashes, and earthquakes. Someone breaking into my home when I’m around ranks above meteors falling from the sky and great white shark attack, but not much above those other two threats.

      And until I’m comfortable secure against equally lethal threats that are thousands of times more likely, I should spend effectively no effort worrying about home invasion.

      Thus, I don’t care about “home carry”, but do know where my crowbar is to dig out after an earthquake, and my Sawzall is fully charged at all times.

      I have no need for defensive handgun training, but I need to sign up for First Responder training.

      And $1000 is better spent on high quality riding gear than an AR-16 clone.

      As for these home invader stories, they always make me suspicious: Such invasions are a very high risk crime, and the same goal (steal the guys guns) could be accomplished with much less risk of being caught, and much less risk of long jailtime if caught, by breaking in during the day with a digging bar. A RSC can stand 15 minutes against A pro with tools. But ONLY 15 minutes, and the timer goes way down with two people rather than one.

      Its not to say that they don’t happen, but they are generally not random.

      • avatarmp says:

        All good points but i would say to each his own.

        All of those arguments have been made to support the idea that concealed carry should not be an option for for ‘regular’ citizens. -”why not keep a defibrillator in your home, why don’t you exhaustively research what fire extinguisher/airbag/lightning rod is best”… etc.

        Ultimately each of us decides- there are those that would (potentially ) do innocent people harm and a handgun (concealed or otherwise) is an acceptable way to defend against this or not.

        After that I don’t think it’s a giant step of paranoia or delusion to conclude that it’s also OK to home carry.

        • avatarAnonymouse says:

          Its not “paranoia or delusion”, but, depending on your neighborhood or position, it is a misjudging of the risks you face. Humans are notoriously bad at judging risk, underestimating major risks (eg car crashed) and grossly overestimating minor risks (eg Sharks)

          If I lived in, say, Vallejo or West Oakland, I’d be sleeping with a shotgun. And if I was in a neighborhood where the local equivalent of “Omar’s Coming, Yo” held particular terror, you can bet it would be 100-guns, 100% of the time. But I don’t, and I doubt you do either.

          So carry a gun around the house if it makes you feel safer. But understand that its probably just that, a feeling of security, rather than actual security.

          If you want actual security: know your threats and then spend your effort on the risks you face.

          EG, for protecting your property (burglary, not home invasion, is a common threat), a 24 long-gun UL listed safe, where you also keep backups, documents, passports, jewelrey, cameras, spare computers, etc, is almost certainly going to do more for you than the guns themselves.

          And for protecting your life: place a good first-aid kit in your car and make sure you and your family know how to use it.

        • avatargage says:

          +1 on the Wire reference!

        • avatarOnlyKetchup says:

          Glad to see there are some folks on here with common sense. I think people should definitely have that choice, but first must look at their personal circumstances.

      • avatarNot too Eloquent says:

        Why aren’t the home carry folks wearing helmets when they drive their cars or trucks? Why are some of them smoking and eating fatty foods?

        I’m comfortable with Gun Vault Mini’s with 1911′s within 25 feet of me at any time at home.

  4. avatarmp says:

    I home carry for all of the reasons stated by RF. I usually carry “concealed”-personal preference- I don’t want it to be a ‘big deal’- at home or in public. It also gives me the opportunity to run various holster/handgun options and figure out if they’re really uncomfortable or just don’t work. The one concession I make is that I usually don’t carry a round in the chamber at home (vs public)- stupid for multiple reasons – train like you fight, guns just don’t go off etc…Guns are in the safe(s) or on my hip.

  5. avatarSilver says:

    I live in a second-floor apartment; someone would have to be rather specific to try and break into my place. And if they tried to get through the door, it’d take me three seconds to get to where I keep my gun from anywhere in here. That’s safe enough for me; the risk and reward of comfort equal out to me.

  6. avatarGS650G says:

    To home carry or not home carry depends largely on where you live, the level of security your home has, your job or even your lifestyle as seen by others.
    Fancy cars, nice house, all that good stuff the liberals claim you got by stealing from the 99% put you at greater risk.
    I wouldn’t go out and recommend strapping a gun on all around the house unless you’ve done a survey and appear on someone’s radar. Reduce the odds or chance significantly for your own safety not just to rationalize carrying.
    If you walk around your own home with a .45 strapped to your hip people are going to think your a bit over the top. If that doesn’t bother you in the least, be my guest.

    • avatarMartin Albright says:

      +1 on this. Home carry is not neccessary for a lot of us.

      Yeah, yeah, I know, “Sheeple” “what if” “better to have it and not need it…” “I knew a guy who knew a guy…” (rolling eyes.) Meantime, you’d best strap on your gat and get to work building that meteor shield – all that space junk could plunge through your roof any day now.

      I’m trying to remember the last time there was a “home invasion” of a law abiding citizen’s home in my town….not coming to me. Most of the “home invasions” I read about are conducted by criminals who are raiding the homes of their current or former criminal associates for the purpose of stealing the proceeds of crime (money, drugs, etc.)

      • avatarAharon says:

        Home carry is not for me. If crime becomes so bad then yes I will do it.

      • avatarvalawyer says:

        You’re right about that. I have been involved in a number of home invasion cases and every one of them has been either a drug deal gone bad or a targeted robbery of a drug dealer. If you live in a decent neighborhood and don’t engage in a high risk lifestyle, your chances of being the victim of a home invasion are pretty much nil.

        • avatarRalph says:

          When I lived in the richest town on Cape Cod last year, a neighbor suffered a home invasion and was beaten to a pulp. I assure you he was no more involved with drugs than the local nuns. If you think that bad things don’t happen to good people in good places, you’re living in dreamland.

  7. avatarAharon says:

    Taking the overall concept of home defense and deterrence a bit further, residents should ideally have at least two high security doors for each entrance, windows that are difficult or impossible to break through, an alarm system, and a couple of dogs.

  8. avatarmp says:

    “Most of the “home invasions” I read about are conducted by criminals who are raiding the homes of their current or former criminal associates for the purpose of stealing the proceeds of crime (money, drugs, etc.)”Agreed 100%. But i would say this is also true of MOST violent crime.Your odds of “needing” a firearm are so small that the difference between your home and anywhere else are statistically insignificant -so why carry at all is the natural progression of the logic.I’m not advocating walking around the house in fatigues, facepaint and a knife in your teeth. I get the idea it’s not comfortable all of the time (many times I don’t) Ultimately each of us decides- there are those that would (potentially ) do innocent people harm and a handgun (concealed or otherwise) is an acceptable way to defend against this or not.

    But I reject the idea that it’s crazy or paranoid (building a meteor shield) anymore than taking your gun running errands, on the way to work etc…Hmmm…. me is perplexed by all of the agitation home carry seems to cause. Especially here.

    • avatarMartin Albright says:

      The “agitation” comes from the smug condescension of the carry-at-all-times crowd towards those of us who don’t feel inclined to follow suit.

      If you want to spend your day fully strapped and expecting a home invasion any time, knock yourself out. But to regard those who don’t as ignorant “sheeple” whose heads are buried in the sand is exactly the same type of projection that you accuse anti-gunners of practicing.

      • avatarNot Too Eloquent says:

        Exactly. This is what I would say if I was Eloquent!

      • avatarmp says:

        How did me saying:

        “I’m not advocating walking around the house in fatigues, facepaint and a knife in your teeth. I get the idea it’s not comfortable all of the time (many times I don’t)….But I reject the idea that it’s crazy or paranoid (‘building a meteor shield’) anymore than taking your gun running errands, on the way to work etc…”

        Turn into:

        “If you want to spend your day fully strapped and expecting a home invasion any time, knock yourself out. But to regard those who don’t as ignorant “sheeple” whose heads are buried in the sand is exactly the same type of projection that you accuse anti-gunners of practicing.”

        wha…?

        Not what i said at all, in fact the exact opposite. Who is projecting?

        I also don’t see the “smug condescension”, but apologize if you misunderstood.

    • avatarGS650G says:

      Criminals are not going to randomly hit a house when they can hit one that they know will be a score. Drugs, money, gold, etc.

      • avatarAnonymouse says:

        Also, home invasion is a very high risk crime:

        The police get really interested in investigating (increasing the likelyhood of being caught), the press are all over it (again, increasing the odds of being caught) and the penalties are much higher if you are caught.

        Yet unless you need to get something from the owner itself (eg, the combo to the safe when you don’t have two guys, a digging bar, and a crowbar, which is enough in, ~15 minutes, to open just about any residential safe in existence), the reward of a home invasion is no greater than the much lower risk “break in when nobody is around” which receives far less attention from the cops, no press, and, even if caught, will only earn you a couple of years before you are released because it was “non violent”.

  9. avatarTim says:

    You don’t have a single schema for protection. If I home carry, but don’t lock my door – that is dumb.

    You should work your home security seriously. You have outer and inner rings of defense. Floodlights, security/alarm systems, security screen doors, non-hollow doors, wood dowels (or similar) on sliding glass doors/windows. By the time you get to DGU in the home, he should be pretty exhausted and just lie down.

  10. avatarnutnshmancy says:

    Anyone know if Dr. Petit now carries or is pro/anti gun?
    Just curious.

  11. avatarRobert Farago says:

    In the real world, you don’t find violence. Violence finds you. And where are you most of the time? At home.

    Again, why NOT home carry? All I’m hearing here is probability calculations. As some of you have pointed out, that puts you on a slippery slope to disarmament.

    I view the need for untun as binary. Either you’ll need it or you won’t. And that applies 24/7.

    • avatarBlake says:

      Robert,

      I will know about potential thieves long before they get close enough to kick in the door.

      Three dogs, the largest runs 120lbs, the smallest at 50. I’m confident the dogs will run enough interference to give me time to arm up.

    • avatarMartin Albright says:

      What you have said is only true if the only thing you do at home is sit there and wait for a home invasion.

      Well, not me. I work in the yard. I work on my car or my bike. Play with the dog. Clean the attic. go for a bicycle ride. Chat with the neighbors. Paint the garage. Etc Etc Etc.

      Many of these things are difficult or cumbersome to do when also carrying a weapon and since the likelihood that I’ll need that weapon is about the same as my need for that aforementioned meteor shield, I choose not to home carry. Is that so difficult to understand?

      There is no “one-size-fits-all” security solution. Every person has to make an evaluation of what security measures are reasonable given all the circumstances.

    • avatarJason says:

      Because I enjoy reclining in a silk smoking jacket, and even a 14-oz J-frame in the pocket would ruin the line and form an uncomfortable lump, natch.

    • avatarCarlosT says:

      Forgive me if this has been discussed before, but what’s “untun”?

  12. avatarNR says:

    For me, home carry makes even more sense than carrying in public. Most of the time when I’m out, my family isn’t with me. I’m out and something bad happens, my go-to strategy is run like a bunny, probably whether I’m armed or not.

    If I’m at home, and my family is with me, I can’t run. So most of the time, I home carry.

  13. avatartdiinva says:

    I don’t home carry, I store on my person when I am in the house. Storing your gun on your person leaves it under your control all the time and is much safer than leaving a loaded firearm lying around the house. I used to do that until a series of 10 hot burgleries hit my affluent North Arlington/Falls Church Virginia neighborhood within a few weeks last fall. I realized that I might not be able to get to any of my available guns in an emergency. With my wife’s approval I started keeping a gun on my person.

  14. avatarbontai Joe says:

    I don’t home carry most of the time, but there are times when I do. Like when the electric blacks out, or during bad storms, or when I see large trucks in the area that don’t appear to belong there, or when one of my mutant neighbors have one of their mutant parties with all their mutant relatives, or if I am working outside the house alone. And I don’t do it strictly just for human predators, as I live in an area that has wild bears, and we have a nutjob a mile down the road that actually has lions and tigers and bears in cages on their property. The bear got loose and ate the owner’s wife about a year or two ago. And even after that, they still have these and other dangerous animals there, so that’s in the back of my mind a lot.

  15. avatarKevin T says:

    Hell, I even home carry my Mosin-Nagant!

  16. avatarCarlosT says:

    I home carry most of the time because it was actually the first thing that I did. Before I got my concealed carry permit, I got my holster wore it around the house and adjusted the positioning and fit, and just got used to having a couple pounds of steel and polymer in my waistband. Now the gun is just another part of my daily dress.

    I unfortunately can’t carry at work, and I take transit, so I don’t have a car where I can store the gun while I’m in the building, so most days I don’t have the gun with me during the day. I’m still thinking about what to do about that. But when I get home, I’ll put the gun on and I’ll have it on as I make dinner, watch TV, surf the internet, whatever. And of course, if we go out, it’s with me. I don’t sleep with it on, but I’m thinking of getting a quick access safe for the bedside.

    • avatarNot Too Eloquent says:

      Carlos, several Gun Vault Minis solved my storage issues at home. $85 at Amazon.

      • avatarCarlosT says:

        How are they for fast access? That’s my main criterion for the bedside safe. I want to be able to get into it in seconds after being wakened from a dead slumber.

        • avatarJerk Jiggler says:

          2 seconds max. You push your chosen sequence of 4 easily reached push buttons on top and the door quickly springs open. GREAT with kids in the house.

  17. avatarST says:

    For what its worth, I carry at home all the time. Without going into details, sometimes so called family members or friends can be just as much of a threat as a felon kicking in your door.

    Another point to remember is that as gun owners we all maintain a collection of firearms somewhere in our abode, which makes us a juicier target for burglary than a garden variety home.

  18. avatarracer88 says:

    Why do I carry at home? Why not? Same reasons I carry everywhere else I go.

    It’s not inconveniencing me anymore than wearing pants is. So, again… why not?

  19. avatarMatt in FL says:

    The bottom line is everyone has to make that decision for themselves, based on their neighborhood, surroundings, perceived threat level, etc.

    I’ve lived here almost four years, and that’s longer than anyone else I know. Sometimes I leave my windows open, even at night, when the weather is really nice. Knock wood, I’ve never had any issues myself. A lot of that I credit to having a fifty pound dog that sounds like an angry demon when she barks (which isn’t often), and looks, to the uninformed, “like a pit bull” (she’s not).

    My apartment complex averages about one burglary (of an unoccupied dwelling) every couple months. There have been a couple of push-in robberies in the past six months, and cars get molested occasionally. So yeah, I carry at home. If I haven’t made it out of the house yet, it’s usually “near me” as contrasted with “on me,” but it’s never out of arm’s reach.

  20. avatarv says:

    things were not too bad here until the libtards put in sec8 housing 2 blocks away… now we have druggies, urban yutes, 647m’s, 51-50′s, drunks, freaks, asst’d bipedal hominid garbage of degenerate genetics, on and on … so now everybody is armed and ready 24-7, we have no choice… the libs import human filth from the south state to pad the voter rolls… shootings, stabbings, robbery, rape, murder are now a daily occurrence after just a 2% increase in the population… yup, lots of bats, swords, shotguns, axes, what ever is handy wherever its needed… oh yeah, the PD only takes reports after the crimes are committed, there simply aren’t the funds or officers to respond to all calls… if its not good press for the next budget cycle it never happened…

  21. avatarRalph says:

    I carry a handgun at home because my shotgun is too heavy.

  22. avatarJohn McDermott says:

    Carry my handgun everywhere allowed by law, even at night in my house, it’s on my hip in the event it is needed. Hope I never need to use it, but better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

  23. avatarbontai Joe says:

    I noticed most of you folks assume the need to be armed is because of bad guys. Sine I live in a rural area, I also have to worry about the 4 legged critters, rabid raccoons, bears, feral dogs, poisonous snakes, etc. Even in more urban areas, attacks on people by dogs are not that rare. Just mentioning this to allow you to possibly broaden your focus on what potential threats are out there.

  24. Alternatively, of course, you can distribute several guns around the house so that one is always within easy reach. However, that gets expensive. If for whatever reason you do have several handguns, though, consider keeping them where you can get at them if you need them in a hurry. Nightstand, next to chair where you watch TV, near computer or desk, etc. Think about where the bad guys could come in, and where you might be when that happens, then make sure you can get to one of your guns in a hurry.

  25. There’s a second reason to home carry. Your gun is a lot more secure on your belt than it is in your nightstand.

  26. avatarThomasR says:

    A married couple driving through New mexico, both with CCL’s, were kidnapped from a rest stop in thier RV by three escaped convicts, taken out to the desert and murdered, what were the odds? I bet you they felt safe and didn’t carry thier weapons, they played those odds and lost. How often have you used a fire extinguisher, CPR or your earth quake insurance? Yet, if any of these emergencies were to happen, you would be a fool to not have these protections available. When I’m not carrying my Glock 30 compact .45 acp, I’m carrying my kel-Tec .380 in a pocket holster, I barely can tell I’m carrying the Kel-Tec, no else can. So if it is so convenient to carry an inconspicuous yet effective tool like the Kel-Tec, why would anyone not have this or some other tool just as effective always available? For me, I’m no fool.

    • avatarCarlosT says:

      Another reason I support nationwide reciprocity. If I’m taking a road trip, why should I make myself vulnerable to that kind of thing because I’ve left my home state?

      • avatarThomasR says:

        Actually Carlos, NM is an open carry state, they also recognise most other CCL’s from other states. But inspite of that, the couple still did not have a weapon available, thats why it’s bizzare to me that people still don’t provide the most basic protection for themselves when it’s so easily available, especially in thier own home, because at least outside, there is a chance a passerby might see a person being attacked and call 911, once a human predator has broken the sanctity of ones home, the person at home is totally on their own, no one to see and very unlikely to hear any cry for help.

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