Part of the original justification for the U.S. Constitutionís 2nd Amendment was that free people have not just a right, but an obligation, to take care of themselves. A free society cannot tolerate pro-active policing & reactive policing is, at best, inefficient.
And there in lies the obligation ... if we're to maintain any semblance of individual freedom we must accept primary responsibility for our personal safety
& not seek to place that burden on government
. If we fail in this respect (as we surely are) we invite the pro-active policing that we Americans tend to refer to as tyranny.
I would think that these principals would be a no-brainer while at sea or in any other area where civil authorities simply are not available.
Long range cruisers, however, deal routinely with very different societies & people. That sets up conflicting standards for the safety
of your own vessel & crew that just have to be dealt with on a case by case basis.
Let me add the following, 24 yrs of licensed conceal carry has taught me that the very presence of a responsibly borne firearm can mitigate or eliminate violence.
A very large part of this lies in the bearer of arms himself ... peacefully armed people typically go WAY out of their way to avoid trouble, they avoid known areas of risk & talk softly while carrying their big stick.
The second factor, of course, is that only a complete idiot will risk his very life over whatever foolish thing he's doing (robbery, home invasion, whatever) Those that don't respond favorably to the strong potential for lethal force are those that we, in my own opinion, can well do without.
For those that make the decision to go armed without prior firearms experience ...
1) Get training
& practice, practice, practice or don't do it at all.
2) If you anticipate using your weapon(s) while on board, practice from the (rocking) boat
. Find a place where you can run or otherwise elevate your vitals & learn to shoot while trying to gulp air down past the thumping heart in your throat. It's a helluva lot harder than it sounds like it would be & if you don't know how you won't hit the side of a barn from inside said barn when you really need to.
3) Remember that handguns are close range weapons that might get you to a long gun. A rifle or a shotgun, when available, is always a better choice than a handgun. Iím sure to get argument on this point & Iíll submit that tactics favoring any handgun are flawed, potentially lethal tactics.
4) Use a firearm that you can handle, something that fits your hand(s), arm length, etc ... a mouse gun that you shoot well is a far superior weapon to any cannon that you just can't handle. My favorite example of this is the flyweight Lady Smith .357 with "concealment" grips ... show me the woman that can shoot that weapon well & I'll show you the broad that can qualify as an NFL lineperson.
, be aware that women
have everything it takes to be superior shots, they typically have visual acuity far superior to men
, superior fine motor
control and surprising ferocity when threatened within a nest of loved ones. Do not underestimate this factor in security
6) If you don't KNOW that you can shoot to kill without hesitation, don't try to pretend that you will. A lack of resolve or the hope that a weapon will scare off an attack are the very factors behind guns
being taken from & turned on their owners, or simply shot while they stand there holding them. Further, any fantasies about shooting to disable are just that.
The bottom line is that most people live out their lives peacefully without ever encountering a lethal force situation. The thing to bear in mind though is that few that do end up faced with it expected it. Each of us has to decide for ourselves before hand how weíll handle it if/when it happens, and this is a very personal decision.
I personally think that those that never consider the possibility or make decisions about how to handle trouble are victims waiting to happen. Those that do apply forethought & preparation aren't being irrationally fearful, they're being realistic.