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Brandy and I were schmoozing about topics to cover for her next video when she dropped a shocking personal anecdote: a bad guy shot and killed her cousin with her own gun. The tragedy is the literal embodiment of the antis’ argument that it’s more dangerous to have a gun than not. So I asked Ms. Vega to explain why the gun grabbers are wrong—even though her cousin paid the ultimate penalty for losing control of her firearm. The conversation morphed into a discussion of the need for training, and the legal requirements for same. Suffice it to say, life is crap shoot. It’s always better when the dice are loaded—in your favor.

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  1. Of the people killed by their own gun, I wonder how many did not actually have the mind set to kill another human? I would never want to face that decision but if faced with it, stories like these would help cement the decision to take action.

    • I suspect that too many people think of the gun as a magic talisman that they only have to wave in the face of evil, like a cross before Dracula, and they win the fight. The idea of using the gun to actually shoot the bad guy, or the base of a wooden cross through the vampire’s heart, seems unreal to them.

      I took karate lessons when I was (much) younger. I gave them up because 1) I was not very good at it, and 2) I discovered that I did not have the temperament to actually hit people. Therefore karate was useless to me. I bought an S&W model 19.

      My advice to people who want to have a gun for its magical properties: buy a cheap gun you won’t feel too bad about someone taking away from you and NEVER put any bullets in it. That’s the only way you can be sure you won’t be shot with your own gun.

        • If that were -reliably- true then we could all just open carry Airsoft replicas and solve the crime problem. Sorry, my pistol is real and it’s loaded., If it comes out in public you can bet only a sudden change in attitude, generally involving running away as fast as you can, will prevent you from being shot. If that is not your mindset then you really should not be carrying.

          The point is that the pistol is not a magical device that will always make bad people leave you alone and go away. Brandy’s cousin, unfortunately, did not have her pistol nearby and ready when she needed it. By the time she did get to the pistol it was too late and even if she did deploy it was too anemic. Even shot with a .22 that guy could have stabbed or bludgeoned her to death before he bled out. There are more lessons here than just weapon retention.

  2. For every instance that happens there are scores that don’t. And brandishing has stopped more crime that any gun free zone.

    • Yes, brandishing often stops crime. But it only works IF the bad guy believes that pursing the original course of action will result in an escalation from brandishing to firing in his direction. If he has the drop on you, or you take too long to deploy, or he perceives that you are not determined to take the shot if he doesn’t change his attitude, all bets are off and he will probably get your gun and MAYBE shoot you with it. You can HOPE that brandishing will defuse the situation, but you better not COUNT on it.

  3. Even police have had their service weapons wrestled from them and executed with it, so I fail so see how this common refrain is somehow applicable to only lowly civvies.

    Truth of the matter is that if therr is a weapon involved, someone is going to lose. It’s your job to ensure that this doesn’t happen to you, no matter how unlikely it is. That means training to stay in control of that weapon and do not hesitate to use it when you feel 110% that you must.

  4. It’s like wearing a seat belt; it won’t keep you safe in every scenario; but it’s better than not wearing it at all just because it won’t keep you unharmed 100% of the time.

    A gun is the same way; it’s not a magic coat of protection; but it’s better to have it; even if it’s not a 100% guarantee of safety.

  5. Every time I hear a gun grabber tell me that a criminal will take away my gun and use it against me I want to puke.

    So turn the tables and ask them what would happen if a criminal pointed a gun at them to rob them … are they likely to take away a criminal’s gun and use it against the criminal? Of course the gun grabbers invariably say that they would not likely take away a criminal’s gun to use against the criminal.

    But the arguing is pointless. To the gun grabbers, somehow all police officers are gods and all criminals are gods. They both possess super-human powers, strength, speed, accuracy, and omniscience. And of course the police officer gods are never corrupt, never inept, never lazy, never afraid. And the criminal gods are somehow always highly motivated, willing to risk death, always sharper than a tack, never afraid, etc.

    The gun grabbers are hysterical. Their thoughts and words are hysterical. If you can help a fence-sitter to see the truth, fantastic. Just remember that you cannot use the usual methods to interact with a hysterical person.

    • I’ve gotten the argument a few times as well. However, instead of rephrasing the
      argument I’d take a more direct approach. I’d take a pen or whatever, stick it in a
      pocket and challenge the person to get it away from me. I have yet to get any
      of those posing the argument to actually test it.

      • So now the pen is mightier than the pistol (not the sword)? (joke)

        An interesting exercise, however, confronted with a victim who suddenly has the drop on them with a pistol the bad guy equally suddenly has a lot of motivation to end that threat, and a lot of adrenalin with which to do it. Given ANY hesitation on the part of the good guy to actually use the weapon there is a strong chance that, unlike the not-so-dangerous pen, they will lose their piece and face the wrath of someone who would otherwise have just taken their money and gone away. Not every confrontation is an “I’m going to beat you to death” scenario.

        • True enough, as always he who hesitates (or is unaware) winds up
          hurt or dead. However, by trying to actively engage in a mock
          confrontation I can prove two things: 1) taking anything from an
          alert person is a lot harder than it sounds, moreso depending on
          age, fitness and training; 2) a good guy willing to stand their
          ground can be intimidating to the point where the other party may
          back down. This second part, while obvious to the people of the
          gun, still seems to elude the anti-rights crowd. Personally, I attribute
          this to their victimhood mindset. They are so willing to give up
          their rights for any measure of “security” that they literally cannot
          comprehend someone standing up for themselves; unless they
          see/experience it first hand. (Even then it’s iffy.)

        • I don’t know about that Cliff. I worked in an urban liquor store. There are scores of attempted robberies in most juristictions stopped by gun wielding liquor store owners, almost never with firing a shot.

          Believe me, having seen it three times in real life, I can tell you the perp is going to run almost every time, even if armed

        • Chuck – not trying to discredit your methodology, just putting a little extra oomph to it. You are absolutely right that taking something, anything, from someone ready and willing to fight you for it is not as easy as it sounds.

          And Chris, absolutely no doubt that even armed criminals are cowards as a general rule and are hoping that brandishing will get the compliance they desire. All the real-world video shows prove this over and over when armed criminals trip all over each other getting out of the shop as soon as they are faced with an armed victim, and it is almost amusing how many times they never fire a shot on their way out.

          That’s the point about brandishing, really. If you are not determined to pull the bang switch if the need arises then you cannot predict a good outcome.

  6. First, if a person is willing to take your firearm away and shoot you with it, they are also willing to beat you to death. The truth of the matter, they are intent on killing you, and gun or no gun, they are going to do it. Second, I forget the actual statistics, but I know for a fact that a police officer is far more likely to be shot with their own gun than not. Conclusion. I want a fighting chance, and if that is not good enough, I would rather be shot than beat to death. If someone is worried about hesitating too long while in a confrontation, there are a lot of training facilities to choose from, i.e., Gunsite, Frontsight, Thunder Ranch, etc.

  7. “And the criminal gods are somehow always highly motivated, willing to risk death, always sharper than a tack, never afraid, etc.”

    This is the type of criminal most people see most often – on television and in the movies. Genius level outsmarting all the good guys and pretty much doing whatever he/she wants to whomever and as often as they want until they make some MINOR mistake that trips them up.

    But really, you want to see what the criminals you are most likely to find in the real world, and face yourself, are like? Watch COPS or the reality video-clip shows. These are for the most part desperate, stupid, cowardly, drug addled losers. Most of them couldn’t spell MENSA much less tell you what it means. People who go to stupid places where other stupid people are doing stupid things are stupid.

    And here’s the irony of this post: Brandy Vega who advocates for purse carry, which recent commentary here has thoroughly chastised as a very good way to loose your pistol, talking about her cousin killed with her own pistol. In that regard, if you do not have absolute control of your EDC AND the willingness to deploy it efficiently and use it when necessary, you will likely wind up shot wither by your own OR the bad guy’s weapon.

    • That said, Brandy makes some very good points in her video, as she generally does. The off-body carry issue is one that will be debated as long as there are both 9mm and .45 pistols available.

      The other thing in the post that caught my attention, but was not addressed in the video, was the thing about getting training, and the LEGAL REQUIREMENTS FOR SAME. If we (or at lest I) want to be consistent in the assertion that the Second Amendment means what it says “…shall not be infringed.” then what government agency has the Constitutional authority to mandate any level of training before I can exercise my natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms? If we grant them that authority then it is only necessary for them to make the training requirements so onerous, or the expense so great, that no one can or will exercise their 2A right.

      Training, and the level of training, needs to be a personal decision and one that is strongly advocated by the People of the Gun, but should never be given over to the power of government authorities. Further, I believe it is important for the POTG to make sure that appropriate and inexpensive training is available for all those people we convince of the need. It does no good to convince someone they need training and then give them a brochure for Gunsite or Thunder Ranch. I KNOW I need training and there is just no possible way I could or even would go to these facilities unless someone else was footing the bill for me.

      • Well said.

        Speaking of inexpensive training, I just finished some inexpensive training this morning at an outdoor range. It cost all of $20 (plus my ammunition) for three hours of instruction and practice. We practiced drawing, moving, blocking with our “weak” hand, and shooting at multiple bad guys all at the same time. We also practiced simple drawing and shooting. We even had timers to see how long it took us to draw and shoot a bad guy sized target three times at 10 feet. Of course the weather was awful (cold and drizzle) which meant drawing from concealment consisting of a sweatshirt, fleece jacket, and Gortex shell. But that is realistic because bad guys can attack in any weather. In spite of the poor weather and heavy garments, it was still very useful. And in spite of the handicaps, I was able to clear garments, draw, and put three shots into center of mass in 2.65 seconds! Many other trainees had very similar times.

        Our community truly is safer.

    • Watch the video, Mark. Someone over-did the make-up, probably because people doing TV always think they need a lot of make-up. (That was probably true before high-def video.)

      Brandy makes some good points.

  8. A police officer is much more likely to have gun taken away from him than an armed citizen. A police officer has the job making an arrest, i.e., putting an unrestrained person into restraint. He has to be in physical contact with the person who he is trying to restrain. That puts him in danger of the unrestrained person making a move to get his weapon and use it against him. A private citizen defending himself does not usually have to come into contact with his assailant. If having your own gun used against you is a reason not to have a gun then police officers should go around unarmed.

    • A private citizen defending himself does not usually have to come into contact with his assailant.

      Excellent point. My position is that if the BG is in contact with you, you may have (i) lost situational awareness, or (ii) waited too long to shoot.

  9. Never draw a gun unless you are ready to use it, and if they are danger close, you better pull the trigger. Because if you are scared enough to draw it, your life is in danger. And if you have distance and they advance on you after drawing your gun, shoot.

    • This is an excellent point. If you draw your pistol and the bad guy can SEE your pistol and he does not immediately start trying to find the exit you REALLY need to shoot this guy. It is pretty obvious you are now way past the “Brandishing will get the job done” stage.

  10. Lots of good points here. There is no one size fits all answer to any of the questions, obviously, and there is no way life will ever be free of risk. The gun is only about 10% of what it takes for effective self defense. The other 90% involves serious situational awareness, the will to fight and do whatever is necessary to survive, and training to reach one’s best level of competence. Even the elderly, handicapped and those otherwise too weak or small to fight any other way can learn to use a gun effecively.

    I had to shoot a man to save my life 30 years ago.

    It changed my life profoundly and I have determined that I will never be a helpess victim, that I will never give up. I carry a gun, on my body, all the time, everywhere. I pray I will never again have to use a gun to defend myself, but I train so that I will most certainly be able to do so if necessary.

    • Thank you Mama Liberty for making the point – 90% being situational awareness. Your experience proves its not enough to have the gun- you have to think ahead and practice, and the point is, its not enough to just shoot at a target.

      I know a female LEO who teaches women self-defense classes, including a church group most recently- and says at least one in 8 come up to her after and tell their story of being assaulted. Most never imagined they’d be in that spot.

      Thank you for sharing your personal story, and your service to teaching women self-defense. Outstanding blog. Email sent for the booklet.

  11. the studies that claim you are more likely to get killed by your own gun are about the most easily debunked and completely idiotic “studies” there are.

    here are the methodologies every single one of those studies uses:

    1) count criminals getting killed as “gun owners” killed while having a gun
    2) count suicides by gun even though absent a gun the same number of people would commit suicide by other means
    3) on the side accruing to the gun saving the gun owners, only count when the gun owner actually fires at someone (even though police use there guns thousands of times to get compliance for every time they shoot — which is about once in every three LEO’s careers, ie 1/60 man years). Refuse to count the 500,000 to 3 million defensive uses per year that even the CDC notes

    The fact is there is nothing more ludicrous than the claim that a law abiding owner is in more danger for owning a gun

    Indeed it is an exact channeling of the logic of the anti vaccine whackos, because you can show thousands of people “killed” or harmed by vaccines and not actually prove anyone “saved” by vaccine

  12. I’ve heard this “you’re more likely to shoot yourself or a loved one” arguement before, my response is usually the same,”based on which statistic or study, I would like to look it up and read it.”

    This is usually met with silence or redirection, I don’t know if this statement is true or not, but if you’re going to quote something as statically fact then I want to see the study.

    Does it happen, yes, is it statistically probable, no one knows for sure.

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