June 27, 2008

Scalia and women's rights: A handgun "is easier to use for those without the upper-body strength to lift and aim a long gun."

In District of Columbia v. Heller, yesterday's Second Amendment decision, Justice Scalia responded to the argument that "it is permissible to ban the possession of handguns so long as the possession of other firearms (i.e., long guns) is allowed":
It is enough to note, as we have observed, that the American people have considered the handgun to be the quintessential self-defense weapon. There are many reasons that a citizen may prefer a handgun for home defense: It is easier to store in a location that is readily accessible in an emergency; it cannot easily be redirected or wrestled away by an attacker; it is easier to use for those without the upper-body strength to lift and aim a long gun; it can be pointed at a burglar with one hand while the other hand dials the police. Whatever the reason, handguns are the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for self-defense in the home, and a complete prohibition of their use is invalid.
Should we read that boldface as a statement about women's rights? Scalia uses a gender-neutral expression — those without upper-body strength — but we know that on average, women have less upper-body strength than men. To say it's enough that you can have a long gun is to put a greater burden on women, is it not?

In fact, the argument about handguns and upper-body strength is explicitly a women's rights argument in at least one briefs. Read this amicus brief from 126 Women State Legislators and Academics (PDF):
The District would like to restrict women's choice of firearm to those it gauges most appropriate rather than to allow rational women the ability to decide whether a handgun is more suited to their needs. Petitioner's Brief cites two articles from firearms magazines in which a shotgun is mentioned as appropriate for home defense. Pet. Br. at 54-55. An assembled shotgun is certainly better than nothing and could provide deterrence benefits provided it is accessible to a woman. However, most women are best served by a handgun, lighter in weight, lighter in recoil, far less unwieldy for women with shorter arm spans, and far more easily carried around the home than a shotgun or rifle. Moreover, women who are holding a handgun are able to phone for assistance, while any type of long gun requires two hands to keep the firearm pointed at an assailant....

Women are at a severe disadvantage when confronting a likely stronger male assailant. In general, women simply do not have the upper body strength and testosterone-driven speed to effectively defend themselves without help. A firearm, particularly an easily manipulable handgun, equalizes this strength differential and thereby provides women the best chance they have of thwarting an attacker. Even more statistically likely, a firearm in the hands of a threatened woman offers the deterrence empty hands and an often unavailing 911 call do not.... Even in cases in which a 911 response would be effective, an attacker in control of the situation will not allow a woman to pick up the phone to make that call.

71 comments:

Sloanasaurus said...

This is all true. Moreover, if you needed women to own guns for purposes of forming up a militia, arming them with heavy rifles would also be ineffective.

Triangle Man said...

"Upper body strength" may be a stand in for gender, but isn't it also a reasonable substitute for potential to be a victim ? Aren't those with the greatest potential to be a victim in a physical conflict the same people who most need access to handguns to defend themselves?

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Wouldn't the elderly also generally suffer form low upper body strength?

Jeremy said...

Redneck-
Also young children?

former law student said...

Also young children?

Indeed, it's always fun to see entire families at the range. But probably guns should be stored out of reach of children, same as bleach, drano, liquor, the car keys, chain saws, etc.

We were dull children, and never played with my father's guns.

MadisonMan said...

it's always fun to see entire families at the range.

I'd prefer just one child with a parent. One-on-one time at a shooting range is much safer than zone defense.

downtownlad said...

Sorry - but the 2nd amendment ONLY applies to men. Not to women.

Original intent.

Bob said...

"God created man. Colonel Colt made them equal."

I suppose today the PC version would say humans instead of man.

rightwingprof said...

Wouldn't "human" be speciesist?

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Maybe he was referring to John McCain?

Beth said...

We were dull children, and never played with my father's guns.

There were no gun locks when I was a child, and my father never bothered with a gun cabinet. There was a shotgun under his bed and a handgun under his pillow, and another in his sock drawer.

There was also the certainty of swift and painful punishment if any of us so much as picked up any of those weapons in curiousity. We were allowed to hold them and use them only when shooting targets. My fear of my father's wrath far outweighed any curiosity I might have had about guns.

Trumpit said...

Since 99% of the violence and mayhem caused by criminals using firearms is done my males, gun ownership should ONLY be allowed by females. This important fact wasn't included in the 2nd Amendment for the simply fact that the U.S. Constitution is a racist, sexist document written by rich white men over 200 years ago.

m00se said...

You know, the good old "gun safety" arguement raises its head around now - with people talking about the horrible accidents that occur in households that have guns, etc.

I usually point out that the death rate for pool accidents far outweigh that for gun accidents, and they have fences, lifeguards, and paranoid parents watching them.

Oh well.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

gun ownership should ONLY be allowed by females

Women are too smart for guns. I like an inventive, violent female who uses other weapons and means of destruction.

I'll take a woman with a gasoline tank and a lighter, an axe, a sexy bottle of poison, a pair of scissors, their speeding Mercedes Benz, or a pointed heel from one of their fabulous pumps over some dumb guy with a handgun any day. Women are much more exciting and resourceful when it comes to kicking ass, and that's the way it should be.

P. Rich said...

The type of gun probably doesn't matter a great deal if the husband is asleep when she pulls the trigger. Sweet dreams, Pookie.

jprapp said...

Hyper-analysis on gratuitous dicta: upper body strength.

Jackie Chan has less than Arnold. Don Knotts, less than Mia Hamm.

Scalia’s dicta isn’t quite mythology-writing ala Hippocrates writing about warrior women who’ve had a breast removed to make room for bow and arrow, nor is his dicta meant to send us hustling to strap-on torque-meters in the gym just to find out whether we have more or less better pecs than Jackie Chan or Arnold, so we can run out to the gun store to amp up.

Beware of low-weak upper body strength as an excuse to load and point. Because if you really go Dirty Harry with your .44 magnum, you better have the damn-good upper body strength to handle the recoil. Or, get ready to die next: because you’ll only get one shot. And Scalia's dicta ain't gonna help when you can't handle the recoil.

So shop accordingly.

Too bad the Court didn’t adopt Souter’s balancing test: who knows if Smith and Wesson would be forced to follow alcohol distillers in adding warning labels on the barrels of the product –“Shoot responsibly. This .44 magnum should not be used by pregnant women, those with weak upper body strength, or limp wrists. Try a snub nose .38 instead.”

al said...

My oldest sister and her husband, both diehard gun control supporters for as long as I can remember, asked me about owning guns for self preservation earlier this year. Huge shock. Anyways my sister is a little unique as she lives with MS which has had some negative effect on her muscles so her upper body strength is nowhere near what it is for a normal woman. There is no way she could handle a shotgun with any degree of confidence so we're looking at a .380 or 9mm for her. If my father-in-laws wife was interested in a gun the choice would be similar as she has osteoporosis. She could never handle a shotgun. In a typical house a handgun would be easier to move with if one had to. Add a tactical light and you're in pretty good shape.

As for families at the range - what a great time. My family gets together with my sister-in-laws family at a public range in Indiana whenever we can and thousands of rounds get fired. A good time is had by all. And the only pain is from loading all the magazines.

Trumpit said...

I should qualify my statement that gun ownership should be the exclusive right of women. If a man is willing to be neutered, i.e. having his balls removed surgically, then I think it is probably alright to allow him to own a gun. Once his testicles are removed, his testosterone level will drop precipitously, rendering him more docile and less prone to misusing a gun or other dangerous weapon.

jprapp said...
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jprapp said...

For the paradigmatic neutered man - see Richard Burton in, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?” – and wonder why Burton pulled a rifle, not a handgun, on Taylor (a puny little handgun couldn’t have taken her out?)? – and wonder why Elizabeth Taylor didn’t need any damn gun – at all, baby?

“Yes, love .. whatever love wants.”

Eli Blake said...

This is pretty much the one and only issue where I tend to agree with the right. Although as a rural resident, I'd suggest that as much as anything else this seems to be much more of an urban/rural issue-- you'd never see anyone trying to ban guns in a small town-- they'd be in a minority of about one if they tried.

I do however have to take issue with Sloanasaurus:

Moreover, if you needed women to own guns for purposes of forming up a militia, arming them with heavy rifles would also be ineffective.

In Israel, for a long time they had female army units, mostly dedicated to interior defense when the army was fighting a war. In the 1967 six-day war, Israel went to war against Egypt, Jordan and Syria. The first main strike was in the south against the Egyptians. A Kibbutz in northern Israel, near the sea of Galilee was attacked by a Syrian division. The defense unit was composed of women, and they, along with a few old men, held off the attackers for a full day until a regular Israeli army unit arrived and drove the Syrians back.

I would agree that in a home-invasion scenario a handgun is the most sensible weapon for anyone (try maneuvering down the hall at night with a hunting rifle) and I would add yet another reason why they make sense: A bullet fired by a handgun won't penetrate as far as a bullet fired from a rifle. So if you shoot at your attacker and one or more of the shots misses, with a handgun it is more likely to remain lodged in your wall, but if you live in an urban area and fire a rifle it is likely to exit the wall and carry on into and through the next house, and maybe the next one. You are much more likely to kill someone who may be in a different house and have nothing at all to do with the situation if you use a rifle than if you use a handgun.

Pal2Pal said...

Shortly after my Dad died, the Chief of Police of our borough brought my Mother a handgun to keep next to her bed, along with a police whistle. When she moved to NYC, she had to give up the handgun, so she replaced it with a baseball bat with a couple of nails at the end and a big can of red pepper. Her battle plan was throw the pepper in the bad guy's eyes, whack 'em with the bat and blow the whistle with all her might.

In her car, she kept another can of red pepper and a 5-cell flashlight, which is also my choice, although at home I substitute a claw hammer for the bat/nails.

Pogo said...

Gun laws, especially against handguns, were specifically designed to make it impossible for blacks to own guns.

The origin of gun laws was often quite racist. Their perpetuation is sexist and to no small degree tilted against the disabled. And their effect is to principally disarm the weak against the strong, and the law-abiding instead of the criminals.

bill said...

Zachary Paul Sire said...
Maybe he was referring to John McCain?


Snorted, out loud. Well played.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I have a Remington 30.06 deer rifle with scope. A Winchester 22 rifle that belonged to my husband's grandmother (varmint gun). A Smith and Wesson snub nose .38 nice and portable but has a terrible kick. A 22 caliber cute little purse gun that I just leave in the bedroom and mostly have forgotten about. My husband has similar guns for hunting and protection. Protection for us mostly includes mountain lions or bobcats. Not so much people.

My gun of preference should someone try to break into my home ?? .....Mossberg 12 gauge pump action shotgun. Nothing like that ka-chunk sound of a shell being loaded into a shot gun for deterrence. Plus you don't have to be a very accurate shot to do some damage.

When my daughter was a little child, it was as Beth said. We taught respect for the power of guns and she was taught to use them and to never ever!! pick up a gun without adult supervision. A fun family outing would be to shoot skeet or clay pigeons at the gun club.

bearbee said...

Nothing like that ka-chunk sound.......

LOL

Yachira said...

Scalia's been reading the likes of Megan McArdle:

I'm hardly the first person to make this observation, but I don't know why it isn't noted more often: guns are the only weapon that equalizes strength between attacker and attacked. It's the only time when men's greater speed, strength, and longer reach make no difference; if you pull the trigger first, you win.

This is an enormous social advance. I am all for strengthening the social contract (and law enforcement) so that fewer men commit rape, assault, or robbery. But until human nature has improved so radically that grievous bodily harm has passed from living memory, I don't understand why more feminists don't push for widespread gun ownership.

Beth said...

Since everything that rises must converge, I propose that Obama take his campaign to Missouri and go shoot some muskrats for the cameras, if he wants to gain a little rural credibility.

I saw the story about the muskrats today and my heart ached for the poor people along that levee. We have a similar problem here with another rodent.

Nutria are large rodents that were imported from Brazil in the early 1900s and raised for their fur. They accidentally got set loose from their cages in 1941 after a hurricane and have been wreaking havoc on our levee system ever since. They're like rodent kudzu. For the skeptical among you, check this out for some history, and probably some myths.

Some locals might refer to them as "neutrals," but you'll just have to trust me on that. Ten years ago, there was a big uproar when deputies were filmed shooting them in the canals lining Jefferson Parish. Now they're pretty much on everyone's wanted dead or alive list.

Beth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ricpic said...

You think the nutria are bad? The sparrows have taken over (mobbed would be a better term) my bird feeder and driven away the chickadees, the titmouse(s) and a beautiful bluebird. Doity boids!

knoxwhirled said...

I don't understand why more feminists don't push for widespread gun ownership.

Because it's in direct opposition to the leftist position. I mean, I know you're not asking it, McArdle is, but this is an issue that really annoys me. It should be a no-brainer that feminists would support female gun education and ownership. It should fit right into the whole "take back the night" thing and the "stop being a doormat" attitude. But, alas.

Cedarford said...

DBQ - My gun of preference should someone try to break into my home ?? .....Mossberg 12 gauge pump action shotgun. Nothing like that ka-chunk sound of a shell being loaded into a shot gun for deterrence. Plus you don't have to be a very accurate shot to do some damage.

There is one case where a shotgun makes sense, and that is when you are in a room with a single entrance, or covering a staircase entrance and have at least 15 feet for the shot to spread.

Cops like to pass on the story of how shotguns are the best, the racking noise will deter anyone, along with BS stats that you are 46 times more likely to kill a family member with a firearm than a thug, and the safest thing is to have no guns, but:

1. Most cops would prefer if citizens were disarmed, failing that, they hope people only have shotguns because their body armor stops shotgun pellets and shotguns are not concealable if they have to do one of the dreaded "domestic disturbance" calls.

2. At close range, a pump shotgun is no better for self defense than a bolt action elephant gun with 3 or 4 shots in it. Same inhibited movement with a long barrel, no space for shot to spread past a 1-2 inch coverage area, time spent reloading after each shot.

(If you miss with your first shot - say as a door is kicked open and you shoot from nervousness, a thug with a semi-auto can fire off 4-5 rounds at you before you chamber another shell and reacquire your target.)

3. A shotgun in most homes, tends to be less accessible than a handgun. In a closet, unloaded with retrieval time once you know you have an intruder or robber threat in your home or business.

4. With both hands on a shotgun, intruder possiblt coming - it is harder to find a safe point where you lower the gun, fish out a cell phone or use the bedside stand one to call 9/11.

5. Cops and soldiers now tend to use pistols and short barrel auto submachine guns, rifles in urban combat. Videos of entry teams, wich could also be a homeowner or businessman - show that someone with a long-barreled weapon exposes themselves longer and with more vital body area exposed than someone with a pistol, a H&K auto submachine gun, or collapsed stock M-4 carbine.
Many people now believe because of significant body exposure to counterfire, delays in getting to a position to take a shot and reload time - a shotgun is only good for a static defense of a specific point.

**************
My preference for defense is call 9/11 if it is safe to do so - backup is priceless even if it is 20-25 minutes away. Then have ready and loaded whatever handgun, aside from the .25 cal and .380, you are comfortable with and confident you can shoot OK after firing range practice.

I have an 8-shot .22 magnum revolver that I happen to like more than a 9mm Ruger or a .45..More than enough firepower and enough gun in "outside the home situations". Hellaciously fast and accurate.

If time permits, I'd still pull out the shotgun backup if I have to cover a single point. Because my preference is if wife and guests are safe, there would be no heroics. We'd bunker down, wait for the cops, and let the thugs have the run of the house - and only shoot if he or "they" ignored warnings and tried to enter our "last refuge" space.

garage mahal said...

DBQ is quite correct, the sound of racking a shotgun alone should make someone shit themselves for anyone that doesn't have ice in their veins, and in event that didn't faze them and you have an intruder in the house at night and things happening fast, you need a street sweeper. Minimum #4 shot is what I would recommend if you have family in the house - #00 buckshot if you live alone. That's a potential of nine .33 caliber pellets greeting the perp. Drywall is cheap, and never trust your life with birdshot.

Revenant said...

Mossberg 12 gauge pump action shotgun. Nothing like that ka-chunk sound of a shell being loaded into a shot gun for deterrence. Plus you don't have to be a very accurate shot to do some damage.

Amen to that. I use the same thing myself. It also has the advantage of being short enough for indoor use -- and it *looks* evil. Any burglar who sees me holding it won't be thinking "that's probably just some hunting rifle he had lying around". He's going to be thinking "he bought that to kill burglars with". Which, ironically, means I'm less likely to actually *have* to kill one of them and throw myself on the mercy of the justice system.

I hadn't considered the problem of how to phone the police while holding one, though.

Revenant said...

If you miss with your first shot - say as a door is kicked open and you shoot from nervousness, a thug with a semi-auto can fire off 4-5 rounds at you before you chamber another shell and reacquire your target.

I don't know about you, but if I kicked in a door and was met with big muzzle flash and a deafening roar, my first thought would be "holy SHIT let me out of here", not "ah hah, I have time to fire back while he's chambering another shell".

Smilin' Jack said...

It seems to me the ideal weapon for home defense would be a sawed-off shotgun. Light, easy to maneuver, and no need to aim--just point. Since the SC based its decision on the right to self-defense and recognized that handguns are preferrable to long guns in this regard, I would think one could make a good case for overturning the bans on sawed-offs.

blake said...

I prefer to use my hands to kill people but nobody appreciates a craftsman.

Nothing like that ka-chunk sound of a shell being loaded into a shot gun for deterrence.

That's the sound my house alarm makes!

blake said...

More seriously, beth and dbq raise an interesting issue about parenting. Are kids today afraid of their father's wrath like they used to be?

Crimso said...

The only firearm I own is a 12 gauge Remington Model 11 that's been in the family for over 60 years. The same design as the Browning Auto-5. That's five shots (but not duck hunting!!!), autoloading (and yes, jamming can be a problem). In the extremely unlikely event that I end up in a gunfight with someone in my house, I would much rather have my shotgun than a handgun. It is a devastating close-quarters weapon. It was particularly prized as a trench warfare weapon in WWI. BTW, Remington was kind enough to send me a photocopy of the original manual free of charge (I think they quit manufacturing the Model 11 in 1946).

Dust Bunny Queen said...

It seems to me the ideal weapon for home defense would be a sawed-off shotgun. Light, easy to maneuver, and no need to aim--just point

Well, I didn't want to say because it is illegal.....BUT....[cough cough]if my Mossberg 12 gauge WAS sawed of with a pistol grip and had the plug removed so I could put more shells into it.....not that I would EVER do such a thing....it would make a great home defense weapon.

Fortunately I have never had to use such a hypothetical weapon inside a house. My remodeling bill would be huge.

Blake. No I don't think so (kids being afraid of Dad's wrath) because we have as a society emasculated the Father figure. We have also phased out the kind of deterrents to being a bad kid, such as existed when I was young and just lecture and negotiate our children to death.

TMink said...

Eli Blake wrote: "This is pretty much the one and only issue where I tend to agree with the right."

Maybe we just both agree where the Constitution is concerned.

Trey

moonrage said...

70% of all violent crimes are targeted at men. Guns are the single most efficient equalizer between victim and criminal. Gun-control is by definition anti-male and a categorical example of institutionalized sexism against men.

huskrdew said...

"Jackie Chan has less than Arnold. Don Knotts, less than Mia Hamm."

Not a fair comparison. Don Knotts is dead.

Flight-ER-Doc said...

A shotgun isn't the ideal weapon in a close fight.

There is no ideal weapon. Shotguns and handguns both have advantages and disadvantages.

Having said that, while I hope I never need to use it, my handgun is to allow me to fight to where I keep my long guns - and I keep both a tactical shotgun and tactical rifle handy.

As far as penetration or lack thereof with shotgun pellets, vs. handgun/rifle bullets, refer to these demonstrations:

rifle/handgun:
http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot1.htm

Shotgun:
http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot3.htm

Flight-ER-Doc said...

Oh, and a .22?

If you were to shoot a criminal with a .22, you better be able to shoot him in the eye (and brain), otherwise there is a good chance you will simply make him angry.

Yes, a .22 can kill everything that walks, swims, slithers or crawls, but it won't do it reliably or quickly.

Revenant said...

Thanks for the URLs, Doc. Very educational. :)

RightWingNutter said...

Per DBQ "Nothing like that ka-chunk sound"

I remember the Remington model 870 12 gauge pump action I occasionally used while in the Marines. I'm not small, and it would push me around when fired from the shoulder or hip. However, if one held down the trigger while racking the slide, it would fire as the slide went forward. So while reacquiring the target you would also be reloading. The practical result for inside a house range shooting would be about 1 round a second.

Dave said...

flight-er doc, thanks for the links, but I might disagree with one thing there. It says the 'ka-chunk' (my old Model 11 sounds more like *klaat-chaaaack*) didn't cause anyone to lose control of their bowels (or some such). Sure. I went hunting with guys a lot when I was younger, and when you're in the open, expecting shots and re-loading, it's not scary at all.

OTOH, one might consider what effect the same sound has, in the dark, in an unfamiliar building, coming from a quite possibly (probably?) hostile homeowner intent on doing one great bodily harm.

I would guess that, in this case, context is more important than the sound.

All the rest is very interesting and useful, though.

Wacky Hermit said...

Kids these days can't be made to feel their father's (or mother's) wrath thanks to CPS and all their lovely efforts, but if you're smart enough you'll figure out some other way to manipulate them. My kids, for example, can be persuaded not to do something if I tell them that only somebody very stupid would do that. They may not like spankings, but they're desperately afraid of being perceived as stupid.

blake said...

It's sort of age-dependent, I think.

Sometimes I think fear of a parent is the only thing that can overwhelm a two-year-old's will, which is one of the most powerful forces in the world. Heh.

As they get older, it's easier to build affinity so that the fear is more based in not wanting to disappoint you. Respect, I think they used to call that.

Peter said...

Any gun will work on the burglar who only intends to steal. Trouble is, those aren't the bad guys we fear.

There are those others. The dread KLAK-CHUNK! of the pump shotgun can bring a hail of bullets if the bad guy has extra-evil intent. Do not bet your life or, worse, the lives of your family, on a scarey noise. After all, normal people do not invade occupied homes.

I have a shotgun and a pistol cartridge carbine because I live in the country. Those guns are most useful for coyotes or rabidy skunks and suchlike. It is kind of awkward to answer a nighttime knock on the door with a long gun. A handgun can go behind the back.

Michael said...

Revenant: I hadn't considered the problem of how to phone the police while holding one, though.

Bluetooth head set?

Daryl said...

I disagree with your reading of Scalia's words.

I don't have shit for upper body strength, but that doesn't mean I don't have a right to defend myself (in the 2nd Amendment, and at common law).

A man doesn't have to go to the gym and train in kung fu/jujitsu/krav maga/judo/etc. for 20 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, in order to have a right to defend himself.

Just like women don't have to primp in front of the mirror for 1 hour every morning in order to have a right to free speech. It helps, if you want people to take you seriously, but Constitutional rights belong everyone.

re: self-defense for persons with MS: if you have very low upper-body strength, your best bet is a revolver. Combat is inherently stressful. Stovepipe jams are very likely if you're using a weapon that you're just barely strong enough to fire without stovepiping when you're at the range.

re: sawed-off shotguns: You do still need to aim. At very close range, your pellets are only going to spread out 2-3" or so. It's very easy to miss with that, even if it is slightly wider than with a full-length barrel. Unless you're using hand grenades, you can't ignore the importance of shot placement.

bearbee said...

How about those without lower-body strength to run and hide?

Ann Althouse said...

How to phone the police while holding a shotgun: Point the shotgun at the criminal and make him do it.

Ann Althouse said...

Then, the police will have his statement too.

Ann Althouse said...

By the way, I'm certainly not saying that only women lack upper body strength or that all women have less upper body strength than most men. I'm just saying that there is a strong correlation: on average, women have less upper body strength. Therefore, concern about the handgun ban's burden on persons with less upper body strength is concern about women. It may also include concern about the aged and the disabled.

Flight-ER-Doc said...

Bearbee, aside from the question of "why should I have to run and hide in my house"?, the issue becomes one of ability. Second floor bedroom? Old and not flexible to get through a window?

And why should any deference be given, at all, to a sociopath who breaks into anothers home? They have already demonstrated that they are unwilling to abide by social convention and the law....they should be declared 'outlaw' in the classical sense of the term.

Were that to happen, the world would become a much more polite place, with far, FAR less crime.

Flight-ER-Doc said...

Professor Althouse: I'll defer to your legal judgement, but I think that I'd rather have the police first notified by ME, the homeowner, so the initial approach they use is geared toward my protection.

Giving the bad guy the phone allows him to make any sort of statement, including "some crazy woman is pointing a gun at me!". Yes, the bad guy may be in that "crazy woman's" house, but they will be expecting one thing and seeing another - bad news.

Flight-ER-Doc said...

Dave: I suspect the incontinence is more expected in the bad guys than people who are righteous of spirit and true in heart.

Flight-ER-Doc said...

For people with little upper body strength, with poor motor skills, loss of fine muscle control, or an inability to practice regularly (and I don't mean a half a box of ammo once a year or two), a revolver would probably be the best choice. A relatively short barrel, 2-4", .357 (to allow .38's for practice) will do an adequate job at very short ranges. As long as you don't expect to need to reload, they're fine. And with practice, a revolver can be reloaded about as fast as a self-loading pistol can.

Dust Bunny Queen said...
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Dust Bunny Queen said...
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Dust Bunny Queen said...

3rd time is the charm.

Unbelievable but true story from a friends son. The paper doesn't mention that Don was holding a 357 magnum on the guy to keep him at arms length.

More time passed. Burnette called 911 again, and was told that there was a police cruiser about half a block away, but that it had gotten a flat tire.

The dispatcher suggested that Burnette go down the street and get the cops himself.


Don had his wife hold the gun on the guy while he went out into the night to find the cops.

Because the intruder hadn't stolen anything (he didn't have a chance yet) he was cited a misdemeanor and let go even though he had broken down their door to get in.

Update: Homeless guy disappears and never shows up to court...big surprise. Don buys another gun, better security door and new locks.

Quixotic said...

This is a nit-pick, because I agree in the main with both Scalia and the brief cited by Althouse.

But I'm not sure how scientific the brief's reference was to "testosterone-driven speed." Men can run faster than women, but is that primarily a function of testosterone? And is men's greater speed generally primarily function of testosterone? Any med student's or scientists feel free to reply.

In any case, my impression is that if it were only matter of speed - and not upper-body strength and reach - women would not be at a significant disadvantage in handling a long gun. Men's advantage in speed is most pronounced at one tail of the bell curve - in male and female athletes. But you don't need to be an athlete to handle a long gun.

Revenant said...

How to phone the police while holding a shotgun: Point the shotgun at the criminal and make him do it.

And if he refuses, then what?

Flight-ER-Doc said...

Not a med student (any more) but testosterone and other anabolic steroids will increase muscle mass. What you do with it is up to you. So, it's a poor comparison.

And while it doesn't require a great deal of athletic ability to handle a long gun, they are rather awkward and can be heavy (I own one, specifically designed for precision target shooting, that weighs 28 lbs). Try holding that up for any length of time, without conditioning. My 'evil' .50 caliber weighs more but nobody really holds it while firing - it's fired from a rest.

Even the military M4/M16 weighs in around 11 lbs (with full magazine, and all the accessories added these days - sights and whatnot).

blake said...

By the way, I'm certainly not saying that only women lack upper body strength or that all women have less upper body strength than most men. I'm just saying that there is a strong correlation: on average, women have less upper body strength. Therefore, concern about the handgun ban's burden on persons with less upper body strength is concern about women. It may also include concern about the aged and the disabled.

Isn't it tedious that one has to spell this out?

Do we really have to get into the "Well, some women..." thing? Can't we just say that technology equalizes natural disadvantages?

I guess not.

save_the_rustbelt said...

DBQ is a girl after my own heart.

I would prefer a short barreled MP5 on a sling, but since that is illegal a hand gun backed up by a shotgun will do. Keep the Mag-lite handy also.

One tip:

As a friend of mine discovered the hard way, burglars are getting very savvy about cutting phone lines or taking a phone off of the hook (she wasn't injured, but was damned scared until the goons loaded her possession in her car and took off).

We recharge our cell phones at night in the bedroom, so that if the regular phones are cut off we can still call 911.

Lights and locks are still the best investment, and the newer model motion sensor lights are really nice when adjusted properly.

For my wife, a petite little lady, I have an old 9 shot High Standard .22, every other shell being bird shot, in case her aim is a little off. A load of bird shot in the Adam's Apple will slow down just about anyone.

Flight-ER-Doc said...

Rustbelt, I hate to tell you this but .22 'birdshot' will only slow someone down if you're pretty much in contact range with them. It can barely break (bare) skin at 4 or 5 feet distance.

If you want to use a .22, load it with solids (btw, .22 HP's don't really work either).

I keep a record of what calibers I've seen people shot with, and to paraphrase that line from some Tarantino movie, "If you shoot me with .22 birdshot, and I find out about it, I'll be very annoyed".

On that record I keep: I have seen people killed by a shot from a .22 (it almost happened to President Reagan). I've seen people walking around after a 12-gauge slug (a Brennecke, no less) through their chest and out the back side, taking an entire lung with it. I've also seen many cartridges inbetween.

While there is no cartridge that is guaranteed to stop somebody with a single, center of mass hit, there are trends.

And because of those trends, I carry a caliber that starts with a 4 (and ends with a 5)

My wife does too - we both carry combat tupperware (G30's, soon to switch to G30SF's). Her preferred handgun is a Colt SAA in .45 Colt, though.

Ralph said...

Then, the police will have his statement too.
Religious L&O watching tells me his statement would be thrown out in court because you have a gun on him. Also, if you end up shooting him (for whatever reason), do you want the police to know he was alive and under your control?