The Reluctant Gun Owner

Before you go down the path of buying a gun, you should ask yourself what you plan on doing with it, and if you’re ready to face the consequences of using it. Do you want the gun for protection, or for aggression and intimidation? If your intent is anything other than protection or defense, this is not the website for you.

Even if your intention is to use your gun only for self-defense, there is a good chance (and I hope that this is the case for you) that you will never need to use it in that capacity. The use of a gun is the almost always the taking of a life, or at least changing it permanently. I suspect it is far more likely that you will be faced with the need to save a life, rather than end one. I strongly encourage you to learn how to help people in an emergency: learn CPR, and basic trauma first aid. Learn how to help victims of gunshots, and not just how to make people victims.

When you’ve made the decision that you want to get a gun, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

Have you thought about the consequences of taking a life?

Are you ready to deal with the fallout of a shooting? In the state of Colorado it is always against the law to kill someone with a gun. Even in self-defense. If you take a life and claim it was done in self defense, you’re acknowledging the fact that you’re guilty of that crime. When you claim that the killing was justified you’re effectively telling the court, “I admit I broke the law. I’m asking that I should not be punished because the shooting was in self defense.”

Let’s assume your life is being threatened and you shoot (and possibly kill) your assailant. At that point the first fight is over, but there are at least two and possibly three more that you will face:

  • The Legal fight: You will need to make sure you’re not punished by the law
  • The Emotional fight: You will have to live with yourself knowing that you have ended a life
  • The possibility of dealing with survivors of your victim: either seeking revenge or seeking to take you to court

Does your religion/belief system address taking a life in self defense?

In Islam (my religion), if one takes a life unjustly, the punishment from Allah (God) is the same as that if you unjustly took the life of all mankind1. Self-defense, or the defense of others is a justified case according to Islam. If your personal belief system does not allow the killing of an individual even in the case of self defense, then owning a gun isn’t for you.

Do your religious values align with the laws that apply to you?

What if the laws in your state permit you to kill a home intruder as soon as they break into your house? What does your religion have to say about that? What will you do if your religion doesn’t permit you to kill someone unless your life is in imminent danger? You need to think about these things before you’re faced with that situation.

Are you willing to train?

It isn’t easy to shoot a gun when an assailant is running towards you with a knife or a gun. When the adrenaline kicks in your body changes. Simple things become difficult. Your hands could tremble. You could be shaking so much you may not even be able to remove your gun from its holster without dropping it. This is where training comes in. You need to have practiced what to do so much that it’s second nature to you. There should be no thinking involved, once you’ve decided to use deadly force.

Are you willing to be disciplined about gun safety and storage?

Yes. A gun is a tool, just like any other tool like a hammer or a knife. But unlike other tools a gun is a tremendous multiplier of force. This allows even the littlest hands to cause a great deal of damage if they handle a gun when they shouldn’t. Even you—if you’re not disciplined about how you handle your gun—you could harm yourself or your loved ones by accident.

If you’ve seriously contemplated all these questions, and still wish to own a gun, then let’s start talking about The Four Fundamental Firearm Safety Rules.

  1. And if one saves a life, the reward is the same as if saved the life of all mankind. 

© 2019 Aijaz Ansari
The Reluctant Gun Owner by Aijaz Ansari is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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