Most if not all who read this have firearms to protect their home and loved ones from violent criminal intruders.  But are they accessible?

The Clutter family had guns when their farmhouse was invaded by two vicious murderers…but not where any of the family members could reach them. They were brutally massacred.  The crime was memorialized in the book and movie “In Cold Blood.”

Jim Wilson is a genuine gun expert and a former high sheriff with many years of law enforcement experience. I know and greatly respect the man.  Harken to what he has to say here.


  1. Couldn’t agree more with the Sheriff. Having an airweight .38 in a pocket will do you more good than an AR-15 in the gun safe. Think of the potential confrontations you may have when getting the mail, taking out the trash, doing yard work, etc… I can think of times when this subject came up in conversation and the reply was “well, if something happens I’ll just grab my shotgun out of the closet, and find the shells, and…” Right.

  2. Condolences to Sheriff Wilson upon the murder of his friend. So many crimes are deterred if firearms owners are always ready to present overwhelming force against ruthless criminals. Pity the poor Canadians, who always have to keep their government-monitored handguns in a locked safe, and call ahead to the authorities when planning to transport. One unfortunate solution for our friends from the North is to have unregistered handguns stored illegally in secret places that are yet readily accessible. It might be wisest for them not to own a registered handgun at all, in order not to flag the attention of the authorities. We in the States must be vigilant to prevent the kind of de facto castration imposed in Draconian areas, where possibly well-meaning bean counters arbitrarily disarm the law-abiding folks in the moment, while enabling and encouraging the real criminals.

    • I don’t know about you, but an unregistered pistol is a pretty big piece of overhead for something I’ll most likely never use. And possession of which is a crime.

      Here in Michigan handguns need to be registered, but are readily available and as a “shall issue” state easy to carry.

      I’ve been a lawyer here for 45 years. If you’re going to follow this advice let me send you a business card- you’ll need it.

      • As the old saying goes, “It’s better to be tried by twelve than carried by six”. Even with the crazy legal situation nowadays, it’s still good advice. The important thing is to keep quiet and don’t advertise your intentions. Don’t boast on Facebook what you plan to do. Another wise saying is, “Loose lips sink ships”.

      • Walt,

        I respect your professional opinion. It’s so sad when people have to make a choice between being right and being legal.

        Here’s a mind game. Imagine you are pro-life, but you live in China, during their thirty-year period of “one child only.” China had, and still has, forced abortions. Now they are allowed two children. So, your wife gets pregnant with your second child. What do you do? I realize there was no choice. The authorities will abort that baby no matter how you try to hide from them. Sick, sick, sick.

        Obviously, the Chinese, and a lot of other nations, need to rebel against their corrupt governments. The problem is, look back at history. How many revolutions in history have been 1) successful, and 2) beneficial?

        The United States is truly blessed above and beyond anything that resembles the normal course of human events. We live in a beautiful bubble. If you live in the USA, have good health, and more money than you need, life is really good here. Too bad all the good things are slip-sliding away.

      • Attorney Walt, Sir, handguns are fairly available in Canada, but legal carry for private citizens is limited mostly to trappers, prospectors, and geologists. If you are a father with a wife and daughters at home, for example, and have thugs for neighbors, you might justify extraordinary measures in order to prepare to defend your womenfolk against assault. The price of a dependable handgun is surely worth paying, as might suffering a criminal charge against you be worth the intact survival of your family. If armed, you always have the “3 S” options. “Shoot, shovel, and shut up” just may seem a fair turnabout to oppressive regulation. And attorneys have sometimes been victimized, too.

      • I hope that was tongue in cheek, Steve, because “Shoot, shovel, shut up” would be a valid ticket to a Murder conviction.

      • Walt,

        I suppose if I lived in a country with worse gun laws than Canada, I would think of using weapons other than guns; spear guns, crossbows, short compound bows, swords, knives, hatchets, hammers, baseball or cricket bats.

        If I was rich, I would buy a defensive robot. Maybe laws have not been written to outlaw defensive robots yet.

      • Attorney Walt, Sir, in places like Canada, the best choice for the vulnerable is too often that of being tried by twelve or carried by six. The predatory killer criminals customarily make use of burying their victims in shallow graves, and bears then cooperate by digging up the corpses, often eliminating forensic evidence, You even are required a carry permit for long guns for “predator control,” and that only for “wilderness areas.” Thugs parade like roosters, but only until God or the outstanding RCMP get them.

  3. After reading this I started thinking that I do always have my carry weapon on me even in the house, the workshop or yard, and when I’m in the bed it is laying on top of, not in my nightstand within arm’s reach. However thinking about this just made me realize I may need a waterproof scabbard for the shower. I’ve had people ask me “do you really think you need to carry a gun here or there “. I always answer if I thought I actually needed a gun in a certain place then I just wouldn’t go there.

    • I have my 10mm Glock on top of the toilet water tank, covered by a towel when I take a shower. If you want to take your piece into the shower, get a plastic Tupperware type food container.

  4. Plus a good alarm dog, or two, or more, to slow up the bag guy(s). Think Brad Pitt’s pitbull in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”, or Halle Berry’s malinoises in John Wick 3.

  5. I came to that realization a while ago, reading accounts of local (Houston) home invasions and confrontations with crooks and crazies. Mr. Wilson’s lesson is a very good one.

  6. 100% If I have pants on, I carry. I can relate to those who may not feel comfortable with it on all the time. It help me to take some baby steps even before I acquired a licence. My first holster was not a good choice but I practiced at home/unloaded until it was routine. A better holster dialed in for comfort made it very comfortable as did my mindset and routine adaptations needed to keep it safe, secure and readily available. Today The most discomfort experience is when I do not have it on.
    Until you attain a durable comfort level remember what another great man once said “you carry because it’s comforting not necessarily comfortable” – Clint Smith

  7. Been reading Jim’s stuff for a long time. He is one of the good guys that you can learn a lot from. Thanks for having him in this format!!

  8. Having spent most of my life in Law Enforcement, I couldn’t agree more.
    My brother is one of those Sherrif Wilson spoke of. I hope he doesn’t end up
    the same way as the Sherrif’s friend but it’s a real possibility. He agrees in
    the principle but doesn’t carry it through with action. Never will understand
    that type of thinking.
    PS: An early Happy Birthday Mas. Pray God gives you many more.

  9. I always find a nugget in what Sheriff Wilson has to say. I read this particular article the other day and appreciate its wisdom. “I live in a safe neighborhood so don’t need to lock my doors” or “I don’t want to live in a place where I fell like I have to lock my doors” is an attitude with possible dire consequences.

  10. Mas,

    I already follow Sheriff Wilson’s advice. In the past couple of years in what’s known here as “The Quiet Corner” of eastern CT, there have been a few murders of unarmed individuals at their homes. Of course, the most infamous home invasion took place in Cheshire, CT on July 23, 2007. Recently, a man in East Hartford defended his home against two teenage home invaders that left his house by way of the M.E. I am armed on my property and in my home at all times. My firearm is locked and loaded in easy reach on my bedside table. The dogs sleep in our bedroom (in their own beds) and the alarm system is set when we turn in. Yet I am called a nut-job frightened of his own shadow by “Fudds” and “Butters” I know. My retort is that I am not frightened of everything, but I am prepared for anything. I am also always armed away from home except when on duty at the FD for the obvious reasons. I contend my holstered and concealed firearm harms no one, yet I am told by those same people that only criminals carry weapons all the time, especially concealed. There is just no reasoning with idiots and I try to not have these discussions any more.

  11. I was fortunate enough to take one of Kathy Jackson’s classes several years ago. I remember her telling us that the safest place for a firearm in a home with small children was on your person. Made sense to me. When I was first learning to carry, I did so at home, with an empty gun. As I became more confident and proficient I continued carrying at home without questioning why. As a ‘sweet lil old granny’ I’ll take all the elements of surprise and advance preparation I can to give myself the advantage.

  12. In 1967 when this movie came out my girlfriend and I wet to see it! I was 17 I’m 72 now and believed since then ya needed to be armed to protect yourself and your loved ones! After the movie we went for a burger and a coke and I remember like yesterday I told her what happened in that movie will never happen to me! Be vigilant brothers and sisters!

  13. As I read this and the referenced article, it gave me comfort knowing my .357 Magnum is less than 18″ from my right hand. There are handguns hidden but quickly accessible in every room of our house. Every room. And all of them are there to buy us time to get to the rifles if necessary. I often holster a weapon as well in the house.

  14. The movie In Cold Blood made a massive impact upon my life. I was in grade school when the TV version aired in the 70’s and my family watched it. Perry Smith pulled the trigger on all four of the Clutter Family members, but both perps went to the gallows to hang. The one God given break in the case was when the 2 officers in Clark Co. Nev. waited patiently behind Perry Smith and Richard H. and watched them for a bit. After Perry and Richard picked up their belongings from the Post Office then the officers made the stop I believe for fictitious plates. The boxes contained the rope, and gear that they used during the murders, and also Perry’s shoes that still had blood residue and left a distinct print. If it hadn’t been for this God given break in the case Perry and Richard have walked scot free. Someone once said that we should go back to public hangings, I don’t know if that would be a deterrent for most hoodlums’ but it might work.

    • Executions may not deter bad guys/gals/trans from doing evil things, but society never has to worry about those terminated by the justice system committing more crimes.

      To borrow and slightly alter a well used saying from the anti-gun people. “If it only saves just one life, we should execute all (murderous) criminals.

      • Tom606,

        I agree 100%. No one can defend our criminal legal system at this time, with its defunding the police, and releasing criminals back onto the streets. But, we have been way too compassionate to criminals for way too long. Tex Watson, who, using a knife, killed seven people for Charlie Manson, is still alive in a San Diego prison. While incarcerated, he went to college and seminary, got married, spawned four offspring, and got divorced.

        I could rant on and on, but I can’t change anything. Ultimately, we get the government we voted for. “You can’t soar with eagles when you work with turkeys.”

      • Roger, our prisons are packed with evil monsters who should have been executed immediately after their convictions. Take Edmund Kemper for example. This 6′ 9″ giant started by torturing and killing small animals and pets as a child, then murdered his grandparents by shooting them. As a young adult in California, he viciously raped and murdered several female college students, then dismembered and cannibalized them, and kept their severed heads for oral sex before burying them in his back yard. He even killed his mother, raped her body, cut off the woman’s head and used it for more kinky stuff, then threw darts at it. This despicable, or deplorable as Hillary would say, creature is now 73 and incarcerated in a California prison, costing taxpayers lots of money every year to prevent him from killing more people. I wouldn’t be surprised if governor Newsome pardoned Kemper or maybe George Gascone will release him for good behavior next week.

        There are probably dudes in the prison system who make Kemper look like a boy scout.

      • Thanks, Tom606,

        I have never heard of Edmund Kemper. As you pointed out above, if he had been executed after murdering his grandparents, the later murders would have never occurred. So, we look at America, and see all this great technology, and the great wealth we had, which is now only an illusion of wealth, yet we have a deplorable criminal justice system.

        Usually when we have a fascinating new invention, like the smart phone, it’s because a group of genii got together and solved a problem none of us mere mortals could solve. But, look at how Rudolph Giuliani solved the problem of crime in NYC in the 1990s. He kept the repeat offenders in prison. Any seven-year-old, not even a bright one, could have figured out that solution.

        What is the problem? As usual, the problem is the true believers of Communism ruining an otherwise great country. I like to point out that we are in the Golden Age of Technology, but every other field is in a Dark Age.

      • I strongly disagree with capital punishment. Too many mistakes have been made, that sent innocent people to their deaths. Poor people rarely get a solid defense when they are accused of crimes, and there are too many opportunities for corruption at so many levels in the system.

        I’d rather see 100 criminals freed, than one innocent person murdered by the state. That innocent person might be me.

  15. I home-carry and have for years. As I read this your most recent post over breakfast at my kitchen table, I did so with an M&P45 on my hip.

  16. A liberal friend of mine was asking why anyone needed to carry a gun on their person all the time. I sent her a copy of this article.

    When I asked her if she read it, and what her opinion was, she told me that the NRA was an evil organization, and she refused to read anything posted by them.

    Funny how an evil organization is one that pretty much limits its membership to firearms owners who have to pass background checks, and meet a basic standard of civilized behavior, while non-evil organizations embrace drug addicts, criminals, illegal aliens, and others who embrace things that undermine our society, and create division.

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