corr. Sep 23, 2k




Use of a gun for defense in ones home under a low danger/risk situation might involve a person or family living in a rural home and having three noisy and maybe big dogs that are left outdoors most of the time.  The dogs barking might indicate that a stranger is near the perimeter of the property, which is some distance from the house.  Because of this distance, the home occupant has plenty of time to try to see what the dogs are barking at, unlock the basement door, go down to the basement, unlock the gun safe, retrieve a gun, unlock the trigger lock on the gun, unlock the cabinet that holds the ammunition, load the gun, go back upstairs and to the end of the house nearest the barking dogs and look again or sneak out to investigate.

Again because of that distance to the perimeter, the occupant has sufficient time that she does not have difficulty locating keys or remembering combinations to unlock everything.  A person with the luxury of a lot of distance and reliable dogs can afford to lock everything and keep the guns and ammo separate even while the occupant is at home.  Naturally, she can store the guns and ammo that way when nobody is at home.

And people of privilege may live in circumstances that are equally safe, maybe with one or more perimeter alarm systems, some mean dogs, and high walls at the perimeter.  (But don't think that just living in a "safe town" or "good neighborhood" means you're safe and don't need to worry about self protection.)

Yet, there are many people in our country who have to live in ordinary (or less than ordinary) homes or apartment buildings with ordinary (or less than ordinary) doors and no building security.  Urban dwellers often are not allowed to have animals.  Even if one is allowed to have a dog, it is often not feasible for urban dwellers to have one, much less the number it takes to provide reliable warning.  And many urbanites live in high-crime/violence areas where home-invasion crime is very likely.

In an urban setting, it is typically easy for criminals to get into a home quietly and maybe undetected until the last moment, or to simply break a window or knock down a door and burst in.  Even if a person is able to afford to have a good alarm system, an intruder can get in and kill and rob occupants before neighbors call police or before police arrive.

Consider an attractive young blonde woman living alone in a town where a man or men have been breaking into homes of attractive young blonde women, raping them, then killing them. In such high-risk (or, at least, high fear) circumstances, the woman must be able to grab a gun that is ready to fire if she is to use a gun at all, not that she necessarily does so when an intruder enters.

The decision to grab the gun depends upon whether or not the assailant already has control over the victim, and upon whether or not the victim comes to believe that the assailant is going to do something likely to cause a victim's death regardless of the victim's actions.  It would be foolhardy to reach for a gun while a thug is holding a gun and looking right at you, unless you think the thug is about to shoot somebody anyway (in which case you would hope for, and maybe create, a situation that distracts the thug from you even for a moment).

Because of the possibility of an intruder gaining control over the home occupant before she can grab her gun, a woman wishing to use a gun for defense at home in high-risk circumstances would (while she is home and in need of protection there) keep the gun out of sight (so an assailant can't see it) but near her.  She might even have loaded guns in more than one place in her home, or carry one around with her constantly.  But, this is not storage.  She is exercising control (dominion) over her gun(s) all the while.  Were she to have guns placed strategicly around her apartment, or carry one around with her while there, she would store her guns locked up maybe in multiple ways when she leaves her apartment.

Gun storage is the state of the gun while it is not in use.

You may think that the lady would have to be paranoid to take such extreme measures.  This is easy for someone to think when they have not lived in such circumstances.  Don't judge what you are not equipped to understand.

Now, let's assume that this lady has a child in her home.  She is in a bad way.  If she could afford to live somewhere safer, she would.  She should be trying to anyway.  In the mean time, she could still safely have loaded guns placed around her apartment--but only if she keeps her kid on a leash right beside her at all times (a leash that can't possibly be removed by the kid).  Yes, this is a bit extreme.  But some people are in extreme danger.  For such a person, something like this might be their safest option even though you are much safer wherever you are.

For a more common situation the lady would probably leave her child sleeping or playing, usually in the child's bedroom, while mommy was somewhere else in the apartment involved in something.  She couldn't then have those guns scattered around the apartment.  But she could still safely have a loaded gun in a drawer at the kitchen cabinet while she is cooking or in the drawer of the table beside the chair she is in while talking to a pollster on the telephone.  These could safely be even places a child could easily reach (making it "accessible") if the child were there because the lady is right there to control access to the gun and the child isn't there.

Some extra attention would be needed if the child came into the room.  The lady might carry the magazine around with her (not leaving a round in the gun chamber) for some added protection against the child getting to the gun and firing it.  And the lady would have to be constantly conscious of both the gun and the child.  The lady could never walk out of a room and leave the gun loaded or unlocked.  Constant awareness would be required, but some people live consciously.

One point of all the preceding is that peoples' needs for protection vary a great deal, making the appropriate defenses vary a great deal.  A second point of it is that different people can have different but very effective ways of being safe.  Thirdly, it is entirely possible to safely keep a gun loaded and unlocked, even with children around.  This is because to "keep" a gun in a particular state does not mean that the person doing it is not in complete control of the gun.  And, finally, to keep or have a gun in some state does not mean that it is stored in that state.