My mother-in-law wants to carry


October 19, 2005, 11:31 PM
This is so weird, but I'll try to give background as briefly as possible.

Wed in 1953, husband a WWII vet, MIL never wanted any kind of gun in the house. FIL died in August. Neighborhood is pretty much as dangerous as they come, and MIL has been threatened by teen gangs. MIL is also, obviously, dealing with emotions.

My wife came home tonight and said, "my mom wants to talk to you about getting a gun. Not a big gun, just a gun for her purse, because she's scared."

My head was spinning. Both my wife and my mother-in-law have always said that they would rather die than kill someone else in self defense.

Now, my MIL apparently feels the need for self defense. Can't say I blame her: I don't go to that house without being armed, ever.

Here's my outline, and please feel free to criticize:

1. Have lunch with MIL. Ask about her fears, then home in on whether or not she thinks she could actually kill someone if it came to that. If she's not willing to do so, anything else is a waste of time or, worse, an invitation for her to freeze up and have something even worse happen.

2. If she indicates that she's thought through the moral ramifications of killing in self defense, explain the legal ramifications.

3. If she's ok with that, explain the Four Rules, the reasoning behind them, and every other bit of gun knowledge I can remember.

4. Take her to my favorite shop, where the sales guys will spend as much time as she needs to show her all the different makes, models and styles of handguns.

5. Have her rent a couple or more guns, and get her out on the range when there's nobody else to distract her.

6. If I'm not the best instructor for her, find a well-qualified female instructor.

7. If she's still willing to go ahead, convince her that purse carry may not be the best idea (my MIL and my wife will often change purses two or more times in a single day).

8. Hope that the cops never frisk my 68 year-old MIL. Sometimes you just have to say, "the law is crazy."

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Standing Wolf
October 19, 2005, 11:40 PM
Sounds like a pretty good plan to me. I believe I might add this: there's a distinction between shooting to stop and shooting to kill. Those of us who keep and bear arms need to be prepared to kill, because it's sometimes unavoidable, but the point is to stop, not kill.

October 19, 2005, 11:47 PM
Although I understand her fears, wouldnt it be easier to just move into a nicer area?? Obviously there is an attachment to her longtime (I suppose) home and the memories that come with it but rather than risk her getting into a situation that could have tragic results (for her) I believe that the elderly should be protected especially when they cant do it for themselves. Depending on where she lives she could probably sell the home, walk away with a boatload of money and move to a smaller (if desired) home that more closely fits her needs for space, independence, security & cost.

Just a thought.... but the decision can only be made by her.
Good luck

Of course you may want to consider her moving in with you, lol!

October 19, 2005, 11:48 PM
ccw is illegal in your state (what state is your state btw?) you should have her get a ccw for some state 2 reasons, the course would prepare her for the legal and practical and she could articulate in court if need be that she was at least trying to be responsible

October 20, 2005, 12:17 AM
CCW is not legal in this state, but my MIL is now prepared to break the law. Recent events have apparently convinced her that the "law is crazy."

And the law is crazy. I'll take my chances with the DA rather than a gang of thugs.

blackedoutharley, she'll be moving out of the neighborhood by next spring. It was my FIL who wouldn't move. Nevertheless, she faces threats from violent criminals almost daily.

Standing Wolf, we all know that it's "shoot to stop," and not "shoot to kill." I'm sure she can be taught the difference quickly.

What worries me is that she's just had an encounter with thugs that has caused her to rethink her opinion about guns, but that she can go back to her old beliefs by tomorrow morning. And then be threatened again.

October 20, 2005, 02:17 AM
My mother is 72 years old. My Dad died 6 years ago. While my mom has never been anti-gun she really did not shoot since being a teenager and shooting squirells with her dad. She always felt safe with my Dad around. She changed. Even though she lives in a very safe area she carries and has a loaded shotgun in the house.( alot of her friends do also). Now CCW is legal where she lives and she just went with me and recertified last weekend. I did not even have to ask her she mentioned to me first that it was time to recert. Is she an excellent shot---no. But think about it she is not going to play hero and use her gun unless it is up close and personal. Going to and from the car to the house. Espically at night. I'm glad she carries. I'm glad she at least has a chance to fight back if needed. I would never try to talk her out of it unless her mind was going due to old age. But I think she is sharper and wiser than her daughter. I could not live with myself if I tried to not support her decision and something happened to her. Even if she lost the fight at least she had a chance and did not die losing her dignity by being helpless or begging. I would carry and she would to no matter what the dang law said. I lived before the permits were necessary to carry and I will just be an outlaw if pushed.

Andrew Rothman
October 20, 2005, 09:43 AM
In addition to whatever else you do, call Senator Zien. Your brave mother-in-law is the kind of witness he needs for hearings on WI CCW.

October 20, 2005, 10:16 PM
I had a similar discussion with my MIL, but thankfully due to better circumstances. After she got involved with an outdoor woman's group she got interested in carrying. See
I bring this up because their firearms training and mutual support (lots of retired women and widows) might be good for your MIL now that she is on her own. Your state probably has a chapter, I know mine does.
Good luck.

AJ Dual
October 21, 2005, 12:18 AM

Your plan seems pretty sound to me.

As the Son In Law, you may have enough "separation" to be an effective teacher, if anything, your acknowledgment that a non-relative may do better shows that. A good "plan B".

As far as Milwaukee's/Wisconsin's finest "busting" your MIL, I wouldn't worry too much. She's probably pegged at a 0.0001% on the profile meter for a random stop. :) The police will probably never know unless she does something dumb like take it into a secure area with a metal detector, or if she has a legitamate need to draw, or God forbid, fire.

Possibly just a rumor, but we've probably both heard that AG Lautenschlager and her office has strongly encouraged all local DA's to not prosecute CCW cases, for fear of yet another "test case" making it to the seemingly pro-carry WI Supreme Court.

I would think that a 68 year-old woman with no other criminal baggage would make most any DA run screaming from the case due to the RKBA ammendment's "any other lawful purpose" clause. :D

My only other advice is that depending on other ergonomics, and the manual of arms she can handle (i.e. revolver vs. auto) the Baretta's and Taurus clones with the tip-up barrel, perhaps in .380 are a good choice for softer recoil from a smaller caliber, the auto action sucking up some recoil, and negating some of the hand strength issues with racking a slide. Such as the Beretta 86 Cheetah ( an end-all, be-all recomendation on my part, just one thought amongst many.

October 21, 2005, 12:37 AM
Dick... have to agree with Andrew here: if she's willing, she'd make a GREAT witness at any open hearings. And it would give you more bonding time with your MIL... ;)

Whatever she decides on, try your damnedest to keep her away from the typical pocket autos (Mustangs, Seecamps, P-32s): they range from "wow... that's a lot of kick" to "OW! OW! OH MY GAWD, THAT HURTS!!!"...

October 21, 2005, 03:17 PM
FWIW - My MIL has arthritis and raking a slide was very difficult for her. For that reason we focused on revolvers. After shooting a few dozen pistols she picked a S&W Mtn. lite in .357.

October 21, 2005, 04:23 PM which I can only add one thing.

You don't shoot to kill. You shoot to live.

October 21, 2005, 04:31 PM
You don't shoot to kill. You shoot to live.


October 21, 2005, 04:33 PM
Both my wife and my mother-in-law have always said that they would rather die than kill someone else in self defense.
I always find it interesting how quickly that attitude disappears when death becomes a real possibility instead of an abstract concept they can freely throw around in a debate.

October 21, 2005, 05:05 PM
MAybe she should also consider a big dog. They are good for guarding and alerting breakins at night and provide companionship.

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