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Saturday, February 5, 2011

RV Protection - Guns?

Oh Boy.  A hot topic.  Good for many a rousing debate with your RV friends around the campfire.  Almost as passionate as debating politics, religion and overnight parking at Walmart.

Last week, Al, from the Travels with the Bayfield Bunch posted another really excellent blog post on weapons.  (If you're not familiar with the Bayfield Bunch blog, you have to check it out, it's a top RV travel blog).

On many of the RV forums, discussions about carrying a gun for protection in an RV gets so many replies from both sides, pro and con, that the threads usually descend into name calling and threats, resulting in the locking or deletion of said thread by the forum moderator.  Hmm.


I am a firm supporter of the Second Amendment where a citizen is guaranteed the right to own a gun.  That being said, I'd like to put a different perspective on carrying a gun.

I don't personally own a weapon.  I live with a weapon 24/7 due to the requirement for me to carry it for my job.  It is a pain to live with it.  It adds a whole different dimension to life.  Requirements for a trigger lock, a safe, separation of ammunition from the weapon.  What clothes to wear to conceal it, I'm not permitted to carry it openly except in very special, limited circumstances.  For example, here I am in Iraq, where I carried both a pistol and a rifle.


Summer wear, winter wear, accessibility.  Do these pants make my (gun) butt look big?  I've worn holes in many a suit jacket, blazer and pants from the constant rubbing of the gun against the fabric.

All these issues may be moot if you just keep the gun in your RV.  Is it accessible if you really needed it?  Is it locked up, is the ammunition handy, is the gun loaded?  There is a lot of forethought needed to have your gun ready to use.


But then, do you know how to use it?  Are you really proficient at using it?  What if it jams or misfires at that critical moment?  Do you know how to clear it?

I shoot my gun at least quarterly, several hundred rounds at a time.  When I attend training, there is always variety in the shooting.  Standing close to the target, standing farther away.  Kneeling, behind cover, low (night) light conditions.  Shooting while you move, shooting with your other hand, reloading, clearing a jam.  Shooting wearing a coat, a sweat shirt, from a different holster.  Seated in a car, a house, behind a mailbox or a telephone pole.  Again and again until it becomes a habit, muscle memory where you react without even thinking what you're doing.


Further training is given on scenarios where you have a non firing gun and you watch situations on a video screen to see if you are in a shooting or non shooting situation.  You need to be sure, really sure when to pull that trigger and when not to.


Once, in all my years of service did I have to pull my weapon.  A late night stop at a gas station in Washington, DC where a fight broke out between two people at the other side of the gas pumps.  One person was getting ready to stab the other.  A fraction of a second later my gun was out from underneath my suit jacket and pointed ready to fire, I actually surprised myself at how quickly I was ready.  Fortunately, the stabbing was stopped and the person was arrested.  Could I have done that with out all the practise and training I had over the years?  I don't think so.

Without getting into legal issues that vary from state to state, permits to own a gun and to carry it concealed, I want to point out that carrying a gun is just more than point and shoot, but carries with it a responsibility to know when to shoot and when not to shoot.  Are you ready to deal with the consequences of where that bullet goes after you pull the trigger?

Statistically, the average gunfight between two people takes place with a distance o f six feet, lasts 2.5 seconds and nine rounds are fired before one of the two people is hit.  Amazing.  And a more sobering fact: Many police officers are killed by their own guns.  The gun was pulled away from them and then used on them.  These are highly trained police officers.  What would you do if someone tried to pull your gun away from you?

Carrying a gun in an RV requires lots of thought, preparation and practice.  Will I carry a personal weapon in our Journey when we hit the road full time?  I have not decided.  I am, however a big fan of Pepper Spray.


A single burst to the face can disable even a large person, who will end up rolling on the ground, crying like a baby and blowing giant snot bubbles out of their nose.  At least that is what I looked like when I have my first exposure to Pepper Spray in training.  More than enough time to call 9-1-1.

I hope this post has given some food for thought.  Just like using an RV requires more knowledge than just start the engine and put it in drive, so does carrying a weapon in your RV, be it a pistol, shotgun or a rifle.

What are your thoughts?  Feel free to comment.

9 comments:

  1. We too are fans of pepper spray but imagine if they make it into our rig and we spray...we too will become disabled and really cranky!

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  2. I also carry pepper spray and since visiting Yellowstone this year I also have a large container of bear spray. I am pretty sure that will do the trick and it shoots out 30 feet.

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  3. Paul – another good and thought provoking topic. Before I take the plunge, I will state upfront that I am a lifetime (to this point) gun owner. My uses/reasons have been for trapping, hunting (big game + small), target shooting, plinking, military activities, and more. Like many, I own or have possessed numerous rifles, handguns, shotguns, antique firearms, and even BB Guns. I also believe in and support the right to bear arms. Nevertheless, it has been my lifetime experience that many people who have firearms (especially concealed weapons) should NOT. Just as you made clear, it is training and I believe need that should separate the “haves” from the “have nots”. In the case of an RV, most people are not camped out in rough areas, they are generally found in an RV park. I believe there is very little reason/need to have a firearm in an RV.

    John
    relaxedrush.blogspot.com

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  4. Good entry Paul. One other main thing a person must have is the willingness to use the weapon. Working at a major gun retailer, I can not tell you how many guns are sold as personal pertection to people who have no business owning one (I know they would not use it or be too scared to). Pepper Spray? Inclosed Area?? but it is an option. My preference is a 20ga or 410ga shotgun, short barrel with small bird shot, if pellets leave the RV, little chance of going through another one. Just my .02 cents and food for thought.

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  5. Good entry Paul. One other main thing a person must have is the willingness to use the weapon. Working at a major gun retailer, I can not tell you how many guns are sold as personal pertection to people who have no business owning one (I know they would not use it or be too scared to). Pepper Spray? Inclosed Area?? but it is an option. My preference is a 20ga or 410ga shotgun, short barrel with small bird shot, if pellets leave the RV, little chance of going through another one. Just my .02 cents and food for thought.

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  6. to have a gun or not?..what a great question..here in British Columbia ..a can of wasp spray will do just as good a job as 'pepper spray'and it is legal to carry and will be ever ready!..unless the nozzle is clogged!..thanks for the thought rendering post!!

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  7. Because guns aren't allowed everywhere, we carry pepper spray and a stun baton.

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  8. I've come to agree with you. I had various weapons for most of my life and came on the road with a hand gun. But after settling into the friendliness all around me and the problems in taking it across borders, I eventually sold it and now don't even feel the need to have pepper spray.
    Regards,
    Fred

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  9. Yup.. I agree with your viewpoints too. And that is a sobering thought about how many trained skilled police officers are shot or die by their own gun, from it being taken away. How could an untrained person even compare to try to maintain their gun in that situation?

    I grew up around guns, and respect them, but do not own one.

    We do keep bear spray, wasp spray (good for 20 feet from a nearby RV window out onto an intruder trying to break into a rig) and pepper spray in my purse.

    We take bear spray on walks with our dogs, even if we need to use it to ward off a stray dog attack.

    One of our best defenses is while inside the rig, a flick of switches surrounds our rig in blazing flood lights on all four sides, and a huge dual air horn can wake the dead to alert danger.

    And a night time hint, retract your RV steps when you are in for the night, keeps possible intruders just 2 or 3 feet lower than your door, unable to break the window and reach in for the lock.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard
    http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com/

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