Does having a gun in your house make you safer?
First, let’s look at proof that you can use a firearm to defend yourself, your family and possessions from an attempted home invasion or finding and intruder or intruders already in your home. How often this occurs is tough to establish. There are a limited number of studies, and their methodology often suggests that they were designed to arrive at a particular answer by partisans on one or the other side of the gun safety debate. But a reasonably reliable measure comes from a 1982 study of male felons in 11 state prison systems. This study found that:
• 34% reported that they had been “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim,”
• 40% had decided not to commit a crime because they “knew or believed that the victim was carrying a gun,”
• 69% personally knew other criminals who had been “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim.”
In addition, if you watch the evening news for your local area or read the newspaper, chances are you’ve seen reports of home or store owners using a firearm to protect their life or property. I know I have seen numerous reports of this. Many years ago, I also personally repelled a would-be home invader with my M1 Carbine when he pushed open my front door. So I know from firsthand experience that having a firearm can provide home protection.
Now, how about proof that having a firearm nearby may present a danger to its owner or the owner’s loved ones. Again, I know from observing the news that some people with a firearm in their home end up with themselves or a family member getting shot with it, either when a criminal reaches it before they do, they accidentally discharge it, they are involved in domestic violence that escalates to the use of the firearm, or they hit a low point in their life and use the weapon on themselves to commit suicide.
Certainly, there are plenty of alternative ways to kill oneself, but studies do seem to suggest that those having easy access to a gun are more likely to kill themselves than those who don’t have one immediately available. Perhaps this is because other methods of committing suicide take more planning, or may seem more threatening due to the possibility of suffering before death, or failure leading to discovery and commitment to a mental hospital.
So we have two basic premises here. 1—A gun in your home can be used to protect you and/or your family member/s. 2—A gun in your home can be used to harm or kill you and/or your family member/s. And so the question, which is more likely to occur? “Does having a gun in your house make you safer, or less safe?” Certainly this has been studied. What do well conducted studies show?