I had never fired a handgun before yesterday. After spending an hour at the shooting range I am now an expert on the subject. Guns are simple yet amazing machines. And, for most people, I think having a handgun in their home for protection is asisine.
Before you jump down my throat, let me say that I favor common sense gun control i.e. basically, if you're not a lunatic or a criminal you should be allowed to buy a gun. I don't have the details worked out. I think many interpretations of the 2nd Amendment are specious but I don't think guns should be banned and I don't favor taking the guns out of responsible owners' hands.
But why would you want one in your house? If you just like them and you like to shoot them, God bless you. Not my thing, but I can dig it. But if you have a gun to protect your family it means one thing for sure: you have imagined yourself face to face with a bad guy, and then you fantasize about killing him (or her) and it makes you feel good about yourself that you can kill another person to protect your family.
Assuming you don't live in a high crime area, you're preparing - being generous - for a once in a lifetime possibility. For that call to duty, you're willing to have a dangerous weapon in your house for your lifetime. A gun that is many times more likely to be used by a child, or in a domestic argument, or stolen from your home, or accidentally fired at an innocent person in the dark than it will be to shoot a bad guy.
The scenario has never adequately been explained to me. A crazed meth head breaks into your house and brandishes a gun in your bedroom. You, being a dutiful husband, open up your gunsafe, load a magazine, and waste the bad guy who has been standing there waiting for you to get it together.
"Honey, I hear something." you put your bathrobe on, get your gun and go out in the dark. You see an outline of a guy. What do you, just shoot him? You don't consider every possibility, you're just prepared to waste this guy? You need the element of surprise so you can't ask questions or turn the light on or - the armed intruder may shoot you.
Sadly, one of my daughters was molested a few years ago. Ten or fifteen guys, with what little sensitivity than can muster blurted out , "if it was me, I'd have killed that guy." No, you wouldn't. You're lying to yourself. First of all, it doesn't even fit any legal or moral or religious definition of justice to take a life for having done something even that shitty. Second of all, when I point out that they might be spending 20 years in prison - a fine way to protect your family - they respond with something like, "you don't know me." Okay, cowboy, you would have wasted the perp and I'm a big fag because I put him through the legal system. But it's the same mentality that thinks you won't hesitate to act when you're in the exact position with a bad guy in the house - shoot first, think later.
And let's talk about the shooting range while I'm calling out the enthusiasts. I had never been to a range before. I went with a dear friend. Do you know what was required of me to shoot a gun with live ammo in a room with other people with guns and live ammo? A signature. A fucking signature. When I go to the batting cage they at take my drivers' license. It was a little bit scary being around so many people shooting off so many guns in close proximity. When I got home I googled "Shooting range murder" and, not surprisingly, dozens of people get killed at shooting ranges. Before you tell me that everything is risky, I think they have a worse mortality rate than, say, Dairy Queen. What is the risk reward benefit? A signature, sheesh.
Save your point-by-point refutation, I'm not interested. I've read the same stats you have. If crime is down in high gun states it doesn't prove causality or even suggest it. I'm only addressing one point: your fantasy that in this impotent world, you and a gun will protect your family because you've announced to the world that you have the cojones to kill another person.