What do you say to your friend who needs a gun for safety?
Sarah Prasuhn

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your own experiences with PTSD. However, a few things need to be addressed.

First, let’s understand that having a loaded gun may not make your friend safer, regardless of the reason she has it. It can fall into the hands of her assailant, leave her vulnerable if she is looking for the weapon in the dark when she could be leaving/hiding/preparing to physically restrain them. Guns can be a major distraction, they are difficult to manage in close combat situations, like a home, if you are not trained hours and hours and hours on them like a covert agent.

Sure, a gun “may” not make someone safer, but then again living in a concrete bunker with blast-proof doors also “may” not make them safe either. You can “what-if” a life or death scenario to ad infinitum, and of course there’s always a possibility that having a gun while being attacked won’t help you, but this ignores the alternative scenario of not having a gun in that situation, whereby your options are reduced to almost nothing.

Much of your case here is overstated and can be overcome with even minor preparation. Yes, training is essential to the proper and safe use of a firearm in general, but when it comes down to it there’s really not much that needs to be considered with something as simple as a revolver in close quarters. It’s point and shoot, nothing more. They may be difficult to manage in close quarters, but we’re not talking about a person going room to room to clear the house like a SWAT team. There’s absolutely nothing difficult about pointing a handgun, especially at the close in-home distances where you don’t really even need to aim. That doesn’t even take into account the deterrent effect of having a gun in the first place, which makes it more likely that you won’t have to use it since the intruder probably peed their pants when they saw it pointed at them.

Especially if you care for them safely, by putting the ammo in a different place and the gun in a safe. You just don’t have that much time during a break in.

That’s your’s, and a plethora of gun control proponents’, definition of safe, but it’s entirely arbitrary. Why not go one step further and say that true safety means the firearm should be disassembled and its parts stored in different places? The notion of storing guns separate from ammo is an old one, from a time when most people didn’t have safes because they trusted that they raised their children responsibly enough that they wouldn’t touch the guns without permission. It was a backup in case someone did access the gun without permission. The bottom line today, is that with a proper safe storage device, there is absolutely no reason to store ammo away from a gun, a process that, as you note, renders it useless for its defensive purpose. There are myriad convenient, safe storage options like this one with its biometric lock which gives one easy access when needed.

In addition, the adrenaline is hard to control especially if your friend is suffering brain trauma from a traumatic experience. While your friend may feel safer, statistically it is proven that she is not.

That adrenaline would be hard to control regardless of what tactic she employs in that moment, so if it’s not limited to using a gun it’s not really pertinent to the discussion. As to the statistically proven bit, not it’s not. Please provide some evidence of this, as this claim is constantly bandied about by gun-control proponents with little to no legitimate support.

I would also tell your friend that keeping a loaded gun in your home when you have PTSD is akin to drinking a liter of alcohol a day just to cope. It may not cause you injury slowly like alcohol, but that doesn’t mean it won’t kill you just the same. And with guns, possibly someone you love.

That’s a fair point. Someone with a condition that makes them more disposed to suicidal thoughts should not have a gun in the home.

She needs to learn something to use for self-defense that is actually safe and useful in a close combat situation like Krav Maga or Judo.

The reason firearms are emphasized so for protection is that they are a force equalizer. They are the only thing that negates the force disparity between a 110 lb woman and a 220 lb man. Of course there are plenty of self defense techniques, and someone concerned for their safety should pursue more than just one, but let’s be honest in admitting that none is more effective than a firearm. The CDC confirms this, in their study Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence, released in 2013.

“Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was “used” by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.”

I used to want to own a gun, I thought about it a lot. I picked one out. I started saving, and in the process, I decided to do my homework. I learned everything I could and in the end, this narrative of gun safety is a story woven to sell guns told for so long we don’t know the source. It carries with it tales of pioneers, revolutionaries, and people in situations not like our own. But these are just stories.
They are not the reality, and this is why more studies are needed so we can all base our decisions on the truth and actually protect our loved ones.

I don’t know where you did your homework, but it was incomplete. From the same CDC study of available research;

Defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence, although the exact number remains disputed (Cook and Ludwig, 1996;Kleck, 2001a). Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million (Kleck, 2001a), in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008 (BJS, 2010).

It would appear that actual numbers paint a picture of robust defensive use of firearms, resulting in lower victim injury rates than other defensive techniques. This refutes your claim that the “narrative of gun safety is a story woven to sell guns,” and that these are just stories. Rather, they appear to be quite factual.

I quite agree with the rest of what you have to say regarding approach to mental health, and the necessity to put distance between mental health problems and firearms, i just had to address the misinformation regarding firearms.

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