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Keeping a gun in your home is a very complex issue with both life-saving benefits and serious drawbacks. Today, about 80 million Americans own a gun of some kind and many people own more than one. There are currently more than 223 million registered guns in the U.S, and likely countless more that are unregistered.1 And with so many guns around, it brings up a lot of debate. People contend over whether gun ownership is essential, or impractical if guns foster safety or bring danger.
Many feel the best way to protect themselves is through gun ownership. Having a gun can be the first line of defense against burglars and other criminals. While there is indeed a security benefit that comes with having a gun, some argue that the safety risks outweigh the benefits. So, let's discuss both sides of the gun control/gun rights debate.
Even though keeping a gun in the home poses some risks, there are many home security benefits to owning a gun, as long as you take the proper precautions. When gun owners properly store their guns, they can be a great asset.
One major benefit of owning a gun is that it gives you a real sense of security and protection. You know that you have a way to protect yourself if your home is burglarized, and the fear of guns can keep burglars at bay. In fact, 74% of felons agree that they avoid homes when people are home for fear of being shot.2 With a gun, you have the opportunity to protect yourself and your family and you may even be able to scare away potential burglars or attackers simply by brandishing a gun. In many situations, burglars are scared off by the very sight of a gun, without having to fire a shot.3
Hand in hand with the benefits of gun ownership, there are also disadvantages to owning a gun. First of all, having a gun can put you at an increased risk for accidents at home. If you have children at home, there is a possibility that they will get a hold of the gun even if it is locked up. Among gun-owning parent who reported that their children had never handled their firearms at home, 22% of the children, questioned separately, said that they had.4 Children often don't understand the risks associated with guns, and they might accidentally hurt themselves, a friend, or a sibling, while thinking that that they are just playing.
If you have a gun in the home, there is also a possibility that you will harm a friend, neighbor, or family member by accident. In fact, studies indicate that guns kept at home are involved in the death of a family member 18 times more often than in the death of an intruder.5 Additionally, guns kept in the home are often used in suicide. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports that 83% of gun-related deaths in the home are the result of suicide, often by someone other than the gun owner.6 Risks such as these should be taken into consideration when thinking about keeping a gun at home.
Owning a gun is a personal decision that every person needs to make for themselves. Carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of gun ownership and make the decision based on what is best for you and your situation. With such a widespread debate over gun control and gun rights, it can be intimidating to join the discussion, but it's important to be informed, weigh your options, and let your opinion be known. Healthy debate is what leads citizens and leaders of this country to make informed decisions.
This arcticle was written by Hillary Johnston
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