As you age, being able to escape or defend yourself from a life-threatening attack can become more difficult. Older adults may begin to increase safety measures at their homes with better locks, security systems, watchdogs, and firearms. Seniors are also using concealed carry permits to protect themselves while they are away from home.
Seniors proportionally own more guns than their younger counterparts. A Pew Research study revealed that the largest age group of gun owners was 65 and older. Recreation, collection and hunting were all cited as reasons for ownership. However, the most substantial reason for possessing a firearm was personal protection.
Older adults are at a disadvantage physically when it comes to a violent attack and may not be able to evade or overpower their perpetrator. However, there are safety considerations that seniors need to take.
Like we said in a previous blog on guns and self-defense, we aren't legal experts, and our advice isn't law. Consult with a legal expert if you have further questions about the legal ramifications of using a firearm.
Are Senior Citizens More Vulnerable to Violent Attacks?
Research has gone back-and-forth on how susceptible older adults are to violent crime. As a whole, seniors, or those who are 65 plus, are less likely to be involved in a life-threatening attack than younger populations. However, this doesn't make our elders less vulnerable; it lessens the likelihood of an attack. Seniors still have physical limitations that can make it more difficult to avoid an altercation.
The ability to defend yourself with a firearm is still important, even if you never have to use it. In addition to owning a gun, it’s great to have a network of people (family and friends) you can call if you suspect trouble or think you might need help.
Considerations for Elderly American Gun Ownership
Age alone shouldn't keep anyone from enjoying their freedoms, including owning firearms. However, with any personal freedom, some factors have to be considered when deciding if you should participate in that freedom. Unlike younger gun owners, seniors should examine two key considerations when using a firearm for self-defense: physical ability and mental sharpness.
Physical ability means your ability to handle and use a firearm. For many older adults, age diminishes their dexterity and strength, making it more challenging to hold a gun safely. A handgun may be the best home defense gun for the elderly, as they are smaller and more comfortable to have ready in case of an emergency.
Poor eyesight is also a concern for older gun owners. If you're unable to see your target well enough to hit it consistently, you can't protect yourself in a dire situation.
Mental sharpness is something that begins to waver as you get older. Some seniors stay sharp late into their years and don't see any signs of decline. However, research shows cognitive impairment in many older adults due to several factors, including disease and how your brain changes as you age. Dementia and Alzheimer's disease are prevalent in the elderly population. Along with confusion and forgetfulness, these diseases cause aggressive behavior.
It's crucial to be mentally sharp when you have access to a firearm in your home. If your loved one begins to show signs of confusion or forgetfulness, talk with a medical professional about the symptoms of these diseases. Then, you can have a conversation with your friend or family member about alternate methods of protection.
Firearm Safety Tips for Seniors
If you decide to use a gun for self-defense, every gun expert will say you need to be prepared to use it. A United States Concealed Carry Association article lays out the situation where a firearm is necessary. The author ends by saying if a life or death situation occurs; hopefully, you have time to see the threat coming so that you can take measures before using your firearm. Lethal force should always be your last resort.
- Take a firearm safety course. Safety courses are crucial for gun owners of all ages. If you are new to handling firearms, this should be a priority. There you can learn the principles of firearm safety, proper shooting mechanics, and maintenance tips.
- Practice, practice, practice! If you are a new gun owner or have owned them for decades, practice handling and using firearms will help prevent misfires and other accidents. Spend time at a shooting range or try dry fire training in your home to ensure that you are ready to defend yourself. Having a firearm does no good if the user hasn't taken the time to train.
- Store your gun in an accessible but secure location. The idea of safe but convenient storage may seem like an oxymoron when you first consider it. However, there are plenty of storage options that will make it easier than ever to keep your weapon safe but ready to use. Concealment furniture is a great way to store your firearms.
At Liberty Home Concealment, we want you to have peace of mind in protecting yourself and your firearms. To securely store your handguns and rifles, browse our line of concealment furniture and wall decor. For more information, visit our contact page.