This writing is intended primarily for the many civilians who read CopBlue and support cops, everywhere.  It may also help some of my brothers organize their response to a frequently asked question.

It seems that nearly every week recently, someone asks me, “Should I buy a gun?” On duty or off duty, the question keeps popping up.   The purpose of this article is to identify the factors on which such a decision should rest.


I’ll share one cop’s opinion (mine).  Feel free to disagree with me – my wife does it all the time (smirk).  If you believe other issues should be raised, please add a comment with your thoughts.

Here are questions that I typically ask which are used to formulate a recommendation.

Question #1What would be your intended use of the gun that you might buy?   The person might want to take up hunting.   Or, he might want the gun for protection of his family and himself from would-be intruders in his home.  His business might require him to carry large amounts of cash to the bank.   There can be a myriad of reasons, but it’s critical that the potential owner know WHY he/she would buy a gun.

You would be amazed at how many folks can’t easily answer this question.

Question #2Have you thought about what type of weapon you might want to own?   There are shotguns, rifles and handguns.  Some folks have planned exactly the make and model of their intended purchase.  Others, not so much.

Question #3Have you ever (or recently) shot the type of gun that you’re considering for purchase?

Question #4 – Is there a possibility that you will want to carry this gun with you, i.e. concealed, away from your home or business?

Question #5 – How experienced and comfortable are you with possessing, handling and shooting a gun?   Most folks who ask me if they should buy a gun have very little experience with them.   While not always the case, it is in the majority of instances.

Question #6 – Why now?  Specifically, what has triggered your interest at this particular point in time?

Typically, those questions are quite revealing.  They are thought-provoking and usually result in a good healthy conversation.  The person’s ability to have solid answers to these questions will have a significant impact on my ultimate answer to their original question.


Thought #1 – I have high regard for each citizen’s right to bear arms.  It is fundamental to the Constitution.  History teaches us that following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor a land invasion of the west coast was considered.  It was dismissed in part, because the Japanese believed that most American homes had at least one gun.  Therefore, such an invasion would not only find adversaries in the military, but the police and the average citizens, as well.

As a cop, I have much less to fear from a gun in the hands of a law-abiding, rule-following citizen than the thugs who carry them illegally.  In fact, a study in Florida over a ten year period, showed that legitimate gun owners were 840 times LESS LIKELY to commit an illegal act than the average citizen.  I believe that a well educated, well intentioned citizen might even save my backside someday.  I welcome good citizens who are armed.

Thought #2If you are unable to clearly answer each of my earlier questions, you are not ready to own a gun.  Get ready.  Don’t give up.   I suggest structured classes that may be offered at the local gun range or gun shop.  The NRA exists largely to educate; check their web site.

Thought #3 – Try before you buy.  I suggest that a new gun owner find a local gun range that allows customers to rent/try various weapons on the range.  The goal is simple: be certain that every expected shooter of a weapon (e.g. husband & wife) are COMFORTABLE with the feel of the gun in their hands, the way it shoots, etc.  A gun that it too big to fit your paw, too heavy to hold up on target or otherwise mismatched to the shooter won’t work.  You won’t want to practice with it.   You won’t feel comfortable with it.   It will never become like an extension of your arm.

That’s bad.

Thought #4 – A responsible gun owner is anal-retentive about his/her gun(s) and ammunition.   He knows exactly where his gun is.  If laid down, not only does he know precisely where, he knows what direction the grip is facing so that he can retrieve it without even looking.   If there are young people anywhere in the vicinity, his level of control over that weapon increases exponentially.

Side note: I purchased my first gun when my two kids were seventeen and fifteen.  I invited them to see, touch, hold and shoot it.   We didn’t have “little ones” around our house.  My level control and methods were somewhat different from those needed around a home with a two-year old.

My wife thought I’d slipped a gear mentally when the first gun came in my possession.  I was taught by a good teacher to control my weapon 24×7 and take it seriously.  I did as trained.   Over time, she came to understand.

Thought #5 – Gun ownership is a tremendous right.  It is an equally huge responsibility.   You must know and understand the legal and moral responsibilities of owning and USING a gun.  Get training.  Ignorance of the law will never be an excuse – especially when you might accidently take the life of another.

Too many folks purchase a gun and some ammunition. They take it home and throw it in their night stand.  They don’t give it another thought until years later when they hear a strange noise in the middle of the night.  That’s bad news.  If that’s your plan, a gun is not for you.

Know how to handle, use, clean and store your gun.  Going to the range periodically to practice is essential to responsible gun ownership.

If you’re buying a gun for in-home protection, you must balance accessibility with safety.  There is no cookie-cutter answer.  But, you sure don’t want to bury one of your children because you made a bad choice on how to store the weapon.

Thought #6 – If you still want to own a gun, I encourage you to get the training and acquire a concealed weapons permit.   You may never use it.  You may only use it once.  But, that once could be the time it saves a life.   Times are tough.  I carry my weapon everywhere I go.  I’d rather carry 10,000 times and never need my gun that need it once and not have it.

Thought #7 – Why now?  Gun sales are up tremendously.  You probably already knew that.  There is speculation about why.

The economy isn’t great.  Historically, crime goes up as the economy goes down.   People steal to survive.  Sometimes, innocents get hurt or killed in the process.

We are on the verge of a new President and a new Congress.   While we don’t know what the future holds regarding gun laws, it is reasonable to believe that gun restrictions will be eased as a result of the new leadership in Washington.  In fact, it is reasonable to believe that buying and carrying a gun will become easier in the near future.

Should you buy a gun now, when you weren’t even considering it a year ago?  Only you can decide.  But, if you’re one of those folks who have been considering it, toying with the idea, weighing the pros and cons: this is probably a good time to make a decision.


After you have considered all of the facts and when you are committed to being a responsible gun owner, only then is it a good idea to buy a gun.

If you’re not 100% committed to safety, security, and knowing exactly why you want or need a gun, then gun ownership is not for you.

As a cop, I welcome gun ownership and possession for well-intentioned and solidly trained civilians.

The greatest fear of an armed bandit is an armed victim.  Remember -that.

Have a safe New Year.

Remember: at the end of the day, it’s all about saving just ONE life.