At seven months pregnant, home alone, I was reading on the couch. The man of the house was gone to work and it was pitch black outside. Suddenly I heard our door knob twisting. My heart began to race. Grabbing my cell phone, I began to call the police. I heard it again. I called 911; it literallly failed! Nothing went through. I wasn’t taking any chances the family shotgun was in my hands in less than five seconds. I now had a sense of assurance, but to my surprise, IT WAS NOT LOADED. I ran to where my husband keeps his ammo and loaded it as quick as I could and cocked it—Silence. Everything seemed still and quiet. My heart finally started to calm down a bit and the adrenaline dump hit. I sat down, shotgun at arm’s reach. Let out a deep breath and thought, “I was not prepared.”

“I realized in terror, an unloaded gun is a bad strategy for protection.”

I have recently heard it said that, “a loaded gun is safer than an unloaded gun.” I originally was taken aback by this quote and disagreed at first. Currently though, it makes me think of the Oregon community college shooting that happened recently. Is a gun free campus safer than a non-gun free campus? Arguments for and against stricter gun control laws are being thrown around all over the place, but some things must be considered: Is a loaded gun safer than an unloaded gun? Are home defense weapons locked in a home safe safer than a home defense gun that is available at a moment’s notice? Instead of really answering this question, I would like to examine a few scenarios to discuss.

The first part of the first scenario was mentioned above. Let’s just say that someone did break in to my apartment. It would take them about three to five seconds to make their way up the stairs and to make contact with me. My immediate reaction (as mentioned above) was to call the police-which I did. The call failed. The one time I called the police in a year and the call failed. If someone broke in, no one would have known. Yes, I could scream but in this apartment complex, every apartment surrounding ours has screaming going on constantly. No one would have cared. My second option was my husband’s shotgun. It was not loaded. With 3-5 seconds to go up the stairs, I would barely have enough time to get the shotgun much less put any type of rounds in the gun if it was not loaded. Fail. So the question is, “Is a loaded gun safer than an unloaded gun?” Time is of the essence.

Scenario Number 2: True Story. A man was home with his family and was sound asleep. He was aroused from slumber to the sound of someone breaking into his house. Shooting up out of bed, he ran over to his gun safe. It was locked by a dial. He swiveled the dial to enter the code”adrenaline streaming through his veins. He could not for his life or the life of his family open the gun safe. When reactive “fight or flight” instincts take over the body, adrenaline surges and one’s fine motor skills (like being precise with a dial lock) are hampered. The question, “Are home defense guns locked in a safe at home safer than the weapons being handy?” Adrenaline makes it difficult to think and make precise movements, like the ones necessary to open a gun safe.

How serious is the role of protecting life? Is it serious enough to have a conversation about it? It is serious enough to prepare for life or death situations? Would the Oregon community college shooter have targeted that campus if he knew there were loaded guns around? What if there was one who was carrying a gun in that class room and was able to stop the shooter before he killed and injured all of those people? There is nothing more important than human life in this world because humans are created in the image of God. This is why we are called to protect, preserve, and sustain ALL human life.

When all hell breaks loose, time is of the essence. Adrenaline makes it difficult to think and make precise movements. So the question is laid to the reader, “Is a loaded gun safer than an unloaded gun?”


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