Top Five Questions I Get as a Gun Owner

Editor’s Note: The following is a post by Mark Kakkuri, a nationally published freelance writer who covers guns and gear, 2nd Amendment issues and the outdoors. His writing and photography have appeared in many firearms-related publications, including the USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @markkakkuri.

Read Mark’s previous articles in this “Top Five” series:

If you’re a gun owner and haven’t been peppered by questions from others as to why you’re a gun owner, then you’re either very good at keeping your gun ownership under the radar or you live in a rural area with very few people to deal with.

We’ve all experienced our share of questions about guns — with corresponding attitudes ranging from subtle inferences about our sanity to genuine interest in learning more. I try to do my part by helping people learn and even changing antagonistic attitudes when I can. With that, here are the top five questions I get as a gun owner.

1. “Why Do You Need a Handgun/Rifle/Shotgun?”

Sometimes, rather than launching immediately into the rights recognized by the 2nd Amendment — which isn’t necessarily the point of the question, anyway — I start by reversing the question and saying something like this: “Thanks for asking! I am happy to discuss this with you but would like to ask you this: Do you own a fire extinguisher? If so, why?” That’s usually a useful enough contemplation to get them thinking in terms of having defensive tools on hand in the event of an emergency.

Eventually, I try to get the questioner to think in terms of who determines what my needs are, which, of course, is me and not the broader culture, the government, etc. Later, the conversation generally turns to the matter of individual rights, the reality of the world we live in, the inability for police to be in all places at all times and so on.

Sometimes, the question gets asked about a rifle or shotgun from a purely utilitarian perspective. Answering that I simply need the proper tool to hunt deer or waterfowl is often enough. As for the handgun, that usually gets us talking about personal defense and the associated reasons for concealed carry.

2. “So, Self-Defense… Does It Have to Be a Gun?” or “Why don’t you use a blunt force instrument such as …?”

Here, the conversation is progressing, but the questioner is showing his or her bias against guns, in particular, or perhaps his or her ignorance of self-defense techniques in general. I usually find it to be the latter.

Asking “Does it have to be a gun?” might suggest a classic “guns are evil” way of thinking. Typically, the person thinks that attackers using a weapon less than a gun deserve some kind of balanced response from you. A brief review of how weapons function and the proximity required in order for them to be effective usually serves to make the point that a gun is likely going to be the best self-defense weapon choice.

3. “Aren’t You Afraid of Someone Stealing Your Gun?”

This more practical or safety-minded question usually means the person with whom I’m talking has moved a bit toward my position and is now working through other issues related to gun safety. They might still be grasping at straws, trying to make a case against even owning a gun, but this one is easily handled.

Someone who is interested in stealing a gun realizes there is a gun to be stolen. Which means there’s an owner of the gun. Which means there’s likely a defense-minded person who knows how to use it. Which means this will not be an easy theft. Regardless, guns not in use are locked up in a gun safe and not easily stolen anyway.

You’ve seen those clever house signs that say things like, “This house guarded by shotgun three nights a week. You guess which three.” Or, “We don’t use 9-1-1, we use .357.” I don’t recommend such antagonism, but the point is clear: The owner takes his or her responsibility to defend this home very seriously. Violate the property or break-in at your own risk.

4. “Where Is It?” or “How Do You Secure Your Gun In Your Home?”

With these questions, I might be getting some buy-in to the efficacy of owning a firearm from the questioner. I don’t outright answer these questions but simply explain that guns should be safely stored and easily accessible.

There are logistical matters to address in terms of how some gun safes work, where to locate them and so forth, but the main point for the questioner to understand is that the firearm safety rules are always in effect. Often, I’ll explain to a questioner how I carry concealed, even at home, as this provides me with maximum control and accessibility to my gun.

5. “What Is It With Americans and Guns?”

Sometimes this is an antagonistic question. But, sometimes, a person realizes firearms are simply a part of the fabric of American life. With the presentation of a few simple statistics demonstrating how responsibly armed, law-abiding American citizens are not a problem but a solution to a problem, it’s just a short jump to discussing the history of the country and its Constitution.

If the questioner really wants to try to make a point about gun ownership being for the paranoid or some other abnormal worldview or way of thinking, I like to ask if the questioner knows any other gun owners and the extent of their conversations. Usually, there aren’t many — known gun owners or conversations — and the questioner sees how they’ve built a view of gun ownership based not on facts but on speculation.

So, what is it with Americans and guns? We recognize our right to self-defense, gun ownership and use, and our commitment to the 2nd Amendment as a protection for society to continue under principles of freedom.

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{ 18 comments… add one }
  • James Griffij November 17, 2017, 7:22 am

    Very good article, enjoyed reading.

  • Mike H. October 28, 2017, 7:04 am

    When I am asked why I own so many guns,my answer is ,because I want to! My hobby is shooting,hunting and guns. My business and if You don’t like it,there’s the door!

  • Carl Smith October 28, 2017, 1:07 am

    I have a couple of old maid sister in laws that are about as far left as you can be short of being Kim Jon UN’ concubine That once asked me “Why do you have so many Guns?” I asked her why she had so many pairs of shoes and the conversation went downhill from there. I then asked her how far away was the police / Sheriff from my house and she did some quick calculations and said 5 blocks. Correct I said. I’ll give you 1000 to 1 odds that you can make a 911 call for a burglary in progress at this address and it will take over 5 minutes for a response. She must know more than I thought she refused the bet.

  • Bob October 28, 2017, 12:01 am

    My answer to all questions would be “What guns?” I am not responsible for educating the masses….or giving their contacts my name as a target when they flap their jaws….people in my circle who know I have them need no convincing. Sorry it has come to this, but it is what it is…the time for civil discourse seems to be over. Time to be well heeled, alert and check your 6…

  • oilyfishhead October 27, 2017, 5:31 pm

    Is that a Benelli Vinci in the safe? Nice!

  • D Day Dog October 27, 2017, 3:26 pm

    I get asked: “Why do you own a gun?” My usual response is: “Why don’t you own a gun?” I also get asked: “Why do you have an AR15?” My usual response is: “Why do the police have AR15s?” There are SO many great answers as to why to have a gun, but there are few great answers as to why not to have one. As to the question: “Why do you carry a gun?” my usual answer is: “Because a bullet can arrive at the scene to help out a lot faster than a police car.”

    It’s almost funny to listen to them, but mostly sad to me, that non-gun people just don’t get it. They subscribe to comments like: “The Boston Massacre couldn’t happen today.” or “No leader in the USA could ever become like Pol Pot, Stalin or Hitler.” “We live in modern times, that just can’t happen here.” Bullshit. “Modern times” just happens to be today’s date. Nothing much has changed in terms of evil or corrupt governing bodies be them kings, dictators, or elected presidents over 1,000s of years. Today’s bad leaders can and will do bad things to people. Sadly, it will never end.

  • John Taylor October 27, 2017, 3:22 pm

    I never conceed the “Need” question.
    In a free society, who has the “self-declared” right to determine your “needs”. My response, why do you need to be a two-car family, a half-calf latte, brand-name shoes, little-ponies???

  • DaveGinOly October 27, 2017, 2:23 pm

    The non-gun owner may consider me paranoid. That’s OK. I consider the non-gun owner unprepared. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean there isn’t someone out to get you. Being unprepared is inexcusable.

  • Topruder October 27, 2017, 1:49 pm

    A lot of people do not own a fire extinguisher, but if they own a car, chances are strong that they have a spare tire. So, I use that as an example. Then they may say are you looking for trouble? And, in keeping with the spare tire example, I will say, “No, and I am not ‘looking’ for a flat either, but I have a spare just in case.

  • Geoff October 27, 2017, 1:39 pm

    Excellent article! Great questions with succinct answers without being hot headed or sarcastic. It actually forces the questioner to think about it and THAT is how you convert people to our side. With logic, not who can yell louder.

  • RT Taylor October 27, 2017, 12:00 pm

    I reply, “You must do really well in Vegas”. They naturally have this “Deer in the headlights” look and say “What do you mean”. I say, “I was referring to the fact that you probably can see the future, which it CAN’T.” ….THAT’S why I need a gun!”

    • Phil October 27, 2017, 12:39 pm

      Might be too soon for the Vegas comment… “You must do really well at roulette” could be a better phrase. Then again, if we’re talking about Russian Roulette… Well… You get the idea.

  • JoeUSooner October 27, 2017, 11:07 am

    A few years ago, my brother-in-law asked me, “Why do you need a gun?”

    In return, I asked him, “Why do you need a big new house? A small apartment will suffice for the two of you… Why do you need an expensive SUV? A used Chevy will suffice for basic transportation.” He responded, “That’s different.” I asked how it was different, but he could not answer that question, and I gave up.

    We haven’t spoken in two years…

  • Jeff Drew October 27, 2017, 8:59 am

    Why Americans and guns? History! “The Boston Massacre occurred on March 5, 1770. A squad of British soldiers, come to support a sentry who was being pressed by a heckling, snowballing crowd, let loose a volley of shots. Three persons were killed immediately and two died later of their wounds; among the victims was Crispus Attucks, a man of black or Indian parentage. The British officer in charge, Capt. Thomas Preston, was arrested for manslaughter, along with eight of his men; all were later acquitted. The Boston Massacre is remembered as a key event in helping to galvanize the colonial public to the Patriot cause!”
    There are many more historical examples of “the why.” Learn about USA because there are those who don’t understand or appreciate it!

  • joefoam October 27, 2017, 8:37 am

    You could ask the same questions to a car owner. They have been proven year after year to be more deadly than gun ownership.

  • Mort leith October 27, 2017, 8:18 am

    I believe it when the Bible says “there IS evil in the world”…
    So when God removes ALL of the evil in the world,, I won’t need my gun anymore,,,
    well,,, unless bears & mountain lions are still on my mountain….

  • Brian October 27, 2017, 7:57 am

    Good article and good responses. Another good response to “why do you carry a gun” I like to use is “do you put your seat belt on every time you get in your car or just the days you think you might get into an accident?” Suddenly, logic sets in and they begin to understand.

    • Marcelino October 27, 2017, 8:39 am

      Using analogy and answering the question with a comparison question is the best education for some folks. If they persist I just say,” that’s a free country and each individual chooses its means of protection.” And never argue or try to convince the other.

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