Guest Column: It’s a moral and ethical decision to own a firearm for self-defense

Owning a firearm for self-defense is not for everybody. I know, this statement may sound like a little weird coming from a gun person like myself, but it is a true reality that we should consider.

Before you buy or decide to own a gun with the purpose of self-defense, you should ask yourself the most important question: “If I had to, could I take a life? Even if it is the one of a criminal while I am trying to defend myself, my family, or any innocent person around me?”

If the answer is NO, in my humble opinion, you should not have a gun for self-defense, period. Save the money and buy a golf club or maybe just a 2-by-4, at least you would limit the damage you could indirectly create.

I am not judging you, and I respect your decision and honesty, but I really believe that you should not have a gun. Why? Simple. All you would do is probably arm a criminal with your gun. If you have not decided yet about your decision to use deadly force when you are legally and ethically forced to, you should realize that the extra second of hesitation may also cost you your life or the life of an innocent.

Remember, we as law-abiding citizens and responsible gun owners, we use a gun as a tool of last resort only when we’re in “immediate danger of death or serious bodily harm ...” I will articulate more in the next articles with examples, situations and more details about the use of deadly force according to our Arizona statutes.

As law-abiding citizens and responsible gun owners we are not looking for fights or confrontations, and we always try to avoid them. After all, the best fight is the one you can avoid, even when you are justified by the law. Sometimes you cannot avoid the inevitable and evil may try to force its way into your life whether you want it or not.

Try to do a mental exercise: Visualize scenarios where the use of deadly force is necessary as the deadly threat is immediate and cannot be avoided. Try to visualize how you would feel after the criminal aggressor is laying on the ground gasping for help. Any remorse? Sense of guilt? Would you have the inner strength to squeeze that trigger when a criminal is coming toward you armed with a weapon and you cannot avoid him?

We will talk in the next articles about when the use of deadly force is allowed under our Arizona laws, but meanwhile, I invite you to make up your mind now.

The decision to defend yourself with a firearm is a very serious matter that every responsible gun owner should consider. This is not a movie, or a video game. There is not a replay or restart button.

Taking a life, even if it is the one of criminal, even when you are trying to save a life and you are legally and morally justified, it is something not everyone can do.

For some religions it is something that cannot be condoned or allowed.

Some people may realize that they would probably prefer to risk their lives than defend themselves with the use of deadly force. As I have said before, I respect that decision, your honesty, and your beliefs.

But remember: As law-abiding citizens, our guns are not to kill, but to save innocent lives while stopping the threat.

Gianluca Zanna is a NRA Certified Handgun and Self-Defense Instructor, and a Chief Range Safety Officer. Zanna offers free gun safety classes; visit http://www.freegunsafety.com