Open thread for discussion of guns and carry and gun control, to move an unwanted debate from someone else's blog. If you're interested:
As an ongoing debate, this is pretty well over; it's now more a matter of communication rather than debate, rather like evolution vs. creationism. I hope no one finds that comparison offensive, I've got creationist friends; they simply haven't read up on it. There's a lot of answers to the usual points here at NRA's site, and some more good information at gunsite.com.
To start out:
The idea that "statistics say" guns are a greater danger to friends and family members was based on a study by Arthur Kellermann and Don Reay in which it was found that legally or illegally possessed guns in King County, Washington, USA were more frequently used to kill people known to the shooter, e.g. a known person from a rival drug gang, and much more frequently used for suicides, than used to kill home invaders who were strangers to the residents.
- The vast majority of defensive uses of guns involve showing the gun without firing it, and these were not counted.
- "Person known to the shooter" is nothing like "friend or family member".
- A short-term study of a high-crime location which will have disproportionally high criminal use.
- Suicide just changes method if a gun is not available.
- More here and here.
Some points about using a gun in a defensive situation:
1) I’d be way too slow to retrieve the gun in time
This is a matter of practice. The time can be greatly cut down if you prepare when you start getting a bad vibe, e.g. when someone may be following you in a parking lot and you have a bad feeling, get a firm grip on the gun without drawing it.
2) the gun would catch on the lining of my jacket pocket and end up falling on the floor
A gun designed for concealed carry is pretty well free of corners and protruberances that will catch, it's a major design critera. You should carry the gun in a proper holster, not loose in a pocket, to further keep it from catching and to keep objects away from the trigger.
3) I would manage to get out the gun, but by then my attacker is right up in my face and just grabs my wrist before I can do anything (guys are goddamn freakishly strong and I, as mentioned, move slowly).
Take some classes and practice. There is nothing about this movement that is inherently slow.
4) I would successfully menace my attacker with the gun but he’d come at me anyway and I’d fire, but the safety would be on and/or my finger would be squeezing the outside of the trigger guard instead of the trigger itself and then he’d kill me
Pick a gun with no manual safety; they are rare on new designs intended for defensive use. Manual safeties are for experts only. The outside of the trigger guard does not feel like the trigger and is not all that close to it in terms of finger positioning. Practice.
5) I would successfully menace my attacker with the gun and he’d start to back off but my finger would twitch and I’d shoot him by mistake.
A stock self-defense gun does not have a trigger that is actuated by a twitch; they require considerably more than four pounds of pressure. (Some experts who are confident of their non-twitchiness take the gun to a gunsmith to reduce the pressure, most commonly down to four pounds.) If you are incapable of, say, holding a pencil when you are upset, you personally should not carry a firearm, but don't let it bother you that the rest of us do.