Does owning a gun change your behavior?

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Author's Note: Does owning a gun change your behavior?

In the fall of 2011 I was sitting on the couch watching TV when I thought I heard someone fall off of our roof. There was a loud bang right outside followed by a man screaming. It was a teen shooting my neighbor across the street in the leg during a botched robbery attempt.

As you'd expect, that incident shook up everyone on our block. Any time I came home after dark I was afraid for my safety, and I definitely thought about arming myself. The thing that stopped me from getting a gun was realizing that in a similar situation, I didn't think I'd be able to use it.

The bullet didn't cause any major damage to my neighbor's leg, and he was up and about again within a few weeks. As soon as he was on the mend, he did get a handgun to protect himself and his wife.

I've always gone back and forth on gun ownership. While I don't think that owning a gun is for me, I can see wanting to protect yourself. Between my neighbor's shooting and getting mugged on our street a few years before that, I definitely know what it's like to feel unsafe in your home and want to empower yourself somehow.

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  • Anderson, Jon Lee. "Guns and the Limits of Shame." The New Yorker. Dec. 16, 2012. (Feb. 25, 2013)
  • Bushman, Brad Ph.D. "The Tradeoffs of Gun Ownership." Psychology Today. Aug. 1, 2012. (Feb. 25, 2013)
  • Bushman, Brad Ph. D. "The Weapons Effect." Psychology Today. Jan. 18, 2013. (Feb. 25, 2013)
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  • NRA. "Gun Ownership Rises to All-Time High, Violent Crime Falls to 35-Year Low." NRA-ILA. Sept. 15, 2010. (Feb. 27, 2013),-less-crime-again.aspx?s=guns+in+home&st=&ps
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