Here we go...I am now going to give my opinion of firearms...owning them, using them, etc.
First and foremost, if you are legally able to own firearms, please get some!
The time is getting closer and closer to the point where a reliable firearm may be the difference between life and death for you and your loved ones...particularly if you live in an urban area.
Or a suburban area. Or even a rural area.
Check the news, home invasions are increasing and the perpetrators no longer just pistol whip the home-owners and grab what they can and run...they shoot to kill and take their time to ransack the home.
Also, hunting to put meat on the table is getting to be a necessity rather than a recreational pursuit.
Today, lets discuss the basics...
I own the three basic firearms that I believe everyone should have.
One long rifle
If you can only afford one firearm, I would suggest a shotgun if you live in an urban or suburban area and a long rifle in a rural area. Your opinion may differ.
Which ever one you purchase, please have ample ammunition for it. I suggest no less than 300 rounds for which ever weapon you prefer. More is better.
A friend of mine that is a firearm aficionado is fond of saying "Two is one and one is none" when it comes to firearms. You have to be able to have a *back-up* in any situation...particularly in a combat situation.
Never think YOU will not be in a combat situation.
Home invasion, car jacking, mugging, rape...these all qualify as *combat* situations for the average person. Criminals are no longer satisfied with just taking your money and possessions...most know that leaving a live witness is a liability to their criminal endeavors. Police used to recommend just relinquishing your money or property to a criminal as it was thought that fighting back would escalate the situation. That recommendation has changed. Every Law Enforcement Officer I know now recommends you fight tooth and nail. Criminals are more violent, better armed and are more knowledgeable about police procedures than they used to be. They are MUCH more apt to kill you than they were 30, 20 or even 10 years ago.
HAVE THE TOOLS TO FIGHT BACK!
Even a .20 gauge shotgun can even the odds up or sway them in your favor if someone breaks into your home in the dead of night.
A shotgun can be obtained fairly cheaply and easily in most states.
Or, you can go for a more expensive *auto-loader* shotgun (what I have). No need to *rack* it to ready it for the next shot...just like a SLR camera, just point and shoot, repeat.
Shotguns are great in urban areas, because you don't have the concern of bullets penetrating walls and possibly harming an innocent bystander or family member.
Shotgun shells can be obtained that will cause less than lethal harm to a human...such as birdshot, all the way up to *slugs* than will definitely cause lethal harm.
Long rifles are great for hunting and home defense...and have a wide variety of calibers to choose from. A small .22 is great for target practice....*plinking* at cans in the back pasture, or shooting varmints such as groundhogs. It will probably not kill an intruder...unless you manage to get off a lucky shot, but it will definitely cause them some pain.
If you want a rifle suitable for hunting larger game, such as deer, elk, moose, etc, you will need a more powerful weapon than a .22.
Your best bet in picking out a rifle or semi-automatic assault firearm is to go to your local shooting range and try out a few. Find the one that is the right *fit* for you.
Many shooting ranges have a vast array of firearms on hand for a novice shooter to try out. Pay your fee to use the range, pay for your ammo and ask for pointers. Most shooters are more than happy to oblige with a little free instruction, or you can attend a "shooting clinic". The NRA and GOA both organize clinics that any qualified (i.e., not a convicted felon, etc) person can attend for instruction and education.
Handguns I recommend for those that wish to obtain a Concealed Weapons Permit. Or, you may find yourself frequently in activities where a long rifle or shotgun is too bulky, but a firearm is necessary. My father always wore a handgun in a holster while out cutting trees, burning brush, etc as my parents property was a great habitat for copperheads and rattlesnakes!
I know many hunters that carry a handgun in holster as a *back up* when out hunting.
And, of course, if you work in a profession that is inviting to thieves, a handgun may be necessary Night clerk in a retail store, security guard, etc.
I urge anyone that gets a handgun to get enrolled in a Concealed Weapons Class and obtain their permit.
Again, caliber is a personal decision. Attend clinics, go to ranges and *try on* a few before making your purchase.
With ALL firearms, research availability and cost of ammunition.
It will do you little good to buy that firearm if you cannot afford the ammo!
You will go through a great deal of ammunition. You HAVE to when you are practicing to become proficient....and proficient you must be! You must become familiar with your weapon, you must become accurate with your weapon. I do not expect everyone to become Marine Recon Sniper accurate (heaven knows, I'm not!), but you should become reasonably accurate.
For those with children:
I grew up with over two hundred firearms in my parents home. I never once picked up, handled or even touched a single one of my fathers firearms without his explicit knowledge and permission. Many of the firearms were stored with their ammunition nearby and a few were kept loaded. None had trigger locks.
Yet, somehow I managed to make to adulthood and beyond without shooting myself or any of my relatives, playmates or classmates!
Nowadays, my father would probably be hauled into court for such "irresponsible" behaviors! But I was properly taught to respect (not fear) firearms and the power they had.
I was going to the range at age 7. Yes, SEVEN.
Children now are interviewed by their pediatricians and teachers and school counselors about firearms in their household. A child telling a doctor or teacher can (in some localities) bring the state a-knocking at your door.
In some states, if your firearms are not protected by trigger locks and there are children under age 18 in your home, you can be charged with a crime!
Investigate the laws in your state and locality. Act accordingly.
Again...all of the above is my own opinion. If you choose not to own firearms, please find some other weapon to become proficient with.
Remember though, if you take a knife to a gun fight...it usually doesn't turn out well for you....