I’ve taught my children gun safety. They know the Four Rules. I could leave any of my kids alone in a room with a gun and know they won’t touch it. But I don’t. Why would I? The universe is full of ridiculous random shit. For example, “Justin Stanfield Thomas, 35, along with his son, traveled from Phoenix to Prescott Valley south of Flagstaff on Friday for a surprise visit to a friend’s home. The young boy quickly found a loaded .380 caliber semi-automatic handgun, asked a question about it and pulled the trigger, Prescott Valley police Sgt. Brandon Bonney said.” At the very least, it’s a double fail: a child old enough to ask questions about guns—who wasn’t instructed about gun safety—messing with the firearm of a sleeping owner who didn’t secure his weapon whilst in the Land of Nod. It could have been you . . .
More than a few of our readers have admitted that they stash loaded firearms around the house so they can access a gat in an emergency—while still keeping the weapon safe from unintentional use. Again, double fail.
The vast majority of gun owners are not Conan the Barbarian. Any violent “action” in their home is not going to be a mano-a-mano close quarters battle to the death (domestic disputes excepted). It will be, as Thomas Hobbes would put it, nasty, brutish and short.
A gun owner’s best strategy for defeating a home invader is the same as it is for any gun fight: land telling shots before the bad guy or guys disable or destroy you. (Either that or escape.) Quick access is key. No matter what caliber cartridge you bring to bear, no matter what level of marksmanship you can muster, the faster you get your gun into play the greater your odds of survival.
What could be faster than having a gun on your person? What could be safer? A safe, obviously. But a gun safe isn’t a safe place for your gun when you really, really need it. So . . . home carry. Small gun, pocket carry. Big gun, holster carry. Comfort, not caliber, is critical. If your rig is uncomfortable you won’t carry it.
Ah, but what if you’re asleep?
Although you can nap in the arms of Morpheus with a gun in your holster or pocket, a quick access small safe is a better bet for a proper sleep cycle and quick access. That said, how quick is quick? As Sgt. Brandon Bonney says, “We’re still responsible for our weapons. But do we require people to lock them up all the time no matter what, which might defeat the purpose of home defense?”
No, we shouldn’t “require” gun owners to do anything. We should require them to be held accountable for their actions. That said, I believe a gun should either be on your hip or in a safe. The trick to maintaining control of your weapon whilst asleep, showering or performing other “gun free” activities at home: put it in a safe and secure the perimeter.
The tragedy above could have been avoided if the gun owner had secured his house—regardless of where he’d stored his firearm. If Mr. Thomas’ snoozing friend had received a heads-up that someone was entering his home he could have secured his firearm. Which should have been secured anyway but you know what I mean.
Switching that principle around for self-defense, if you know someone’s trying to gain access into your house you have time to get your gun, whether that’s on your hip or in a safe.
Lock your doors and windows when you’re napping, showering, whatever. Set your perimeter alarm. [NB: some key-fob activated systems emit a high-pitched squeal before the alarm goes off, giving you time to stand down if, say, a BFF and his son walk in unannounced.] Dogs have provided an intruder alert long before Bezerk seared that phrase into Baby Boomer’s brains.
It’s not that hard to maintain control of your weapon for everyone’s safety. You simply have to create common sense gun safety habits and stick with them at all times. The upside: peace of mind. The downside of not following suitable storage protocol? It’s too horrible to contemplate. Which should not stop you from doing so, lest Lady Luck make your life endless misery.