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Should I get a gun? Issues to consider before purchasing a weapon.

That question has been posed to me many times during my career but it has become more frequently asked during these unsettling times. Some of our executive clients, even those who employ security personnel, feel that they should arm themselves to provide an extra level of protection for their own personal safety as well as for their families. Their concerns over safety and security are certainly well founded given recent and increasing trends of strong arm robberies; serious physical assaults, home invasions, abductions and other acts of violence that are now common place in our society. Add to that the constant media reporting of horrific crimes, such as the Petit case, serves to move even the most prudent person to look for ways to mitigate their potential for victimization.

Many of our fellow citizens are gun averse and have philosophical or religious convictions that override the urge to purchase a ‘ lethal force ‘ weapon, opting instead to carry mace, pepper spray, or a stun gun for their personal defense.
While these ‘non lethal’ devices may be effective against a single attacker, they have proven less than effective, especially when one is confronted by two or more assailants. Technology is improving, however, especially in light laser defensive devises that can temporarily blind single or multiple assailants but these devices are in development and possibly years away from production and distribution.

When asked the underlying question, I typically respond with questions of my own; “ Have you ever used a firearm? “ and “Are you aware of the statutory and legal responsibilities applicable to ownership of a firearm”? While we possess the constitutional right (as citizens void of criminal record) to legally own an approved firearm at our residence, there are several hurdles to cross before getting a permit to carry a concealed weapon. First and foremost is the application to their local law enforcement agency, which determines the applicant’s suitability to carry a firearm. Secondly, the issuing agency will require the applicant to submit fingerprints, document proof of residency, and provide photographs or other identifier information. Applicants must then provide evidence of the successful completion of an approved firearms training course with a live fire pistol or revolver component.

If you accept the application and training requirements for licensure, I cannot stress enough the importance of personal one- on -one handgun training with a qualified firearms instructor in the storage, use, handling, care and operation of handguns. Moreover, the applicant must understand and comprehend the laws governing any use of a firearm, especially under duress, and appreciate that the handgun is only to be used when the owner is in a situation in which death or serious bodily injury is threatened.

In the end, the decision to carry a concealed weapon or possess a handgun in ones home is a serious personal matter, not to be taken lightly but reflective of the individual’s attitude of the potential use of ‘lethal force’ against a real threat. The commitment to do so requires a steadfast resolve to do so responsibly.

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