Are Handguns Making You Safer?

My uncle killed himself with a handgun in the basement bathroom of his home. He used a .365 Magnum. The mess that was left, both literally and figuratively, was profound. My uncle was dying of cancer and was probably very depressed. Instead of asking for help or taking advantage of Colorado’s assisted suicide law, he took his own life — with a handgun.

I was Zooming with a group of girlfriends and one of them mentioned that she and her husband had purchased his and her handguns. The reaction from the other girls was very similar to the reaction you would expect if she had a new grandchild on the way. I immediately felt apart from the group. I do not find handguns exciting or fun. I find them dangerous.

I’ve never liked guns. They don’t seem to serve much purpose except to kill. And if you have one in your home, you are more likely to be injured or die via murder or suicide. Certainly, there are instances where people used guns to protect themselves during a break-in. But statistically, those are far and few between. You are more likely to hear about a father killing his own child as she comes back in the house after sneaking out in the middle of the night.

I wish I had access to real statistics about handgun violence in the U.S. but it’s very hard to come by. That’s because the National Rifle Association (NRA) lobbies Congress to disallow the collection of gun violence data by the Centers for Disease Control. The NRA doesn’t want Americans to know the national number of people that are killed by handguns in accidents, suicides, or domestic violence cases. And it isn’t all about the 2nd Amendment. It’s about money. When you purchase a gun you not only put yourself and members of your household in danger, you put money in the NRA’s many pockets.

Americans feel safer with a gun in the home, but the reality is that they are not. There are many small studies that verify this. But our national obsession with guns and the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment that we believe allows us to own them, makes the U.S. a very dangerous place. Almost anybody can purchase a gun. And if you’re white and live in an open-carry state, you can carry your semi-automatic weapon around in the street. Don’t get me started on what would happen if a person of color were to exercise these rights.

I, personally, will never own a handgun or allow one in my home. Therefore, my chances of being injured or killed with a handgun reduces to almost zero. I will advocate for stronger gun laws and a more conservative interpretation of the 2nd amendment.

Please visit the CDC website or this link for more information about handgun injury/death statistics:



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Valerie M. Gantzler

Valerie M. Gantzler

Adult educator, retired USAF, avid reader, lifelong learner. Attitude, curiosity, and grit will take you everywhere.