So, is a weapon advisable or not? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 32 Old 12-11-2001 Thread Starter
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So, is a weapon advisable or not?

I am sure this topic is hotly debated amongst cruisers, but in light of Peter Blake''s recent murder, I''ll throw this out. Is having one or more weapons aboard advisable when cruising?

If I could guarantee that all I would lose is some material wealth, I would say no. But I wonder about that scenario where the attackers are not intending to leave live witnesses to their crime.

Some concerns I see:

1. If you really need it and don''t have it, you could be in big trouble.

2. If you have a weapon, you had better be skilled in its care and use.

3. If you pull it out during an incident, you had better be prepared to use it.

4. Some places probably make it illegal to possess, so you either can''t go there, give up the weapon, or hide it and risk who knows what punishment if authorities find it.

5. As in Blake''s case, there might be more armed attackers than you could ever hope to handle, so if you bring out a weapon you might just be guaranteeing death or injury for your crew.

I await the many opinions. TIA.

Duane
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post #2 of 32 Old 12-11-2001
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So, is a weapon advisable or not?

The biggest risk is in the illegality of the weapon and the requirement of surrender upon entering a jurisdiction''s waters. At that point, if you stay legal, you ain''t got nothin''. Here in the Virgin Islands they''re trying to pass another gun bill that would make possession of an unlicensed weapon subject to some ungodly fine in the $50K range and something like a min. 10 years. They won''t swallow the notion that if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. Unfortunately, all the gun incidents down here are locals on locals for generally minor disputes, robberies, etc. Lots of people have illegal weapons - but many of them will never be bothered because they are either related to or worked for someone with the police or government. I think a couple three flare guns, spear guns (all of which must be surrendered in many ports), etc. might be a good idea. Bruce Van Sant speaks in his book of having a 9 mil on board. I''ve got a feeling that was long ago and far away. Personally, a pair of 3"mag Mossberg Mariners would be my selection. Wish I had one when the damn hammerhead ate our big wahoo sunday......
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post #3 of 32 Old 12-11-2001
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So, is a weapon advisable or not?

Ahoy, DuaneIsing, As a confirmed firearms person I have the same question on my mind . I know I''am legal in US waters and so long as I declare and surrender all weapons at the time of entry (I understand some even count ammo) in foreign ports I''d like to think I''d be alright? Of course my simplest advise in Mr. Blake''s case is a man has got to know his limitations. Pick up a gun and you have to really believe and understand that your life is the coin that is tossed up in the air. No property is worth the price. Big Red 56
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post #4 of 32 Old 12-12-2001 Thread Starter
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So, is a weapon advisable or not?

Thanks to all for the responses so far.

Even though I designed small and medium caliber cannon for the US DoD for 8 years, I have never yet owned a gun; I know that seems strange. I am a firm believer, however, in our right (in the U.S.A.) to own one. VIEXILE has it right when he says, "when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns."

The point about surrendering weapons upon arrival is troubling to me. I think I''m much more likely to need a defensive weapon at anchor somewhere than out at sea. I still have time to decide what I want to do (cruising is 3+ years off). I do know that my wife insists on an intruder alarm system.

As BigRed56 says, once you pick up that gun you''re gambling with your life (and maybe that of your crew, too.). I seem to be rambling now, but the thought that just popped into my head is the recent hijakings on 9-11. The conventional wisdom used to be: remain passive and all will be OK. I wonder how many people have had a final second of consciousness to regret not providing for their own protection.

I''m pretty sure there will be more posts on this. I look forward to your opinions.
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post #5 of 32 Old 12-12-2001
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So, is a weapon advisable or not?

My personal choice is not to carry a firearm. As a military member, I am weapons trained and prepared to enter a firefight. That said, being in a firefight would be your worst nightmare and being in a fiberglass boat offers NO cover.

There are many legal reasons not to have a firearm and statistically you are much more likely to have it used against you (by someone you know) or use it to kill an innocent person.

In the situation where you are confronted with an armed group, as Peter Blake was, making an agressive move might get you killed whereas you would have just been robbed.

In a firefight, I would want an assault rifle, sidearm, body armor and some cover (not to mention air power, C3I and SOF backup :O). To enter a firefight otherwise is just rolling the dice as the gentleman mentioned. Do you feel lucky?

For me, personally, I see too many reasons not to. I am not likely to win against a group of armed intruders and if I need to protect myself against one or two amateurs.. well... I am sure I can think of something ;o)


Just my $0.02

Respectfully
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post #6 of 32 Old 12-12-2001 Thread Starter
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So, is a weapon advisable or not?

So far we have some valid, logical arguments on both sides (I received some private email reponses too, mostly on the pro "armed" side).

I guess if fates allow, you could find yourself seriously regretting either choice. As John drake says, he sees too many reasons not to. It is apparent that there is no clear answer.
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post #7 of 32 Old 12-12-2001
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So, is a weapon advisable or not?

For any sailors interested in the subject of ''modern piracy'', there''s a weekly report on the subject on the Internet. The address is: www.iccwbo.org/ccs/imb_piracy/weekly_piracy_report.asp

Some of these guys take off when the crew shows signs of resistance. It''s probably based on the theory that if you''re too much trouble, they can find easier pickings. Some vessels which ''disappear'' are no doubt also unreported victims.

OER
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post #8 of 32 Old 12-12-2001
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So, is a weapon advisable or not?

My personal preference of having a scoped rifle, shotgun and auto pistol on board notwithstanding, the idea of a LOUD alarm system with a panic button appeals initially. Trouble is, are you going to piss your visitors off?
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post #9 of 32 Old 12-12-2001
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So, is a weapon advisable or not?

Virgin Islands senate just passed the new "Gun" bill. An unlicensed firearm arrest will cost you $50,000.00 mandatory AND a MINIMUM jail sentence of 25 years. Naturally, as with all Virgin Islands Laws, it will be applied selectively to those not politically or financially connected, but hey, that''s the islands, mon. And by the way, to respond to an earlier post, these ARE U.S. waters, as is Puerto Rico. I''ll bet w/in 12 miles of Massachusetts you could get in a world of hurt with an un (Mass) licensed firearm on board if the authorities wanted to step on you.
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post #10 of 32 Old 12-12-2001
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So, is a weapon advisable or not?

I agree with John Drake that coming to armed confrontation would be the worst possible scenario. However, where my wife and children are involved there is no question in my mind. On land I choose to carry a licensed revolver. This means ultimately that I am committed to taking another person''s life if it comes down to my family''s safety. Very hard decision and I hope I never have to put it to the test. When I am by myself I don''t carry.
A radio news report about a year ago stated that about 80% of the time that a victim produced a gun, their attackers fled. This certainly was not the case with Blake.
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