Photo by SaguaroNPS, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons under CC 2.0.
Firearms can often save lives in situations when people find themselves faced with aggressive wild animals such as bears, mountain lions and bobcats.
Anti-gun politicians from metropolitan areas may not be conscious of such dangers faced by law-abiding gun owners in rural regions. Proposed gun-control laws could potentially impact citizens’ abilities to protect people and domestic animals from creatures of greater strength in dangerous encounters.
Sometimes wild animals aggressively encroach on properties. In many cases, these are natural predators hunting for food; in some cases, the animals show no fear of humans and cannot be driven away. A person caught in such a situation would be at a major disadvantage without a firearm, and possibly rendered defenseless against a stronger creature raiding property or attacking pets and livestock.
In another recent example, a man in Alaska shot a polar bear this month that tried to attack him outside his cabin. The polar bear had traveled far from its natural habitat and charged the man when he stepped outside one morning to refuel his generator. Fortunately, the man was alerted by his dog.
He shot the polar bear at pointblank range as it tried to chase him through the open doorway.
Big cats are also aggressive creatures that sometimes attack domestic animals and humans, creating an immediate need for self-defense. A Utah homeowner was compelled to fatally shoot a bobcat that invaded his backyard to protect his pets and those of his neighbors. The homeowner attempted to frighten the bobcat away after he discovered it chasing one of his pets in his backyard. However, the bobcat was undeterred and showed no fear of humans. Neighbors had attempted to scare the bobcat away by banging pots and pans, but noted that it “seemed to be focused on the neighbor’s animals in the backyard.” Authorities did not cite the homeowner for shooting the bobcat.
Imagine what could have happened differently if people confronted with these harrowing situations had not been allowed to own or carry a firearm. An unarmed person in an unequal struggle against a wild animal faces greater risks.
He had decided not to bring his firearm with him for a brief trip into the woods and was accosted by a mountain lion while walking back to his vehicle. Hearing rustling behind him, he discovered the predator stalking him from behind trees. The man backed away—following safety precautions for encounters with mountain lions—but the lion charged and clawed his leg after he tripped and fell. He fought the mountain lion off using his pocketknife and some rocks he found. In spite of this, the mountain lion continued to pursue him. Authorities tracked and killed the mountain lion since the creature had attacked a human. They observed that the mountain lion exhibited unusually aggressive behavior when they located it. The man stated that the dangerous encounter was made more difficult by the fact that he did not have a firearm with him for self-defense.
Politicians calling for gun control fail to consider the needs of American citizens in rural areas of the country, who may need to use firearms to defend themselves against wild animals when other options fail.