Can you use a gun for self defense?
Yes
63.2% (357)
63.2% (357)
No
26.5% (150)
26.5% (150)
other
9.9% (56)
9.9% (56)
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Poll: Let's settle something right now, can you defend yourself with a gun?

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There's been this discussion in the Religion and Politics section of the forum and it concerns this. Can you use a gun to defend yourself? At least one person claimed it's a myth and that it never happens.

My take on it? Yeah you can, to take it a bit further you can also defend your home with one. The person I argued with said it never ever happens, he also said that if someone breaks into your home that you can't shoot them. Where I live if someone breaks into your house that is your castle and they just breached the walls so you can defend your property.

I can't. I've made it a point never to touch a gun. The closest I've come is when a toy gun that could be very convincing when it's dark was confiscated from one of the residents at the apartment complex where I work. I had to move the thing off my desk but I never touched it with my bare hands, I grabbed a towel to move the thing.

Then again I'm not American.

Yes, in much the same way that you can defend yourself with a table. That doesn't mean that the table is a defensive item, and more than the gun is. There is no other purpose to a gun but to kill.

Aris Khandr:
Yes, in much the same way that you can defend yourself with a table. That doesn't mean that the table is a defensive item, and more than the gun is. There is no other purpose to a gun but to kill.

You can get someone to back off just by pointing it at them or you can wound them. If I remember right GunsmithKitten didn't need to shoot the guy, she just pointed it at him.

I really don't try to argue with people that deeply involved with the bliss of ignorance. There isn't much point. They will never learn, and you have better things to do.

Can you please define your question a bit more clearly?

I can't tell exactly what you're asking. When you say "can you", do you mean...

a) Do I personally have the ability to use a gun in self defence? (Kinda. I have some training, but I haven't handled a gun for years. I'd need a refresher.)
b) Is a gun a viable self defence weapon? (Yes, obviously. Although not quite to the degree that a lot of people think.)
c) Are you legally in the right if you defend yourself with a gun? (No idea. It would vary between countries and states anyway.)

I've never had to defend myself, but I know that I could if the need arose, without a doubt. And it's perfectly legal to shoot an armed intruder on your property. I have a friend that uses the following 'protection method' in his home with his shotgun.

First shell is a blank (most intruders will flee if they believe they're up against another weapon.)

Second shell is rock salt (This'll put a criminal down, but likely won't kill him.)

The rest are lethal. There is a extremely slim chance you would even need to get this far, but if a criminal won't run from a blank and if you miss the target with rock salt, the last resort will do the job.

Yep. Just like you can with bats, knives, fists, and adequately sturdy chairs.

I suppose in a more philosophical sense, no, you can't. A gun can only ever be an offensive weapon, never a defensive. Unless you can see the matrix and are able to shoot bullets out of the air with other bullets.

But that's a philosophical sense that really isn't useful in a discussion.

Zhukov:
Can you please define your question a bit more clearly?

I can't tell exactly what you're asking. When you say "can you", do you mean...

a) Do I personally have the ability to use a gun in self defence? (Kinda. I have some training, but I haven't handled a gun for years. I'd need a refresher.)
b) Is a gun a viable self defence weapon? (Yes, obviously. Although not quite to the degree that a lot of people think.)
c) Are you legally in the right if you defend yourself with a gun? (No idea. It would vary between countries and states anyway.)

Round of applause for Zhukov, please!

SanAndreasSmoke:
I

First shell is a blank (most intruders will flee if they believe they're up against another weapon.)

Second shell is rock salt (This'll put a criminal down, but likely won't kill him.)

The rest are lethal. There is a extremely slim chance you would even need to get this far, but if a criminal won't run from a blank and if you miss the target with rock salt, the last resort will do the job.

I...actually quite like this kind of an arrangement. Bit of a three strike rule right there.

And now for a reply for everyone:

But, as for the topic at hand, well, over here, if you can retreat safely from the danger, you have a duty to do so. Escalating the situation when you could have removed yourself from it safely will get you in trouble. But, as I said before, over here the police actually are legally obligated to "protect" as well - it sucks for the Americans that that's not the case over there, but it's easier to tot guns around than it is to push for change in the legislation I suppose.

But seriously, my personal opinion? Running into the situation guns blazing is a stupid thing to do. Especially if you don't know anything about the folks trespassing. There could be more than one, for instance. That'd be bad for you. Yes, I'm sure there's a story out there how one person sent more than one perp off with a firearm, and I'll call it right now: anecdote. Don't even bother linking, because you know if I linked just one story that's along the lines of my point, you'd be calling me out on it.

So using a firearm is a last resort thing, not the first. First would be getting yourself out of danger.

I've used a gun to defend myself before, but it was more due to intimidation than anything. It doesn't matter how big or strong you are when you're at gunpoint: one trigger pull and you're dead. Anyone with enough brains will fuck off if you so much as point a gun at them, and those who don't are either stupid or crazy. Of course, with that power comes responsibility, and unfortunately some just don't understand that.

In general, I'd imagine yes. You could use it to shoot the uh, criminal or bluff them into thinking you'll shoot them and maybe scare them off.

Personally, No. I've never handled a gun and have no real interest in actually owning or firing a gun. Nothin' against them, they're fine and dandy, do their job well; I just don't want one.

Yes.
Department of justice estimated in 1994 that it happens roughly 1.50 million times per year in the United States.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defensive_gun_use
You don't tend to hear about them, however, as the Media basically only reports conflicts involving fatalities, while the vast majority of defense is simply brandishing to scare away the attacker. Such flees have a tendency to not be reported even to the authorities since not much can be done about it.

I don't know, I've never used a real gun. Like most people out there I imagine I would be able to use one, given the circumstances, but who knows?

Xan Krieger:
There's been this discussion in the Religion and Politics section of the forum and it concerns this. Can you use a gun to defend yourself? At least one person claimed it's a myth and that it never happens.

My take on it? Yeah you can, to take it a bit further you can also defend your home with one. The person I argued with said it never ever happens, he also said that if someone breaks into your home that you can't shoot them. Where I live if someone breaks into your house that is your castle and they just breached the walls so you can defend your property.

I would argue you can't, take the layout of your home and where you spend most of your time. Now, think of somebody breaking into your house.

How long does it take you to get your gun? Do you have run to your gun cabinet, unlock it, load the gun, aim it then shoot it or do you keep it next to your mouse ready to go? Remember they have the element of surprise and are ready to shoot you, you're just reacting.

Now on the street, walking home somebody wants to mug you. Do you think know they are going to announce there intentions or drag you into an alley/suckerpunch you and the rob you? At what point do you pull your gun, as they run off with your shit? As they beat you up? As they pin you against a wall?

I just think it's more of a deterrent than effective defensive weapon.

Anyway, a gun isn't a defensive thing, it's a counter aggressive. Body armour is defensive, maybe Mace.

(how many civvies can actually stand getting blasted in the face with Mace? We are crippled by shampoo for fuck sake)

I had to laugh when I saw the thread title, my first thought someone has been wasting time talking to blahblah again.

an annoyed writer:
I've used a gun to defend myself before, but it was more due to intimidation than anything. It doesn't matter how big or strong you are when you're at gunpoint: one trigger pull and you're dead. Anyone with enough brains will fuck off if you so much as point a gun at them, and those who don't are either stupid or crazy. Of course, with that power comes responsibility, and unfortunately some just don't understand that.

Very similar to my story, but I didn't even point it at the individuals in question. Just pulling it out
and chambering a round was enough.
One of my best friends frightened off multiple assailants by firing his gun in the air.
Another friend of mine had to use a rifle to kill a dog that had been killing his livestock and was advancing on him
threateningly.

Look, let me be clear on something. I *don't* *like* guns. Seriously.
But I can acknowledge their usefulness in certain situations.
Situations that I would rather nobody had to face, but the world we live in is *far* from perfect.

Xan Krieger:
There's been this discussion in the Religion and Politics section of the forum and it concerns this. Can you use a gun to defend yourself? At least one person claimed it's a myth and that it never happens.

My take on it? Yeah you can, to take it a bit further you can also defend your home with one. The person I argued with said it never ever happens, he also said that if someone breaks into your home that you can't shoot them. Where I live if someone breaks into your house that is your castle and they just breached the walls so you can defend your property.

Your question is actually more ambiguous than I thought.

I came in thinking the question was "are you capable?" Then your post implies the question of "is it legal in your area?" but never outright denies the possibility of the other as well.

My answer is yes to both, but there may be others who are more confused, and answer the wrong question.

Spade Lead:

Xan Krieger:
There's been this discussion in the Religion and Politics section of the forum and it concerns this. Can you use a gun to defend yourself? At least one person claimed it's a myth and that it never happens.

My take on it? Yeah you can, to take it a bit further you can also defend your home with one. The person I argued with said it never ever happens, he also said that if someone breaks into your home that you can't shoot them. Where I live if someone breaks into your house that is your castle and they just breached the walls so you can defend your property.

Your question is actually more ambiguous than I thought.

I came in thinking the question was "are you capable?" Then your post implies the question of "is it legal in your area?" but never outright denies the possibility of the other as well.

My answer is yes to both, but there may be others who are more confused, and answer the wrong question.

Sorry I didn't think it through, I was just so bugged from my constant fights with someone else on this site that I wasn't thinking clearly when I posted it. You do make a good point though, it is a two part question. Personally if I had a gun I feel I absolutely could and it's perfectly legal here in North Carolina.

Xan Krieger:
Sorry I didn't think it through, I was just so bugged from my constant fights with someone else on this site that I wasn't thinking clearly when I posted it. You do make a good point though, it is a two part question. Personally if I had a gun I feel I absolutely could and it's perfectly legal here in North Carolina.

No, I think it makes a better discussion to include both, so I have no problem with it.

I have military training, and I was trained out to fifteen yards with a pistol, and I shot better when I had a short time limit than when they wanted me to take my time. (there were two rounds of six shots, one I had to lower the gun to the resting position between shots, and had fifteen seconds total, the other was six seconds to make six shots. I hit way more effectively during the second round with six seconds than I did in the first round, with fifteen.)

Iowa also has the "If you invade, you are at fault" rule for shootings, and having two daughters (one is a stepdaughter) and a stepson, as well as an epileptic girlfriend, having a main line of defense that isn't RUN AWAY is important to me. I don't have time to carry an 8 month old, a 4 year old, and a 6 year old to safety, and help my girlfriend who may or may not even know what is going on or who I am to safety when someone breaks in.

Zhukov:
Can you please define your question a bit more clearly?

I can't tell exactly what you're asking. When you say "can you", do you mean...

a) Do I personally have the ability to use a gun in self defence? (Kinda. I have some training, but I haven't handled a gun for years. I'd need a refresher.)
b) Is a gun a viable self defence weapon? (Yes, obviously. Although not quite to the degree that a lot of people think.)
c) Are you legally in the right if you defend yourself with a gun? (No idea. It would vary between countries and states anyway.)

A) Currently at this time? No. Not allowed to bring my rifle to college.

B) Completely. Defense is not simply the art of deflecting blows, but also of counter attacks and rendering the enemy unable to commit offensive actions against you. Making them unable or unwilling by either killing them or making them back down. I have read studies that said that around 90% of defensive gun usages do not even involve the gun being fired, but I haven't been able to find it.

C) Here it is, although I live in California, so it isn't "as legal" as it is in other states. Some states are "Stand Your Ground" where you cannot be persecuted if you shoot somebody on your property without provoking them to come onto your property, while California is a "Duty to Retreat" state where you must try to get away from danger before your "allowed" to use lethal force. What constitutes "sufficient attempts to flee" is left extremely vague and can allow a person to be persecuted if the police feels like it. You cannot carry a gun on you unless you get a "Conceal Carry License". Unlike most states, which are "Shall Issue" (if you ask for one, the police are mandated to give you one unless you don't pass the background check), California is "Shall Issue," which leaves it up to the individual county sherifs if they feel like giving a person a CCW, and the most of the time, unless you live in the central valley, are personal friends with the sherif, or give many "donations" to the police department, 99 times out of 100 they are going to reject your request.

Personally? You could give me the best gun in the world and I wouldn't be able to use it at all. I have terrible aim and slow reflexes.

So, no. I cannot defend myself with a gun.

I believe i am capable of defending myself with the weapons I own
.

Nope. The thing would fall from my hands after the first shot as I don't like loud noises and guns, in general, make me nervous. I think I'd be more likely to accidentally shoot myself with it.

As I understand it, statistically you're four or five times more likely to be shot during a mugging if you're carrying a weapon then without, and you're more likely to injure yourself or a friend/family member with a weapon kept around the house than an intruder. So while it may be a viable self-defence weapon, but not necessarily a practical one. I certainly wouldn't be able to, but I've only fired guns once when I was on holiday with the family in the USA and thought it a fun idea to visit a gun range.

Personally I live in a country with fairly strict gun-controls (Australia) and a surprising number of rules with regards to what can or can't be considered 'reasonable force' in self defence, and I like it that way. But that's just me.

I'm more of a sharp serrated blade person. I think of guns as cheating.

SanAndreasSmoke:
I've never had to defend myself, but I know that I could if the need arose, without a doubt. And it's perfectly legal to shoot an armed intruder on your property. I have a friend that uses the following 'protection method' in his home with his shotgun.

First shell is a blank (most intruders will flee if they believe they're up against another weapon.)

Second shell is rock salt (This'll put a criminal down, but likely won't kill him.)

The rest are lethal. There is a extremely slim chance you would even need to get this far, but if a criminal won't run from a blank and if you miss the target with rock salt, the last resort will do the job.

The legality of it depends on the country/state.

Most states of the US practice what is known as the Castle Doctrine, wherein you are (legally) justified in using any degree of force against someone who has invaded your property/place of residence. As long as they illegally entered anyway. You can't invite someone in then shoot them.

There are a number of places that do not follow such a doctrine however, even within the US, and you could face murder charges for shooting someone that broke into your home.

OT: Is it physically possible to defend oneself with a gun? Yes, absolutely.
Am I in particular able to defend myself with a gun? Yes, absolutely.
Is it a good idea to pull a gun in a volatile situation? Not in the least.

Escalation doesn't really help. If someone already has a gun or knife on you, pulling a gun is just going to get you hurt, maybe even killed.

That said, if you have a gun at hand, it can be used to defuse some situations without undue harm.

Here in Cali you can't use lethal force unless you believe at that very moment your life or the lives of others are at risk. A gun can defend you in that it can intimidate or take down the assailant before they cause you harm. It's a the best defense is a good offense tool.

Singularly Datarific:
Yes.
Department of justice estimated in 1994 that it happens roughly 1.50 million times per year in the United States.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defensive_gun_use
You don't tend to hear about them, however, as the Media basically only reports conflicts involving fatalities, while the vast majority of defense is simply brandishing to scare away the attacker. Such flees have a tendency to not be reported even to the authorities since not much can be done about it.

C'mon now, if you're going to cite a source, don't fudge the info to make it sound the way you want it to. The article clearly states that estimates run from a highball of 1 to 2.5 million (as reported by the NRA and the like, I'm sure) to a low-ball of 55,000 to 80,000 (anti-gun folk, hippies?). And while to begin with there is a hugely disparate void between those numbers (somewhere in the middle is right I'm sure) please also keep in mind that you are using a site (improperly) on which I could post that everybody in the the world has been shot at least 3 times in their lives (by the same guy) as a factually sound reference. This is what we call in the sciency realm, a little sketchy.

Can it happen? Sure.

Does it happen? Not anywhere near as often as people wind up injuring themselves with their own guns. Seriously, statistically speaking, if you have a gun for self defense, you're actually in more danger than if you don't have a gun at all.

Could I do it: I'm actually a pretty good shot, so maybe. I can't imagine a situation where I'd have a gun at hand and ready to fire that didn't involve a shooting range, though, and I really doubt anyone on the planet is stupid enough to try anything at a gun range. They'd be turned into Swiss cheese pretty darned quickly, whether I fired a shot or not.

mduncan50:

Singularly Datarific:
Yes.
Department of justice estimated in 1994 that it happens roughly 1.50 million times per year in the United States.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defensive_gun_use
You don't tend to hear about them, however, as the Media basically only reports conflicts involving fatalities, while the vast majority of defense is simply brandishing to scare away the attacker. Such flees have a tendency to not be reported even to the authorities since not much can be done about it.

C'mon now, if you're going to cite a source, don't fudge the info to make it sound the way you want it to. The article clearly states that estimates run from a highball of 1 to 2.5 million (as reported by the NRA and the like, I'm sure) to a low-ball of 55,000 to 80,000 (anti-gun folk, hippies?). And while to begin with there is a hugely disparate void between those numbers (somewhere in the middle is right I'm sure) please also keep in mind that you are using a site (improperly) on which I could post that everybody in the the world has been shot at least 3 times in their lives (by the same guy) as a factually sound reference. This is what we call in the sciency realm, a little sketchy.

Was just about to say basically the same thing myself, damn ninjas in my brain.

Personally I see the gun as a deterrent and nothing more. You wave the gun and any robber with half a brain will leave you alone. That said, I live in Canada. In home robbery is basically non-existent in my city, since most thieves make more money more easily by simply pilfering high tech gear from University students in coffee shops. I have zero fear of home invasion as a threat to my life or property, so even though I do own a gun I don't see it as a defensive weapon at all.

Doesn't help that it's a bolt-action rifle from the turn of the 20th century but I digress.

Can you disable an attacker with a gun?
Yes, you certainly can. There's plenty of places on the human body that can incapacitate the attacker in a non-lethal manner when shot (if you have to shoot at all). A gun is as good for self-defense as any other method/tool.

If somebody says it's impossible to defend with a gun, I'd say that they're dead wrong.
Something designed with the intent to kill in mind (firearms) can only be considered offensively or defensively utilized depending on the situation at hand and the motives of the shooter.

On the legal side, not all states and countries have the castle doctrine (allowing you to shoot and defend yourself without much, if any, trouble with the law if somebody intrudes your house) or similar laws. Some places of the world may even be as asinine as to charge you (the victim, if you aren't the perpetrator) with assault for daring to defend yourself against criminal scum. Bollocks to those rules, I say. But, unfortunately, if you have those pro-criminal laws in place then you turn into the new bad guy and any method of self-defense that you may utilize turns into a method of assault that you can and will be charged with.

So all in all, it boils down to your philosophy and the laws in effect in your state/country.
From the sounds of it, you are able to defend yourself with a gun and say as such.

captcha: well read
Why thank you, captcha.

I could use a bow and arrow a few years ago to great effect and have used a bolt action rifle (a friend's) at a range before with little difficulty within 50 meters. I cannot see why I would not be able to defend myself with either however whether or not I have the mental preparations are far from clear. I have used my fists and blunt objects in defense more than once without hesitation but know not how I would handle either a bow or a rifle in a similar situation.

I am thinking about getting myself a bow for real and possibly bringing my skill back up to par. Nothing fancy, just being able to consistently hit the same target at 10-15 meters.

Well, I live in California where we're not allowed to shoot an intruder unless they pose a direct threat to me or anyone in my family. So, you know, make sure you leave a knife or something by their dead body.
That being said, I'd still defend my house with lethal force if necessary. It's all about escalation of force and the usage of proper force. If there's no direct threat to anyone, I'd merely threaten. If I see any sort of weapon on them, whether it be another firearm, and knife, or even a club-like object, I won't hesitate to shoot first.

I don't own any guns and I doubt I ever will have or will need one... Could I defend myself with a gun? probably. I know enough about them that I could probably use one. Would I, however, is a different question. If someone was just looking to rob me, I'd probably let them. some few possessions aren't worth someone's life. Only if someone was definitely seeking to do direct harm to myself or another is the only time I would consider bringing lethal force to bear against them.

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