The reasons vary and making the decision is very personal.
Certainly the U.S. and Oklahoma constitution recognize the right to firearms ownershipBut just because it is a right, why should YOU consider arming yourself? The most obvious answer is to defend yourself and the lives of your loved ones. Carrying a handgun is a great equalizer. Whether you are a woman, of small stature, in poor health, or outnumbered, a firearm in trained hands puts everyone on a level playing field at a minimum and might give you an advantage. The vast majority of self-defense cases do not end in a shooting. Criminals are looking for an easy target and just presenting the handgun often will scare the criminal away.
Most people do not realize the Police are not specifically tasked with protection. In Warren v. District of Columbia (1981), the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled, “official police personnel and the government employing them are not generally liable to victims of criminal acts for failure to provide adequate police protection . . . a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular citizen.” In Bowers v. DeVito (1982), the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, “[T]here is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen.” This is by no means a knock on the fine men and women serving as law enforcement officers, just a statement of fact that surprises many people. If a law enforcement officer happens to be close enough to prevent a crime, he will certainly act. The problem is the police can't be everywhere and response times to 911 calls can take agonizing minutes. Most self-defense shootings are over in seconds.
Statistics and personal interviews have proven time and time again that a criminal's worst fear is an armed victim. Studying crime trends in every county in the U.S., John Lott and David Mustard printed findings in their book "Crime, Deterrence, and Right to Carry Concealed Handguns" that, “allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons deters violent crimes and it appears to produce no increase in accidental deaths. If those states which did not have Right to Carry concealed gun provisions had adopted them in 1992, approximately 1,570 murders; 4,177 rapes; and over 60,000 aggravated assaults would have been avoided yearly....[W]hen state concealed handgun laws went into effect in a county, murders fell by 8.5 percent, and rapes and aggravated assaults fell by 5 and 7 percent.”
Analyzing National Crime Victimization Survey data, criminologist Gary Kleck found, “robbery and assault victims who used a gun to resist were less likely to be attacked or to suffer an injury than those who used any other methods of self-protection or those who did not resist at all." In the 1990s, Kleck and Marc Gertz found that guns were used for self-protection about 2.5 million times annually. The late Marvin E. Wolfgang, self-described as “as strong a gun-control advocate as can be found among the criminologists in this country,” who wanted to “eliminate all guns from the civilian population and maybe even from the police,” said, “The methodological soundness of the current Kleck and Gertz study is clear. I cannot further debate it. . . . I cannot fault their methodology." A study for the Dept. of Justice found that 34% of felons had been “scared off, shot at, wounded or captured by an armed victim,” and 40% of felons have not committed crimes, fearing potential victims were armed.
The right to self-defense is not a new idea. Some 2000 years ago, Cicero said, "If our lives are endangered by plots or violence or armed robbers or enemies then every method of protecting ourselves is morally right". English jurist Sir William Blackstone observed that the English Bill of Rights recognized “the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defense” as intended “to protect and maintain inviolate the three great and primary rights,” the first of which is “personal security.” Sir Michael Foster, judge of the Court of King’s Bench, wrote in the 18th century, “The right of self-defense. . . is founded in the law of nature, and is not, nor can be, superseded by any law of society.”
All of us hope and pray that we will never be forced into a position to have to defend our lives or the lives of a loved one. When choosing to carry a firearm 100% of the time, I choose to live by the addage that it is "better to have one and not need it than to need one and not have it." I refuse to allow myself or my family to be a victim.
How about you?