10/21/05 — Armed citizens: Are they safer, or in greater danger?

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Armed citizens: Are they safer, or in greater danger?

There are two sides to the issue of whether guns in homes provide a greater measure of safety — or increase the danger to the residents, especially to children.

Loaded weapons readily available to children or anyone not familiar with their use can, of course, present a problem.

There have been many instances in which youngsters playing or experimenting with loaded firearms have had tragic experiences.

Critics of gun possession also are quick to argue that in event of burglaries or home invasions, a resident with a firearm runs the risk of shooting the wrong person or of causing the intruder to use deadly force he or she did not intend to use. Or, risk having a stronger and more agile intruder wrestle the weapon away and using it on the victim.

On the other hand, there have been a great many instances where violent crimes were thwarted by intended victims who had a weapon readily available.

Every issue of the National Rifle Association’s magazines lists a number of such real-life occurrences.

Today’s news reports frequently tell of home invaders forcing their way into residences bent on robbery and mayhem.

A few years ago, two Goldsboro men on an overnight fishing trip to the coast were awakened by a knock on their hotel room door. When one asked who was there, the response was, “Your truck is ready.“

The voice at the door persisted: “Your truck is ready.“

The other Goldsboro man growled, “You have the wrong room. We don’t have a truck.”

From outside the door came a comment: “There are two of them in there!” Followed by the sound of hastily retreating footsteps down the hallway.

The same year, another Goldsboro man was beaten and robbed when he responded to an identical knock on his door at a hotel in the same area.

There are some good lessons in all the experiences. Never unlock or open the door to strangers calling in the night — or perhaps even in the daytime.

And, for experienced weapons handlers, don’t hesitate to have a loaded gun in hand or readily available when people with potentially evil intentions come calling at unusual hours.

The laws of our state protect people in their homes who defend themselves in cases where they are in imminent danger.

Published in Editorials on October 21, 2005 9:18 AM