"Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom?" –Marvin Martian

Granted, but I’m not actually keen on shooting someone. I said deterrent. A shotgun is more intimidating than a handgun.

It’s unlikely that the type of gun is ultimately what decides whether a home invader attacks you or not.

The recoil is trivial and unless I inexplicably find myself in a shootout, one shot at close range will be sufficient.

Unless you hit vitals, your attacker may keep coming at you, hence the need for more than one round. That’s why many of those police shootings that people get so worked up about involve the attacker being shot multiple times. Also, it’s easier to grab a shotgun barrel than a handgun barrel, and it’s easier to to do things like turn on lights, call the police, open doors, or hold a flashlight when your gun doesn’t require two hands.

I read an article in Businessweek that said there are tens of thousands of incidents per year where guns are used by civilians in self defense. That’s pretty compelling. I don’t know where they got their statistics but I don’t have reason to doubt them. And as FP points out, there are relatively few accidental gun deaths for the number of people who own guns. This is my point: sometimes you can be so fearful of danger that you become a danger. And as Jeremiah points out, no one thinks they fall into that category.

Handguns are lighter and easier to manipulate in tight spaces, like hallways. They also hold more rounds and recoil less.

Granted, but I’m not actually keen on shooting someone. I said deterrent. A shotgun is more intimidating than a handgun. The recoil is trivial and unless I inexplicably find myself in a shootout, one shot at close range will be sufficient. The recoil thing is debatable anyway, depends on the gun.

Annual accidental gun deaths: About 600
Annual accidental auto deaths: About 30,000
Annual accidental poison deaths: About 50,000

Source: CDC

Irresponsible household chemical ownership is clearly far more common and a far more pressing danger than irresponsible gun ownership. Judging by accident stats and the fact that half of all US households have firearms, it appears the average person is more likely to treat a gun with the respect it deserves than a bottle of toilet bowl cleaner.

I would think a shotgun would be a bigger deterrent to an intruder, and easier to hit your target as well.

Handguns are lighter and easier to manipulate in tight spaces, like hallways. They also hold more rounds and recoil less.

I live in a pretty rural area, so civilians with guns are more of a danger than police with guns. Frankly I don’t think most people in this neck of the woods carry a concealed weapon. Many have pistol permits but the folks I know keep them for home protection or sport shooting. I’ve never quite understood the former. I would think a shotgun would be a bigger deterrent to an intruder, and easier to hit your target as well. You’re right about what can or cannot be done. Seems like there ought to be a decent middle ground between the liberal’s vision of a gun-free utopia and the NRA’s vision of everyone packing.

Well, nothing can be done to prevent people killing themselves and each other without restricting the kinds of liberties Americans will generally refuse to give up and, frankly, do have constitutional protections for (at least on paper).

I’m not sure anything can be done. We can try to suggest to people to not think of themselves as exceptional but, at the risk of dogging my whole country, American exceptionalism means we often think we’re the exception to the rule or that the rules should exist for others. Given some of the scandals in the Puget Sound area the cops are more likely to shoot first and ask questions and make headlines for it than other citizens, unfortunately.  There are laws that forbid discriminating against people who might otherwise be deemed mentally unfit to receive a line of credit and that means people take out loans they can’t possibly repay but in terms of legal precedent the law has erred on the side of refusing to discriminate in advance against those people who seek credit even if it turns out there are some predatory lenders.  There’s too much history of denying people even the option of credit for it to be legal or palatable to turn back the clock to a point where someone who realistically shouldn’t be given access to credit will be denied it up front.

In terms of what I actually do worry about with guns, it’s cops. It’s not that I’ve ever done anything to get cops mad at me, it’s that I have lived in areas where cops … well, sSomebody was shot to death by a number of cops in my neighborhood a year or so ago.  Getting caught in the crossfire of Seattle cops who might decide to take someone down is an actual concern of mine.  In other places the risk is obviously someone shooting their kid or their kid accidentally kills themselves or the parent.  I’ve seen those headlines.  More locally, Seattle police have gotten criticism for a disturbing habit of shooting first and asking questions later in a couple of neighborhoods.  That doesn’t necessarily mean the NRA/2nd Amendment types may have the most reasonable alternative in insisting on everybody carrying loaded as though that will reduce casualties but, like I said at the start of the post, I don’t think there’s anything that can be done to improve things.  I’ll admit to being a fatalist and a pessimist there.

Jeremiah: If you consistently rode with or shared proximity with a texting or other dangerous drivers, your anxiety level would probably go up. I don’t feel unsafe because I think there are unsafe gun-owners around me. I don’t hang around such people (to my knowledge). I do feel sorry for the families of such people. People who leave loaded weapons in the vicinity of their children, for example, especially loaded weapons ready to fire at the touch of the trigger. People who are so concerned about being safe that they jeopardize the safety of the people around them. But what can be done? Like you said, everyone thinks it can’t happen to them.

I’m far more likely to risk death or injury from an inattentive or unlucky driver than someone with a gun. Gun deaths stand out more because the whole point of a gun is the capacity for lethal force but I’m probably three times more likely to get killed by somebody who wasn’t paying attention running a red light.

Not that I don’t get why people are concerned about gun safety and accidental deaths but it seems like there can be an availability bias where those accidental, stupid and preventable deaths highlight the failures of gun safety when, statistically, I’m way, way more worried about the likelihood of death at the hands of somebody who was texting or talking on the phone while driving.

I have no intention of purchasing a pistol, so I don’t need safety instructions, but it is clear a lot of people who own them either haven’t had such instruction or simply ignore it. You’re right, I wasn’t aware that so many models of handgun don’t have a safety, but it does explain a lot.

Evidently the Glock will only auto-chamber a round if you slap the magazine home quite hard. I guess they call it the combat re-load. I read on a forum that it is somewhat inconsistent.

Are safety courses typically required to own a handgun, like when you want to get a hunting license? It seems kind of weird that I’d have to have a safety course to kill animals but not one to potentially kill people. I think in NY it is regulated by county. I’ve been used as a reference for several people for pistol permits but I don’t recall them being required to take a safety class.