When grandma packs, we all feel safer

February 24, 2011

Roger Freberg

OPINION By Roger Freberg

Have you ever had to defend yourself or someone you love from an intruder?

Part of the worries of a modern world is waking up in the middle of the night to the sounds of someone breaking into your home. What would YOU do? Call 911 and hope someone comes along to save the day?

This very situation happened to me during a home invasion by two men in, yes, San Luis Obispo. Although no one was hurt, I think that placing my handgun between the eyes of one burly intruder persuaded both of them to run away. I was asked why I didn’t shoot and I said that I thought being faced with the possibility of imminent death was punishment enough. When the police came, Laura was very quick to point out that my gun wasn’t as scary as the fact that the intruders were faced with a large man with a gun, who also happened to be very naked. Thanks Laura for making that part of the record.

Unfortunately, all too often today, nice well-meaning people expect that someone else will teach our kids what they need to know, help us through our interpersonal relationships and defend us from all the nasties in our world. Too few citizens rely on themselves or take responsibility to solve their own challenges. This is not only sad, but not realistic. For example, with a handful of police officers on the streets of San Luis Obispo at any one time, what would you do to ensure your safety and those you love during a home invasion or possible period of social unrest? In San Luis Obispo, I hear people saying that they would ‘reason’ with the intruder; well, that might work.  ;)

You might think we’re a long way from needing a weapon outside the home, but the combination of impending drops in public services (police included) coupled with ever-increasing drug gang and cartel activity (Salinas is a war zone and Santa Maria is becoming one of the most dangerous cities of its size in California) makes this less certain in the very near future.  Possession of firearms and ammunition in Mexico is “illegal,” at least if you’re a law-abiding citizen.  With beheadings becoming a regular occurrence in such formerly safe spots as Acapulco, we shouldn’t be too smug here.

“To know what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice.” — Confucius

In most places in the U.S.A. today, carrying a concealed weapon is considered “normal,” providing you have the proper license and training. There are some places in the world that have lagged a bit behind in this progressive thinking, like New York, Iran and California. Let’s talk a little bit about conceal and carry.

First, let me frank, the CCW license gives you the right to conceal a handgun, but not to use it. Should you find a dire need to use a weapon, chances are you will be initially arrested and treated as the criminal that you might be, until everything is sorted out. However, there is an old saying that “it is better to be judged by 12 (jury) than carried by 6 (pallbearers).” I think that those who care about you might agree.

There is this other little thing called “states’ rights” that many in the federal government like to forget or ignore, but “states’ rights” has a big effect on CCW permit holders (Carry & Conceal Licenses). It has to do with “reciprocity.” When one state recognizes the permit of another, this is called “reciprocity.” For example, your state permit(s) may be recognized in Utah but not in New Jersey, so those who carry and travel (a lot of truckers, for example) hold multiple state permits.

There are many states for which handgun conceal or carry permits are not a question:

“Vermont is (a state) where firearms carry of any kind (open or concealed) is properly viewed as a right not subject to regulation. The state does not require a license to carry a firearm. Individuals may carry handguns on their person in a concealed or open manner almost anywhere in the state.” (from “Travelers Guide to Firearms laws of the fifty states 2010) For more information, consult: GUN LAW GUIDE.

So, how does one obtain a permit? Well, in some cases, you have to be a resident of that state; however, there are many states granting permits to nonresidents: Virginia, Florida, Texas and Utah to name just a few. Secondly, you usually have to demonstrate proficiency and understanding of handguns, sometimes even the specific handgun you wish to carry. There are many local instructors who will help you in this process, including a frequent sponsor of this site. Thirdly, you have to be finger printed and clear an FBI check, and you can’t have a history of mental illness. These precautions were put in place to restrict access to weapons of deadly force to certain folks like: criminals, politicians, and public employee unions.

Let me be clear that I don’t feel that everyone should be “packing a 9,” especially politicians. I know that not everyone has grown up hunting, fishing, and viewing the NRA as the great organization it is — as I have–but it may be time to reconsider whether or not you really wish to go quietly in the night as our world becomes a little less friendly or stand tall.  I have always been haunted by the story of an Algerian father who attempted to pry a brick off his roof to protect his family.  Before he was murdered, his attackers made him watch as each of his loved ones was killed.

BTW, it goes without saying that you should never own or carry a gun if you can’t visualize ever using it; so if you buy one, take the training and practice often so that you feel comfortable.

Be safe.

Roger Freberg is a San Luis Obispo resident who is using his retirement to write a culinary-inspired blog, comment on important local events and occasionally enjoy getting sued for his journalistic excellence.

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Typoqueen says:

“I’ll cop this from Mike, he posted this:

Gun Deaths – International Comparisons

Gun deaths per 100,000 population (for the year indicated):

Homicide Suicide Other (inc Accident)

USA (2001) 3.98 5.92 0.36

Italy (1997) 0.81 1.1 0.07

Switzerland (1998) 0.50 5.8 0.10

Canada (2002) 0.4 2.0 0.04

Finland (2003) 0.35 4.45 0.10

Australia (2001) 0.24 1.34 0.10

France (2001) 0.21 3.4 0.49

England/Wales (2002) 0.15 0.2 0.03

Scotland (2002) 0.06 0.2 0.02

Japan (2002) 0.02 0.04 0

How about complaining the stats to countries that do have little to no gun control as you want it. Do I want to live in the Middle East or No. Africa, they can wave AKs, shoot their wives for adultery, thier children for shaming them, they can shoot their guns off at parties, no gun control

just as you would like. Although the above stats do demonstrate my point I feel that unfortunately we should be compared to other countries that allow grandma to pack without background checks. If you can’t wait for the cooling off period then you’ve got issues. You must be paranoid and I feel sorry for you if you are so afraid that someone might break into your home within 30 days so you must have that gun now, it’s just crazy paranoia. Trust me, most people go their entire life without being confronted by armed home invaders, I’m sure that having to wait 30 days isn’t going to be an issue in the real world. You might find some NRA lit. that says that this happens frequently but this is typical of how the right controls it’s followers with blind fear.

Why is it that only the right is allowed to have rights? Why can’t we have the right to feel safe so we don’t feel that we’re living in a 3rd world country? Why can’t you people ever meet us half way?

You don’t have to answer those questions, I know that this is getting a bit winded. But I do want you to understand that I appreciate your non combative argument without ad hom attacks. I will tell you that I’ve been to a few Tea Bag rallies and had discourse with them. I don’t want to generalize or stereo type, I’m just going by what I found, it was the women that got defensive and mad and some even yelled at me even though I was just simply stating my side of some of the issues. Unlike many of the women the men were always very polite and although some of them were a bit over the top in thier ideology they were able to discuss things like this without yelling at me.”

It never ceases to amaze me when the anti-gun crowd uses “gun deaths” when comparing violent crime in the U.S., with gun crime in countries that heavily restrict or ban firearms, as if the only violent deaths that occur are with firearms. Truthfully, I’d rather have millions of law abiding citizens with guns that can make the odds more even when dealing with violent criminals, than take all of the guns, and have intended victims confront criminals with a knife or baseball bat. Violent criminals have the will and strength to over power their victims, taking the only efficient means of defense away from those who are neither inclined, or intent on committing crimes is just wrong. As for “people” shooting their wives and kids, people with the will to murder will find the means to kill. They don’t need guns to complete the act. Saying that people murder with guns is a red herring designed to suggest that only murder happens with guns, so therefore guns should be banned to eliminate murder. It’s a bogus argument.

You say that a lot of people go through life without confronting a violent criminal, and you’re right. But just the same, other people have been confronted by criminals, and have lost their lives because they didn’t have the means to defend themselves. One of the unfortunate facts of life is that, unlike those of us who have families tucked safely behind walls with alarms, and in some cases, armed guards, there are people who need firearms because they are more apt to have a violent criminal confront them. So what do we do, sacrifice them so that you feel safer ? There is no halfway with the antigun zealot. They want the same gun bans as those in other countries. Is that the kind of compromise I’m willing to accept ? I think not. To quote Thomas Jefferson, “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.” I will grant that there are some stupid people in this world that would shoot a gun in the air, but again, the number of people that do that is insignificant when you compare it to the number of gun owners in the U.S.. A thirty day waiting period is unreasonable, and unnecessary, when we have the NICS check that can tell if a person is eligible to own a firearm. It’s naive to think it’s going to stop someone from attacking another person who gets into a heated argument with their neighbor, They will simply use another effective means to attack them. Making it harder to get a firearm because you’re afraid of what a person might do is the height of paranoia. Having read enough NRA literature (their magazines), information they publish is from other sources. For instance, their armed citizen section that summarizes articles from newspapers from around the United States. They’re not yelling that the sky is falling, they simply are repeating stories from news sources that have reported an incident. The other literature covers firearm safety, and pending legislation (both good and bad) from around the country.

One last thing, I do not yell, I educate. I have been around firearms for half a century, and I’ve fired most types of guns, from .22s, to .50s. I’ve fired rifles, pistols, shotguns, lever action, bolt action, semiauto and full auto, and then there’s stuff that makes loud explosions and takes out armored vehicles. Not once did I see any of those arms fire without a human controlling it. I exposed my daughters to firearms from the tender age of 6 months, up to 30 years old and now I expose my grandkids to them. In all cases, none of them fear firearms, but they have a healthy level headed respect for them. You say you have been around firearms in the past. Maybe it’s time to get back in the saddle and go shooting again. People at shooting ranges are friendly, safe, and courteous. From my experience, they always have been. Maybe you’ve forgotten that.

I wrote a detailed response and then the d@*& thing erased so I’ll take that as a sign that I need to move on from this topic. You keep educating the people, from what’s going on in Wisconsin teachers will become a rare breed. We certainly won’t ever see common ground on this issue, like everyone else on this issue no one will change anyones minds ,,no matter how much you teach them.

I had a prowler, who tried to get in all three of my doors, at my house in SLO. It took the police FOREVER to find my house. Evidently they don’t have GPS systems in the new, beastly Dodges. They searched my neighbor’s yard instead of mine. There have been 2 attempted break-ins and one burglary on my block (all reported) and none of them have been in the paper. I am thinking, for the first time in my life, of getting a gun for my protection. I am in a residential neighborhood between Foothill and downtown and now that I’ve spoken to friends in this area, there have been many and often they go unreported. It was a very frightening experience! Has anyone else had this happen in SLO? I now do not feel safe in my own home.

Justice Alito writing for the majority in the Supreme Court’s McDonald decision:

“Municipal respondents’ remaining arguments are at war with our central holding in Heller: that the Second Amendment protects a personal right to keep and bear arms for lawful purposes, most notably for self-defense within the home. Municipal respondents, in effect, ask us to treat the right recognized in Heller as a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees that we have held to be incorporated into the Due Process Clause.”

Between Heller and McDonald, the court has ruled that we have an individual fundamental civil right to keep and bear arms. Of particular interest is the phrase “…most notable for self-defense within the home…” “most notably” in no way means ‘exclusively’ in the home.

If grandma wants to pack a gun, she absolutely is within her civil rights to do so. If you actively work to undermine grandma’s rights, you are an oppressor of civil rights. There is a one word descriptor of those that seek to oppress civil rights: Bigot.


Well said Roger…

This article has to do with personal defense so I will stick to that here..

Why do have a gun? Because I want to be able to protect myself if needed.

Do I worry about being a victim? No more then I worry about my house will burning down.

I do have smoke alarms, fire sprinklers & extinguishers in my house & a plan to save what I need to if a fire starts. Same with how I approach protecting my family & myself

A very few fighty and misdirected comments deleted; more focus on the issue less focus on the personalities commenting here thank you.

How did you miss that “spit, grin” comment about gun victim James Brady? Don’t the gun assassinations of four presidents and numerous others give any of you pause? The rest of the world is just as violent, but doesn’t have problems to the extent we do. People are so devoted to guns that they will vote against every other self interest they have to support a politician who will look the other way to gun insanity. Add in a few racists, bible literalists, xenophobics and gay haters and you have the basis for a political party that will pander to them and steal their money and their children’s future at the same time.

What law do we need that 20,000 + gun laws haven’t accomplished ? What I see from the antigun crowd is they want “just one more law”. And when that doesn’t work, they need just one more law. And when that one doesn’t work, what do those that “just want to protect you” ask for, just one more gun law. Legislators have been doing that since the end of the Civil War, when they wanted to “protect” the people from the newly freed slaves. The Sullivan Act in New York was enacted to protect criminal interests of Sullivan who was into graft and corruption, and the law was designed to disarm his enemies. Even the founders of this country knew that.

Taken From Thomas Jefferson’s “Common Place Book”, he writes:

False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.

Good tell it like it really is article

Thank you Roger

When grandma packs, we all feel safer

unless she forgets to take her prozac

You have such a good point, there are a plenty of people that I wouldn’t want ‘packin’.

I managed to get through all the comments top to bottom. A lot of very informitive info. SoCalCop thanks for putting good information out in a rational easy to understandable format. I understand there are commentors that disagree with CCW and gun ownership as being a positive aspect of our community. We in this county and country are victims of our own succes. This is a nice area. Yes we have had a few criminal headlines recently. But that should tell you something in it self. It is still headline news here when some one is assulted or murdered. In my time in law enforcment and military service, I have seen a lot of the other side of human nature. It is a very thin layer that makes civilized socioty. Until you have had to deal with mental illness, cultral bias, drugged thugs, poverty etc. You dont truley appreciate how good it is here and how tenuous it truley is.

I appreciate that we on this new site may rather vehomently disagree with each other, but have managed to keep it pretty civil. Online comment boards have a tendency to get real ugly real fast. So thanks to everyone for moderating themselves. This article prompted me to register as a commentor and add a few words.

I will leave you with this thought. Its easy to rile against firearms when you live a secure life. Would those who enjoy the protection of annonymity be willing to single themselves out? Right now a smart criminal realizes that you may be armed at home. You may have a neighbor that will come armed to your assistance. That in a crowded resteraunt there might be an armed responsible citizen who will defend themselves and others. Would someone who is against CCW and firearms want to live and socialize in and area where it is posted no one who lives here owns a firearm. No one who shops or holds a bussiness here has a firearm. That everyone relys only upon law enforcement for protection and deterence.

As someone who has to deal every day with the criminal element in a confinement facility. The criminals we have locked up now are the stupid and the unlucky. Its the other 90 % that are roaming free outthere right now that are going to be looking for unprepared targets of opportunity.

I look forward to comments.

“Ghost Walker says:

As someone who has to deal every day with the criminal element in a confinement facility. The criminals we have locked up now are the stupid and the unlucky. Its the other 90 % that are roaming free out there right now that are going to be looking for unprepared targets of opportunity.”

Exactly. I couldn’t have said it better.

Thanks, and welcome.

the stupid and the unlucky also mentaly ill and ethnic minorities.

As a on & off gun guy it always amazes me how many guns are stolen. I’ve lost 2 or three to thieves. It seems tools anf guns put out some kind of homing signal to dirbags. One more point. Any dog I’ve ever owned would kinda cower and split when I brought out any shooters, even if they have never been around them in operation. Very strange indeed. Anybody else ?

Guns are stolen, cars are stolen, TVs, Home entertainment systems, jewelry, items of sentimental value. I don’t understand your point.

One other thing, my Great Dane runs away from me when I point the TV remote control at him. In fact, if I point my tooth brush at him he runs away. Again, your point ?

You tell me.

bobfromsanluis says:

02/27/2011 at 1:34 pm

SoCalCop: So, your answer is that any sort of marker, identifier or other means of some sort of batch or manufacturer identification does absolutely nothing in helping professional, investigative officers any help in providing evidence of who committed a gun crime, at all? In your professional opinion, nothing can be done to the rounds to make them identifiable in any means? I just want to see you answer the question straight forward and I will drop my “suggestion”. I find it amusing that no one addressed my comment that there are many who feel that police officers are paid too much but also seemed concerned that ammunition could be too expensive for them to continue to practice handgun proficiency; why the seemingly opposite points of view without any comments? Will you please give me a straight-up answer about “marked” ammunition as an investigative tool? Is there any possibility that such a thing could possibly be of any help to law enforcement?


For the sake of argument, let’s say you have a serial numbered case (a 9mm, Federal Hydro Shock round) at the scene of a murder. The case will tell you the caliber, and make. So you contact that company, and they have a data base huge enough to maintain records of the billions of rounds sold to thousands of retailers. Let’s say we’re lucky enough to get a bullet that wasn’t bought outside of California, and fortunately it was bought within 50 miles of the crime scene at the Bass Pro Shop in Rancho Cucamonga. So we get a court order that allows us to look through their records and it comes back to John Doe, on 123 Euclid Av, in Upland, Ca. So we visit John Doe who was Burged a year ago and 50 rounds that he says he kept on the upper shelf of his bedroom closet were stolen while he, his wife and two lovely daughters spent two weeks last summer at Walt Disney World. So who are you going to go after ? Because John, his wife and daughters are tied to the rounds due to guilt by association, you investigate further and discover that John and his family have no further ties to the victim because no other contacts know them. So who do you go after next ?

Here’s another thought. If you wanted to commit a murder, would you use a bullet that could come back to you, or do you obtain a bullet and gun that have no connection to you ? After all, if you intend to commit one felony, what’s one more felony or two relatively minor misdemeanors ? Are you following me Bob ?

When investigating a crime, you usually have people of interest and narrow down the players as you collect evidence that leads to them. If you narrow down the players to nothing, and still have evidence, who do you go to next ? A serial number or some chemical marker isn’t going to accomplish anything that finding a gun and testing it and another bullet won’t accomplish.

I don’t know if you’re aware of it or not, but witnesses, physical evidence such as shoe marks, tire marks, finger prints, DNA from hair or body fluids, trace evidence from the victim etc etc, are what catches the criminal more than a gun. If the gun is found, it’s been reported stolen, and has been abandoned somewhere. If you’re lucky enough to actually find the criminal with the gun, he would be my candidate for world’s dumbest criminals. Does that answer your question ?

Yes, it does, thank you. For me, this is the end of the discussion. I hope that all of you who do own handguns are as safety minded as you can be, that no one ever finds or steals any of your guns and do something harmful with them, either to themselves or anyone else, and that you never have to protect yourself by killing someone attacking you. Good luck to all of you, and I mean that in all seriousness. Be safe, please.