KNOW THIS FIRST: I do not want to take away, or see anyone take away, a law-abiding citizen’s handgun. I’m not pondering gun control itself. I’m considering how a well-armed citizenry might improve personal and public safety.

I’m imagining how a legally-armed citizen might stop a villain from committing violent crime. In this case, I’m imaging the arm is a handgun, but I feel like the thought process could apply to any projectile weapon.

What do you picture when you imagine violence thwarted by an armed citizen? I picture a lone citizen daftly drawing a gun on an approaching enemy, hitting the villain and stopping the attack. Violence is averted because the Good Guy is well-prepared. “Well-prepared” means GG is trained and practiced in quickly drawing and precisely shooting, and their handgun is loaded, chambered, and has the safety off.


I fear that this imagined scenario is based on memories of television programs, in which Good Guys always have guns on the ready and are always fast draws and good shots. For me to believe that this scenario could happen in reality, I need to know that in real life:

  1. Handgun owners are generally well-trained and practiced in drawing and firing under high stress, so that they can hit their intented target and not bystanders.
  2. Handgun owners generally keep their sidearms fire-ready all the time, everywhere they go.

I am still looking for confirmation of these points.

(Continued below…)


Could the presence of a well-armed citizen deter violence? If a villain bent on violence sees a citizen with a handgun, I can think of two possible reactions:

  1. The villain decides to attack anyway. In this case, we’re back to the original scenario.
  2. The villain decides to wait until a less-armed crowd is present. In this case mayhem is merely diverted until another time and/or place.

“But what if everyone armed themselves?”

Even if the villain goes elsewhere, at least this one armed citizen has protected herself and those around her from harm. So what if every (or at least many) law-abiding citizen armed themselves? What if villains could never find a time or place to commit violence without encountering a well-armed citizen?

Would they just …. give up crime?

I don’t think “lack of deterrent” inspires villains to commit crime. Consequently, I have a hard time thinking that the presence of armed citizens will convince criminals to go straight. What becomes of the criminals who, even in a well-armed society, persist in pursuing violence? Do they just continue as planned? Do they arm themselves more heavily before beginning their crime spree (yikes)?

“What if an armed citizenry deters even a small number of criminals?”

Isn’t a small reduction in violence better than nothing? Absolutely. If data confirms that more lives are saved due to averted violence than are lost due to firearm accidents, then you have a valid statistical point. I have not yet found such data.

“Should I care if others don’t protect themselves?”

Every individual has a right to protect themselves, and if others don’t exercise that right, it’s to their own detriment. Why should I care if you don’t take care of your own safety?

Well, I don’t know why, but I do care about others, even strangers. I care if lives around me are snuffed out by criminals bent on destruction. I don’t want criminals to destroy ANY lives; not mine, and not yours.


And that’s why I’m thinking about this. I’m not arguing for a conclusion. I’m thinking, and I’m asking you to do the same. Use logic and evidence and experience, but USE THEM ALL. Don’t react to your own experience but forgo logic and evidence. Don’t look at statistics and ignore common sense.

Here’s what I think I think so far:

  1. Given the above considerations, I can’t currently conclude logically that an armed citizenry could reduce the danger of violent crime, at least in the ways I’ve imagined it here. I’m not saying I’ve exhausted logic on this matter. I’m just saying that what I’ve considered so far doesn’t support the notion.
  2. I have, as of yet, not found evidence to support the conclusion that violent crimes are reduced or avoided by the presence of legally-armed citizens. I am fully prepared to see and consider such evidence.
  3. I have many friends and acquaintences who are law-abiding citizens that possess legally-obtained firearms. In talking to them, none of them have any experiences in facing or thwarting violent crimes. I am extremely happy for this, and I hope they live out their lives without ever encountering violence.
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