Responsibly Controlling Accessibility of Your Firearms
One such concept is the distinction between firearms that are "in use" and those guns which are "not in use." Firearms that are "not in use" are guns which are not currently designated by the owner to be used during a defense of his personal safety, the safety of his loved ones, and the defense of his residence.
As such, these "not in use" firearms - by virtue of the NRA's Third Rule of Safe Gun Handling - should be unloaded, separated from ammunition, and safely stored with a variety of mechanisms: trigger locks, cable locks, gun cases, and gun safes.
Adherence to this safety protocol helps to ensure that any "not in use" firearms in the home are not directly accessible and operable by any unauthorized users: inquisitive children, nosy visitors, and etc. Firearms, which are "not in use" are usually not under constant monitoring and should be isolated and secured.
In contrast, firearms which are actively "in use" for personal protection should always be loaded and accessible just in case it is quickly needed to quell a dangerous threat. Moreover, access to that loaded gun should also be controlled such that an unauthorized user can't possess it.
The Fine Balance Between Accessibility and Safety
Depending on your circumstances, it can be challenging to have a firearm that is loaded, nearby, accessible, and secured. This is especially the case if you have small children in the home or may be visited by other children - at times - in your home. Accordingly, for those two aforementioned scenarios I suggest wearing the gun all day in your holster, keeping the gun in a "fast-open" safe, or some combination of both options.
Wearing a holstered firearm can indeed become a drag - pun intended - especially if it is a heavy, bulky, and full sized firearm. However, the benefit of carrying it this way is that you always have fast, secured, and ready access to a loaded firearm.
Alternatively, keeping a loaded "in use" gun in a "fast-open" safe delivers security away from the unauthorized hands of children but it also requires you to be able to get to it before you need it. There is no benefit to owning a gun if you can't use it. Thusly, a lot of thought should go into the decision of where to place the safe.
You Can't Call A Time-out During A Robbery
An admonishment that I always share with my CPL students is that "you can't call a time-out during a home-invasion." There have been numerous published accounts whereby good law-abiding citizens at home have been suddenly awakened from their slumber by bad guys sizing them up for an assault from the feet of their respective beds.
A home-owner can't reasonably expect that if he forms his hands into the shape of the letter "T," akin to how a coach does during a basketball game to regroup his team's mindset and to enhance its performance against the opponent, a home-invader will "freeze" into a motion-less state while a defensive firearm is retrieved. Thus, I advocate that an "in use" firearm should always be loaded, nearby, controlled, and accessible to deal with and handle sudden malevolent surprises.
It appears that although my prior advice was correct, I did not mention another strategy that "could" work under a set of fortunate circumstances: The unaware and surprised home-owner might alternatively be able to trick gullible bad guys into allowing him to get access to a firearm that was either not closeby or loaded. For the record, there is nothing immoral about lying to a home-invader; it must just save your life.
It Is Not A Sin To Lie To A Home-Invader
Today's newspaper brought word that two armed predators broke into an occupied home in Bloomfield Township last night. When suddenly confronted face-to-face with his home invaders, the victim engaged in deception by pretending to cooperate.
He told his captors that he was going to cooperate with their demands and needed to go in another room of his residence to retrieve some money for them. Instead of giving the bad guys a financial reward, he instead produced a previously inaccessible firearm and proceeded to discharge bullets at them. One bad guy was shot in the hand and was arrested when he arrived for treatment at a local hospital. His accomplice is still at large.
If You Own A Gun, Keep It Handy and Accessible
The victim in this story was lucky that he was able to trick the bad guys into allowing him to gain access to his firearm. Had the criminals not been so trusting, this story could have had a much worse ending. Genuinely cooperating with criminals is no guarantee of safety and the victim was wise, in my opinion, to find a way to access his firearm even if it meant lying.
Furthermore, I specifically endorse and advise that people who desire to be safe, even at home, to always keep a loaded, controlled, and accessible handgun close to their location. My best suggestion is to wear it every waking hour and have it within an arm's reach while asleep. My suggestion, however, does not absolve one from the responsibility of keeping any "in use" firearm away from children.
About The Author
Rick Ector is a National Rifle Association credentialed Firearms Trainer, who provides Michigan CCW Class training in Detroit for students at his firearms school - Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit.
Ector is a recognized expert in firearm safety and has been featured extensively in the national and local media: Associated Press, UPI, NRAnews, Guns Digest, Tactical-Life, The Truth About Guns, The Politics Daily, Fox News Detroit, The Detroit News, The Detroit Examiner, WJLB, WGPR, and the UrbanShooterPodcast.
For more info about free shooting lessons for women and Michigan CCW Classes, please contact:
Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit
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