Think Twice Before Bringing Your Gun to Bed

cat-sleepThis post is neither meant to ruffle any feathers with regards to a person’s gun-toting rights nor does it have anything to do with the recent school shooting tragedy. I’m all for a person’s second amendment rights and my heart definitely goes out to all those affected by such a senseless act.

Rather, it’s meant to get you to re-consider your actions and assumptions with respect to firearms safety when you lay your head down at night. While I strongly believe in proper firearms safety for those families that have young children (like me) that’s not what this post is about either.

Instead, it’s about something I hadn’t fully contemplated until I began to wonder about the unlikely probability that I could actually get my hands on my firearms in the middle of the night if/when I really needed to, considering that they are currently in a gun safe. In fact, it would likely take me a minute or more to get to my weapons if I really had to. Certainly, in a life or death situation that’s an eternity, but that’s my current reality considering my children are still young enough to see weapons as toys. I know I need to educate them and will begin doing so when I see fit.

Anyway, I understand that many people choose to keep handguns, in particular, outside of a safe, perhaps in an end table, behind the headboard, or for the more paranoid among us… right under the pillow. Really anywhere that is readily accessible at your bedside and not in a gun safe is what I’m talking about. You know, ready to point and shoot! Now, with the expectation that many of us have not been in the military and are not police officers, my assumption is that we may not have been fully trained to function with a firearm in split-second situations. Certainly, appropriate training is in order.

So, my question to you is this: would you be competent, awake, and cognizant enough to be able to function properly enough to make a split-second life or death decision in the middle of the night? Not when you just laid down but literally in the middle of the night when you’re fast asleep and in Never Never land? And let’s not forget that many people either consume a few adult beverages before bed or may be on any number of prescription medications that can affect or impair their judgement… I assume all those medication warning labels mean something.

Think about that last paragraph for a brief moment. Can you answer “yes” to your abilities with certainty? If you truly can, then great!

Still not sure?…

Take me for example. I’m a very light sleeper. You would think this quirk about me would be a good thing if you expect to be able to defend your family and home from something like a home invasion or robbery. Personally, I think it’s a bad thing because, although I wake up at the slightest of noise, it’s a restless sleep at best. And, as a result, I’m often quite groggy and not very with it whenever I have to get up in the middle of the night to deal with something out of the ordinary, such as a sick child or funny noise I may have to check out. In other words, it takes me some time to get going and figure out what I’m doing!

My wife, on the other hand, can wake up at a moment’s notice and be ready to function for hours on end without even flinching (part of being a midwife, I guess). I have no idea how she does it. But that’s a glaring different between us that shows how different a person can be with respect to being able to function when they otherwise wouldn’t anticipate doing so.

I can hear you saying “ok, just put the gun on her side of the bed.” That might be a good plan but (1) she has zero interest in firearms which means it’s up to me or nothing and (2) I like to keep obviously deadly weapons away from her side of the bed lest I not wake up in the morning. Really, I’m just kidding here. Honestly, she’s a saint and wouldn’t hurt a fly… I’ve got nothing to worry about… I’m almost positive, anyway. ;)

Really, what I’m trying to ask you is what kind of person are you, really, in the middle of the night? Do you (not *can* you) function with a clear mind at a moment’s notice like my wife can? Or, are you more like me and need some time to clear your head?

You might think that a pure rush of adrenaline would be enough to overcome any grogginess but I’m not so sure about that. You are who you are and without significant training I would find it difficult to believe that you can be anything else, even when you most need to be. Remember, it’s the middle of the night, perhaps pitch black, your head may not be in the game, and you want to bet that you’ll make the correct decision? Hmmm… I wouldn’t be my family’s lives on it… who knows, I might have thought my kid standing at the doorway is a burglar or worse.

As for me, I’m thinking that the time it takes for me to physically retrieve a handgun from my gun safe is the best thing for our situation right now. It gives me time to clear my head and figure out what’s going on. That said, I certainly understand that in a situation where seconds count, fumbling to retrieve a weapon from a safe may very well be too late. Unfortunately, that’s a chance I’ll have to take considering my quirks and knowing myself. After all, the last thing I want is to be wrong and end up shooting my kids because my head wasn’t in it… my dog… he’d better duck. ;)

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Posted in Defense / Security / Safety
15 comments on “Think Twice Before Bringing Your Gun to Bed
  1. Irish-7 says:

    Although we own a gun safe, I keep several firearms close to the bed and a few scattered (hidden) throughout the house. My kids are old enough to know and avoid the dangers of MISHANDLING guns. They also know how to use them. You don’t get second chances on a brutal home invasion. Recently, I have become enamored with these weapons that fire both .410 gauge shotgun shells and .45 Long Colt bullets. Winchester makes a shotgun shell (PDX1) that holds 3 plated defense disks and 12 BBs. I think this is an excellent round for small spaces, like the inside of your home. The .45 LC bullet is large and has substantial knock down power. Neither round will over penetrate to the point of hitting the neighbor.

  2. We had the perfect outside dog. She answered far away sounds or dogs in one low, slow voice, people on the road in front of the house in another louder and more urgent voice. If someone was on our property, she was furious, barking and snarling, and followed the person, allowing us to know where the person was. She never bit anyone, but I feared she would. Everyone feared her, even I, sometimes.

    She helped by chasing away all mailmen, meter readers, and friends. After her I don’t want a barker, I want a barker with purpose and points out the out of place person.

    Puppy was part beagle and part big dog.

  3. TexasScout says:

    I understand your predicament. However, if you can’t wake up enough to handle a gun at night, add the stress of someone breaking into your house at night and the stress of trying to unlock a gun safe in the heat of the moment. Yes, I have heard of people shooting their own children in the night. It’s an awful thing to contemplate, but I think you are “safer” without locking them up. Maybe a “bio-metric” pistol safe that uses your finger prints to unlock would be a better idea.

  4. Andrea says:

    I agree dogs are great,love my heeler. I personally keep a canister of strong pepper spray by my bed. I don’t feel like I’m trained well enough yet to rely on a gun, plus I worry about it being taken away and used against my family. But every situation is different for sure.

  5. T.R. says:

    This is where a dog would come in handy , intruders HATE dogs because they alert the owners and they loose the element of surprise .

  6. T.R. says:

    Hard call , I agree with your point regarding children . However , its probably not the best thing to put under your pillow either . Weather your awake enough to make the decision ………if somebody is in your house …they are not there for anything good , and people that know you will also know that it wouldnt be a good idea to go into your house unannounced because of that . Yes you may be sleepy , but a rape or worse will wake you up fast in a way you dont want ……..my vote is to keep it handy . Just sayin

    • I can see that’s the other part of the equation I didn’t consider much: only people who are expected and/or allowed in your house at odd times of the night should be made fully aware that you’re armed and dangerous… and to be sure to announce loud and clear that they’re in your home. As for me, I’m still fairly new to firearms and it’s still one of those things I keep quiet around my family and most friends.

  7. James G says:

    I have the best of both worlds in my mind. I have a young daughter (5yo) and hormonal teenagers (13,16yo) at home and do not want an accident or worse. In my bedside table drawer I keep my pistol and the keys to my safe with my long guns in a Stack-On PDS-500 Drawer Safe with a combo lock. I have an early alarm Labrador retriever so I get an early alert to something amiss in my house. This way I have the weapon close by my bed, relatively fast access – less than 10 seconds to open with the code. Providing easy access for me and no way for my kids to have unsupervised access to the guns.

  8. Suni says:

    Good Article with many good points to ponder. As an older female with no children in the house and whose husband works two weeks at home and two weeks away I sleep with my pistol near my bed at night. The area of the country where I live is about 100 miles north of the US/Mexico boarder and people in our area have had many break ins. All that being said I think each individual needs to consider all their options and then decide what is best for them. I have told all family members don’t joke around when you come to my door at night and they do know the reason. When my family comes over for a visit the first thing I do is unload and store away my firearm not just sometimes but every time. I think both you and Dasicone have chosen the right path for your family. This is why if you keep a firearm for protection you MUST think of all circumstance and then be responsible for taking safety precautions as your situation dictates.

  9. Dasicone says:

    In all honesty, if your dog doesn’t yelp or bark or something when things go bump in the night, then he or she needs to be shot. We have four children and we are kind of in the same boat, with regards to guns. And after returning from iraq, I found that I have become a very light sleeper. And unfortunately, I have had an opportunity to test my, “middle of the night” response skills and they are even sharper than I thought they would be. I was able to load my pistol, chamber a round, and clear my two story house in just under a minute (I have to clear my whole house because from my bedroom you cannot tell where a sound came from AND I always check to make sure my kids’ rooms and windows are still secure). The problem for me was once I heard a noise, it would take me an hour or two to go back to sleep because i , mentally, would be on full alert. My sleep was sucking really bad. So my wife got us a rot/dobie mix to help “guard” the house. At six months old and 70 lbs, he instantly filled in for me and I, since returning from iraq, finally started getting some good sleep. He is not very bright, at all, but he has already earned his keep several times over. He has also allowed me to lock up my guns because he buys me that extra minute or so you were talking about.

    • Good to hear you’re finally getting some sound sleep. With respect to dogs, there’s definitely a reason why dog’s are man’s best friend and one of those reasons is because they’re such wonderful alert systems. I know I kid about my dog at times but that’s one thing he does really well… bark at everything. I was never worried about not being alerted to anything unusual, just my ability to respond to it with a clear head. Maybe I just don’t give myself enough credit.

    • steve says:

      Dasicone…hopefully you don’t mean shooting the dog?

      • Dasicone says:

        Haha, that was a joke. But seriously, if time to get your bearings is what’s needed, then I would highly recommend a big scary dog. If they don’t scare the intruder away, then they will at least buy you time to prepare for the home invasion.

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