5 Benefits of Using a Gun to Protect Your Home
By Ryan Avila
The same as you always carry a spare tire, or keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen, a self-defense firearm should be part of your home standard equipment. If you know how, and when, to use the gun then you will have substantial benefits when it is needed. As part of your preparation it is vitally important that you know and understand the Texas laws pertaining to self-defense and the home.
As of 2007, Texas passed a "castle doctrine" law which allows homeowners to use deadly force against illegal intruders without the necessity of retreating. However, like many laws, there are important aspects to it that can trip you up and cause significant legal problems if you are not aware of them. For example, you cannot shoot at a fleeing criminal except under highly unusual conditions, and you still have to state that you had a reasonable fear for your life.
A firearm should be part of a "layered defense." This means that your first layer is arranging your outside lighting and landscaping to prevent hiding spots for potential intruders. An alarm system is a great secondary layer for keeping out the casual opportunist who is looking for an easy score. The alarm company sign out front encourages them to move along to another, less-protected home. The alarm system also protects your home when you are away. Alarm system passwords should be treated as if they were the keys to your home, because in many ways they fulfill the same function.
#1- A gun is instantaneous
Experienced burglars know that they can often get into a home and out again before the police can respond to an alarm. However, when they are facing down the barrel of a gun they know that instantly vacating the home or yard is a very good idea. A gun in the hand of an experienced person commands total respect from most home invaders. It is important, though, that you as the homeowner know that you can pull the trigger if necessary. If you communicate to the invader (through words or nervous actions) that you would be scared to ever pull the trigger, it turns the advantage back around to them. Practice builds confidence, but you still have to find it within yourself to know what to do when the time comes for hard decisions.
#2-A gun is the most effective way to stop a person
According to sociologist Dr. Gary Kleck, guns are more effective in stopping crimes than knives, other tools, non-violent resistance, reasoning with the attacker, or calling for help. They don't want to get shot under any circumstances, and most know that risking death is not in their best interest. However, most gunshots, especially with a handgun, are not instantaneously incapacitating, and guns are not magic wands able to do miracles. A single shot to the arm may only enrage the intruder. Being able to keep multiple bullets on target and hitting the intruder in vital areas such as the center chest region is an important part of practical self-defense with a gun. You have to do your job properly for the gun to do its job.
#3- Guns are light, mobile, and can be used by almost anyone
Handguns are easy to carry with one hand, leaving the other free for protection. It's easier to maneuver around a home and yard with a handgun than a rifle or shotgun, both of which can get heavy for a smaller person to carry for long periods. Even the smallest, frailest person can shoot a .22 handgun without fearing recoil, and more robust shooters can move up the caliber and power scale to find something comfortable for them. If you prefer to use a shotgun but are concerned about the recoil, a 20 gauge shotgun gives almost all the power of a 12 gauge but with much less recoil.
#4-Training is easily available for those who wish to learn guns
It doesn't take a firefighter to use a fire extinguisher or an auto mechanic to change a flat tire, and it doesn't take a highly trained specialist to use a firearm for self-defense. Most modern guns are "point and click," with only one or two easily remembered controls. An hour at the shooting range will teach most people almost all of what they need to know about shooting a gun. The NRA sponsors training classes which are available through most gun shops, and there are many independent schools offering advanced training if you want it. If you can gather together enough friends who also want training it may be possible to bring an instructor in for a special class.
#5- Guns can be tailored to a variety of situations.
Homes come in a wide variety, and there are home self-defense guns to meet each style. Apartment dwellers may be better off with a medium powered handgun with frangible ammunition, or that which breaks apart when it hits a wall. A rural homeowner facing invading coyotes, or situations where law enforcement takes an hour or more to get there, may want to go with a larger "reach out and touch" rifle for longer distances. No matter where you live or the home style, there is a firearm that will do the job of protecting your family from harm.
Guest Blog Contributor Ryan Avila. When not working on home projects, Ryan is a content writer for Your Local Security.
*Cowboy Aiming Gun photographer: Jeanne Hatch