Defensive Firearms Use

Are you really even allowed to shoot people for not doing anything except asking for you wallet? Would the ‘upstanding citizens’ allowed to carry weapons do that?

People have entirely over-complicated the issue of firearms in this country. It is very simple really. Firearms are a tool. They are a force projector. In fact, they are about the most effective tool of self defense.

Another thing to remember is some people are at a physical disadvantage when it comes to self defense, whether it be size, age, physical condition, etc. Firearms can put the disadvantaged victim on equal or superior footing to their attacker. Gun bans or unrealistic, excessive, and superficial regulation also have the effect of implying that people that are at a physical disadvantage are out of luck and they’ll just have to deal with it “for the greater good”. This is completely contrary to how “fair” and equal we like to think of ourselves as Americans.

An anonymous person once said, “Legislation is no substitute for morality or a lack thereof.” I think it is most important to understand that concept. There have been idiots and criminals in every society in the past, there currently are idiots and criminals in the present, there will continue to be idiots and criminals in the future. No amount of legislation, heavy restriction, etc will stop people from being idiots or criminals. Because of that, law abiding people need firearms to have a realistic and effective means of self defense from idiots and criminals.

I said things are much more simple than they have been made out to be. Here is the simple part. If you (speaking generally) or your family was threatened with death or serious injury, do you want to be able to defend yourself, your loved ones, etc? Nevermind emotional, ideological, or religious implications. Plain and simple, do you want to LIVE? I mean that ultimately is the real question, how much do you want to live? If you said yes, then also ask yourself if you want the most effective tool out there for protecting yourself? If we can’t even have the expectation of having the ability and/or the effective tools to defend ourselves with, this is not America. Certainly not the ideal America envisioned a couple hundred years ago.

Do people even realize, guns don’t need to deter crime, they really don’t need to do anything period. It doesn’t matter what an idiot or criminal does. You can’t control them no matter how hard you try. That is the purpose for a firearm for self defense. When people get out of hand, and as a last resort, a firearm gives the law-abiding owner a fighting chance at surviving. Guns are not going to necessarily deter or stop crime, there will ALWAYS be crime, at least in my lifetime. Humans are fundamentally flawed far too much for us to realize the ideal of the utopian society, at least in my lifetime. All that really matters is the individual (law-abiding of course) have the ability to protect themselves, which accordingly makes them free from becoming a subject of insidious individuals. And that really is what this country is all about. People focus entirely too much on what someone else is going to do, trying to control their actions, focusing legislation on controlling these “other” people. What we need to do is focus on ourselves because, as I mentioned before, you cannot control idiots and criminals and prevent them from committing acts of idiocy or crime. What people need to do is focus on themselves, learning to defend themselves, learning proper firearms safety, or what have you. I think if everyone focused on themselves a little more in that context and stopped worrying about what everyone else is doing, this country would be much safer and better off.

As a mugger or robber, can you take the chance that the person you are mugging or robbing is an upstanding citizen?

A mugger or robber doesn’t necessarily go up and ask you politely for your wallet.

Or, “Would you please step out of your vehicle and hand me your keys?” It’s more likely that a mugger or car jacker is using a form of force or implied force, such as a gun, knife, or physical molestation of some sort such as actually removing the item from your person. If the person being robbed has a gun and the training to use it in self defense, who’s to say they won’t shoot the robber?

Even if they are not prone to act that way, having your life threatened (even if it’s implied threat) can make you do things you wouldn’t normally do.

I’m not a career criminal, I’ve never mugged or robbed someone, so I don’t know what runs through their minds as they do it. I’d guess that after robbing a few people who have guns, you’d start to think about your own mortality. Are there good medical benefits in street crime?

An armed and polite populace may offer some general deterence to crime, but the truth is that a firearm can only deter or stop a single crime from occuring.

If a guy tries to mug me and I expose my weapon, causing him to run, I have two options. I can either decide that since there is no harm, there is no foul, and go about my day, or I can do the smart thing and call the police.

Calling the police serves two purposes. One, it informs the police that there is a person in their area who may be trying to assault people, and the police are the people whose job it is to investigate crimes and analyze trends that will help them to fight crime. If they department gets six calls about a guy stalking and robbing people in parking lots, and they get some good descriptions, they have a better chance of finding him. Two, it prevents the criminal you just chased off from calling the police on you for brandishing a firearm in public. If you call first and file a police report, and later on the police get a report about you, then they know they are talking to the guy who you accuse of attacking you.

Now, I can not shoot a person who is not presenting a reasonable threat to my health or safety, but I can expose my weapon against a person who is approaching me in a threatening manner. Something along the lines of a guy walking toward me with a weapon, or approaching me after I ask them to stop. I can put my hand on my gun and inform them that I have a weapon, or draw my weapon, or, if they are withing 21’ and are armed or reasonably dangerous to me (an 300lbs unarmed linebacker is reasonably dangerous to a 90lbs grandmother), I can fire. The rules vary, and a person with a carry permit is responsible for knowing what the rules are (part of exercising the right is to know it’s limits and conditions).

Just to clarify, I’m a reasonably fit male in his 30s. Where I live, if an individual about my size came after me unarmed, I would be wrong to draw my weapon. If he had a knife or club, once he hits about 20’, I can shoot, especially if I gave him warning that I was armed (if I had a chance to do that). I have no obligation to retreat, although if I can safely back up, it is a good idea to try and keep the distance open, and it shows that I tried to get away (i.e. I’m not some trigger happy idiot).

If he has a gun, I can draw and fire as soon as I see it. If I am being accosted by multiple people, I can draw and fire. If I am protecting others, I can draw and fire as long as there is a reasonable threat.

BTW, 20’ is the distance a person can cover from a dead stop to a full run in just over 1 second. If I’m feeling threatened, my gun will be out before they get to 20’.

Yeah, calling the police makes sense. But then again muggers act repeatedly and don’t get caught.

Btw, how can someone cover 20 feet in 1 second?

Because one second is one-thousand-and-one, not one-one-thousand.

I’ve got two bad knees and I go from a standing start and cover six to eight feet at a walk in the space of a second. Were I uninjured and in shape I don’t think that 20 feet would be a problem.

A fit person can jog at about 5 mph and can sprint anywhere between 14 mph to 25 mph. 14 mph => 14 * 5280 = 73920 feet per hour
73920 / 3600 seconds per hour = 20.5333 feet per second
most people can accelerate from a dead stop to a full sprint in just a few steps, so it is not beyond reasoning that they could cover 20 feet in just over a second

see here

The argument that “if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns” is inherently flawed. Sure, criminals might not care about gun laws, but they’re still subject to the same market forces as everyone else. They don’t have the ability to just wave their hands and produce guns out of thin air. If guns were hypothetically outlawed, then the gun manufacturers would have very few legitimate customers, and would therefore produce very few guns, and there would be fewer guns available for criminals to get their hands on. With fewer guns produced by the legitimate manufacturers, it would be easier to track any which fell into unauthorized hands, and illegitimate manufacturers could be tracked down and brought to justice. Some especially resourceful criminals would no doubt still manage to obtain firearms, but there would be a lot less of them.

If the U.S. government decided that starting tomorrow, guns would be outlawed, do you think that we’d “start” with a clean slate? All people who currently have guns suddenly won’t? Or that criminals (or even normally law abiding citizens who just don’t agree with this one law) will turn their weapons over immediately?

I don’t have a cite for how many people currently illegally own guns in the U.S., but I’d wager it’s a staggering number. And it’s perfectly legal to own guns that are over a certain age.

This also assumes that just because it’s illegal, it’s tough to get. How many people drank liquor during prohibition? I know quite a few people who obtain marijuana and hard drugs at a constant rate, despite them being illegal. What about people who buy stolen merchandise? That’s illegal too, but there seems to be a propensity of availability.

If all civilians were disallowed from owning firearms, I don’t think that the percentage of ownership in the violent crime demographic will drop significantly. Maybe in several decades, but not in the first 5 or 10 years. Even now, there’s lots of guns made in the 1940s and 1950s that are in circulation that aren’t registered, let alone current day models.

Just because the United States bans guns doesn’t mean that the biggest manufacturers of guns (some of which just may be outside of the U.S.) will stop making guns, and that other people won’t buy them with the intent to resell them inside the U.S. There will be plenty of ways for the criminal element to get their hands on guns even if there’s laws against them.

I’ve always said that the biggest problem with laws is the enforcement of the laws.

I agree with Sean, companies like Glock & H&K (and many others) are not US companies, so our laws have no bearing on them except that they would not be able to sell here except to the police and military. Of course, it is illegal to sell cocaine in this country, yet somehow tons of it make across our borders every year. It’s no big deal for the drug lords to include weapons with their cocaine bales.

Now, currently in the US there are an estimated 90 legally owned firearms per 100 people, although only ~30% of the population owns them (I personally have three guns, many of the gun owners I know have much larger collections). If the government attempted to confiscate and destroy all legally owned civilian firearms, they would fail as most gun owners would protect their property by hiding it as soon as the word got out that confiscations were happenning. If by some measure all the legally owned weapons were located and confiscated, there would still be tens of millions of guns held by criminals who never should have had one in the first place. The police and the military would also still have firearms, and you can bet that criminals would raid those armories for new weapons and ammo.

Also, firearms have been around for hundreds of years and the technology to mass produce them is very old. A modestly outfitted machine shop could turn out dozens of guns a day, as well as producing ammo for the guns. The skills to make a gun are skills that are, believe it or not, taught in prisons (prisoners learn metalworking skills in order to get a job after they get out).

Nope, getting rid of guns is a fools errand.

You got the spirit of the current situation mostly correct, but there are a number of inaccuracies in what you said.

First, an assault rifle is a type of select-fire military rifle. The two most well-known examples are the M16 and the AK-47. Select-fire means it can be switched been semi-automatic fire and automatic fire. Assault rifles are a type of automatic weapon, but not all automatic weapons are assault rifles.

Assault weapons, on the other hand, is an invented term to refer to semi-automatic versions of assault rifles. It was used to make the general populace believe that the Assault Weapons Ban was banning automatic weapons, when it was really banning scary looking rifles that were generally weaker than a number of their traditional rifle counterparts.

As for purchasing an automatic weapon, the extensive criminal and background checks are a little overstated. In order to purchase a machine gun (any weapon that fires more than one round per trigger pull, as defined in the National Firearms Act), you have to get fingerprinted, have your chief law enforcement officer for your area sign the application (indicated that he knows of no reason why you’d be ineligible to own it), and include a photograph of yourself. Other than that, it’s just a $200 tax and a bit of waiting for the paperwork to come back from the ATF. Really, the only major barrier to machine gun ownership for most people is that the finite and slowly decreasing supply (due to the registry being closed in '86) means that prices continue to climb making the guns cost about 10 times what they’d normally cost.

This would depend entirely on what state (and sometimes what city) you’re in. In Florida, for example, the state law says you’re okay as long as the firearm is securely encased – where securely encased can be as simple as being placed in the glove box or in holster with a clasp. The state law also preempts cities from passing more stringent laws. Also, like most states, we don’t have a gun registry, so there’s really no notion of registered vs. unregistered here.

Even submachine guns can be produced with relative ease: (Towards the end of the history section is a mention that it required only about five man-hours to produce.)

I think some people may be missing one of the points of firearms for defensive use. It’s not necessarily about crime deterrence, it’s not necessarily about preventing crime. What it is about is a serious and imminent threat. People talk about a lot of other aspects but, there is one I feel is most important, the determined/demented killer. As we have seen in recent years, there are still psychos out there shooting up public places, there are still serial killers, basically there are still nutjobs out there that are bent on killing people for the sake of killing. That represents the most imminent and serious threat in my opinion. I hear many people that dislike guns say that it is wrong to kill no matter what the circumstances. The inherent flaw with that method of thinking is that psychos bent on killing people have already lost all touch with reality and already proven they have no respect for the laws of man or God. Certainly it is not a pleasant thing to think about having to shoot another human being but, again ask yourself how much you want to live?

One other issue I never really hear addressed much is the fact that plenty of firearms are imported illegally into this country, so criminal’s weapons don’t necessarily all come from the US and legal sources. Look at the war on drugs for example. How many billions of dollars have we spent waging that “war”, and you can still find plenty of illegal drugs readily available throughout the country. Firearms are not going to simply disappear even if they were to be banned here and manufacturers stopped selling to the public. Even if they were banned and became considerably less common, even in the criminal world, there is one problem. Determined criminals will still commit crimes, and they will simply find other tools to do so. I highly recommend everyone take a good, long, serious look at the current state of the UK. Since 1997 when they banned handguns, they have seen something like a 40% rise in crime. In fact, the first few years after the handgun ban, there was actually an INCREASE in the amount of crime involving handguns. Right now, there is a serious issue there with crimes involving knives. Also, there are countless stories of civilians defending themselves against criminals, the criminals being injured, and the innocent civilians being put in jail for God’s sakes! If we aren’t careful, we will be doomed to go down that same road if we keep taking liberty for granted.

Of course it wouldn’t have an immediate impact on the number of guns in the general population. But guns, like anything else, have a finite lifespan. Eventually, they get lost, or wear out, or are turned in to the authorities by people who want to follow the laws, or get destroyed by someone wanting to get rid of evidence, or whatever. And while it’s possible for criminals to make their own guns, it’s not nearly as easy as it is to make alcohol: A machine shop is a lot harder to hide than a bucket.

As I said, sufficiently resourceful criminals would still have guns. You can’t put the genie back into the bottle. I never claimed that outlawing guns would eliminate them, just that it’s incorrect to say that outlawing guns would have no impact on gun ownership by criminals.

Depends on location. I don’t think there are more than a few states that even have gun registration, so that’s not an issue in most places. I know that in Washington, the only requirement for having a loaded gun in a vehicle is the possession of a Concealed Pistol License, which may be obtained from your local police or sheriff’s office for $60. If you don’t have a CPL, any gun in your vehicle must be unloaded, which by statute simply means that there are no cartridges in the action, and none in any magazine attached to the action. You could have a loaded magazine right next to an unloaded pistol in your glovebox and you’d be just fine by the law.

Yeah, we actually had an incident like that not too long ago. At the recent Folklife festival in Seattle, a guy with a CPL apparently got into a fight with some other person, tried to draw a Glock pistol from an ankle holster, and in the process discharged it unintentionally. The bullet grazed one guy’s nose, went through another man’s hand, and finally lodged in a woman’s leg.

Turns out the shooter was undergoing methadone treatment and had a history of mental health problems that wasn’t quite disabling under law. Of course, as a result, the mayor of Seattle is attempting to ban all concealed carry on city property, claiming that this will make the city safer. :rolleyes: He hasn’t got a chance of succeeding, of course - because of our state constitution and our state preemption law, any of his policies to that effect are illegal - but he’s pretty much just doing it to score political points.

I didn’t say no impact, just not a significant impact - nowhere near the impact it will have on law abiding citizens.

Assuming all law abiding citizens follow a new law banning guns from civilians and turn them all in, the effect will be 100%.

The effect on criminals who plan on using guns for violent crime have even more reason for not turning them in now - the polite society just disarmed themselves.

As has been stated elsewhere in this article, there’s ways of getting your hands on many illegal things. There’s a grocery list of stuff most people can put their hands on in short notice that is illegal. Guns won’t be any different. More difficult to get, yes, but prohibitively so? No. If things (anything) could be made prohibitively hard to get, then why haven’t hard drugs been made prohibitively hard to get? Guns won’t be different.

It’s not like criminals use legitimate means to obtain their weaponry right now, right? I doubt that a gangster who commits violent crime daily bothers to buy a gun from a legitimate dealer, wait the waiting period, register it with law enforcement (so that they can track his violent crime use), etc. It’s more likely they wanna bust a cap in whitey today, so they are going to buy it off a G they know, who got it illegally.

The only thing I envision changing for committers of violent crime is that they have to be slightly more circumspect than they are now, but that’s OK. Since the polite citizenry is no longer armed, their guns will be even more effective. They can be even more confident when they do use them.

Although it is tough to try to compare statistics, I am suprised noone has endeavored to supply any anecdotal stories.

The first comparison would be The VA Tech shootings on April 16, 2007 where 32 victims were killed on a ‘guns free’ campus, while just West of there at the Appalachian School of Law, were shootings on a campus without the ‘guns free’ clause - on January 16, 2002 - there were 3 victims killed and the perpetrator was subdued with the help of two students that legally carried firearms in their cars.

The second comparison would be the double site shooting on December 9, 2007 where a perpetrator killed two people in Denver (at a missions group meeting) then drove to Colorado Springs and killed two more victims (in a 100x populated area) but was killed by volunteer security people who had guns.

While we could never assuage the grief of the victims’ families and friends, you can at least ask yourself, which university or which church would you opt to attend? I can say with clarity that it is the one WITH the legal firearms.

By the way, I do not, nor have ever owned a firearm.


Perhaps because anecdotes aren’t the same as data.

Three people were killled, and three wounded, at Appalachian School of Law. If the gunman had wanted to kill 20-30 people, he could have. That wasn’t his intent. He got the two admins he was gunning for, then sprayed some students on his way out of the building, killing one, wounding three. If no one had accosted him in the parking lot, he no doubt would have gone on his way, killing no one else.

That wasn’t the case at Virginia Tech.

Read the Wikipedia summary of that attack, and then come back.

This guy was out to kill as many as he could.

Slug’s illustration was a little editorial, like they usually are, but it puts me in mind of 3 subtopics that the column didn’t include: suicide by firearm, criminal-on-criminal crime, and handgun safety training. Older studies showed that having a handgun in the house increases the chance of a suicide occuring though I haven’t heard any new studies cited since a few years after A Savage God came out. In the 90’s, I read of a study of criminals who were asked why they would carry a weapon, a significant portion stated that it was because they had been the victim of a crime and wanted to be able to protect themselves from other crooks. And finally, a study of Orlando, FL area pharmacists showed that handgun safety training, whether the pharmacist actually armed themselves or not, was correlated to a drop in crimes against their pharmacies. With the current 2nd Amendment case coming down from the Supreme Court any day now, I imagine there are going to be a flood of studies on the whole subject. With concealed handgun classes so prevalent here in Texas for almost a decade now, it would be interesting to see what the effect has been.

You’re misinformed on this matter. Given the metallurgical advances of the 80’s and 90’s, most major brands of firearms including Glock, H&K, S&W, Colt, Ruger, etc. are producing handguns that have a lifespan of 20 years and possibly more. My home defense gun, a 9mm Glock 19 was purchased before my 17-year-old was born and despite some cosmetic wear on the barrel’s finish, I expect it will last another 17 years. The original product testing included a 100,000 round torture test: that’s the equivalent of going to the gun range every month for 3-1/2 years. With the upward push on ammo prices from the Iraq War, that’s about $50 a visit here in Texas.

But if you really want some insight on lifespan for a gently used or unused firearm:
for a number of years, Sportsman’s Guide offered Mauser and Martini Henry Rifles that were manufactured in Germany before 1900 and sold to the Chilean military. These weapons were stored so hermetically that Sportsman’s Guide was able to purchase them for their surplus catalog and sell them by mail order because they were manufactured before 1900. A Martini Henry is what Oswald used to assasinate JFK.

Of course it wouldn’t have an immediate impact on the number of guns in the general population. But guns, like anything else, have a finite lifespan . . . .

A great book on national defense is John McPhee’s Place de la Place de Concorde about the Swiss Army. The Swiss’ experience expelling the Austrians led to their current arrangement. There are a multitude of gun clubs in Switzerland as a result. As to the weapons that reserve soldiers bring home: it’s not the gun, it’s the ammo. The reservist’s ammo is in a sealed container, and breaking the seal without an order is a major violation. For the Swiss, army service also helps reservists network to the advantage of their civilian jobs.

You’re thinking of Switzerland . . .