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To Own A Gun Or Not To Own A Gun? That’s Still My Question

By Cody |

Alright, technically, my question is not whether I should own a gun or not own a gun but whether I should own ammunition or not own ammunition. I already own a gun, but the underlying principle of the question remains the same: does the importance of providing safety for my family override the importance of maintaining a safe environment for my family?

I grew up in a small country town in Utah where young boys bragged about the number of guns their dads owned. Many fathers in that town owned what seemed to be full arsenals of guns and even some mothers had arsenals of guns. My own father owned around ten guns and had a closet stocked with ammunition. Fast forward several years and here I am with my own house, a wife, two kids and two guns that I received as gifts at a young age. Those two guns have not been used in over a decade and are currently tucked away in a closet, and I have not owned ammunition for those guns over that timeframe.

An individual’s right and need to use a gun for protection is a hot-button issue right now in this country. Trayvon Martin was recently killed by someone who believed it was necessary to carry a gun for his protection. Sean Taylor, former safety for the Washington Redskins, was shot and killed by a home intruder in 2007.  Recently, an Oklahoma woman, while protecting her three month old baby, used a 12-guage shotgun to kill a man who had broken into her home. The woman had been prepared for the invasion and when she heard two men trying to break into her home, she took her baby into her bedroom, and loaded a pistol and a 12-guage shotgun and waited. Nobody really knows what would have happened had the woman not had her guns available and ready to protect her and her baby. What we do know is that one of those two men is now dead and, although, that woman and her baby are safe, she now gets to live with the reality of that death for the rest of her life.

Indiana recently passed a statute that codifies an individual’s right to use deadly force against an intruder, including against a police officer, if that individual believes the intruder is unlawfully entering his or her home. The use of deadly force in self-defense is a long standing common law doctrine in many jurisdictions and is often referred to as a person’s right to protect his or her curtilage. The need of such a right has become important enough in Indiana that the Indiana legislature felt it necessary to actually codify that right.

However, owning a gun and ammunition is certainly not a guarantee of safety, either. A college professor living in Utah who owned many guns was killed in his home by two intruders who, ironically, killed the professor because they wanted to steal his guns. The fact that this man owned many guns did not protect him in the end. Also, there is no guarantee that owning a gun will result in its use if an intruder does break into someone’s home. Death is not something that should be taken lightly. I, for one, would rather take a beating and the loss of my personal property than have to live with the knowledge that I ended someone’s life.

Additionally, having guns and ammunition in the home increases the chance of an accident occurring when the guns are mishandled. People are encouraged to keep their guns locked in a cabinet and away from children. The ammunition should be locked and stored in a separate location. These safety measures are put into place to protect children by preventing accidents involving guns. “Prevent” is the key word in that statement. Children seem to have the ability to meander through these safety measures which can ultimately end with an accident or at least what could have ended in an accident.

As a child, I learned exactly how to navigate my father’s safety measures and I basically had free reign to his stockpile of ammunition. This access, which he did not know I had, resulted in me discovering how to take a shotgun shell or bullet and transform it into a firecracker. One of my friends who had also discovered that a bullet could be converted into a firecracker ended up shooting off his own finger while at school—no gun was necessary to do that damage. One of my biggest fears is that if I buy ammunition, my children, who have some of my traits and tendencies, will learn how to navigate my safety measures and they will not be as lucky as I was.

Maybe my own experiences growing up have left me more sensitive and fearful than I need to be; however, the point remains. Here I am today, torn about whether I should buy ammunition and know that I would at least have the opportunity to protect my family if needed while also exposing my children to additional risks, or if I should eliminate the risk to my children of an accident from the misuse of my guns by not buying ammunition while taking a risk that I will never have need of ammunition from home intruders. While I do not have an answer to this question, and may never have an answer, here is what I do know: death is forever. The person killed is forever dead from this life, and the person who committed the killing will forever have to deal with the knowledge of that death, and the death of a child will be equally tragic for that child’s parents whether the death of that child was caused by an accident with a gun or by an intruder.

Which would you do?

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The Art of a Dad as a Temporary Parent

My Little Girl, Addie

My Name is Cody and I’m a Dad

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About Cody



Cody is a father, husband, practicing attorney, and loyal football fan who is outnumbered by girls in every area of his life. He's also been known to drink maple syrup straight out of the bottle. Read bio and latest posts → Read Cody's latest posts →

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16 thoughts on “To Own A Gun Or Not To Own A Gun? That’s Still My Question

  1. Michelle says:

    I guess I’m blessed in that I live in a relatively non-metro part of Australia, and also grew up on a farm where my brothers were taught how to use a gun for stock protection (rabbits, foxes). My dad never had the gun lying around, and the gun and ammo were in different places, but accessible if needed.

    I think a lot depends on how guns are managed in the home. Are they something that is ‘bad, dangerous, off limits’ or are they ‘there, this is how they are handled, part of life’. I think anything off-limits immediately becomes desirable no matter what it is – guns, drugs, alcohol, chocolate, etc. (I don’t condone the use of drugs except as prescribed, or alcohol in excess, just so you know.) A lot depends upon the home situation and the personalities of those in the home. So I guess I don’t really have an answer for you. Each situation is different.

    1. theycallmecody says:

      My father taught me about the importance of gun safety and I never played around with his guns. I never took them out to look at them while he was gone and I never even attempted to get to where they were stored. The ammunition, however, was a different story. I worry that I may not make the right parenting decisions in that regard, which could end in an accident that I would struggle to live with. In the end, it’s all personal choice and as long as you use the correct measures with which ever way you go, how can you be wrong?

  2. Angie @ Just Like The Number says:

    It’s a no for us, but that mainly comes from the fact that neither my husband nor I were raised in homes with guns. We have no experience with them, and if we had one – even if we were trained how to use it – I’m pretty sure we’d be the people who ended getting shot or accidentally shooting themselves.

    1. theycallmecody says:

      I grew up with guns and I’m used to using them, but my wife did not grow up with guns and it scares me to see her use one when we visit my family. They are certainly not something to take lightly.

  3. Rhonda says:

    While I very strongly agree that I would rather take a beating myself and lose some property than to take another’s life, there is no question in my mind that I would rather take another’s life than to see one or both of my daughters lie in a hospital bed, possibly suffer permanent damage, or even death, because I was not able to protect them from a home invader. I know owning a gun and ammunition is no guarantee that I would be able to protect them if such an occurrence does happen, but it gives me at least more of a chance and I would never be able to live with the regrets and doubt if something did happen to them and I didn’t own a gun that could have possibly changed the outcome. I was raised in a family that owns guns, as was my husband. My father taught hunter education classes throughout our community and instilled a deep respect and reverence in me and my brothers for guns from a very early age. I plan on doing the same for my daughters and any other future children we have. I also understand that guns are not for everyone though. It definitely depends on each person’s own experience and background as to whether owning a gun and ammunition is the right choice for their family.

  4. Barb @ getupandplay says:

    Cody, what a great topic to bring up! I am not comfortable with guns in my home and I’m really very worried about allowing my kids to play at others’ houses without knowing if they are gun owners and how their guns and ammunition are stored. Luckily, my little boys don’t really have playdates yet but it’s a subject I don’t quite know how to broach!

  5. Jodi Rives says:

    The best way to make sure no one in your house is killed by a gun in your house? No gun in the house.

  6. diane caso says:

    I was raised in a home with dad was a target shooter, and very occasional hunter, I was taught to respect guns,,,and would never have dared to try and shoot one. I really do not feel that anyone needs to have guns in the home…that the chance of accidental use by kids…or having the weapons turned on you is just too great. “luckily” the woman in Oklahoma shot and killed only the intruder, and not an officer that had responded to the 911 call. tr There is just no sense in making guns more available. I know that the second amendment allows for the right to bear arms. Also calls for the right to form a militia-how good an idea does that sound? So many people overstressed, with :hair triggers…”

  7. dadcamp says:

    Worst idea evar. Need a gun? Really really want to have one? Rent a locker at the range and keep it there.

    Perhaps it’s my naive city-slicking Canadian citizenship showing, but there is absolutely no rational reason I can ever think of to have a gun in my home. Ever.

  8. Grandmom says:

    I used to be adamantly opposed to owning a gun with children in the house…..then my 17yr old son was attacked by four other 17yr old in my own driveway. Even though I only live 1 (yes 1) mile from the police station, it took 50 minutes for the police to arrive. This was at 2 am, when my son was returning from work and we were told by the police “If he hadn’t been out at this time of night, it wouldn’t have happened.” One of the attackers turned out to be a policeman’s son and even though all four were identified, nothing was ever done. They all got off scott free! I now own several guns and will never rely on the police for protection again. My kids, my property, my life will be my responsibility and I will protect all with whatever force is necessary!!

  9. Kim Valla says:

    I was raised in a house where I could have 24/7 access to guns. I never miss used them. My Parents taught me to respect weapons. My father showed me what happens to things when you shoot them. I would have no fear having a gun in my house because I have no problem teaching my daughter how to respect weapons. Be it a knife, a gun or anything.

  10. Bonnie robles says:

    Its a yes from me. Im home with my 3 month old in south texas while my husband works at a refinery in houston. Not a moment goes by that I dont think about her safety as well as mine. I have his shotgun in our closet, unloaded, and the shells in another place. My parents didnt own a gun, but my grandfather and my uncles did which theyd use for hunting seasons/ protection. Since they live on a ranch with sheep and cattle, coyotes and a few big dogs will try to eat them.

  11. Bonnie robles says:

    Its a yes from me. Im home with my 3 month old while my husband works at a refinery in 5 hrs away. Not a moment goes by that I dont think about her safety as well as mine. I have his shotgun in our closet, unloaded, and the shells in another place. My parents didnt own a gun, but my grandfather and my uncles did which theyd use for hunting seasons/ protection. We always knew where they kept the guns but never did any of us have the curiosity to go and play with them or do anything. Even now, the new children that are around in our family know that they just dont touch them or go near them. When we became teenagers, theyd teach us how to shoot the shotguns. My husband also makes sure I know how to use, load, and shoot one. You really never know. I feel better knowing that I have it, because honestly, some people are crazy and will break into your home or whatever other horrible intruder incident could happen. I just hope that I never have to use it for any purpose other than the occasional shooting rangs and it remains untouched in my closet.

  12. alyssa says:

    we had guns and amo in the house growing up but something my parents did differently to others was that they showed me at a young age were it was, how to use it, and how to clean the gun. they talked to my siblings and i about how a gun is a tool and when used wrong you could hurt yourself with it. my parents were and still are of the oppinion that if you teach a child what it is and how its used it takes away the thrill of it not being alowed and makes it saffer over all. we keep guns and amo in this house and we of corse keep them sepperate from eachother but i plan on,once my children are old enough to understand, doing the same thing with them. after all there are hundreds of things in any house that a child can hurt themselves with, but if you teach them early what is and is not ok they are less likely to miss use those things, its no different with guns then it is with bug poison or any flamable matirial you happen to have on hand.

  13. Heath says:

    The issue of safety is actually an issue of familiarization rather than the objects themselves. there are basic firearms rules that need to be taught, and with those rules needs to come reasons for the rules. the first rule is treat every firearm as if it is loaded whether it is or not. the second is do not point a loaded firearm(see rule 1) at something you are not willing to kill/destroy. there are other rules and they are not hard to find, but in teaching the rules and the basics of firearm safety/operation(like how to clear a firearm, how to decock, how to engage/disengage the safety) you can turn this magical thing into an ordinary object, like a stove or a kitchen knife, that must be given respect. simply following the two rules i gave will prevent the vast majority of firearms accidents. I personally plan to have at least one loaded firearm in my home for the rest of my life, because if i ever need it i may not have time to load it.

  14. Tawnya says:

    My husband actually got me a .357 revolver for my “push gift”. We had already been given ammo from his father. Our son is only 5 months old, but we will need to decide soon how and where to store each and whether or not to have the gun loaded in the locked gun case. I believe this is a choice the couple needs to make together. I would have never allowed a gun in our home before I learned how to shoot one. In addition, our son will be taught gun safety and that the gun is not a toy and we pray that he listens. Thank you for blogging about this issue as it is very important.

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