Will a Gun Protect Your Home?

Often, in discussions about home security systems, people proudly announce that they protect their home with a gun. Understanding that the issue of gun ownership is a controversial one, we don’t intend to debate the matter here. While legal and responsible gun ownership is a personal choice, we would like to take a few minutes to explore whether or not a gun is the best way to secure a home.

A Gun Sends a Strong Message

A gun can certainly be useful in frightening a criminal away from a home. Many thieves, particularly those specializing in home invasions, knowing that a home’s occupants are armed, will bypass such a home in favor of one where a gun is not present. Not only does a gun send a strong message for criminals to steer clear of a location, but being licensed to own one may also give a homeowner a heightened sense of security especially if properly trained to use a gun. Of course, if a criminal enters a home not knowing that a homeowner is armed, a gun can send an even stronger message provided that the homeowner is able to get to it in time and use it to her or his advantage.

A Gun’s Limitations

While a certain measure of security is afforded in legal gun ownership, we also must consider the realities of using a gun as a primary source of home protection. There are a number of scenarios where a gun isn’t of much use in securing a home. Further, there are also scenarios where a gun can actually endanger members of a household.

One of the foremost risks in relying on a gun for home protection is that a gun is only useful in the right hands. For instance, if a burglar breaks into a home while it is unoccupied, a gun is useless. In fact, if a burglar stumbles upon a gun in an unoccupied home, the gun is likely to be stolen along with other valuables.

Relying On a Gun For Protection Can Be Risky

Using a gun as the main source of protection for a family may also place family members at risk. Consider children who are allowed to stay home alone, but are confronted with an intruder. Most parents will agree that they would prefer that children not be placed in a situation of considering a gun for protection since there are far too many risky variables involved in such an encounter. Even an adult who is trained to use a weapon is often faced with the risk of being overpowered by an intruder and having a gun taken away. In these situations, a gun meant to protect can actually be used to terrorize family members or worse.

A Gun versus a Home Security System

When comparing the pros and cons of a gun versus a home security system, the latter is a far more reliable option for protecting a home. First, burglars who study a residence before engaging in a break-in prefer to avoid those where an alarm system, security lights or video cameras are present. Second, for those who are bold enough to ignore decals, placards and other evidence of a home security system, a piercing alarm is one that cannot be as easily ignored by the intruder or by others within earshot. As such, an alarm system and other deterrents may be far more effective in discouraging crime than a gun might be.

Guns Mainly Offer ‘After the Fact’ Security

For the most part, guns are only useful after the fact…meaning that they are most often effective in stopping a burglary or a home invasion after a criminal has entered a home. On the other hand, a home security system tends to stop criminals before reaching this stage, which automatically increases a home’s overall security. Given a choice, most homeowners prefer to deter criminals before ever having to come face to face with one, which is why home security systems are the best choice for primary security.

Multi-Layered Security

As mentioned earlier, we are not here to debate legal gun ownership. If you are comfortable with a gun in your home, trained to properly use one and are a responsible gun owner, having one is your prerogative. Merely, we would like to point out that a gun should not be solely relied upon for your home and family’s safety. As we’ve stated many times here, there is value in using multiple layers of security in order to protect your home from criminal invasion.

Security vs. Combat

If choosing to have a gun in the home for protection, it might be better to rely on things like a monitored alarm system, security lighting and surveillance cameras as your first line of defense against burglary and other crimes, and only rely on a gun as an absolutely last defense. Deterrents, such as lawn signs, window decals and even fake deterrents like the Global Link Laser Scanner Burglar Deterrent w/Transformer, can go a long way to keep criminals at bay and to reduce the likelihood of you or a member of your family from having to make the choice of engaging in combat with an intruder.


4 comments on “Will a Gun Protect Your Home?
  1. Dog Owner says:

    It is understood that not all people can keep a pet. But if you can this makes just as good an alarm system as purchased ones. Most house dogs are very gentle with family and friends. But trying to enter a home without permission, even a small dog will become very aggressive. Barking and growling none stop. Stay out of my bubble!!! The alarm has been activated!!! This will cause fear of harm and deter almost all who try to enter. Home owners present will be awaken. Perhaps a decal saying there are guns in the house may be benefiting, if they are read. Most home invasions/burglaries are from mental illness, fried brains, that do not make logical decisions. Threats of the barking monster scares them. Guns on the other hand are often kept in a rather secure spot and unloaded to protect from harm to family members. The confusion and fear will not allow time for attainment. If the firearm is kept loaded nearby even noise from a family member could cause harm or death by fear of the owner. All people are not police, are trained to fire the gun, not trained to know when to use them. Once the bullet is released it cannot be recalled. Ammo kept in the firearm can cause death to children or others by accident. Also be stolen and added to harm others during future use by the criminal.

  2. Tim Huff says:

    A weapon is much quicker than a police response which averages 6 minutes. If the intruder has a gun or a weapon it should be first choice. Not all break ins are for the objective of a robbery. More people should become familiar with the use of firearms. Mental illness or fried brains are no requisite for tolerance or for yielding to a misfit.

  3. Steve says:

    I am a death penalty advocate and a fan of killing of all burglars. Still, I would prefer not to own a gun because of the added baggage of unintentionally harming someone. It’s a question of costs versus benefits. Look a the number of burglars actually shot dead by the homeowner vs. the number of unintentional deaths that resulted from having a gun in the house. Unintentional deaths could arise from such things as kids playing with a gun, arguments in the family leading to shooting, arguments between friends and neighbors, etc. Although I don’t have any statistics to drive home my point, my bet is that the number of unintentional deaths caused by firearms far outnumber the number of burglars actually shot dead by the homeowners. If that’s the case, then it’s to my benefit not to own a gun.

  4. Jim says:

    To put this simply, the goal is to increase the perceived cost of home invasion. Living in a good area with frequent police patrols, nosy neighbors and neighborhood watch is a start. Dogs are great. Alarms are hit and miss. Good locks and lights imperative. A gun is a great tool if the home is occupied by (mentally) mature people. As 8 year olds on the farm we learned to shoot with .22s and we learned the rules…never to be broken. I can’t remember anyone from the area ever having a fire arm related accident. But if you don’t teach you children the basics – and example is the only teacher – or you have unstable adult-children in your midst who would ever dream of threatening members of their own household with a weapon or physical violence – forget the gun – forget the dog too – dogs deserve far better than to live in such a miserable, stressful environment.

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