Every once and awhile I am asked if I believe people should have assault weapons or high capacity magazines for self-defense, they also ask, why should anyone need a gun? Given that I do not wear “Shoot first ask questions later” or “I dial 1911” shirts, have no political bumper stickers and stopped wearing “tactical hats” and 511 shirts several years ago these questions are almost always in genteel conversation. My response is predicated on the person asking the question. Some people truly are interested in your response and others are simply trolling for an argument regardless side.
Trolls are those people who watch the endless cycles of whichever news channel featuring people they trust because as we all know the media never lies and politicians that sit on our side of the fence also never lie, cheat, steal and always want what is best for us.
An so if the questions comes from someone who has prefaced it with, “so and so from this media outlet and this politician said…so” the odds are I will either simply ignore them and change the subject or if I feel like having fun I will simply show how their chosen hero of the moment is not only merely a man/woman but also have a history of lying, cheating, and stealing. Of course, if a person truly does want to know, my answer follows.
My standard answer almost always begins the same. “What is an assault weapon and what are high capacity magazines?” This knowledge is extremely important to have and can do much to help people understand that neither the firearms nor the magazines are evil. I then continue on with what an “assault rifle/weapon” is and where the term came from. In 1989 California passed the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989, it specifically stated that AR15’s and AK47 variants were assault weapons.
Prior to this acts passage, we should look at the initial issues in 1967 when Black Panther members decided that they had enough of the mistreatment by state and local police in California, then Governor Reagan stated, “no reason why in the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.” He also stated that “guns are a ridiculous way to solve problems that have to be solved among people of good will.”
High capacity magazines have also been lambasted for the same reasons, as a result, my response with that part of the question is quite simple. Dangerous criminal assaults are actually relatively common in the United States, every minute of every day 10 people are attacked violently, another 2-3 people are raped and the list goes on. (Morgan Ph.D. & Kena, 2017) The number of incidents with multiple attackers is rising in comparison to attacks by single individuals. While this is still statistically rather small in number it is higher than natural disasters occurring and I have fire extinguishers and water stored.
High capacity magazines allow a law-abiding defender to ensure a threat is stopped. This being said, with very few exceptions solid training can have you reloading quickly and easily regardless of your magazine capacity. This is one reason I highly recommend solid instruction in the use of firearms from someone who has combat experience and or is recognized as being proficient in this area.
For those who may be still questioning why there is a need to be armed, let’s look at some facts, in 28% of all burglaries in the home the homeowner is home and 7% of the 3.7 million burglaries that occur every year in the United States the occupant has been attacked violently. (Catalano, 2010) This means that every year 259,000 people in the United States are victimized by violent criminals intent on stealing what is not theirs, or 710 violent attacks in a persons home occur every single day every year in the United States.
In 2016, U.S. residents over the age of 12 experienced 5.7 million criminal victimizations. (Criminal Victimization, 2017) This means that every single minute of the year 10 people were victims of a violent criminal act. This is why I carry, why my wife carries and why my children are taught how to defend themselves and what to look for so that if something happens they can avoid permanent injury or death. This is why everyone should be able to defend themselves and willing to do so with the judicious use of force should it become necessary.
So why should we have a gun to defend ourselves and why can’t we just rely on the police or laws to protect us? While some advanced industrialized nations tend to believe that no one should ever do anything more than work and pay taxes, there are many others that know the facts behind the crime and the need for an armed and prepared citizenry.
In England, we see that approximately 7% of young males were chronic offenders or criminal by “nature.” (Farrington et, Al., 2006) In Sweden from the 1970s through 2004, 15% of the population was found to commit 63% of the crimes. And lastly, in the United States between 3 and 5% of the population commit the majority of violent crime.
These studies and facts show that violent criminals are in fact among the minority of individuals. However, due to massive amounts of legislation, first responders, are often actually the second responders. In fact according to data gathered by the Bureau of Justice Statistics for crimes of violence police responded within 5 minutes 28% of the time, 6-10 minutes 30% of the time, 11 minutes to an hour 34% of the time, within one day 3% of the time and longer than a day or not at all almost 5.5% of the time.
For property related crimes, home burglaries, vehicle theft and theft the numbers are far worse with the vast majority of the responses 48% occurring in the 11 minute to 1-hour window. (Personal and Property Crimes, 2008) Quite simply to call police first responders is wrong and the average of response times is around 12 minutes if you are lucky enough to get a response. To interject some personal experience, I have had to call the police 3 times in the past 3 years. Two times it was for violent attempted assault against myself.
In every single case, I did not see an officer until over an hour later. In one case I attempted to flag down an officer driving by while a vagrant committed legal battery against me, the officer met my eyes, saw what happened and kept going.
You are your own defense. To trust your defense to anyone else entirely is to ensure that your life is quite literally in the balance. I will say this if the facts as laid out above and cited below in the bibliography are not enough to convince you to both purchase and train in the use of tools of defense. Honestly, I doubt anything would work short of your actually having an incident occur to yourself.
I will say that over the course of my life I have had several people quit my classes midway through because they believed it to be unnecessary and of the ones who have quit I have had 3 come back a couple years later asking to take the class again.
They had incidents that brought into crystal clear focus the reality of self-defense and the need for an armed presence. For myself and my family, as a disabled individual, I have no option other than force of arms as my ability to fight physically is severely hampered.
This being said, I also have and use and teach the use of batons, expandable and stick type as well as bladed combat. In everything, I prefer to never again use deadly force to stop a threat.
Physically it is essential that individuals train themselves to react with reasonable judicious use of force when attacked. Training is the difference between “seeing red” and focusing on a threat while being aware of the surroundings.
While I agree with many instructors regarding paper punching targets in a static environment I believe that even that type of training has a place for the very new shooters and to keep us refreshed in basics! Train to move off the X-axis and always be aware of your surroundings. Lastly, remember, I am a-political, meaning I do not allow political discussions during any class I am teaching and will not participate in any class that allows them.
Then the reality of gun control and those against it is simple, all politicians at some point have said something that leads to the belief that as rulers they would prefer we the working, producing and lifeblood of their nations are unarmed and docile. Additionally, I will do my best to avoid lambasting one or the other side when the reality is as seen using facts and evidence both sides are in fact not our friends.
Prevention is more important than the cure, and this is why everyone should learn to use and or be able to use tools that enhance their individual ability to defend themselves. If all you can legally use is pepper spray, spend the time and money training with it and understanding that wind and movement will disrupt the spray even if it is a stream.
I suggest Sabre pepper spray, this is what my daughter and son both have and use until they can legally use firearms. The link is attached and it is the brand most used by police departments as it does work well. You could also potentially use a taser, I would suggest buying the good ones here, which will run $300 or so and cost almost $50 per additional cartridge.
Other options may be blackjacks, batons, expandable batons, knives and the like. Regardless, self-protection is like having a fire extinguisher or putting on a condom, it is a necessity sometimes the messy but always beneficial thing to have and do!
Free the mind and the body will follow
- Catalano, S. (2010). Victimization During Household Burglary. Retrieved from https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/vdhb.pdf
- Criminal Victimization. (2017). Criminal Victimization, 2016, NCJ 251150. Retrieved from https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cv16_sum.pdf
- Farrington et, Al., D. (2006). Criminal careers and life success: new findings from the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development. Retrieved from http://www.crim.cam.ac.uk/people/academic_research/david_farrington/hofind281.pdf
- Morgan Ph.D., R., & Kena, G. (2017). Criminal Victimization, 2016 [Ebook]. U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs Bureau of Justice Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cv16.pdf
- Personal and Property Crimes. (2008). Percent distribution of incidents where police came to the victim, by type of crime and police response time. Retrieved from https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cvus/current/cv08107.pdf