While self defense takes many forms such as taking common sense measures (see my post on Predators), other forms of self defense may or may not use a weapon. Some examples of self defense are using your telephone to call for help, using a home security system, using a dog (or dogs) as part of a defense system, using your body as a weapon (martial arts, kickboxing, etc), knives, swords, etc. Some ordinary objects may be used to strike an attacker and are referred to as bludgeons. Thus a ball bat could become a deadly weapon. Self defense is a very in depth topic which I could never cover in one post. Since I follow the books through the library, this post will mostly discuss guns used for self defense.
I live in an area of the country where guns are a way of life. They are used by the military, law enforcement, hunters, home owners, and as recreational target shooting just to name a few uses. I’m not particularly uncomfortable around guns because I have a healthy respect for them and know many very responsible gun owners. Although I’ve never personally been trained how to use a gun, my husband is a former soldier and an expert marksman. Being a gun owner does not necessarily mean a person is violent. In the majority of cases, gun owners want guns to prevent violence. In general its the misuse of guns that bothers me and it’s the reason that I believe in the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution which says:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Many people in Indiana have guns in their homes for protection. If your personal self defense plan involves a gun, then there is also a lot of responsibility to learn about your right to self defense. Whether you currently own a gun or are thinking of purchasing a gun for self defense, I highly recommend that you read Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self Defense by Massad Ayoob.
Massad Ayoob does a wonderful job of explaining how to properly defend your home and family with a firearm. There are many illustrative photos in his book so that there can be no doubt what he means as well as many very helpful suggested guidelines. One thing he says is a “must” is that if you choose to protect yourself and others as well as your home and property with a gun you should be trained in the proper use of firearms. Should the unthinkable happen and you are forced to fire your weapon, it will help you legally to have had that training. The author walks the reader through critical decision making and legalities of firing a weapon for the purposes of self defense.
Beyond guns, though, Massad Ayoob also talks about other methods of self defense such as reading body language and putting distance between yourself and a potential attacker if at all possible, the use of less than lethal weapons such as pepper spray, and billy clubs.
If you are a person who hasn’t made up your mind about guns for or against, I recommend that you and everyone else read USA Today’s Gun Control: Preventing Violence or Crushing Constitutional Rights? by Matt Doeden.
Gun Control is one book in a series called USA Today’s Debate: Voices and Perspectives. The authors vary according to subject matter. This book is small but packed with information both for and against stricter gun control. Written on about a 7th grade level, I think this would be a useful text for schools and would be great for a debate class or an in depth US Constitutional study. There are 107 pages excluding a timeline, glossary, source notes, bibliography, organization contact information, further information section, and index. There are many colorful photographs in the book as well as many thought provoking topics; far too much information for me to cover in one post. Regardless of which side of the issue you are on, there is something in this book that would be of interest to you. Also, I think it’s important to discover what “the other side” is saying. By thinking about an issue from all sides we gain reliable information that we may not have had before. More reliable information will either alter your opinion or reinforce it.
Have you made up your mind on the gun issue? Do you know any gun owners? Have you ever been trained in the use of firearms?