By Cory G.
“Why do you need a gun?” We’ve all been asked this question at one time or another. My essay is a compilation of what (I think) are some of my better responses. I don’t think these points will persuade any hard core gun control advocate, but they might be handy if you ever have a civilized discussion with the growing portion of the population that just doesn’t understand our point of view. Enjoy . . .
“Since you and I are friends, I’m happy to answer your question, but before I do, I’d like you to think about your question.
There may be things in your home and on your person to which I object, and which I would prefer you didn’t have, yet I’ve never asked you to justify them. You may have mistakenly assumed that I agree with your possession of these items; that is not so. You see, I simply value our mutual freedom more than I value the power to dictate what others may have. Also, I’ve frankly never contemplated what might be in your house or in your pocket. Wouldn’t you find it a little creepy if I told you I was thinking about what you had in your house . . . or in your pocket?
But, since you started this discussion, and if we are going to talk about our needs and our choices, I guess we’re going to need to get a little personal.
You see, I have the ability to defend myself, and my family, and even to defend you and your family. I have this ability because I’ve made certain choices; choices which were available to you, yet choices you did not make.
These choices were and are costly. My weapon cost me a week’s wages. The ammunition I’ve used to train myself cost even more. The ammunition I will use to stay proficient will cost that much again; say nothing of the time invested.
Of course, the economic costs are just the beginning. I knowingly take upon myself the inherent risk of carrying a weapon, the risk of storing a weapon in my home, and the risk of confronting violent people. I know that if I ever am called upon to use my weapon, my choices will be scrutinized by the government for a year or more, by my conscience for the rest of my life, and by God for eternity.
Yet I have made these choices all the same; and I ask nothing of you.
I made these choices with the knowledge that, if I am attacked, it will be difficult to employ my weapon in my own defense. Therefore I know that I will probably never reap the direct benefit of my costly choices. If I observe you being attacked, I will have a better chance of coming to your defense, than I would of defending myself.
Because of your choice not to be armed, you do not have the ability to defend me. This choice was easy for you. Your choice is popular within our social circle, and your choice is favored by the ruling class. Your choice largely involved inaction. Your choice will have very little direct cost to you. My ability to defend you has made your choice even cheaper.
When danger threatens, I will be able to defend you but you will not be able to defend me. The mere fact that people like me are armed reduces the incentive for violent people to attack you. Yet it is you who questions my choices. Some of your friends even ask the government to take my choice away; yet I have never attempted to take away your choice. Some of you require that my choices match yours before you will allow me onto your property; you’re free to do that of course, but I have no such requirement for you.
You might respond that my choice to own a gun is different because that gun might harm you or others; is your choice so different?
The mere existence of vulnerable citizens like you creates an incentive for criminals to perpetrate violence, and to threaten violence upon others. This endangerment is multiplied when you not only refuse to arm yourself but publicly display your own vulnerability and publicly campaign for the vulnerability of others.
Your choice to remain vulnerable endangers my family far more than my gun endangers yours; yet I have let you be. I have not inserted myself into your life and have not asked the government to take away your Liberty in exchange for my perceived safety. All I ask of you is the same. Why are you not able do for me what I have done for you?
Did you even think about these questions before questioning me?
But anyway, you asked a question and I said I’d answer it. Why do I need a gun? Because I am personally responsible for my Life and Liberty, and for that of my family. Aren’t you?”