"Do You Need a Handgun?"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Guns, guns and more guns. Pick up any newspaper or listen to any newscast, you undoubtedly will learn of an incident involving a gun.

The proliferation of guns in our society makes our country appear as a war zone. One can only speculate about how many Americans are carrying a gun – and why.

I once carried a handgun while working as a law enforcement officer. Unlike some officers, I couldn’t wait to remove my gun and lock it up in a safe place. When off duty, I never kept it in a drawer in the bedroom or in a cabinet over the head of my bed. My guns were never left where my children or anyone else could get them and my ammunition was stored separately.

Today, it is not unusual to hear of youngsters taking guns to school. Injury and death have resulted from a child not realizing the danger of handling a gun. We read tragic stories of children shooting themselves, a friend, sibling or even a parent. Most cases are accidental but occasionally there is intent to harm or kill. Outcomes are devastating; to relatives of the person shot and certainly for the one who pulled the trigger.

A few years ago, I took a few handguns to a person advertising they were a gun collector. I showed him my guns and we agreed upon a value for them and he laid the amount on the counter. When I produced copies of my gun registrations, he picked up his money and said, “Forget it, I don’t want registered guns.” For years I owned long guns, such as rifles and shotguns, which I used for hunting. When not in use, they were encased, unloaded, disabled and the shells were kept in a separate, locked container. All were out of the reach of any children.

The rapid increase in gun sales, although intended to be controlled by permits and registration laws, is alarming. Laws are abused and ignored by persons anxious to obtain a gun but not wanting to be responsible for its use.

I don’t understand why any citizen feels the need to carry a handgun, especially one not registered. Women were once known to fear guns but in our new age, they are purchasing, learning to shoot and registering to carry guns. They attend special classes for “ladies only” to be educated about how to fire and care for their handguns.

Classes that teach you how to handle a gun are expensive, but few teach anyone how dangerous carrying a gun really is. Sure, you can be taught how to hold, aim and shoot a loaded handgun but no one can teach you how it feels to hold a loaded gun pointed at a live target. It takes more than lessons to accomplish this.

I knew a law enforcement instructor who expressed during gun-handling classes: “A drawn gun is highly dangerous unless you are certain you intend to use it.” A foe with a gun, who never intended to shoot you, may do so if they see your gun. They can’t read your mind anymore than you can read theirs. If you’re facing an intruder or thief that also has a gun and you point yours — you may cause them to shoot you even if neither of you had any intention of pulling the trigger.

Frequent mistakes made by intended gun buyers are the actual guns they purchase. Keep in mind, the sales person is simply trying to make a living. If you imply you want an inexpensive, small gun, they will not turn a sale away. You will go away with a small caliber gun that may have a very limited distance of accuracy. As I see it, men or women who carry a small gun in their glove box or console are not protecting themselves. When they reach for that gun, they become more vulnerable than protected.

Carrying a handgun in a car, especially if you are a short-tempered person, may cause you to make a move you could regret the rest of your life — which may not be long. Let law enforcement handle the handguns, they are trained to do so.




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