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:
- Top Five Reasons to Carry a Backup Gun
- Top Five Backup Guns
- Top Five Security Measures to Take While Traveling Unarmed
- Top Five Revolver Myths
- Top Five Types of Revolver Grips
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.