Home Invasions & Firearm Safety-What You Need to Know Before Pulling the Trigger?

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Home Invasions & Firearm Safety-What You Need to Know Before Pulling the Trigger?

Life is not a movie. When a home intruder enters a residence while the homeowners and their loved ones are inside, the outcome is often devastating for the victims, especially when a firearm is involved. 

It’s easy to fantasize about shooting a bad guy, but in real-life situations, it is sometimes the homeowner that gets shot, and sometimes it is with their own firearm. An example can be seen in a recent home invasion in Las Vegas, Nevada. According to the Las Vegas Sun news report, an elderly homeowner was shot and killed with his own gun during a struggle with the intruder.  

Unfortunately, tragic events like the one above happen across the nation every year, and in many cases, these horrid crimes can be avoided with education and a solid home security plan.

Risks of Using a Firearm as the First Line of Defense

Even in scenarios where the resident shoots an intruder, the event often causes long-term psychological damage. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, fear, guilt, and even depression are common aftereffects. Unlike the movies, the majority of residents who injure or take the life of an intruder do not feel like heroes. Instead, many find themselves feeling life-disrupting remorse as they replay the horrifying images from the tragic event over and over in their heads.

Many residents also fail to consider the risk of being shot by a law enforcement officer when they are called to the scene. With high levels of adrenaline fueling the tension and emotions involved in a high-risk crime scene, anyone with a gun in their hand can be viewed as a threat. In some instances, residents have been mistaken as perpetrators by police officers and shot. 

Residents who look to firearms as the first line of defense also run the risk of shooting a police officer or another innocent bystander. For example, in a Fox 4 news report out of Fort Worth, Texas, a deputy was fatally shot by the homeowner after responding to a home security alarm. According to the article, the homeowner mistook the deputy as an intruder.

Children are also at risk of harming themselves or others when firearms are kept in the home. This is especially true when firearms are not safely secured. With the violence and guns portrayed in today’s video games, movies and TV shows, many children view guns as cool or fun. This combined with their natural curiosity has led to a number of tragic and sometimes fatal shootings.

Simply telling children not to touch a gun is not enough to keep them safe. According to a study by the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, approximately 22% of children who lived in a home with a gun admitted to picking up the firearm without their parents’ knowledge. Even more disturbing was that children as young as 5 years old had handled the guns as frequently as the teenagers in the study.

Make Home Security Your First Line of Defense 

Ensuring your safety and the safety of your loved ones requires keeping the bad guys out of your home. It is for this reason that you should make home security your first line of defense. 

A solid home security plan is one that incorporates a variety of security devices to both deter and prevent intruders from entering your home. For example, exterior security devices such as outdoor motion-sensor lights, home surveillance cameras, and security fencing are excellent deterrents. To prevent criminals from breaking into your home, however, you will need to protect your home with heavy-duty deadbolts, security door braces, and protective security film for glass windows

An alarm system should also be a part of your home security plan. While an alarm system cannot keep a thug from entering your home, it can serve as a life-saving alert for you and your family should an intruder manage to gain entry through a door or window. An extremely loud alarm can also help deter intruders and even cause them to abort their plan in an attempt to avoid being caught.

Safety Tips for Firearms in the Home

Though having a firearm in a life-or-death situation can be advantageous, relying on a firearm to protect your home and your family should be your last line of defense. To reduce the risks associated with firearms, be sure to follow these important safety tips:  

  • NEVER take the law into your own hands. Do not attempt to confront, subdue, or chase down an intruder when you are armed with a gun. If an intruder flees the scene, let them go and call 911. Approaching an intruder when you have a gun in your hand puts you at risk of having the weapon used on you and/or a member of your family.
  • Store all firearms in a safe with a secure locking mechanism. A safe with a biometric fingerprint feature is highly recommended because it ensures only the gun owner can open the safe. 
  • Teach your child(ren) about the dangers of guns and why they should never touch one. Ensure they understand what to do if they see a gun or see another child handling a gun in your home or another person’s home—the best rule of thumb is to run away and tell an adult immediately. 
  • Have periodic family discussions regarding firearm safety and ensure each member in your family understands what to do and what not to do should an intruder ever attempt to or gain entry into your home.

Put Home Security First

The best way to protect you and your family against a home invasion is to install protective devices that are designed to prevent forcible entries and keep the bad guys out. If you decide to keep a firearm in your home for protection, be sure to follow the safety tips discussed above, and always remember—guns are weapons, not home security devices.