My response


July 24, 2007, 11:38 PM
Occasionally I am asked the question "Why would you (or anyone) need to own a gun other than to commit a crime?" or some similar question. This has become my standard response:

There are lots of reasons to own a gun, not the least of which is to be able to protect one's own loved ones from a violent criminal. I have no intention of committing a crime, yet I own several guns.

Why several? Because different guns are designed for different purposes, just as different tools are designed for different purposes. I have a shotgun so that I can participate in trap, skeet, and bird hunting. I have a .270 caliber rifle for deer hunting. I have a .22 caliber rifle for shooting at paper targets (the cartridges for .22 are cheaper than the .270). And yes, I own a handgun so that I can protect my wife and children should anyone ever wish to cause them harm, and I hope and pray that I will never have to use it for that purpose.

Several years ago, my wife and I moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana where there was not just one, but two serial killers running loose. Each of these men where abducting, sexually assaulting, and murdering their female victims. Even though I had grown up shooting guns with my father and grandfather, as well as through the Boy Scouts, it was then that I decided that I would not passively allow a criminal to rape and murder my wife. I could not live with the guilt of knowing that if a criminal broke into my home and raped and murdered my wife, I could have prevented it if I only had had a gun and been trained to safely and effectively use it.

Each individual must decide the issue of how to respond to an attacker on their own, and in advance, and this is the decision that I have made. I respect your right to decide otherwise, and I hope that you would respect my right as well.

I find this to be an effective answer that is neither patronizing nor defensive, particularly if their question is genuine and sincere.

As a matter for discussion, how do you respond to such questions? Also, beyond saying "because it's my second amendment right to do so" (which is legit, just not what I'm looking for in this discussion), why have you personally been motivated to own/carry?

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July 24, 2007, 11:56 PM
I don't remember ever being asked that question. Just being around gunny type people has insulated me from anti types. I expect it to happen one day so I'll work on my response...just so I'll be ready.


July 25, 2007, 12:30 AM
To the asker of such a question: "I see you have alcoholic beverages in your house. Why would you or anyone have alcoholic beverages unless you intend to drive while intoxicated and kill someone?


July 25, 2007, 01:00 AM
I'm a full time graduate student (seminary) and I am in college ministry, so I guess I'm a little less insulated. I regularly interact with people of different political stripes and opinions. With the nature of my work it's necessary that I interact with them gently, blowing them off or insulting them is not an option for me. Guns isn't a regular topic of conversation in my calling, but it comes up from time to time, and when it does I respectfully state and if necessary defend my position. It came up a lot when the Virginia Tech shootings happened and I had some good conversations. It's funny how people react when they hear that a minister is a "gun nut" "elmer fudd" type. Most people seem to think that a pastor wouldn't be interested in such things.

Tin Gizel
July 25, 2007, 08:44 AM
There's a few I use:

Respond with a question: "Why do you wear a seatbelt?"

Smartalleck: "Because a cop/rifle is too hard to carry around"

Big Calhoun
July 25, 2007, 09:07 AM
My usual response to a person who has no interest in debating is just, "Because I can."

For more indepth conversations, a variety of reasons come up. I'm a big kid and like things that go "BOOM!". It's akin to my fondness for watches; each firearm has a styling and functioning all its own. Because the discipline and concentration to be a great shooter is a good mental excercise. Because I'm not a fortune teller and don't know when crime will strike. Most importantly, because I love my wife and son and spent 4 years trying to have a child and I will spill my own blood (or someone elses) before anyone ever harms them.

But mainly because I like things that go "BOOM!" :p

July 25, 2007, 01:47 PM
I've read your response and it's well written, but may come across as a Rambo-type statement regarding you protecting your wife. Rambo, meaning "I'd put the muzzle of my Glock under the perp's chin before he'd EVEN touch my wife" thing.

I'd suggest mentioning adequate self-defense handgun training. (If you've already had training, please ignore this.) Also, this would be a great opportunity to take some classes.

Whenever friends come over and guns are mentioned over dinner, my wife defends me, without me having to say a word. She knows that I've taken a lot of private self-defense training, frequent the range and competed in matches. Does that make me Rambo? No, but it does make me a skilled Rambo.

Amen, brother.

B yond
July 25, 2007, 02:10 PM
Why do you need a gun?

In case I have to shoot someone.

Simple and true. I like to say it with a kind of "duh" tone of voice, like it should be obvious.

July 25, 2007, 03:11 PM
I don't need a gun... Right now. Hopefully I won't need one later either.

Vern Humphrey
July 25, 2007, 03:18 PM
I carry a gun so I won't need one.

July 25, 2007, 03:36 PM
"Why would you need to own a gun other than to commit a crime?"
"So, you think I'm a criminal, do you...?" :rolleyes:

A rather insulting and offensive question IMO. :(

July 25, 2007, 03:42 PM
Good thread!

When people ask that they;
1) Really want to know,
2) Trying to start an argument, and/or
3) Just cleverly giving their own opinion.

What do you think?

July 25, 2007, 04:01 PM
"Why would you need to own a gun other than to commit a crime?"

For the same reason anti-gunners like Rosie O'Donnell have armed security guards.

July 25, 2007, 04:04 PM
Since you are a religous person (assumption since you are in seminary), I would go with something associated with that.

My life is a gift from my creator, he has given me that gift so that I might spread his truth. I can't do this if I allow someone to steal his gift from me. I cannot murder someone, but he expects me to aggressively (might be too "aggressive" of a word) defend his gift of life, even if in that defense the evil person dies.

Meekness in the face of evil is not part of his teachings.

Vern Humphrey
July 25, 2007, 04:27 PM
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Legitimate defense

2263 The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. "The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one's own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not."65

2264 Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one's own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:

If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful. . . . Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one's own life than of another's.66
2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.

It's hard to see how you can have a right and even a grave duty to defend yourself and others for whom you are responsible and not have a right to possess the means of effective self-defense.

July 25, 2007, 04:40 PM
Why? I need a gun to stop those who own a gun for the purpose of committing a crime of course! Do you really place all your faith that the police can be at your door in under 30 seconds?

The Cavalry
July 25, 2007, 07:19 PM
How about:

"Why do you need a penis unless you're just going to rape women?"

Or in the case of a female:

"Why do you need a vagina unless you're going to be a prostitute?"

Most anti types lack the mental wattage to store and process long responses, so I keep 'em short.

July 25, 2007, 08:35 PM
My life is a gift from my creator, he has given me that gift so that I might spread his truth. I can't do this if I allow someone to steal his gift from me. I cannot murder someone, but he expects me to aggressively (might be too "aggressive" of a word) defend his gift of life, even if in that defense the evil person dies.

somewhere in there you should quote Luke 22:36 - "...; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one."

Rudy Kohn
July 25, 2007, 11:21 PM
It seems to me that an obvious (though somewhat condescending, and therefore inadvisable in your case) response would be:

"Do the police carry guns to commit crimes?"

(Replace "police" with "army," "secret service," "competitive target shooters," "hunters," or whatever you wish.)

It seems like such a question must stem from incredible naiveté or gross underestimation of one's self-value or potential aptitude in weapons-handling. The point to make in return might be that "Your life has value, and others do not have the right to end it. If you can rely on no one else to defend your life, you must defend yourself. Even if there are others you feel you can rely on, threats may come quickly when they are away."

An even more wordy response might be something along the lines of:

"I try to use appropriate tools for whatever I need to do. When I write, I use a pen or pencil. Should I need to dig a hole, I use a shovel (or backhoe ;) ). In order to defend my life and the lives of my loved ones, I use a gun. Guns are simpler, more efficient, and more effective than any other tool or skill I can use to defend myself in the vast majority of situations.

Pens and pencils are inexpensive and plentiful, and any time I need to dig a hole, I'll probably know long in advance. However, my need to defend myself will be dictated by the actions of others, and will probably not be made clear long enough beforehand for me to go get a gun in advance. Therefore, the most effective solution is for me carry a weapon at all times, so that, should another person choose to suddenly and seriously threaten my life, I can respond quickly and effectively."

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