Home Security

A Guy Enters Your Home Uninvited

Millions of Americans keep handguns in the home for personal protection.
Occasionally, they come in handy, even when no shots are fired.

Early last month, a former staff writer for the Washington Post penned an Op-Ed about the night a total stranger entered his home at about 2:35 a.m., walked up the stairs and past his bedroom — his wife was out of town on business — and down the hallway.

This is the sort of thing which sometimes leads to unpleasantness for unlucky homeowners in jurisdictions where city policies go soft on criminals but hard on law-abiding citizens who own guns. In this particular case, as recounted by journalist Fredrick Kunkle, there were some unpleasant moments, but nobody went to the hospital. The intruder didn’t even go to jail.

Many years ago, I raced to respond to a plea from my mother-in-law about a person in her home. Of course, I arrived faster than the sheriff’s deputies. When they did arrive, many long minutes after my two brothers-in-law appeared as my backup, the “unwelcome guest” got a free ride to a padded room at a hospital for mental evaluation. So, incidents such as Kunkle’s get my attention, especially when they involve a fellow journalist.

His column, headlined “I’m glad I had a gun. I’m even happier I didn’t use it on an intruder,” was a mix of emotion and self-exploration. He had a .357 Magnum in hand when he confronted this fool and told him to leave, but Kunkle said the guy apparently never saw the gun. Here are a couple of excerpts which might get a reaction from readers:

“I called 911. While a dispatcher assured me the police were on their way, I heard the guy rummaging in the kitchen — whether to find an exit or arm himself with a knife, I had no idea.”

“I loaded the revolver, grabbed a flashlight and moved quietly toward the stairs. I left the house dark to give myself an advantage but turned on the flashlight so I could see. I was also thinking about the legality of what I was doing.”

“I aimed the flashlight at his face and started yelling. ‘I told you to get the f— out of here!’ I shouted, again as loud and as threatening as I could … He crossed the living room, sat on the sofa and started mouthing off again, saying, ‘What’s with you, man?’”

Kunkle said the intruder eventually left, and police found the guy a short distance away. Kunkle declined to press charges. His essay stretched more than 2,050 words, and he concluded how glad he was that he didn’t shoot the guy.

There is plenty of data suggesting firearms are used
in self-defense up to 3 million times annually.

Data Inconclusive?

Kunkle wrote how research into firearms use for self-defense “has been inconclusive.” He pointed to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated defensive gun uses happen anywhere from 500,000 to 3 million times annually.

But wait a minute. Apparently Kunkle wasn’t familiar with a much more revealing study done by Prof. William English at the McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University. According to a summary of that report, “Consistent with other recent survey research, the survey finds an overall rate of adult firearm ownership of 31.9%, suggesting that in excess of 81.4 million Americans aged 18 and over own firearms. The survey further finds that approximately a third of gun owners (31.1%) have used a firearm to defend themselves or their property, often on more than one occasion, and it estimates that guns are used defensively by firearms owners in approximately 1.67 million incidents per year. Handguns are the most common firearm employed for self-defense (used in 65.9% of defensive incidents), and in most defensive incidents (81.9%) no shot was fired. Approximately a quarter (25.2%) of defensive incidents occurred within the gun owner’s home, and approximately half (53.9%) occurred outside their home, but on their property. About one out of ten (9.1%) defensive gun uses occurred in public, and about one out of thirty (3.2%) occurred at work.”

Here’s something else about the English report, which struck close to home: “A majority of gun owners (56.2%) indicate that they carry a handgun for self-defense in at least some circumstances, and about 35% of gun owners report carrying a handgun with some frequency. We estimate that approximately 20.7 million gun owners (26.3%) carry a handgun in public under a ‘concealed carry’ regime, and 34.9% of gun owners report that there have been instances in which they had wanted to carry a handgun for self-defense, but local rules did not allow them to carry.”

As it happened, when I read Kunkle’s Op-Ed, I had just received a monthly report from my state’s Department of Licensing. It said on Feb. 29, Washington had 692,857 active concealed pistol licenses in circulation; not bad for a state dominated by anti-gun Democrats. This data shows Evergreen State residents have concluded having a gun and not needing it is better than needing one and not having it.

Interestingly, Kunkle noted in his essay, “Gun rights advocates argue that such findings suggest that the defensive use of firearms has been unappreciated and underreported, with some claiming that guns have been used more often in self-defense than in crimes. Those who support stricter gun laws strongly disagree, saying the most reliable available data show guns are used for self-defense in only a small number of cases relative to their use in crimes.”

There are all kinds of security devices, and a surprising choice
by many is the use of trail cameras to capture images of unwanted
visitors. They’re inexpensive, and easy to use.

Dogs, Alarms, Choices

At times during my life, my neighbors have owned dogs. We had three canines at one time many years ago, and they beat burglar alarms by a country mile. If anything perked their radar within 50 yards of the front or back door, we knew about it.

Many people have installed motion sensor lights in their homes. Residential backyards are illuminated by floodlights. Other folks have a motion-activated security camera setup. Still others have purchased trail cameras, which also start grabbing images when there is a detectable motion, and personal experience has shown they work.

We all have choices and make them daily. Knuckleheads and dirtbags make choices as well, and none of them are in your best interest. Bad guys have gotten used to getting away with burglaries and car prowls, and maybe more serious crimes. Lazy prosecutors and soft-on-crime judges have created what we used to jokingly call “turnstile justice,” and it is now a harsh reality. However, there is no real justice involved and predators have learned to game the system.

Occasionally, the choices bad guys make results in their ticket getting punched. This is because a growing number of good guys have made a choice of their own to have a gun. Like Kunkle, none of these folks want to use a gun for personal protection. Neither do they want to be the victim of a violent crime.

Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry signed legislation last month allowing
citizens to carry defensive sidearms without a permit. It’s called
“constitutional carry,” and now 28 states have such laws. (Official photo)

As this was written, Louisiana had just become the 28th state where “constitutional carry” had been signed into law by freshman Gov. Jeff Landry, who can now be recognized as a politician who keeps his word.

Senate Bill 1 has made anti-gunners spit venom. They will predictably wail about blood in the streets, pointing to murders in New Orleans as evidence, but that argument will quickly deflate just as soon as the public is reminded that The Big Easy has been racking up body counts long before permitless carry came along. This just puts honest citizens on a level playing field with criminals who have been carrying without licenses for years.

This leaves 22 states with licensing requirements, and some of them are pretty stiff. In Hawaii, it still remains nearly impossible to get a carry permit. California, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Maryland are doing their best to not cooperate with the Supreme Court’s reformed guidelines set down in the 2022 Bruen ruling.

As he signed the measure, Gov. Landry issued the following statement: “Today, we join 27 other states in passing Constitutional Carry. I promised the folks of Louisiana that I would champion Constitutional Carry into law, and within two months, I have honored that commitment.”

The bill was pushed by the National Rifle Association, and the prime sponsor was Republican State Sen. Blake Miguez. The new law takes effect July 4.

One interesting observation came from Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

“Louisiana lawmakers and Gov. Landry have taken a bold step for public safety,” he said. “Meanwhile, legislatures and governors in the remaining 22 holdout states are signaling that they do not trust their citizens with the most fundamental right of all, the right of self-defense. What a shameful message to telegraph to the people they are elected to serve.”

What about that? Do you reside in one of the 28 enlightened states, or are you stuck where politicians still believe the right to keep and bear arms is really a government-regulated privilege?

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