Saturday, October 24, 2009

Your Handgun Is Always Somewhere

All handgun owners have the responsibility of knowing where their handguns are located at all times. By itself, a handgun poses no threat to the safety or welfare to other people and property. A handgun is neither good nor bad. However, in the wrong hands a handgun can be utilized negatively with dire circumstances. Each and every second of the day, your handgun is somewhere and you need to know exactly where that location is. If handguns are properly controlled and policed by their owners, no unintended incidents can occur.

Always Keep Unused Guns Unloaded
A fundamental rule of gun safety states that all guns "not in use" should be unloaded and properly secured. A firearm that is "not in use" is a NOT a firearm that is being actively used for personal protection. In contrast, Personal Protection handguns that are "in use" should ALWAYS be loaded so that they may be called upon to be used as a tool of last resort during an attack by an assailant.

For example, I own a .22LR caliber handgun that I use to show students in my Personal Protection Classes what a revolver looks like. Obviously, I do not use this firearm for personal protection because it is not of a suitable caliber for self-defense (i.e. 9mm or higher). However, it is a great visual aid for instructional purposes.

Thus, when I am not teaching a Personal Protection Class this handgun is NOT in use for defensive usage. Accordingly, I ensure that it is unloaded, separated from ammunition, encased in a locked gun box, and stored away in a hidden location. If someone should happen to "find" my firearm, it is not immediately available for use until the requisite time to unlock the case, find ammo, and load it has passed.

Furthermore, handguns that are NOT in use for personal protection are firearms that a owner would not try to gain access to and use during an attack. These "not in use" firearms should also be safely secured and stored.

Handguns "In Use" Should Be Loaded
If a handgun is actively being used for personal protection, it should be loaded and ready for use against an attack. An unloaded handgun is of no practical value when a bad guy has broken into your house and seeks to rape, rob, or terrorize the inhabitants. A homeowner under these circumstances should not waste valuable time trying to find his gun, find his ammunition, and then load his "in use" firearm.

Having a handgun "in use" requires that a responsible gun owner knows where his handgun is located at all times. For one, if it is quickly needed he needs to know where it is located so it can be accessed and used. A home invasion is not the opportune time to try to remember where your "in use" firearm is located.

Handguns "In Use" Must Be Inaccessible To Unauthorized Users
An actively used firearm's location needs to be known at all times so that unauthorized users can be kept away from it. It is not possible to effectively keep unauthorized users from your "in use" handgun if you do not exactly know where it is currently resting.

Officially, an unauthorized user is someone the handgun's owner does not give authorization to use his firearm. A lot of students in my classes incorrectly believe that other people in the home fall automatically under the classification of unauthorized users. For example, if an "in use" firearm is accessible to a spouse or other person - who is allowed to possess firearms - who needs it to fend off a home-invader, that handgun's usage is defensible, reasonable, and lawful.

For the most part, children in the home will be the persons who are unauthorized users of a firearm. An "in use" (i.e. loaded) firearm should be kept away from curious children. Obviously, bad things can happen if a child "finds" a loaded handgun and decides to play with it.

Thus, all handgun owners with children in the home, need to implement a personal protection plan that balances their personal accessibility to fight crime with inaccessibility to their children. In some cases, children in the home are sufficiently emotionally developed to obey the parent's edict not to bother a firearm.

In other cases, additional measures, such as gun safes with keypad openers, may need to be adopted. Since each home environment is different, no 'one-size-fits-all" solution exists. Responsible gun owning adults are capable of making the correct arrangements without governmental interference or "common-sense" gun control laws to dictate what happens in their homes.

One Solution That Works
Obviously, having a gun in the home is a big decision wherein the owner has to balance accessibility and inaccessibility to unauthorized users. Many gun owners, especially those with children, elect to carry their handguns in a holster at all times of the day. In this scenario, the gun owner knows with absolute certainty where his firearm is loaded, the gun owner has access to it in his moment of need, and his children do not have access to his firearm.

To some folks, this practice may seem a tad extreme. However, in light of the fact that within recent memory several violent crimes - such as robbery, rape, and murder - have been done to victims as they were answering their front doors, taking out the trash, and moving cars in their driveways. It's never a bad thing to have access to handgun just in case you need it. There is no down-side to wearing a handgun that you didn't have to use.

Bottom Line:
A handgun owner should know with absolute certainty where his handgun is located at all times. It is of no practical good to have a handgun if you don't know exactly where it is located during your time of need. Additionally, it is almost impossible to safeguard its usage from unauthorized users if you do not know where it is located. An unattended handgun in of itself is not a problem until either an untrained adult or a curious child comes into contact with it. As a consequence, many handgun owners elect to wear their firearms all day long.

Where are your firearms?
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