Can you use a gun for self defense?
Yes
63.4% (358)
63.4% (358)
No
26.7% (151)
26.7% (151)
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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Generally, if one is properly trained in its use, a gun is among the best personal defense tools around. Furthermore, it is more likely to end a conflict before anyone actually gets hurt than other self defense tools such as stun wands or pepper spray, few assailants give a shit if you wave a stick or spraycan at them, a gun is often the only thing they respect enough to actually back down.

Personally, better than most, but I would at minimum need a refresher course before attempting to carry.

adamsaccount:
Yes but you need some bullets as well.

Not necessarily. My mother scared off a would be rapist with an empty snubnose when she was young.

Yes.

As either a deterrent (point at and / or shooting to miss but frighten) or for actual defensive agression (shooting to wound, maim or kill) but, as several people have already touched on, in most cases the mere threat of a weapon is enough to deter most intruders. The majority are looking for an easy pushover, hence the number of cowardly fuckers who prey on old people.

Personally, if someone breaks into someone else's home then they deserve everything they get in my opinion. Intruder beaten with a cricket bat? Oh what a shame...what's that? Would be rapist shot in the testicles? Diddums.

Living in the UK, I am not allowed to have a gun because I am not a farmer or a gun-club member but, in the dark, I defy anyone not to spot that my airsoft Beretta aint the real deal! If someone were to break into my house would I use it? Too bloody right I would - I'd deal with the consequences later!

Quick thing: to those who are saying that guns are not able to defend, I respond with saying "Prevention is a form of defense". Meaning if you can prevent someone from shooting you or your family or friends, I would consider that more defense than than any bullet-proof vest (both on the other hand is an amazing defense). This is in the same way you could use a shield to bash someone.

'Course you can. It's a fucking gun. That fact alone would frighten any burgler. In most cases with a gun in defense, you only have to fire once. If you miss, he will be scared and run away, and if you hit him, he's down for the count because y'know... It's a gun. Even weak ones can pack a punch.

Trippy Turtle:
You can in a few very unlikely scenarios, most of those scenarios where shooting someone would be overkill and should get you arrested.
The only time a gun would be useful is if someone is trying to kill you and is bad enough at it to give you time to shoot them. If you are getting mugged and shoot someone, you deserve jail time. Whats more important? Your wallet or someones life?

Do criminals come up and truthfully announce their intentions to you? How are you supposed to tell the difference between a mugging and a rape until the time when drawing a gun is possible has passed? Maybe people should just not rob other people if they don't want to get shot...

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.

That is complete nonsense. Guns are used in competitive shooting, hunting (unless you meant animals as well when you said kill), and target shooting.

I just bought a beautiful Magnum Research 1911 for just that purpose. I know how to use my guns and am not afraid to do so if I have to.

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.

If someone breaks into your home and threatens you with a gun, go ahead and shoot them.

If they are unarmed and you still shoot them, well that's just plain murder.

Yes I can defend myself with a gun. Why would I not be able to? It's legal for me to carry, and it's legal for me to shoot another in self defense. It is not legal, however, to use unnecesary force. Shooting a fleeing attacker in the back constitutes excessive force, and thus would not be legal. But I have every right and the ability to defend myself with a gun.

PreviouslyPwned:

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.

If someone breaks into your home and threatens you with a gun, go ahead and shoot them.

If they are unarmed and you still shoot them, well that's just plain murder.

why is it murder? how do you know theyre unarmed? how do you know there isnt more than one person? there are far too many uncertainties for you to write off shooting a burglar as murder

I have only ever used an air rifle, and only once. So probably not. Also being in the UK, if I gave it a go, I'd just be arrested for possession, so no.

the doom cannon:
how do you know there isnt more than one person? there are far too many uncertainties for you to write off shooting a burglar as murder

If you don't know there isn't more than one person, why the hell are you even there, giving the hypothetical other person a chance to flank you while you're distracted by the first one?

Am I CAPABLE of using a gun to defend myself? As in do I have the necessary training and understanding of guns to actually use one to suppress an individual or group of individuals I deem a threat to my personal safety? Yes, I do.

Would I ever use a gun again outside of ridiculous circumstances in which I have lost all manner of self control? absolutely not, I despise them, a singular purpose device such as that has no place in civilised society, and outside of the gun clubs, controlled environments where competetive target shooting takes place, there is absolutely no reason to own one.

I have been in plenty of fights, and to think that it would be possible that my opponent had a gun on them, I would be very hard pressed not to do something stupid, generally speaking when you fight someone it is fair, fists, knives, whatever, nothing too dangerous, someone pulls a gun and it is suddenly a fight to the death, because there is no way you leave an avenue open for that person to be able to use that weapon.

There is no way it would ever be worth going back there, things get too messed up, neither side wins.

Vegosiux:

the doom cannon:
how do you know there isnt more than one person? there are far too many uncertainties for you to write off shooting a burglar as murder

If you don't know there isn't more than one person, why the hell are you even there, giving the hypothetical other person a chance to flank you while you're distracted by the first one?

this isnt call of duty mate. you never know if there is just one burglar and houses are not places in which you can generally be "flanked." just saying. which is why when it comes to crimes being committed against you such as burglary or assault, you shoot first and ask questions later. there is not time to think about the situation beyond "this guys in front of me does not belong in my house and is threatening, therefore I should remove the problem." Removing the problem could simply require pointing a gun, or firing a warning shot. Unfortunately, some burglars dont get gist of things the first time, and therefore must be taken care of in a more forceful manner.

the doom cannon:

this isnt call of duty mate. you never know if there is just one burglar and houses are not places in which you can generally be "flanked." just saying. which is why when it comes to crimes being committed against you such as burglary or assault, you shoot first and ask questions later. there is not time to think about the situation beyond "this guys in front of me does not belong in my house and is threatening, therefore I should remove the problem." Removing the problem could simply require pointing a gun, or firing a warning shot. Unfortunately, some burglars dont get gist of things the first time, and therefore must be taken care of in a more forceful manner.

I wouldn't know whether or not this is Call of Duty, since I never played that junk, but I'll give you +1 brownie points for trying to pull that on me, quite ballsy. And what do you mean "there's no time to think"? You don't actually start thinking until you're face to face with the burglar or something?

I've been taught how to use a gun (parents being a Combat Medic and a SWAT Captain) but I'd still rather defend myself with someone that isn't as lethal. Especially in my state (New Jersey), in order to shoot an intruder you need to:
1. Give the person warning that you have a loaded firearm
2. Find if the intruder's intention is deadly
3. Give warning you intent to use lethal force
4. Give the intruder enough time to decide their action
5 (if they decide to leave). If they retreat, you must allow them to, you cannot fire on them if their back is turn
5 (if they decide to stay). Again warn them you are going to us lethal force and fire at them aiming for upper chest area.

In short, there is a multi-step way to defend yourself in my state, so it'd be better if I just rush them with a knife or a bat.

Vegosiux:

the doom cannon:

this isnt call of duty mate. you never know if there is just one burglar and houses are not places in which you can generally be "flanked." just saying. which is why when it comes to crimes being committed against you such as burglary or assault, you shoot first and ask questions later. there is not time to think about the situation beyond "this guys in front of me does not belong in my house and is threatening, therefore I should remove the problem." Removing the problem could simply require pointing a gun, or firing a warning shot. Unfortunately, some burglars dont get gist of things the first time, and therefore must be taken care of in a more forceful manner.

I wouldn't know whether or not this is Call of Duty, since I never played that junk, but I'll give you +1 brownie points for trying to pull that on me, quite ballsy. And what do you mean "there's no time to think"? You don't actually start thinking until you're face to face with the burglar or something?

I bet you think it was clever to say you don't know whether or not it's CoD because you've never played it. You know exactly what was meant and are attempting to divert attention from being wrong to something trivial like whether or not you play CoD. What would you do if there was an unknown entity in your home attempting to steal your stuff? Just let it happen and hope the police catch whoever did it as well as return all the stolen items? I would much rather the burglar just leave peacefully, but they broke in knowing it was possible somebody would be there, and I am not about to take a chance that he will just leave if I ask him/her nicely. I would really like to know what you would do in that situation.

Piorn:
With a gun, you can intimidate, scare off, kill or wound pre-emptively, and avenge.
You can't defend.

Exactly what I was thinking.

I mean unless you use the gun to block any gunshots or stabs then it really isn't a defense now is it (it's either a preemptive- or counter-offense).

But then we're into the realm of philosophy and definitions of words.

Now personally I'm in the army and we've been issued C7A1's (that's canadian built M16's for the civvies out there) and we're expected to "defend" ourselves and the positions we're guarding so yeah I guess I could defend my self using that gun (although when on guard-duty our task is to mostly look awesome like this
image)

FelixG:

Amethyst Wind:
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.

I got a good chuckle from this.

You had to use a towel to move a toy gun? May I ask why? Are you scared of it? was it messy with something?

No I just wasn't in the slightest bit interested in having my fingerprints on the thing. These toys are used in muggings.

Proverbial Jon:

Beffudled Sheep:
Quick, silly question from a young American who grew up in a bad neighbourhood.
What are you supposed to do if someone breaks into your house? Let them take whatever they want and do whatever (or whoever) they want? Restraining could cause physical harm so even that would be out of the question. Genuinely curious.

It's not a silly question at all. In fact I'm not sure I have an answer.

I'm no criminology expert so I don't have much authority on this subject. I also am very lucky to live and have grown up in the middle of nowhere where very little happens.

However, I have seen plenty of stories on the news where farmers have defended their land (sometimes with a shotgun) or home owners have bashed intruders over the head with a household object. It's a pretty standard reaction to home invasion so I can't say I blame them. The problem is however, that they are usually arrested for GBH/ABH despite the fact that the burglar was clearly in the wrong. A case of two wrongs don't make a right maybe?

Point in case: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/sep/05/couple-shooting-burglary-home-released

As for what you should legally do in that situation, goodness only knows. But you would hope that your own justice system would back you up. Slowly I think we're making steps in this country to stand up for ourselves, to protect our own, law abiding citizens rather than shrinking back and hoping no one sees the shame of our inaction. /rant

Well at least steps are being taken. I just can't agree with a government that doesn't want its citizens to be able to protect themselves, their family and the stuff they worked very hard to be able to buy.

How effective are police forces in your area?

the doom cannon:

I bet you think it was clever to say you don't know whether or not it's CoD because you've never played it.

Just some clever insurance against people trying to paint me as a CoD kid who can't tell the difference between a videogame and real life...mate.

You know exactly what was meant and are attempting to divert attention from being wrong to something trivial like whether or not you play CoD.

Nope, I only know what was said. You give me too much credit if you think I can read what you meant.

What would you do if there was an unknown entity in your home attempting to steal your stuff? Just let it happen and hope the police catch whoever did it as well as return all the stolen items?

Well, I'll let you know, the police catching the guys and getting my stuff back was exactly what happened the time I got robbed.

So, to answer your question, not only would I do that, I already have done that, one of the guys is in the big house, the other OD'd to death some time along the legal proceedings, and I got out of it with just a bruise on my left cheek that faded in a couple of days, and all of my stuff intact. Best part? They caught the guys within 5 minutes of my call. See, over here the police have the legal obligation to protect.

Had I had a gun (knife, bat, chair)? The most probable scenario would have been it being taken from me and used against me, because I was taken by surprise by the second guy. See, I couldn't know if there was more than one. And I am not willing to die in order for a bunch of replaceable stuff, even less so in the name of a delusional principle. So instead of relying on an item that can be taken from me and used against me, I relied on my better judgement.

So, go ahead, mock me some more. I'll just say I'm still alive, and being mocked by you is a result much preferable to being, you know, dead.

TopazFusion:

Xan Krieger:
he also said that if someone breaks into your home that you can't shoot them.

It's like that here. If you do shoot them (or attack them via other means), YOU are the one who gets into trouble, not them.

And assuming the perpetrator survives your attack, they get paid compensation by the government.

A broken system if ever there was one, regardless of one's stance on lead spitters.

'Oh, you want me out of your house, and away from your family and/or valuables? What are you, and the police who are ten minutes away going to do about it?'

I live in Florida, a "Stand your ground" state. I don't ever want to use a gun in self-defense, but I accept the reality that if I own one, and someone breaks into my home I may use it just that way. Why? Because of the unknown factor involved. I'm not going to stop and ask if they have a gun, nor if they're going to use it. My family's life is much more important than some stranger who decided for whatever reason to break into my home. Am I going to feel good about it? No. Taking human life should never be easy, should never be something to brag about. But at some point in life it may become necessary, depending on the circumstances involved.
Either way, I support responsible gun ownership, better mental health care practices (lord knows its a joke in the US right now) and PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. In otherwords, people should be held responsible for their actions and taught to hold themselves responsible, both by their parents growing up and society itself. Blaming anything else is a crime of epic proportions.

Vegosiux:

Nope, I only know what was said. You give me too much credit if you think I can read what you meant.

It's probably best that you don't own a firearm then. Unfortunately police are not quite as useful as your particular scenario shows. I for one do not expect any sort of timely response.

Can I use a gun to defend myself or can people use guns to defend themselves or is it simply allowed where I am?

California penal code states "Any person using force intended or likely to cause death or great bodily injury within his or her residence shall be presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury to self, family, or a member of the household when that force is used against another person, not a member of the family or household, who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and forcibly entered the residence and the person using the force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred." And the calcrim jury instruction for case states that "A defendant is not required to retreat. He or she is entitled to stand his ground and defend himself and, if reasonably necessary, to pursue an assailant until the danger ... has passed. This is so even if safety could have been achieved by retreating." So it is perfectly allowed around here, and the only case I can find where the defendant lost in a lethal home invasion criminal case, would be when a mechanical gun trap was used instead of a person firing the gun.

People definitely can in principle, even without killing someone. Unless you're up against a sociopath, if you start shooting at the floor of your house even without locating the person who broke into you're house, they are probably going to get the hell out of there in search of easier(or less crazy) prey. You can even defend yourself lethally, by the very definition of the word, http://www.news9.com/story/19858704/12-year-old-girl-shoots-intruder-during-home-invasion

If the question is can 'I' personally defend myself with a gun, then the answer is yes and no. Yes I could use a gun to defend myself, if I happened to have one and be inclined to do so. But no I can not, or rather will not do so, because of my philosophical convictions on the subject of violence and force.

Aris Khandr:
There is no other purpose to a gun but to kill.

Then why does the Australian government have a provision allowing for gun ownership for the purpose of gun hobbyist collection as well as target shooting? And why are there rubber bullets, beanbag guns, and pepperballs; as well as an entire industry devoted to designing better nonlethal ammunition. And how come no one is killed from paintball guns?

MrFalconfly:

Piorn:
With a gun, you can intimidate, scare off, kill or wound pre-emptively, and avenge.
You can't defend.

Exactly what I was thinking.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/defend

a : to drive danger or attack away from

If someone with mal intent breaks into your house. You shoot them in the leg. And they run away. Then you have driven danger away from your house. By it's very definition you have defended yourself using a firearm. Shielding yourself or blocking are not synonyms for defend. They have separate definitions with separate meanings.

Have they started making gun disabling devices yet?

Well, they don't give police officers guns because they look nice on a belt.

Of course you can defend yourself with a gun. But it comes down to, should you and could you.
If I am being mugged on alley by a thug with a knife, me pulling a gun on him is going to get more trouble to me.

Here where I live, the fact I would use a gun to defend me would land me in to jail for around 10 years - for gun crime . (Because here we are not allowed to carry weapons on public, at all. No questions, no but... And guns that are being transferred need to have a lock on the trigger that can only be opened with a single key or kept in a case that is locked.)

So here you couldn't...
And personally, I wouldn't or couldn't. Being pacifist and all...

Yes and no. Sure, you could hypothetically shoot someone before they do any harm, thus defending yourself. However, odds are very slim of that happening, even with training. Cases of would-be burglary thwarted by shooting are the rare exception, not the rule. Besides that, most studies though that criminals are much more afraid of a dog than a gun when breaking in (I'm too lazy to find the link, but if you're really that doubtful, research yourself).

I think part of the problem is too many people assume it will go down like they are cowboys or something. They'll just do a quickdraw and shoot him first! In the street though they will likely get the jump on you or outnumber you, and in your home they are likely to break in while you're out. Guns don't stop bullets, they just throw more out there. But yeah, it can be used for self-defense, I just wouldn't bet on it.

Oh, and those saying "shoot him in the leg" I doubt have ever used a gun before, or at least not properly. Leg shot doesn't mean non-lethal necessarily, femoral artery and all. Also, all shots should be considered killing shots with the intent to kill, that's what a gun is FOR. And most importantly, you will in all likelihood miss, or not even slow the attacker down. Pelvis will ground someone if it's a large enough round, leg or foot though, could easily keep coming. It's relatively small target moving fast, leg shot is dumb. Shots should be in the torso or, if there's cover/armor/numerous other things, the head.

...Or are we talking legally? Because that depends on where you're at...

I have shot a rifle before, I have used a faithful bb gun replica of a handgun, and I can say for a damned fact that NO I cannot successfully use a gun for self-defense. In my house there is always some manner of whupping stick within arms reach, but hidden from sight (and children) so I think it would be much more productive to beat the tar out of intruders, yes. They have knives? guns? artillery shells? body armor? I don't care, even without the element of surprise, its damned easy to find someone in the dark with a stick.

I said the artillery shell/body armor bit because that's the only logical reason to have armor piercing bullets and assault rifles. To be honest, most armor doesn't cover the head or genitals so I find it more financially frugal to use a stick, sword, bat, dagger, bit o wood, bit o steel, or monkey king pole to make my point, because frantically hitting someone is more intimidating than 'drop it now!' because you're already in the process of delivering a well-deserved ass-kicking.

Yes, I am capable of defending myself with firearms. I've used them in a military sense and from the fact that I am typing this it has appeared to work to certain degree.

I never have had to fire as a civilian but I've drawn and the problem ran away. I didn't report that incident. The person who entered my domicile may have entered it completely accidentally (they appeared intoxicated and may have simply gotten the wrong place) but they also may have been there to steal my stuff or murder my family while they slept. Pistol drawn, problem gone.

It isn't as easy as point and shoot as many people seem to think. However, even an empty firearm is more likely to scare off your attacker than your black belt skills and I certainly don't want to risk that you might get lucky even if I think you have absolutely no idea how to use the firearm in your hands.

After reading many of these posts I began to wonder if I'm a monster. I see absolutely no problem pulling the trigger on someone who refuses to flee when faced with lethal force in my home. I also see no problem pulling the trigger on someone threatening lethal force upon others outside of my property. I think that shooting to wound is some kind of crazy naive Hollywood shit. If it deserves to get shot, it deserves to die. If you're pulling the trigger you're accepting that. If you're planning to shoot to wound, you are not ready to use your firearm for self defense. Go buy a taser.

I will warn, I will use extremely bright light to mitigate my attackers ability to wage an offense against me, however if you do not take heed of that warning and immediately retreat I really don't see any reason why you deserve to live any longer. I will have an emotional reaction. I probably won't feel great about what I had to do. However, I'll have the rest of my life to get over it and my family will be there to help me deal with it.

I understand that this is a lot of responsibility and many people don't want it. However, I don't understand why you wouldn't want others to be able to assume that responsibility for themselves.

I'm from one of those crazy wild west states in America though and I've been brainwashed by our military industrial complex.

Technically no as you can't Hide behind a gun or use it as a shield.
but you can use it to scare people away as long as you don't shoot him/her.

This really should have been put somewhere near the start of the thread, but here's a video where police officers discuss the "stop the bad guy" situation and simulate it for a couple people of varying non-professional skill levels:

BishopofAges:
I have shot a rifle before, I have used a faithful bb gun replica of a handgun, and I can say for a damned fact that NO I cannot successfully use a gun for self-defense. In my house there is always some manner of whupping stick within arms reach, but hidden from sight (and children) so I think it would be much more productive to beat the tar out of intruders, yes. They have knives? guns? artillery shells? body armor? I don't care, even without the element of surprise, its damned easy to find someone in the dark with a stick.

I said the artillery shell/body armor bit because that's the only logical reason to have armor piercing bullets and assault rifles. To be honest, most armor doesn't cover the head or genitals so I find it more financially frugal to use a stick, sword, bat, dagger, bit o wood, bit o steel, or monkey king pole to make my point, because frantically hitting someone is more intimidating than 'drop it now!' because you're already in the process of delivering a well-deserved ass-kicking.

I guess that could work. If you're big enough to be a good threat with a melee weapon, and if there's only one intruder, and if you don't have floors that make no noise when you walk, and if your intruder is so bad at what he's doing that he just freezes up when he sees someone charging at him with a baseball bat.

Otherwise you're probably going to get shot if they have a gun, or their friend is going to pick up something blunt and hit you on the back of your head, or the guy is actually much better at fighting than you and will kick your ass. If they have a knife, even if you do beat them you'll probably have a few knife wounds on you. If they have a gun, unless you knock it out of their hands at the start, you're going to get shot. All if takes for them to take you out is to sort of point in your general direction and unload as many shots as possible. There was a news story of some guy in australia who was attacked out of nowhere by some muggers on the escapist a while ago. They hit him over the head with a bat i think, but he could still pull out his gun and kill them.

Don't underestimate how strong 'drop it now!' is. You can defend yourself against a wooden stick. You can't defend yourself against a gun. Even if they're right next to you and the gun is within arms reach, unless you have extensive training you're not going to disarm them without getting shot. If you get shot with a gun you're pretty much down. Maybe dead. All it takes is a movement of a finger.

AlexanderPeregrine:
This really should have been put somewhere near the start of the thread, but here's a video where police officers discuss the "stop the bad guy" situation and simulate it for a couple people of varying non-professional skill levels:

That video seems so off. First of all they were all wearing heavy gloves. Why? That isn't exactly a common thing people do and it makes quickly pulling out a gun harder. Second, the gunman already knew exactly what was happening and the student was in the same seat each time. Third, the video itself says gun owners should have required training which i don't disagree with. In fact, i think gun ownership should be restricted to needing licenses, delay periods, and training. The title of the video on youtube and the description is blatantly and obviously biased.

AlexanderPeregrine:
This really should have been put somewhere near the start of the thread, but here's a video where police officers discuss the "stop the bad guy" situation and simulate it for a couple people of varying non-professional skill levels:

I think the problem with the situation there is the expectation of the test subjects in that video that you're going to be a super hero and not that you're going to mitigate the damage that the mass shooter is causing. There's certainly some unrealistic expectations among many people who would use their firearm for self defense.

It's not magic, if you're ambushed by someone even if you are the super regenerating health nerves of steel video game character born with perfect sight picture and trigger squeeze no matter how stressed you are, you are probably screwed. Even if they're far less trained/skilled/equipped than you are.

However, smart criminals go for soft targets. Even deranged mass murderers tend to take the path of least resistance and go for the soft target.

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