Random thoughts from flyover country

Monday, September 22

Carry at home, or not?

Do you carry at home, do you keep guns stashed at “strategic” locations around the house, or do you keep everything locked up in the safe or locker when you're home? Alternatively, do you believe anyone who keeps a gun available at home is “paranoid?” I've heard people who carry on a daily basis describe locking their carry gun away once they get home, describing people who don't as paranoid. I've heard other people talking about having a number of identical guns readily available but hidden around the house “where no one else can find them.” I know others, of whom I include myself, who continue to carry when they get home. Of course, there are those out there who think anyone who carries a gun is a dangerous psychopath, but we all know who they are and don't care what they think.

Let's examine the options listed above.

You have to believe that there is a reason for you to carry a defensive handgun in public or you wouldn't have gone to the trouble to apply, pay for training, undergo a background check, and pay the fee(s) to get a concealed handgun license. You may be in business and carry large sums of money or have extremely valuable merchandise. You may have a business in a less-secure part of town and feel the need to be able to defend yourself, your employees, and your customers. Or you have just decided to take responsibility for your own safety and the safety of your family.

If you are the one who carries all day long and locks your carry piece away when you get home, do you believe that your home is a place of safety, inviolable, where no one can intrude? We have all heard too many times of home invasions, burglaries, and rapes being committed in homes and apartments to believe that. So, with your gun locked away, if someone kicks in your door or smashes through a window, what will you do? Will you stand your ground, hoping to stop the attacker(s) without your firearm, wondering if your wife, significant other, or perhaps your child will be able to get to your gun, get it unlocked and in action before you are overwhelmed? Or will you run for your gun safe in an attempt to get your gun out before any family members are assaulted or before the attackers get to you? What you have effectively done by locking up your gun is disarmed yourself and left yourself and your family unprotected.

Perhaps you have guns stashed around the house, believing that you'll always be close enough to one to respond to any threat. You may, in fact, be correct and able to defend yourself and your family from the door-kickers/window smashers. However, unless you distribute those guns to their hiding places when you get home, they are available to whomever may be in the house, by invitation or not. This includes your children, their visitors, or the ever-popular burglar who enters your home when you aren't there. You may think you have found the “perfect hiding places,” but children and criminals are just as inventive as you are. The “neat-o” picture frames and clocks that swing out to reveal holsters or shelves are not just advertised where the law-abiding can see them. Under mattresses or beds, in between the cushions of your couch or easy chair, among the books or magazines on your shelves, or under the desk, nightstands, or end tables are just not secure. You may come home to find your carefully stashed guns gone, or, worse, find a bad guy in your house armed with YOUR gun(s). If someone is always home, stashing guns around the house may work for you, but I think it's a bad risk.

Now, consider what happens if you carry your gun(s) with you into your home, leaving it(them) right where it(they) was(were) when you were out and about in the big, wide world. If someone kicks open your door or smashes your window, you don't have to wonder if you have time to get to your gun, unlock it, and defend yourself and your family. You don't have to worry about someone getting to your stashed guns before you do, and you needn't be concerned that someone got into your house and got to your guns first. You have your gun(s) on you and can respond appropriately to any threat.

My wife used to ask me if I really though someone was going to kick in our door while we were home. With a spate of home invasions in our area, admittedly not in good neighborhoods, she has stopped asking that particular question. I generally download a bit when I get home, usually putting my Smith & Wesson Model 13 away and carrying only my Taurus 85SSUL. (Since I always carry my KelTec P32, I don't count it.) I may or may not conceal the gun I'm carrying in my house, and it isn't a subject for discussion anymore.

Has anyone ever broken into my home since I received my concealed handgun license? Nope. Do I hope anyone tries? Of course not. The closest we've come was when one of those young gentlemen selling magazines to win some sort of prize or scholarship came to the door and almost ran when he saw my revolver, backing away saying, “Don't shoot me, sir!” When I reassured him that he was safe, I asked him a number of questions. The story went that he was from an “inner city area” and was trying to turn his life around with this “program” where selling magazines would earn him enough points to get into a “training program” that would allow him to get a good job. The kid had a good spiel, but I just had to decline, having all the magazine subscriptions we needed. After he left my yard, I walked my dog on her leash around the neighborhood (after I woke her up) just to scope out the action. He skipped my next door neighbor's house, possibly due to the police car in the driveway, and tried almost every other house up the block, unsuccessfully from what I could see.At the entrance to the neighborhood, he stood around until a van with out-of-state tags came by and picked him up. I saw the van later in other parts of town with an older man (Okay, about my age.) in it with young people going into other neighborhoods. Was it on the up-and-up, or was it casing possible victims on a larger scale? I don't know. There didn't seem to be any up-tick in burglaries in town, but it may have been a scam. I let our local law know about it, but I didn't hear anything from them.

The bottom line is that if you're going to carry, you probably need to carry at home, too. Just my opinion.


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