By J. Coyden Palmer
According to the 2017 study, “America’s Complex Relationship with Guns,” by the Pew Research Center, two-thirds of American gun owners own more than one gun. The question by some in the public is why do legal gun owners need more than one gun? The answer to that question varies but it starts with how you view a gun. If a gun is viewed merely as a tool, just like a carpenter carries various hammers or screwdrivers for different purposes, then perhaps more people can understand why most legal gun owners have more than one firearm.

If you need a more practical example, take a look at the case of Marcus Weldon. Weldon, who was labeled as the “Santa Claus Shooter” by the media after he was involved in a shooting after leaving a work event where he was dressed as Santa Claus, was acquitted of six felonies that were levied against him when he shot two people during a self-defense encounter in Detroit back in 2014. Even though he was found not guilty by a jury of his peers on all charges, prosecutors in the case have refused to return Weldon his gun, even though he is legally allowed to have one.

“I think they are just sore losers,” said Weldon, author of “The Santa Shooter: Guilty Until Proven Innocent,” who has since purchased another firearm and to this day continues to be an advocate of the 2nd Amendment. “I think they were mad they lost the case so this is their way of getting back at me. I’ve moved on from it,” he said.


Six years after he successfully defended himself with a legal firearm from two attackers, Marcus Weldon is still waiting for Michigan authorities to return his weapon to him.

In Weldon’s case, he could have been left completely defenseless if he kept waiting for Michigan authorities to return his gun. Legal gun owners should know that if they are involved in a situation where they use or present their weapon in a self-defense encounter, they may not get that weapon back as the investigation gets going or even after it concludes, says Attorney Terry Johnson of Firearms Legal Protection, who helped Weldon get his license to carry back after his acquittal in Michigan.

“Just consider that weapon gone and buy you a new one,” he advises. “I have a buddy who was a cop that was involved in a justified shooting nearly 20 years ago. He has since retired and they still never gave him his weapon back, so go figure.”

Another practical reason could be your primary gun is in need of repair. Guns, like cars, have moving parts that often need to be replaced. Giving your gun to a gunsmith could take a few days or a few weeks. That’s a long time to be without protection, according to journalist Eve Flanigan, who writes for USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine.

Environmental logistics also are a factor. Many people prefer carrying a sub-compact handgun for self-defense when they are out in public. The smaller sized arm is lighter and easier to conceal. Whereas, a full-sized handgun, may be a preferred choice for home defense. Full sized carry arms tend to have a longer barrel for more firepower and generally hold more rounds, up to 19. A person going out for a jog may prefer carrying their sub-compact for this reason, even though there is a more recent trend of people carrying their full-sized gun as manufacturers make the weapons slimmer and lighter, thus making them easier to carry even when doing more physical activities like biking.

Another argument for a second gun is if the gun is used as both a home defense weapon and a concealed carry weapon, the gun cannot be in two places at once. This might be fine for a person who lives alone, but in a family situation, if one person takes the gun with them on a trip to the grocery store, those left in the house will have no means to defend themselves if there is an attack on the residence.

There are also those who believe you should carry more than one firearm on your person. In the state of Ohio for example, if you are a CCW license holder, the law does not prohibit a person from carrying more than one firearm on their person. Some people take advantage of this law and will carry a primary weapon and a backup weapon, just as many police officers do. A second philosophy for this is that in the event a primary gun malfunctions or is damaged during a gun fight, the defender will have an extra option. Or if the defender themselves are injured.

“I know through study of both real and simulated gunfights, there is a strong probability of getting shot in the dominant hand or arm,” writes David Kenik, who has a dual passion for firearms and photography and for years has written about guns in various industry publications. “In fights, adversaries focus on the threat, and in gunfights, that’s the gun hand. With the eyes focused on the gun, the body, and thus, the aim point focuses there as well. Most shooters hold their gun right in front of, and a little high of their center of mass, which coincidentally, is the place where most trained people aim.”

Image by Oleg Volk. Used with permission.

Of course, one of the most obvious reasons people own more than one gun is because different guns have different purposes for use. Many people feel comfortable having a shotgun as their primary gun for home defense instead of a handgun, according to John Correia of Active Self Protection. The increased firepower of a shotgun and its wider window for accuracy compared to a handgun cartridge is a big benefit. However, the shotgun being used in a concealed carry situation is for the most part impractical, Correia says, and in many places in the United States, illegal. A handgun is a better use for the situation.

Whatever a person chooses to do, it is important that they know the state, county and municipal laws in their area before making a decision, says Atty. Johnson. Not knowing the law can land a person in prison and makes you vulnerable to being financially ruined, Johnson said.

This story originally appeared at Reprinted with permission.

About the author
J. Coyden Palmer has twenty-plus years of experience as a community-based reporter, investigative journalist, editor, podcast host and proud member of the National Association of Black Journalists, who is also available for freelance work.

5 thoughts on “Do you need a second gun?”
  1. While there are items of discussion regarding owning and/or carrying more that one firearm for self defense, there is a much simpler reason to own more than one gun. I own guns for self defense. I also own two 12 gauge shotguns for trapshooting and two 20 gauge shotguns for bird hunting. I own yet a different shotgun for deer hunting and a .44 magnum handgun for handgun deer season in Illinois. I own appropriate rifles for out of state hunting of bear, elk, and other western game. I own rifles for hunting coyotes, and a .22LR rifle for smaller game and target shooting. I also own a .22LR pistol for target shooting.

    To a non gun owner, that may seem like a lot of guns but each one has a specific purpose. I’m not going to head to Alaska to hunt Coastal Brown Bears with my Marlin 39M (.22LR caliber) but I have taken my Marlin 45/70 for that job. Just like hand tools, you need one specific to the job.

    1. Yeah, I tried that with my wife and she said no. Of course, the next time she wanted a purse, I said eh, you don’t need that. She is a little more tolerant of me buying a gun or two a year. That or I have to buy something sparkly.

  2. Like lays potato chips, you can’t (have) JUST one! After the first few, “need” is more “gotta have” for a variety of reasons, what is that the libs say? DIVERSITY!

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