Is It Always Best for One to Have a Gun During a Home Invasion Scenario?

The latest episode of NOIR, the NRA News series hosted by urban gun enthusiast Colion Noir, raises the question of whether it is always best for one to have a firearm during home-invasion scenario.

Noir stages the question by showing a video of a woman, who is presumably alone, sitting on a couch at her home when, suddenly, a man kicks down her door. Noir then asks, various groups of pedestrians on the streets of Dallas, Texas, “Do you think in that situation she should have a gun?”

My answer is simple, if not obvious, it depends. It depends on the woman’s familiarity with firearms, overall personal preparedness and general mindset on self-defense.

To once again state the obvious, what good is a gun to an individual that has no idea how to use it? Sure, guns are relatively intuitive tools, but under the stressful conditions of a home invasion, even a trained gun owner may have trouble with the fine motor movement required to load the weapon, acquire the target and discharge a round, not to mention someone who has never even held nor fired a gun.

But for sake of discussion, I want to put aside those who are completely unfamiliar with firearms (because the solution there is simple, get them trained!) and focus on those who, even if they did know how to, would opt not to use a firearm in a potentially life-threatening situation. I guess I’d call them extreme pacifists or martyrs to the cause of non-violence.

Yes, I know, it’s crazy to think that there are people out there that would rather be carried by six than judged by twelve, but they do exist. And I believe there is a non-trivial number of them; meaning, there are probably more than we might initially think. In fact, I think Noir actually spoke with one, albeit briefly.

His name was Rami, and he told Noir, “If I strive for peace, would having a gun mean I’m not a peaceful person. Right? Because I have one that means I have to be willing to use it and I haven’t really gotten to the place where I know that I’m willing to use it.”

[On a side note, I’d tell Rami that it’s no coincidence the Colt Single Action Army was dubbed the “peacemaker,” and that in the real world — not in some idealistic hipster fantasyland — that if you really want peace, you ought to prepare for war, but that’s a conversation for a different day.]

Rami appears to be a pacifist. He doesn’t want to take a life. Actually, to be more descriptive, he is neither physically, in terms of training, or mentally prepared to take a life. So, to circle back to the initial question, do you think in that [home invasion] situation Rami should have a gun? Let’s complicate it even more, let’s assume that Rami not only knows how to use a gun but is a really well-trained marksman, should he have a gun in that situation?

The right answer is, of course, it’s his choice. Not really our decision, nor a government’s decision, but his and his alone. Some folks don’t believe in self-defense because it requires them to act violently toward an other. So, it’s not really a question of should but a question of want, what does Rami want to have on hand if someone breaks into his home? Maybe he doesn’t want to have weapon. Instead, maybe he wants to try to de-escalate the situation with kind words and his persuasive charm. Whatever the case may be, it’s his decision.

As Noir correctly asserts, it’s up to the individual on how best to deal with a violent society. But however one comes out on that issue, one should ultimately refrain from foisting their opinion on others. Sadly, though, that’s never the case.

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • ej harb October 19, 2015, 11:17 am

    Mindset is the first thing to check.
    If you are not ready able and willing to inflict a harmful possibly fatal injury on your attacker then you need to go less lethal.
    In my opinion fox 5.7 pepper mace is the best but watch YouTube video and see for yourself.however I’ll always prefer firearms the best but I know my mindset is up to it. But I know a few folks who I recommend pepper mace to as well

  • Steve September 28, 2015, 5:55 pm

    I could care less, just don’t tell me if I can have one or not. All gun laws are superseded by the U.S. constitution, a God given right, and common sense!Don’t like guns? Don’t get one.

    • Herb December 29, 2016, 2:32 pm

      Couldn’t agree more. If you invade a home, the person in the house has the right to take your life, since by your action: you have said YOUR life means nothing!

  • Gary September 28, 2015, 4:50 pm

    There are no atheists in fox holes! Meaning, it is easy to say you will stand there and have your guts kicked out, and your family murdered. As long as it is not really happening!
    But, just like the atheist in the fox hole next to you, that just a short time ago was telling you that God is a superstition for the weak minded. Did you notice when the shells started landing they are the ones that pray the loudest!! (Perhaps they think if they pray loudly, god will forget about all the crap they have been spewing their whole life?)
    Remember the riots in California? When all the anti gunners came running to their ‘crazy friend” Chuck Heston’s house or calling him on the phone, begging him to give them guns to defend themselves. He turned them away, explaining they would kill themselves or an innocent because they had zero training with a gun.
    I have heard that story many times since then, and I always wondered if maybe deep down inside (or maybe not so deep down), that he was really enjoying himself looking at their faces when he told them that? Maybe thinking to himself about all those functions he attended with these morons when they couldn’t wait to jump him about HIS beliefs on self defence!
    Well pal..go tell that cute speech about how everyone has nothing to worry about. That the police will be right there to protect you. Go tell that to the thugs burning your house to the ground with you and your family inside it!
    Or when that animal that just caved your husbands head in while he was explaining how you won’t resist, no matter what they plan to do to you and your family. When you see that animals face when he does that, tell me, will you be praying THEN?

  • skipNclair September 28, 2015, 12:05 pm

    I vote for Hugo

  • BigR September 28, 2015, 11:05 am

    My choice is to live longer! I know damn well how to use a gun, and I will use the gun if the need arises.

  • Fake Mr. Colt September 28, 2015, 10:38 am

    Mr. Rami has some serious problems that began long before the guy hits his front door. First, the initial scenario is too unrealistic, too exaggerated, you can’t make decisions about situations like that for others–they have to have already made it before it happens or Rami is just a victim.

    Second, Rami should have formulated a home defense plan within his philosophical comfort zone. A plan that would have let Rami know before the bad guys were virtually in his front room. Something simple like an alarm. Allowing him to retreat with his family, maintaining his pacifism and not having to make a decision whether to kill someone.

    Then, his pacifism will ask himself whether he is going to call the police who will, undoubtedly, murder all the alleged perpetrators.

    Ultimately, the question CAN come down to: I have a firearm and am I willing to use it injure, main or kill another human. PRACTICALLY, it should come down to how do I extract myself from this situation with me/my family as safe as possible with as little violence as possible.

    Personally, I am convinced, given no chance of flight, no other alternatives, I will apply appropriate amounts of force necessary to protect myself and my family. ONLY after every other alternative has been used/considered. (And, at times, all those alternatives will be considered and discarded in seconds.)

    Once I am in this situation, I want to resolve it with the minimum amount of violence, injury and/or death. While keeping me and my family as safe as possible.

    Just because you don’t want to consider killing people doesn’t mean you don’t need a self-defense plan. However, the flat screen TV I got for Christmas 5 years ago is not worth dying over.

  • Jasper September 28, 2015, 10:08 am

    For those not able or willing, then they can do as they please.
    However, the question is posed in a very poor manner!
    The question is not one of “Is it Best”, the question is “Should all be allowed to have a Gun to protect themselves?”

    The article question is a carefully couched question, purposely creating a situation open with emotion and strife.
    It is not about SHOULD, it is about CHOICE!

    For those pacifist sheep telling those with desire and free will, that just because they choose to freely die, then the rest of us need to be disarmed and also die along side them.
    I for one believe all situations of home invasion need to be met the best possible way, the introduction to the teeth of my dogs, followed by the action of my right to defend my dogs with deadly force!!
    Nothing like a one-two punch to thin the herd.

    • Fake Steve Jobs September 28, 2015, 10:43 am

      Personally, I don’t know of any state that allows the use of deadly force to protect your pets.

      I wouldn’t go into court with this as justification for having gunned down people.

      • Dan September 28, 2015, 1:29 pm

        Arizona …lethal force to defend life and property

      • Joe McHugh September 30, 2015, 2:34 pm

        Fake Steve Jobs, your comment was a joke, right? It doesn’t matter what a homeowner is trying to defend, it only matters that the bullet hits the center mass of the home invader. The attacker won’t stop until he kills the dog, and any human being that could identify him in a line up. What’s that? The bad guy might not try to harm the home owner? You keep that thought in mind if you are ever assaulted in your home, I would prefer to think that my assaulter is a homicidal maniac and I will strive to limit his options.

        Consider this scenario. The police are called to a home where the home invader was just killed. The police note the kicked in door and ask the homeowner if he warned the invader to stop before firing his gun at the bad guy. “Why yes officer, I calmly requested that the invader stop rushing at me with his knife, gun, etc, etc. but he chose to continue his attack.” The Police then asked if the homeowner shot to kill or only shot to disable and stop the attacker. “I’m sorry to say that I shot at the attacker’s left leg but I am such a poor shot that I inadvertently hit his heart instead.” The great part about being the last person standing is that you are the only witness.

        The police then asked if the homeowner was even aware that the attacker had constitutional rights. “Yes he did have those rights before he kicked in my door and rushed at me with his knife, gun, etc, etc. but he left his constitutional rights at my forced doorway.”

        Now let’s consider the viewpoint of the dead man. He could have kept his life secure by simply refraining from invading the person’s home. But let’s face it, these home invaders aren’t known for high IQ’s in the first place. After all an armed 110 pound woman can make a line backer sized attacker lose interest in breathing.

        I will agree that gun control is an important consideration. One must make sure that the sights are aligned with the center mass of the attacker and one must squeeze the trigger smoothly to keep the sight on target until the bullet leaves the barrel. Oh, and you must keep firing at his center of mass until the attacker’s gun hand stops moving towards your direction.

        By the way, while you are waiting for the police, you should place a plastic drop cloth or shower curtain, between the floor and the inert body that could be bleeding out. You can tell the police that you didn’t want the floor to be damaged. Hey, rugs are expensive, right?

  • Rokurota September 28, 2015, 9:26 am

    His name is RAMI and he’s anti-gun? That’s as rich as the director of New Yorkers against Gun Violence being named Leah Gunn Barrett,

  • Ram6 September 28, 2015, 9:25 am

    I fully agree that it is an individual decision. I would, however, emphasize that in most home invasions the invader doesn’t seem to be satisfied with merely ransacking and stealing, they want to inflict physical pain, injury and possible death on the homeowner and others who happen to be in the house. So in my case I would say all it takes is to click off the safety and pull the trigger. It’s my belief if you have a firearm in the house and it’s unloaded (“the fine motor movement required to load the weapon, acquire the target and discharge a round”) you might as well just have a rock at your disposal.

  • Steve L September 28, 2015, 9:23 am

    Great point USA Patriot! My motivation and foremost reason to have a firearm is to protect my family and loved ones. I don’t ever want to be a victim, but I certainly don’t won’t one of my children to ever fall victim while I beg some pycho scumbag please don’t harm my child! If you want to get blow away without me thinking twice about it try and lay a hand on one of my children. I will take what ever you have (gun, knife or club) first in their defense! You might get me, but I’m going too make sure that’s as far as you go! I deplore violence, but if you want to see what can happen in response to a parent prepared to do the enviable in the defense of their offspring, go mess with a momma brown bear’s cubs in the wild as see what gets you!

  • hugo September 28, 2015, 9:11 am

    Anyone with half a brain should be able to figure out that it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Are the so called pacifists really willing to die before defending their lives or are they counting on the mercy of someone who just kicked their door in?

  • USA Patriot September 28, 2015, 4:40 am

    There is also the secondary question, “Will your commitment to non violence place others in danger?”

    Using Rami as an example, if he is the father of a child, his commitment to non violence can place the children under his care in danger if he is unable to protect them from the violent intentions of the person breaking into his home.

    That consideration is one many who have a pacifistic outlook on life never consider, that the cost of their unwillingness to use violence to stop an attacker may not just be their lives, but the lives of those who depend on them for protection.

    • mark September 28, 2015, 3:31 pm

      Rami is a throwback to the Peace Movement of the 60’s. Let’s face it, if EVERYBODY had a commitment to Peace, then there would be no need for weapons. But, as we all know, such a thing just isn’t gonna happen. So, it’s better to create Peace out of chaos and violence with a Peacemaker.

    • neapolitan58 July 4, 2016, 3:52 pm

      USA Patriot–agreed. The problem is that at any given time, a criminal, a terrorist, an enemy soldier, or even (sadly) a mentally unstable person can walk into a scenario with a loaded weapon and start firing at the person who is unarmed by choice. If you wish to live your life as an unarmed individual who will NEVER use deadly force against another (gun, martial arts, knife, etc.) your decision affects your life and the lives of every single person you find yourself near–whether they are willing to die for that ideal or not. While the dedication to peaceful existence may sound nice on it’s face, it never teaches the bully the meaning and value of peaceful interactions–it just teaches them that they can get away with using violence to get what they want. If you love the idea of peace with no violence more than your life, your families lives, and the lives of all your friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc., you have made a choice that you are willing to stand by and be killed and/or watch all of those you know die. Peace through non-violence is a nice idea, but in my humble experience of 58 of living, there’s never been a time when people just argued things out. Read the papers, go online, watch the news–there’s violence, crime, and war going on all the time. The choice to defend oneself is still up to the individual, but being a sitting duck is not a good idea.

  • DRAINO September 24, 2015, 8:02 am

    Good Article. Good Distinction. Good Point. If you aren’t willing to use it in your defense, all your doing is providing the bad guys with a weapon to use on you.

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