I spent some time this morning writing this for the UCPD Facebook page. I’m tapped out on writing so I figured I would just post this here even though it’s not fitness related. Worth the read though if you have been considering getting a gun for home protection…….
Since I became the sergeant of Community Oriented Policing & Problem Solving (COPPS) Unit back in January, I’ve had numerous chances to meet with neighborhood watch groups. Topics range from traffic concerns, crime trends, neighbor disputes, noise complaints, and home security. Inevitably, there is one topic that is always brought up by someone in the group:
“Should I buy a gun? I heard of a guy who went to prison for murder for shooting someone who broke into his home.”
It’s a legitimate question.
California has “castle doctrine” in place. Penal Code 198.5 grants justification for deadly force inside one’s residence. If someone forces his or her way into your home, and you have a “reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury” then you would be justified in using deadly force to defend yourself.
A forceable entry to your home while you are in it is itself a crime that immediately induces fear on a victim. The intent of the person breaking in is not known. The actions of the intruder are unpredictable. I know I would have a fear that a person who has forced entry into my home may have the intent to harm me or my wife. It is a reasonable fear.
It plays out like this. A person breaks into your home while you and your family are inside. You believe your life or the lives of your family are in danger. You take action against the intruder that results in great bodily injury or death to the person. You have not broken any laws. This does not mean that you are not going to be taken into the station for questioning by the police. This does not mean that the person that you injured or the family of a person you killed can’t try to sue you in civil court. All the ‘castle doctrine” ensures is that if you articulate reasonable fear, you will not be charged with murder.
So should you buy that firearm for home protection? There are some things to consider before you buy a gun.
Keeping a gun in your home does not instantly put a shield around you or instantly empower you and protect you from people with ill intent. If someone is meaning to harm you and your family, and your intent is to defend yourself with a gun, you better be sure you can pull that trigger with the intent to take another person’s life. They make it look easy in the movies, but it is not so easy in real life. Taking the life of another human being is not something we are mentally wired to do. Despite what you see on the news, even police officers and those in the military have trouble with the thought of taking the life of another human being. Read Dave Grossman’s book “On Killing” to get a really good perspective on how hard it is psychologically to actually inflict great bodily harm on another person.
Mentally, you think you have what it takes to use a firearm against another person, so you buy a gun. You should learn to be proficient in the handling and shooting of a firearm. Just owning it with the plan of pointing it and pulling the trigger is not sufficient. Again, the movies make using a gun look easy. It is not easy. You step out of your bedroom and confront an intruder in your home. You are scared he is going to harm you or your family. Guess what, he is scared too! The intruder is not going to suddenly stand against the wall and become a paper target that you shoot at a firing range. He is going to be moving. The lighting may be low. You may have to pull the trigger more than once. You need to be prepared for all of those circumstances. The skills to be prepared for a gun fight are perishable. Are you going to not only learn the skills, but also practice them regularly?
You buy a gun to protect you and your family. Where are you going to keep it? I would hope that you store it safely and out of reach of children. Maybe you keep it high up on a closet shelf or better yet in a safe. So, if your gun is stored in a safe place, and you are woken in your sleep by the noise of an intruder inside your home, what are the chances that you can even access your weapon to confront the intruder? Gun storage is important. Most burglaries occur when people are not home. So many home burglaries result in the theft of guns. Burglars take guns left in closets, nightstands, dresser drawers, etc. Please store your weapons in a secure place!
The last thing to consider is the most important. When I was teaching defensive tactics in the police academy, it’s something I always reminded recruits. Whatever weapon you decide to use to confront a person meaning to harm you can end up being used against you. A gun in the hands of someone not proficient at using it can be taken in the blink of an eye. Going to keep a bat by your bed with the intend of using a Babe Ruth swing to knock out an intruder? Can you even swing a bat? Do you have the room in your hallways, bedroom or kitchen to even take a swing big enough to hurt an intruder? Remember that criminals don’t want to do two things. They don’t want to get caught, and they don’t want to get hurt. When they risk getting caught and you are intending to hurt them, desperate people do desperate things. Are you prepared for that?
Should you buy a gun for home security? No one can answer that question but you. My intent of this writing is that you consider everything I mentioned before you make the decision. I am a police officer and former SWAT team member. I have taught hand to hand combat for over 16 years. I am well trained in the use of firearms and physical confrontation with those intent on meaning me harm. Despite that, I have chosen preventive measures rather than reactive measures to protect myself and my wife in our home. The exterior of my home is lit up brighter than the street lamps at night. I have surveillance cameras installed around the exterior of my home that can easily be seen by anyone approaching the house. I own a dog that sleeps in my house. Kai has a loud bark and is very protective of my wife and I. I know my neighbors and they know me. We look out for each other. Maybe these preventative measures are something you consider before you consider something more drastic. Choose wisely and stay safe!
If you’d like to discuss any of this in greater detail, please contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 6×2 Push Press (lift every 1:30)
Complete as many rounds as possible in 12 minutes of:
- 6 Push Press (60-65% of your 6×2 load)
- 8 Bar Facing Burpees
- 10 Toes to Bar
- 5×5 Front Squat (5#-10# more than last 5×5 load)
Complete 21-15-9 reps for time of:
- Dumbbell Thruster (pick weight)
- Box Jump (M:24’/W:20″)
*Run 100m after each round. 11 minute time cap.