Monday, December 13, 2004

"Revised View of Handguns". I guess I need to say what I mean, and just not let an ambiguous comment like that hang there, Scott. My revised view is that a law abiding citizen ought to be permitted to own a handgun, particularly for defensive purposes, and, if he chooses, carry one concealed on his person, provided that he has a license. If someone decides to obtain a handgun for defensive purposes, he has a duty to obtain training, not simply in how to load and shoot it, but also how to deal with it responsibly, and he has to keep up the training.

Both the book that I referred to in my earlier post and the NRA video that I saw on keeping a handgun in one's home for self defense emphasize the world of hurt that comes down on someone who uses a handgun appropriately to defend himself or his family. (I meant it when I wrote "appropriately".) Arrest and investigation, even when the criminal process finally results in no charges being brought, is a terrible burden that can take months to resolve. Then there are the civil law suits that often follow. Finally, there is the emotional toll of being involved in a shooting, even when it was clearly defensive.

The book makes a very credible argument that the police cannot protect you against people who are crazed or just bad. He argues that the odds of surviving significantly increase when you have a concealed firearm, especially if you are a woman, when one of these people enters your life bent on mayhem. Frankly, I was a little depressed when I finished the book. "Is the world that the author describes really like that?" I thought. What depressed me is a sense that he is correct, and that most of us walk around with a sense of security that is simply not as well founded as we think.

I am working up to buying a gun. I am not quite there yet. As a city boy who never went hunting, this is really unchartered territory. But I will let you know what happens.

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