Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us

by Dave Robinson

Dave Robinson

To Gun Or Not To Gun
Originally published August 20, 2012

I knew once I began the discussion on disaster preparedness, sooner or later the topic of guns would come up. I have purposely avoided the subject because of strong feelings on both sides of the issue but the question has come up, so let’s take a look.

The widely accepted opinion is that during times of disaster the police are overwhelmed. Watching looters during race riots or Hurricane Katrina tells us that a certain element of society will run amok if it is obvious they can loot, pillage and burn with impunity. An old axiom is, “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!” Considering this, many disaster preppers consider gun ownership as a vital part of their preparations.

Let me say right up front I’m a gun owner. I am a past member of the NRA and consider myself a recreational shooter. As a former police officer, the firearm was simply a tool of the trade. My family grew accustomed to seeing my duty belt (with loaded .357) hanging from the gun rack in our bedroom. But then, not all families are accustomed to having firearms in the home. Not only are they nervous around anything gun related, they are vehemently opposed to anything to do with a firearm.

Gun ownership in the United States is at an all-time high. More people are buying firearms now than at any time in our history. At the same time, violent crimes including murder, rape and armed robbery are at a 30 year low! Coincidence? Author Robert Heinlein once wrote, “An armed society is a polite society."

Attempting to determine how many people own firearms resulted in vague answers. Nationwide, it is estimated the percentage of households owning firearms is somewhere between 39% and 50%. I believe that the percentage in Southwestern Oregon is markedly higher. Just a feeling I have. Of course there are population pockets throughout the U.S. where gun ownership is believed to approach 100%. A more exact statistic is in regard to concealed handgun licenses. Coos County currently has on the books over 3800 permits. With a county population of 63,000, 6% of our citizens are licensed to carry a concealed handgun. Statewide there are nearly 147,000 concealed handgun licenses issued.

How you choose to protect your family is your business. The police will likely be unavailable during any significant emergency. If your choice is to purchase a firearm, then that’s a decision you shouldn’t make lightly. Do your research. Get some training, get some more training, and practice safety!

As always, send your questions or comments to disasterprep.dave@gmail.com.

Note: Dave Robinson is Bandon's Postmaster and has worked for the postal service for 30 years. He has a background in law enforcement, served in the Air Force in Vietnam, worked nine years for the Coos County Sheriff's Department, and serves on the Myrtle Point School Board, where he lives.

additional columns by Dave Robinson