I'm A Single Woman And I Will ALWAYS Keep A Gun In My House

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It has made me feel immensely safer.

I'm a resident of Northern California and I give off a little bit of a free spirited, hippie vibe. Which is why most people are shocked when they find out I keep a gun by my bed.

Part of this is because, in spite of my current zip code, I grew up on a lovely farm in the Midwest in a home that was gun-friendly. We hunted and believed in our right to bear arms. I always imagined I would have a gun in my home when I "grew up." But college graduation came and went. My first (and secon, and third) job came and went. My 26th birthday came and went. But I never bought a gun.

It was never really a priority for me...until I was attacked and threatened by a man I knew from work. He came knocking on my door one morning when my boyfriend was out of town, then forced his way into my apartment and held me hostage for hours before physically attacking me.

I was lucky I managed to fight him off and get out of the situation. But since then, I've obviously spent a lot of time worrying about my personal safety and thinking about the best possible tool for home defense.

The answer, in most cases, is a baseball bat. However, if you know that the person who wants to hurt you has a gun, you can't go up against that with a baseball bat.

What I really wanted was a handgun that I could carry with me since I read in a psychology journal that I'm most likely to be murdered either walking from my car to my apartment or from my car to my office. But in the San Francisco Bay, according to the guy at the gun store, "You can't get a concealed carry. It doesn't matter who you are or what happened. You CANNOT get a concealed carry."

So I bought a shotgun to keep in my home

I didn't make the decision to put a deadly weapon in my home lightly. I spent a lot of time thinking about it. Two things that factored into my decision, other than what happened with my coworker, were:

  1. I only have one door in my apartment. If there were an intruder, there would only be one way out. The thought of pepper-spraying some dude or hitting him with a bat and then having to push my way past him to escape seemed dumb.
  2. I have been told that pepper spray and tasers/stun guns don't work on crazy people. Or people on drugs. Sounds about right. I beat the sh*t out of the guy who attacked me, and never at any point did he flinch or even seem to notice. If someone enters my home and puts my life in danger, I want something I know is going to stop them.

It quickly became clear that a gun was the right choice for me. But I didn't just buy one willy-nilly. If you buy a gun and you don't know how to use it, you're an idiot. If you buy a gun and you aren't prepared to kill with it, you're an idiot. If your plan is to wound the person and not kill them, you're an idiot.

You don't use lethal force in a non-lethal way. A lawyer I met with told me that if you do, your attacker can sue you. Which is absolutely ridiculous, but, I mean, look at our legal system.

Don't even think about buying a gun if you aren't prepared to point it at someone and kill them. Don't even think about buying a gun if you aren't going to practice using it in a manner that's as similar to a home invasion situation as possible.

Remember: when your muscle memory kicks in, it's going to remember how you practiced. So practice like it's real life. Before you shoot, actually close your eyes and imagine someone walking through your home while you're there, alone, at night.

Think about where you are in your home when you aim that gun. Think about what you'll be able to see in the darkness. Think about what you'd be wearing: your nightgown? Your underwear? Your sweatpants? A robe? Think about what it would mean if this intruder found you. And then practice using your weapon.

Because trust me! a home invasion is nothing like shooting a target at the range. I've heard stories about women who were raped while they had a gun right there in their purse and they never even thought to use it because the situation and their emotional state were both so different from how they'd practiced.

Sometimes people ask me if I'm ever scared or uncomfortable having a gun in my home. The answer is no.

The most uncomfortable I've ever felt because of my gun actually had nothing to do with the weapon and everything to do with other women in my neighborhood. Let me explain:

A lady who lived across the street asked if she could check out the inside of my home. I live in this funky little cottage, so I wasn't surprised she was curious. I told her sure, and opened my door so she could come in. She started to, but before she even crossed the threshold, she froze in place, then said she needed to go, and left. 

I thought it was weird that she left so abruptly.

A few days later, an email was sent to my entire neighborhood. In it, a few women expressed concern that "some people in the neighborhood might have guns." No one said anything to me about it, or asked me if there is a reason I own a gun. They just freaked out about it behind my back without taking two seconds to understand why I had decided a gun was the right home defense tool for me. (Not that it was any of their business, but I would have been happy to explain.)

So I'm a single woman in my 20s and I use a shotgun for home defense. It has made me feel immensely safer, especially considering what happened to me.

I don't believe a gun is right for everyone. Not everyone is comfortable around guns and not everyone is willing to make the commitment that gun ownership requires. Even those who are willing to commit don't always practice in the most effective way that mental rehearsal is more important than most people realize.

I don't judge you for not having a gun; it's a very personal decision and I respect that you're doing what's right for you. I hope you will show the same respect to me.



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