I know, right? This is a survival group diary and most people associate guns with survivalism. You'd think it was counter-intuitive to talk about not owning a gun in a survival diary.
Truth is, there are times when not having a gun is best for your survival and responsible gun owners already know this. They just don't articulate it most of the time, so all the people who have a knee-jerk "guns are bad" reaction think that gun-owners want to force gun ownership on everyone else.
That's not true. Gun owners very definitely don't want everyone to own guns and there are some people they think should never have access to guns.
I am all for people utilizing their second amendment rights to the fullest if that's what they want to do. I don't, personally, own any guns because I don't want to own any guns. They take a lot of time and upkeep and I just don't want to spend my time on them. However, since Oklahoma is a now an open carry state as well as a concealed carry state and gun ownership is legal, I am comforted by the possibility that many of my neighbors may have guns as a deterrent to criminals. I think being able to protect yourself to whatever extent is needed is a natural right we all innately have. And e fact that some people just like having guns around is OK by me. My ex likes guns so much he became a gunsmith and an expert on the history of firearms. Very smart man when it comes to guns. Not so smart in other areas of his life. There are circumstances, however, when it makes a whole lot of sense to not have firearms in the home at all, not even locked up in a gun safe.
If there's domestic violence going on in the house, or there's a strong potential for it, then guns should be taken to a safe deposit box or somewhere difficult to get to and with strict rules for removing the item. Banks and their safety deposit boxes seem the best bet to me what with their short hours and the rules for accessing the boxes. It makes the impulsive and passionate acquisition, aiming, and firing of a gun nearly impossible. By the time anyone got to the bank while it was open, waited for access to the boxes, followed the rules for opening the box, and got the gun, passions would have cooled and a more reasoning attitude would prevail. And if not, using a gun stored like this would be premeditated.
In cases of domestic violence, ready access to guns is a sure fire way to get someone shot. Responsible gun owners would take that gun out of the house, out of the places where any of the involved parties could access it easily, and lock it up.
Once the domestic situation is resolved, the guns could probably return, but you'd have to be very sure violence won't erupt again.
Domestic violence isn't the only time guns should be removed from a house. If there's someone suicidal, keeping a gun where it can be accessed, even in a locked gun safe, increases the chances of the gun being used for the suicide. Yes, I know suicidal people will find some way to off themselves if they don't get help first or if that help doesn't work fast enough. If the person is deemed well enough to live unsupervised - or their suicidal tendencies haven't been noted (which I find very sad and disturbing) - and they are serious about suicide, they will find a way. I just don't think it should be with a gun. I've had a couple of friends suicide or try to suicide by gun and it is not something I ever want to have to see or clean up after again. Most other methods of suicide are kinder to the people left behind. Gun shots to the head, done wrong, don't kill. They make a huge, nasty mess and then leave the suicidal person alive but often not ever well again. One of my friends is a vegetable - not on life support, but not really alive. Half his face and half his brain are gone and he can't talk, see, hear, feed himself, toilet himself, but he keeps breathing and his heart keeps beating and his other organs keep functioning, except his brain isn't all there and neither is he.
If you suspect suicidal tendencies in someone and there's a gun where they live, do your best to get that gun out of that house and locked up somewhere distant and safe until the person has been successfully treated.
Of course, right along with that is out of control alcohol or drug use. They might not be suicidal, but combining abusive alcohol or drug use with guns leads to stupid actions. Those stupid actions can lead to serious injuries or death. Alcoholics and drug addicts with guns is bad, bad news. Do your best to convince an alcoholic or drug addict to lock their guns away in a remote location. Once they are clean and responsible again, maybe they can have their guns back.
We can't talk about dysfunctional adults with guns without also talking about dysfunctional families with kids. The reason I say "dysfunctional families with kids" and not "all families with kids" is because in a functional family (and despite all the media noise about it - most families are pretty functional), guns would be handled responsibly, kids would be educated on their use as a tool, and it would be kept in a gun safe when not in use. Many functional families enjoy gun games such as target shooting or that like to hunt. I shot my first duck when I was 8 and my first deer when I was 16. Guns in a functional, responsible family are as safe as butcher knives, lawn mowers, fireplace pokers, or tire irons. In families with irresponsible adults, the children aren't taught gun safety and the guns are left in accessible places. Trust me, the kids will find guns kept in the bedside table drawer or under the pillow. Those are never responsible places to keep guns when small or young children are around.
Like narcotic prescription drugs and toxic household cleaners, guns need to be kept out of the reach children too young to be responsible with guns.
And if there are troubled teens, it doesn't matter how responsible you think they are, guns have no business in a house with them. It's not just gang banger teens, there's the braggadocio teens, the show offs, and the rebellious, out-of-control teens. They, too, can be alcoholic or drug addicts. And the kids and teens who are bullied and taunted, we've seen how tragic the outcomes are of families who kept accessible guns around them - either suicides or massacres happen. If you suspect a teen is troubled in some way and their parents own guns, do your best to convince them to lock the guns up in a distant location until the troubles resolve. And if it's your kid that's troubled, why do you still have that gun in your home? Get it out now. Today. You're not giving up your right to own the gun, you're acting responsibly with it.
Those aren't the only reasons to not have a gun. If you bought the gun years ago "for protection" and you've stuffed it in the back of a closet in case you ever need it, why do you still have it? if you've never cleaned it, fired it, taken it out for target practice and sighting in, what's the point of you keeping it? Not only are you a reluctant gun owner, you're an irresponsible one. In your closet, really? You think those old moth eaten sweaters will rise up and protect you with a gun that's probably rusted, or at least crudded up? No, take it to a gunshop and sell it right now. You obviously don't want, you've never used it, and you don't need it. Make some money off it and let someone who'll take care of it get it.
If you have the gun because you think you might someday need it to scare away a burglar, you might want to rethink that gun. You have to be willing to do more than try to scare a burglar away if you own a gun for protection. If you think just the sound of chambering a round is sufficient, ditch the gun and get a good recording of a gun being readied and play that. It will be just as effective and much safer - the burglar won't take the recording away from you and shoot you with it. Of course, if you are a responsible gun owner and have kept he gun clean and maintained and you fire it regularly so you're familiar with it and you have no qualms firing it at someone and potentially killing them, having a gun for protection might be a good idea. But if you have any doubts about your ability to maintain control over the gun and to shoot someone else, get the recording.
There are also philosophical reason to not have a gun. If you're a pacifist or just adamantly against gun ownership, don't have one. Nobody's forcing you to own a gun, so exercise your freedom of choice and don't own one. Don't have one in your house. Just because you can have a gun doesn't mean you have to have one.
If it's against your religion to own a gun or weapons of violence then I'd be surprised of you had a gun in your home. You need to do what is right for you, whether it's religiously motivated or philosophical.
If you live with someone who has a philosophical, personal, or religious aversion to gun ownership, I would hope you are responsible enough to store the guns you own off the property and out of the home. Personally, I don't see any reason why you can't own guns if your housemate is opposed to them as long as you keep them out of the house. A gun club could store them for you, and you could still participate in the shoots and matches and all. It wouldn't really be much different from living with someone who has allergies to your favorite foods - you just don't eat those foods or keep them at home, but you can still indulge in them away from home. and there's always the possibility that you are won over to their viewpoint, at which time, you'd probably sell your guns. There's also the possibility that your love of gun and your housemate's opposition to them come into conflict. You'd have to decide then whether you love guns enough to give up your housemate, or if you love your housemate enough to give up the guns. Choice, yanno?
There are two other reasons to not have a gun. If gun ownership is illegal in your area, obviously you wouldn't have one there. You might have it stashed away at a gun club or a safe deposit box in a bank where gun ownership is legal, but you wouldn't have it in your home. Deciding whether or not to break the law by keeping a gun in a district where gun ownership is illegal is a personal decision. Some people feel their Federal Constitutional right to bear arms overrides a city council's decision. If you're willing to face the consequences and pay the legal expenses, I'm not going to argue with you. Me, I'd follow the law and not have a gun. But I'd probably also fight to change the law so gun ownership is legal - even if I then never ever own a gun.
The other legal reason to not have a gun is if there is a convicted felon living in the home. It could be your Uncle Bernie was just released and he hasn't had his rights restored yet (or maybe never) and he's living with you for now. Get your guns out of the house and into a safe deposit box or a gun safe at your local gun club or somewhere where your Uncle Bernie isn't at risk of being jailed again.
Owning a gun is a huge responsibility and part of that responsibility is knowing when not to have one.
If any of the above situations apply to you or a loved one, consider at least temporarily storing your gun(s) elsewhere. You can store them at a friend's house, at a family member's house, at your gun club, or in a bank's vaults. In place of the gun, consider alternative methods of protection like pepper spray or even a taser. Make sure you and your housemates (spouse, kids, roommate...) know how to keep safe in your home.
There are some situations where you just flat shouldn't have guns. As a responsible gun owner/lover, you'll respect those situations.