As discussed in a previous article, carrying a gun outside the home is a bit of a PITA. Unless you use the right carry system, it can be physically uncomfortable. Either way, you have to ID and avoid gun-free zones and disarm accordingly. You run the risk of someone glimpsing your gun and “outing” you to friends, family, co-workers, strangers or police. Get over yourself girlfriend! The more law-abiding Americans who carry a gun, the safer they are, the safer we are, and the safer our natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. To overcome this reluctance, remember a simple adage: everyday carry starts at home. Here’s why you should carry at home . . .
1. Home is where your family is
According to Smith & Wesson, 60 percent of consumers purchase firearms for “Personal Safety/Protection.” I reckon that stat’s a bit misleading. The vast majority of Americans buy guns out of concern for their family and loved ones. They want a firearm to protect their family from harm, either directly (stopping the threat) or indirectly (helping the gun owner remaining alive to take care of their family’s physical, emotional, spiritual and financial well-being).
Assuming that family safety is Job One, the all-important question becomes how, when and where might a life-threatening attack occur? The obvious answer: no sé. There is no way of knowing. The uncomfortable truth: family members and loved ones could be outside your care when an attack occurs. They could be with friends, at school, shopping, eating at a restaurant, driving – anywhere. Put that to one side. Where’s the most likely place for a violent attack to occur when you’re with your family?
Again, who knows? You can’t know if, when, where or how s will get real. The easiest way to cover the spread (as it were): carry a gun whenever you’re with your loved ones. At the mall, soccer games, grocery shopping, wherever and whenever you gather. But especially at home – if only for one simple reason. You spend more time with your family at home than you do in any other physical location. So if it’s going to happen someplace where y’all are, the odds are it’ll be at home.
At the same time, home is where your stuff is. Criminals have a real taste for stuff – especially stuff that can be turned into cash. TV’s, cars, jewelry, prescription drugs, artwork, guns – your home is a supermarket for sinister slime balls. It’s also important to note that rapists, stalkers, psycho exes, disgruntled employees and other dangerous enemies know where to find you and your loved ones: at home. This particular danger highlights the need for home carry, rather than just keeping a gun in a safe at home. Remember . . .
2. Things happen fast
Most people who buy a gun for home protection fixate on the bump-in-the-night (BITN) scenario. They imagine themselves awakened at night by a burglar shattering glass or tripping over Fido. Should the gun owner suffer a nighttime home invasion, they believe that they’ll have time – not much but some – to retrieve a gun from a safe, under the bed (a ridiculous place to store a shotgun but thousands do) or nearby night table.
In this they’re not wrong (especially if they have an alarm system). But there’s no guaranteeing a home invasion will occur at night. Professional burglars often strike during the day, ringing the doorbell to make sure residents aren’t at home. So what’s the problem? “Often” does not mean “always.” Most bad guys are not “professional.” They’re vicious bastards who use the same formula we recommend for armed self-defense: speed, surprise and violence of action. They may knock, wait for you to answer the door and suddenly attack or they might just break down your door and attack, period.
If and when bad guys invade your home, they’re not going to give you or your family a heads-up or wait for you to retrieve your firearm. Once it’s started, the attack’s going to happen very quickly and it won’t be pretty. You and/or your loved ones will either be suffering injuries or facing the threat of violence, likely involving a gun, blunt instrument or edged weapon. Chances are your legs will be stuck in proverbial peanut butter and your brain fogged by denial and indecision.
Unless you have your gun on your person, you’ll be playing from deep inside your own end zone. You are not going to win a foot race to your home defense gun. Stashing firearms around the house Conan-style is unsafe and uncertain; you may not even be in your house when an attack occurs. If and when you need your gun, you’re going to need it RIGHT NOW. As in on your hip or in your pocket. There is no substitute.
This goes double for countering rapists, stalkers, psycho exes, disgruntled employees and other dangerous enemies. Not only do they use speed, surprise and violence of action, they plan their attack. They don’t care that the alarm is going off or that the police are coming. They want to do what they want to do and they don’t need much time to do it. Even worse, it’s personal. They will come at you with everything they’ve got, all at once. Unless you react instantly and authoritatively, you will be overwhelmed. And not in a good way.
A long gun ain’t it
Gun gurus like to say that a handgun is for fighting your way to a long gun. Copy that. A handgun – any handgun – is a pretty lousy threat-stopper. Long guns provide significantly more “stopping power” than a handgun. Shotguns, in particular, can be devastatingly effective. Hence the reason so many Americans keep a shotgun for home defense. Yes, but– you shouldn’t skip the first step. Carry a handgun to fight your way to your long gun.
Unless you sling a long gun on your person around the house (even more uncomfortable and inconvenient than it sounds) or leave a few long guns leaning against walls or in closets (not the most secure way to store a firearm), and maybe even if you do [see: below], when the s hits the f you want a handgun on your person. Sure, there are plenty of inspiring examples of home owners retrieving their long gun and repelling home invaders. But the smart money is on gun owners who mount a rapid, handgun-based defense.
A long gun has other disadvantages. For one thing, a long gun requires two hands. During a home defense you want a free hand to call the police, push or pull people to safety, turn on lights, open doors, grab a flashlight, fend off blows, strike your assailant, etc. For another, long guns are long. Training helps, but it’s not easy to negotiate tight spaces or go ’round corners with a long gun barrel proceeding you. And bad guys can grab a long gun’s barrel (corkscrewing your firearm and/or shooting them off is an effective but unreliable response).
A long gun is ideal for protecting a defensive position while waiting for the cops to arrive. That’s an excellent plan for gun owners who have time to respond to a home invasion: gather friendlies, grab a long gun, don ear protection (ideally), call the cops and wait. But there’s a high likelihood you won’t have time. You’ll need to stop or at least delay the threat immediately. You need an immediate remedy. Even if it’s a small pocket pistol, a home carried handgun is the answer to the question “what do I do now”?
People let their hair down and relax at home. And why not? It’s supposed to be a sanctuary. It is a sanctuary. Protect it and those who shelter within it. Home carry people. Home carry.