If you haven’t already seen content on “shower guns,” take a minute to do a web search of the term. I’ll wait.
Okay, now that you know that some people secure—and have used—guns in the shower, maybe the topic of this article doesn’t seem so far-fetched if it did at first. I was asked to address the question, “should you have a gun physically on you at home at all times?” along with reasons for my opinion on same. Regular readers of this blog know that I’m not big on all-or-nothing answers, seeing as how no two of us have the same lifestyle or are on the same place on our journey as shooters. What I will lay out here are some self-assessment and action suggestions to cover both the security of guns within your home as well as the potential defensive need for them.
Col. Jeff Cooper said something along the lines of, “if you don’t have a gun within arm’s reach, you’re unarmed.” Having a gun secreted away lends a false sense of security for many people. Yet having one that’s accessible to any passer-by in the living room obviously presents a different, no less deadly, set of risks. So a risk assessment is in order.
But first, safety
Before heading into the meat of this discussion, here is some essential information to keep you out of trouble that can come from the person in the mirror:
If you have untrained or developmentally challenged children or teens, any child under the age of five, trained or not, guests whose gun safety skills are faulty or unknown, or any household member whom you wouldn’t completely trust with a gun including knowing they consistently follow the Four Rules of Firearm Safety, having a gun easily accessible and not on your person is asking for tragedy. Even if you do wear the gun during your waking hours, its location while you’re sleeping, showering, or, well…engaging in any activity that doesn’t involve wearing a gun, matters. If you decide to wear a gun virtually all the time, I applaud you. But be responsible for its security when you’re not wearing it. The likelihood of a tragic “accident” due to negligence or ignorance is higher, for most people, than the likelihood of needing a gun defensively.*
After reading the paragraph above, if you feel you have a plan that keeps forbidden paws and fingers off your gun when you’re not wearing it, you’ve passed the first hurdle of risk assessment and can consider yourself a good candidate for in-home gun-wearing.
Different strokes for different folks
For people who are motivated to wear a gun all the time and have selected a carry system that’s 100% comfortable and keeps the gun secure for their normal activities in their normal clothing, way to go!
For the majority who have yet to figure out a system that’s 100% comfortable all the time and that works with every at-home bit of attire, alternatives may need to be found. Can you place guns strategically around the house in the places where you spend the most time? Previous articles covering gun storage may cover some ideas for you. Or perhaps you live alone or with a trusted, gun-competent partner but only have two guns between you. Perhaps it’s time to set aside some budget and research time to select “house guns” and places to keep them where you both have access. Consider auxiliary or weapon-mounted lighting to accompany them. Agree on what load condition they will be in, and maintain them that way but always treat them as loaded. Have a maintenance schedule for these guns and look in on them daily.
This system of having some accessible guns may not be for everyone and can be costly, however it does most closely resemble the ideal of having a gun within arm’s reach. If you can only afford to outfit your safe room with an extra gun, consider reading this installment on home invasions for more information.
If you are the target of a stalker or have received actionable threats, it may be especially motivating and logical to stay armed at all times. That’s a good thing as long as you maintain situational awareness and take common-sense measures like limiting contact with high-risk environments and communications, including social media.
It’s not all about the gun
It’s tempting to become overly reliant on the gun for defense and safety. Armed with a firearm or not, remain cognizant of the many alternative weapons at hand in any home. Furniture, cooking tools, decorative items, you name it, all can be used as weapons with a little motivation. By the same token, do not overlook emergency medical measures for yourself and household members. A kit to stop or stem massive blood loss is easy to obtain and training is readily available in most communities. Consider ramping up your skills to treat other life-endangering conditions such as sucking chest wounds that might result from a vicious attack. If you’re willing to put a hole in someone who intends to kill you, it’s only logical to be willing to seal up a life-endangering hole in yourself or a loved one until professional emergency care is available.
Carrying concealed in public necessitates a balance between preparedness and comfort. Carrying on your person at home is no different, though the burden of concealment is eased. Imagine worst-case scenarios if you go unarmed and decide if you can live with whatever actions you could or couldn’t take in the absence of a gun. Let that be your guiding principle in making this personal decision.
*Do not take this statement as any sort of support of mandatory gun storage legislation. Such laws violate the Second and Fourth Amendments. They discourage frequent, educated handling of guns, which in turn fosters both unsafe handling and dangerous attraction-by-mystique. Frequent handling in alignment with the safety rules is the only way anyone becomes competent, dispels any mystique, and thus becomes safe with a firearm. Your home is private, and no government should compel you to store life-saving equipment in any way other than how you see fit. Exercise responsibility and rights at the same time.