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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?”

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  1. “The mere existence of vulnerable citizens like you creates an incentive for criminals to perpetrate violence, and to threaten violence upon others.”

    I like that sentence. I think I shall have to flatter you by plagiarizing it for my own use 😀

  2. Very well phrased, and even better constructed. Logical, and difficult to refute logically. Which matters not, as at the core it is an emotional choice, and once made, not easily open to revision by the chooser.
    I hope that the content might sway a person or two.
    Well done.

  3. I don’t need a gun or never wanted one. And frankly the absurd fascination with AR platform is quite entertaining. I regularly hit basketball size targets at 600 yards at the Marine Corps rifle match with the M16A2 with a web strap and open sights. All the load up your bang stick with gadgets leaves me shaken the brain bucket?????

    I bought 3 guns after Sandy Hook, not because I feared the government getting jiggy with my rights, but along with millions of citizens as political speech.

  4. Why do I need a gun? It has nothing to do with need. I don’t need a car for every member of the family. In a free country need has squat to do with it. I want it, I can afford it and until I hurt someone it’s nobodies business but mine.

  5. I think Nick just posted the universal answer to “Why I need a gun”:

    This Is What Happens to a Disarmed Populace: Home Invasion Caught on Video Edition

  6. @ Cory G. Your piece is very well thought-out and written! Thanks for an eloquent statement in answer to a difficult question. Hope you win!

  7. If you go through that with your friend, you are far more patient that I am. My response has been, “Why don’t YOU have a gun? It’s pretty stupid to deny yourself options when you don’t have to.”

  8. “You have a FIRE EXTINGUISHER? What the hell do you need a fire extinguisher for?”

    In case THERE’S FIRE, nitwit!

  9. “Carrying a gun is a social responsibility, a citizen who shirks his duty to contribute to the security of his community is little better than the criminal who threatens it.” -“The Constitutional Right and Social Obligation to Carry a Gun,” by Robert Boatman

  10. I usually just ask them why they need to vote, and head off the inevitable response by pointing out that a misplaced vote can kill thousands more people than a madman with a gun ever could via poor social policy and unnecessary military actions. Point being, both voting and owning a firearm are your rights and you don’t owe anyone an explanation for why you exercise them.

  11. My answer: if I lived in a country where “from each according to their abilities; to each according to their needs” was the law, that question might have some meaning. I don’t, so it doesn’t.

  12. I carry a gun because today might be the day when I am forced by circumstances beyond my control to use my gun to protect my life or the lives of those persons under my umbrella of protection.

    You can reduce your risk by following the advise of John Farnam not to “Do Stupid Things, Go to Stupid Places, or Hang Around With Stupid People”; however bad things happen to good people even the best of circumstances. Even if you were to lock yourself in your home and never go out (certainly not practical) you could become involved in a home invasion.

    • I sometimes ask people where violent crime fits on their calendar? When do they “pencil it in”? Crime doesn’t work on your schedule. If it does… then YOU are the criminal.

      People also ask me, “why do you need to bring a gun to __(fill in the blank)_ place? I sometimes reply by asking them, “Do you wear pants in the restroom?” “Why do you need pants in the restroom?”

      I wear pants in the restroom because I was already wearing them when I got there.


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