There are an estimated 270 million guns in America. That's a staggering and somewhat unsettling statistic, but by virtue of those numbers it stands to reason that not everyone who owns a gun in this country is a fetishistic, hyper-aggressive paranoiac convinced it's only a matter of time before that gun is the only thing that stops him from becoming a human entree for Leatherface's Grandpa Sawyer or a ball-gagged rape toy in a sadist's dungeon somewhere. There are plenty of people who own guns for sport, for enjoyment, or, yes, on the infinitesimal chance that in the largely civilized United States, circa 2014, they'll have to defend themselves against a direct, violent threat.
I get the impression Joseph Nizzari isn't one of those people.
According to his bio, Nizzari is the director of training operations for a firearms education company called Line of Fire, which is based out of Las Vegas. Remember that because it'll be important in a second: Nizzari lives in Vegas. Not Fallujah or Mogadishu -- Vegas. He trains average citizens on the proper and ostensibly responsible way to handle a weapon -- which is undeniably admirable, particularly given that he has a reputation for professionalism -- but it's fair to assume that neither those average citizens nor Nizzari himself have settled down someplace where they're ducking gunfire on their way out to the minivan every morning. And yet you'd never know that by reading Nizzari's own words. Last week, the gun enthusiast website TheTruthAboutGuns.com published a piece written by him called "Why You Need to Home Carry... Even In the Shower." The title kind of says it all, but in case you recently took a bullet to the head from a home invader and need to have it explained to you, Nizzari recommends that gun-owners keep their EDC weapons -- "every day carry" -- on them at all times when they're in their homes. That means, yes, even in the shower -- in a handy waterproof plastic gun box, right next to the shampoo caddy, I guess.
This about sums it up:
It is my solid belief that a handgun should be on one’s person from the moment they rise until the moment until they lay their head down and enter dreamland... One never knows what type of break-in will occur or where the point of entry will be.
Yes, one never knows when that break-in is going to come, but it's probably going to come at some point -- and having a gun in your nightstand or even several places conveniently throughout the house isn't going to be enough.
Imagine a burglar coming in armed with a .25 Auto (or unarmed for that matter) and then confronting you with that loaded 870 or AR you keep next to your bed. And what if you come home while an intruder is already in your house and surprises you with one of your own guns? All I can say is, if you choose to store firearms this way, you definitely need to have a handgun on your person while you are at home... You need to do what you’re comfortable with. Personally, I always have a handgun on me with a spare magazine, a rear-activated light, and a folding knife.
Jesus. I'm sure parties at the Nizzari home are lovely.
It's tough to imagine living with this kind of paranoia 24/7, with the fear and near-certainty that at any moment the suburban ranch-style home you share with your stick-figure-commemorated family can be stormed by a Bolivian hit squad like you're Tony Montana. If you've managed to convince yourself that direct threats to your life exist around every corner and in every shadow and that you need to be ready to fend them off at all times -- even in the shower -- there's a pretty good chance you're way too twitchy for average people to be comfortable with the fact that you're armed. It's one thing to truly be in a position where your life is in danger on a regular basis -- to be a cop, or a soldier, or to live in an area where violence is genuinely omnipresent -- but to completely ignore statistics and logic and to create phantom peril and run through detailed scenarios in your head where you're defending your homestead like its the Wild West makes you the dangerous one. It means that you no longer see a gun as a tool or even an unfortunate necessity, but rather as an integral part of your identity and authority. When you get to that point, you're no longer a gun-owner or a gun enthusiast -- you're a gun-worshipper, a gun fetishist. And there should be no such thing because to be that shows a lack of respect and restraint when it comes to the awesome power you hold as someone carrying a firearm.
Nizzari goes on to offer up hypothetical arguments against carrying a weapon on you every minute of every day as well as his responses to them.
5. I have children and I’m worried about the gun coming out when I roll around on the floor when I play with them.
My view: If you lose your gun while playing with your children, imagine what will happen if you go hands-on with an attacker. I would review my holster choices in this case.
Or better yet, just holster your gun on the kid. The attacker will never expect that.
8. My spouse/significant other won’t let me.
My view: I’m not always sure how to address this one, as there are several underlying personal issues at play here. I will suggest to those who need ‘permission’ to carry a firearm at home to review home invasion stories and videos from around the country with their doubting parnters. (sic) Perhaps that will sway them to be more comfortable with home carry and get used to it as a way of life rather than some sort of paranoid voodoo. If there’s absolutely nothing you can do to persuade your significant other to accept the practice, you might consider pulling the ejection handle.
So to recap, scare the piss out of your wife by telling her about that woman who got raped in her home that one time and how it's absolutely going to happen to her if she wants you to take off your sidearm once in a while. And if that doesn't work, fuck it, you've gotta have priorities. That Glock 23 will keep you warm in bed at night and you can even stick your dick down the barrel of it when you're feeling extra lonely.
Here's where I once again go ahead and remind everyone that I own a gun. When I decided to make the cross-country drive alone from Florida to California, I availed myself of one of my ex-Navy SEAL father's handguns -- a Sig Compact .45 -- and made the transfer legal. I did that because it was going to be me out on the road by myself for days and, yes, you never know what can happen. But I also knew almost beyond a doubt that I would never have to use it, nor would I want to. I still feel that way: Sure I have it, but it's not like I'm ever going to need the thing because I live in an apartment near Studio City and don't have a damn thing anybody would really want (other than, ironically, the gun). Yes, bad things can happen and random violence is possible, but statistically it's incredibly unlikely, certainly to the point where I would feel the need to make sure I had my gun on me at all times.
What's interesting, though, was the thinking of the guy behind the counter at the shooting range where I retrained before leaving South Florida -- the wild alternate reality he had created in his head and was sure I would be experiencing once I got to L.A. At first glance, this person seemed completely normal: he was friendly, helpful, professional. But as soon as I explained to him why I was in that day and where I'd soon be heading, his demeanor changed. His brow furrowed and he cocked his head incredulously, as if I'd just asked him the way to a gay pride parade. He paused for a moment then leaned in and said, "You know, California's a socialist state so they probably have restrictive gun laws, but you just keep this with you at all times even if it means arrest because when the riots start you're gonna need it -- and it's better to be in trouble with the police than dead." I just kind of nodded a couple of times, expressionless. "Good advice -- thanks," I responded. I left wondering where the hell they get this stuff. What makes someone believe that civilization, in one form or another, is always a hair's breadth away from absolute collapse and a battle for survival in some post-apocalyptic wasteland that used to be America is nearly a sealed fate.
If you truly do believe that you're always in danger then, sure, it makes sense to carry a gun with you when you sleep, eat, shower, play with your kids, have sex, and so on. But what would possibly make you believe that you're always in danger? What misfiring synapses would make you think so irrationally? In his piece, Joseph Nizzari quotes someone who said, "Carrying a gun is not supposed to be comfortable; it’s supposed to be comforting." What the hell is the matter with you if being able to kill someone in an instant while inside your home is "comforting" to you?
But maybe it really isn't about comfort anyway. Maybe that's just the bullshit story you tell yourself when your gun is so all-important to you that it's almost literally a part of your body. Maybe it's really about something else: power. The sense that you're the baddest bad-ass in the land, ready to stop any threat, no matter how fearsome in your own imagination. That you're locked, loaded, and ready to go down, as Nizzari says, in "a pile of empty brass" if necessary. If you think this way, you know what that makes you? Yeah, the last person on earth who should be armed.