Does owing a gun or firearm for the purpose of defending yourself and your family increase the risk of an accident, or becoming a victim if you use your gun in protection of yourself or a loved one? In depends on who you talk to, apparently. Over the past 16 years, the number of people who believe having a gun in their homes makes their family safer has nearly doubled according to a 2014 Gallup poll, which indicates 60% of Americans feel their homes are safer with a gun present.
In Michigan, the number of FBI background checks performed on state residents buying handguns increased significantly, nearly 141,700 checks taking place over a three-year period between 2012 and 2015. How many Michigan residents have active concealed pistol licenses? About eight percent of the adult population of the state, or just over 600,000 according to surveys.
Director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center and Harvard School of Public Health professor David Hemenway maintains there is no evidence indicating that homeowners with guns are safer, and that in fact gun research surveys prove the opposite. In Hemenway’s defense, he isn’t focusing on banning guns, but instead on harm reduction for homeowners who do feel strongly about having a gun for protection.
Genesee County Undersheriff Christopher Swanson says that residents of Michigan who carry a gun are prepared for a fight, but not necessarily looking for a fight. However, a recent survey involving the most populated counties in the state revealed that the majority of law enforcement officials could not cite one incident in their respective jurisdictions over the last year in which an armed citizen prevented or stopped a crime from occurring.
So, what are the risks of owning a gun for protection? Use against a loved one, friend, or someone you know in the event an argument ensues, increased risk of suicide, risk of accidents that impact children or others in terms of injury or death, and legal liability in self defense cases considering the state’s extremely limited use of deadly force allowed in certain circumstances.
Ultimately, those who do determine it’s best to own a gun or firearm for protection purposes should be thoroughly educated on not only operating a firearm, but under what circumstances a gun is the best resolution in a situation. Unfortunately, many people pull out their guns too easily and find firearms the solution to every inkling of possible danger, which is why many end up convicted of crimes and find themselves behind bars. There are times when a firearm may be necessary in protecting yourself, your property, or your family; however, in most situations a gun is not the answer and may even escalate a minor issue into one that’s far more serious.
Don’t become a lesson to others when it comes to owning a firearm for protection; take responsibility seriously. If you do find you’re suspected of a crime in a situation where you were acting in self-defense or protection of loved ones, consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately.