In our Tucson, Arizona CCW Permit classes, I spend a fair amount of time addressing Home Defense considerations. My reason for doing so goes beyond merely educating students on the Castle Doctrine law. My goal is to present enough information about the law and practical planning considerations, so students can go home and hone solid and effective Home Defense plans of their own.
Drawing on my experience as a law enforcement officer, I vividly recall responding to Home Invasion calls. We would interview the victims of violent Home Invasions, or worse – we would secure the crime scene where the Home Invasion culminated in sexual assault and/or homicide. Sometimes during our interview of the victim, we would discover the home owner had a firearm, but it wasn’t accessible in the instant they needed it most.
Perhaps, the only thing worse than not having a gun when you really need a gun, is having a gun, but it’s not accessible when you need it most. This is when the “sense of security” that can come from owning a gun is revealed to be false. Simply owning a firearm makes you no safer than owning a car makes you an international racing champion. Mere ownership only increases responsibility.
This is why I stress safe, effective and regular defensive firearms training, and a very deliberate and practical approach to planning. Both Home Defense and Personal Defense plans outside the home can benefit from this approach and mindset. But it’s deliberate, it doesn’t just happen.
In particular regard to home defense planning, I introduce students to what I call “the same room rule.” This is for all home defense plans, whether there are small children in the home or not. More than any other factor, kids impact the home defense spectrum of how safely secured is the firearm, verses how readily accessible is the firearm. If you have kids in your home, I would recommend looking into biometric gun safes. They provide an outstanding balance between security and speedy accessibility.
However, as we demonstrate in many of our Home Defense scenario discussions, having a firearm safely secured in another room, across the house, doesn’t help you at all when the felons crash through your door, window or slider without notice. This is where having an effective plan surpasses mere knowledge of the law. Quoting Castle Doctrine law to the felonious intruders, isn’t nearly as effective as addressing the threat ballistically. But where is your gun? If you’re in your family room watching TV, but your gun is secured in the master bedroom nightstand or closet, you do not have a home defense firearm, it’s much too far away.
The Same Room Rule encourages those who choose to include a firearm in their home defense plan to keep the gun in the same room where they spend most of their waking hours. If you’re in the family room most of time when you’re at home, your gun should be in the family room. If you’re in the kitchen or dining room, then that’s where your gun should be. For me personally, my home defense gun migrates around the house with me. When I’m home from work, relaxing with my family, the home defense gun is nearby. If I’m out in the garage making holsters, my home defense gun is also out in the garage. When I go to bed at night, the home defense gun follows me into the bedroom. Why? Because home invading felons do not call to make appointments, they tend to show up unannounced. An effective home defense plan is greater than the surprise that invasion brings, have a greater plan.
Of course, your home defense plan must include far more than just a readily accessible, but still safely secured firearm. In our classes right here in Tucson, AZ, we address predetermined communications with the whole family, movement, and use of flashlights verses lasers for effective home defense. Keeping the whole family safe is the goal of any good home defense plan. Therefore, developing a role and a plan for all family members, including the kids is imperative.
This specific point within this home defense topic is all about having your gun where and when you need your gun. The Same Room Rule is how we ensure we’re doing this at home.
If you have any questions about developing an effective Home Defense plan, or are interested in a private consultation to help develop a home defense plan specific to your family’s needs and home, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll work with you and your family to meet your training goals.
Stay safe, and stay trained.