Should You Be Armed? | Baruch Rivlin

Here’s a scenario: your husband is at work and you’re home alone with the kids. Suddenly, a window on the main floor shatters. You rush to see what happened and notice a hooded man clambering up into the smashed window. What do you do?

A similar scenario played out just today, when a frum woman’s home was being robbed in Los Angeles. In her case, she had a plan. She ran out of the room and ordered the kids upstairs. She then quickly dialed 911 and went to the safe in the home office and retrieved a gun – the very gun that she had fired a number of times at a shooting range thinking she would never need it.

Heading back to the room where the intruder was still working on getting into her home, she called out, “I’m armed! Get out of my house and off my property!”

The intruder, stunned that this woman would fight back with deadly force if he tried anything, quickly retreated. He was still caught by the cops who arrived moments later.

The story has me thinking: why aren’t we all armed? Home invasions are not just a nuisance and a way that one could lose money and valuable assets; they could very easily turn deadly. Should that not compel every law-abiding citizen to obtain a firearm? Furthermore, we live in a dangerous world where bigots and anti-Semites are no longer kept secluded in basements, but can actually broadcast their message on social media platforms across the world in a matter of seconds and call other radicals to arms. Should we not at least be ready to fight back in case, chas v’chalila, we have to?

I know there are many that don’t like the idea of having a deadly weapon in their home, both from a security standpoint and from a hashkafic standpoint. To that, I have two things to say. One, there are very specific safety steps that can be taken to ensure that having a gun at home does not endanger anyone in your household. And second, I have asked a number of rabbanim whether hashkafically it’s a bad thing. Every one of them said unequivocally that owning a gun purely for safety purposes is nothing more than hishtadlus.

There’s a choice to make for all of us law-abiding citizens. Should we just rely on the police department and hope that nothing really bad happens before they show up, or take matters into our own hands if we can? Today’s story, noted above, should answer the question.

When used properly, a gun is a commonsense solution to certain dangers inherent to modern society. Take advantage and keep yourself and your family safe.

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  1. You bring up a very valid point. I have a different problems with a gun:
    1: Most people in the above scenario just panic and can do dangerous things like mistakenly shoot, or someone can get caught in the crossfire. Most bullets can penetrate indoor walls, so unless someone has been under vigorous training in the above situation, they are not likely to respond in that fashion.
    2: One can very quickly escalate a situation where as if the intruder has a gun he may use it if attacked, whereas in other situations he might use it just to scare and not actually discharge the weapon.

    • Regarding point #1 – there’s a difference between handguns and rifles. rifle rounds are much more likely to penetrate walls than handguns, and are therefore not suitable as home defense weapons.

  2. Definitely an interesting conversation.
    One cannot do Justice here in a comment but suffice it to say there would be many topics that must be covered.

    1) What is the statistical probability of needing a gun? vs the cons of having one. Maybe it is affected by local and other variables…

    2) One must understand the “cause and effect” of the world from a Torah Perspective. (If she did NOTR have experience with a gun, would Hashem have sent such a challenge her way? This can either be a good question, or a foolish one, do we see how there isn’t enough room for this?)

  3. 1. Which Rabbanim have you asked?
    2. If the intruder didn’t have a weapon, a weapon was now introduced to the potential invasion. She’s lucky he didn’t fight back and God forbid get hurt.

  4. I asked a friend of mine why he isn’t armed? He told me “because it costs an arm and a leg.”
    I said, “Are firearms really THAT expensive?”
    He said, “No, but sometimes they can cost people an arm and a leg.”
    I walked away confused.

  5. That is why if you legally own a gun and one one comes into your home to cause harm first shoot a shot to warn them off and if they don’t listen shoot at them and legally you will be safe.

  6. It’s a good idea to Arm Ourselves; as a result there would be 90% less burglaries , thefts and anti Semitic incidents against us & in the surrounding towns we would be davening in big beautiful shuls , not in basements or garages. 100 years ago the Jewish Mafia (organized crime) was very big in the US, as a result thousands of beautiful shuls were built all over of which some are landmarks today, too bad they didn’t go around pointing guns on employers which required yiddin to work on shabbos.
    In this weeks parisha: if Chushim son of Dunn would be around the heads would roll of all those that tsheppuh us.
    But! Not Everyone could grab a gun and protect themselves; Poorly trained persons using guns could lead to terrible unthinkable tragedies outweighing self protection. Households with guns must be very well trained and experienced in using them. It’s a good idea to organize shooting practice and gun training programs to protect ourselves.

  7. It seems like a very far-fetched hishtadlus to me. I would only need a gun if my level of bitachon is that, if someone does break in and do something bad, I would find myself saying “if only I had had a gun…” Since I don’t see myself saying that, it’s too much hishtadlus for me. (I don’t recall a source but this is based on a sefer on bitachon that your level of hishtadlus can be determined by whether you’d regret the past if it doesn’t work out.) If someone locked their doors (and has an alarm if they own valuables) and an intruder broke in, they can feel comfortable saying they did their part and it was meant to happen.

  8. As a matter of public safety, more guns in people’s hands means more people killed.
    If every thief knows that the homeowner is likely to be armed, he will shoot first. Now they have nothing to be scared of, and they are less likely to risk a murder conviction.

    Even cops with guns is not all that smart. Now, every interaction between a citizen and a police officer is potentially fatal, making things more dangerous. Now, every criminal NEEDS to be armed, something that is not true when cops aren’t routinely armed.

    • Nowadays, the utter disregard for human life in general is enough to upset your reasoning. Above that, someone willing to break into your home has demonstrated a very high likelihood that he is willing to kill the inhabitants if they interfere. There are almost daily news accounts, even locally, of criminals breaking in armed and many who attempt to kill or do kill homeowners or family members.

      The risk of being killed in a forced entry into your home is a great enough threat to warrant being prepared to meet that threat.

      The comments about disarming the police is just off the charts unreasonable. Unless the whole society was deprived of all means of inflicting death or seriously bodily harm, police officers must always be ready to protect themselves and the public from such dangers.

  9. The amount of training needed to keep a gun safely in your home has been overlooked in this article. Same with range time, and the related expenses necessary for an individual to develop a mastery of the weapon which can take years.

  10. To all the people who are worried about guns and violence and want to try to deal with these situations “peacefully” dont forget that if you are not capable of violence you are not peaceful you are merely harmless and harmless people get taken advantage of. Yes you need training and yes there are dangers but when it comes to your personal and family’s safety you should be prepared for anything.

  11. I bought two of my sons (one in North Jersey and the other in the Rockaways) AR-15 style rifles (a Smith&Wesson and a Ruger, only because these brands were in-stock at the time) AND 12-gauge shotguns (a Churchill and a Dickinson). Both boys have trained at reputable shooting ranges and are ready to defend their families, not so much from burglars as from BLM and Antifa rioters, if/when they come calling. And you know very well that Jewish neighborhoods will be among the primary targets when these anti-Semitic thugs once again take to the streets on hot summer nights. Let Krystalnacht and the Warsaw ghetto uprising never be forgotten. Don’t be naive…BE PREPARED YIDDEN!

      • Well Mr. Midnight, none of the three of us believe that either time nor money was wasted…but I guess we should bow to your superior opinion since you impressively have “statistics” on your side — though I can’t imagine what statistics you have in mind. Please refer me to the study that demonstrates the statistical percentage of gun owners who have “wasted their money and time”? Oh, you made that up! Perhaps then, one should consider that hubris is making up “statistics” that cannot possibly exist, And finally, we stand proudly by our middos which extend to protecting both our families and Klal Yisrael in general, thank you kindly.

  12. Just wanted to correct the guy who said that a handgun won’t penetrate through the walls of a room.

    That is false. Most walls are just sheetrock and a 9mm or even a 22 will penetrate. That is one of the reasons most people consider a shotgun to be the best home defense weapon as the shotgun pellets are least likely to cause damage to those in another room.

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