Delicate topic, I agree. Especially in Maryland, where the majority of the population, at least the people I spoke to, are for stricter gun control and are more reluctant to own or use a firearm.
I do not want to make this into a political debate. I just want to share my personal thoughts as it pertains to self-defense. You may ignore my comments, feel free to send me opposing ideas, or hopefully see things through my point of view.
Check this link: http://newsok.com/blanchard-woman-shoots-kills-intruder/article/3636876. This is one of many such stories. And I am sharing this with you in hopes that you recognize that a handgun is just a tool. Nothing more, nothing less.
Reality is that criminals always have and always be able to acquire handguns. They buy them on the black market, or manufacture them themselves. No rules, laws, or legislation ever be able to change that. As law-abiding citizens we must realize that we may be confronted by armed assailants who want to kill us, and/or our loved ones. We must be able to level the playing ground.
I often times make the analogy to CPR. Most people took a CPR class. Not because they hoped to use it (in actually, we typically hope we never do get the opportunity to use these skills), but because it is the sensible thing to do. When the time comes for us to save the life of a loved one, that shouldn't be the moment we decide it would be a good idea to learn how!
Same with firearms. I hope you never have to use one. But if someone came into your house, armed and eager to kill you and your family, you should be ready. That should not be the moment you have a change of heart and choose to learn how.
Lastly, safety is paramount, even if you hate firearms and never intend on owning one, which I respect. Chances are someone you know owns one. Chances are that at some point throughout life you will come across one. If for no other reason than to be safe when handling it and not inflict damage to yourself or anyone else, taking a basic handgun course goes a long way.
So there you go. Just my two cents. As a former soldier and a trainer to many police officers, I see the value in these tools. You may disagree, and that is fine. But don't be oblivious thinking it will never happen to you. Be proactive and learn the safe and proper way of handling a firearm, so the one time you'll need to use one you'll be prepared.
Tzviel 'BK' Blankchtein