Originally Posted by El Sitherino
Point is, it's better to receive training in self-defense than to simply brandish a gun.
I disagree. Self-defense teaches exactly that, self defense. Assuming the person is only after you're valuables, it quickly raises the legal question: why did you attempt to use force to stop them, if you weren't threatened. Of sure there's an argument for "well they might become a threat" but unless you're President, the "pre-emptive strike" argument tends to fall flat.
Fact of the matter is, to incapacitate someone invading your home, even when trained in self-defense(assuming we're talking some sort of martial arts here), requires a high level of skill, or a strong desire to hurt the person. Either of which can put the defender in jail or under the microscope of the law to find out exactly why you went to such lengths. Since the law clearly fails to understand that a single kick is unlikely to stop an invader.
A gun on the other hand, succeeds in that area of "lack of training". People who are well-versed in guns will generally tend to not use them. They are aware that the threat of a gun is greater than it's use. However, for everyone else, you have the argument "he was in my home, I grabbed my gun, and shot." And it plays right into that lack of know-how. You are not well versed with it enough for people to be able to say "you should have known better!"
Sadly, this is because it's not so simple as to just kick the invader's butt and have them run away. In some places, the law works fine just like that. In other places, it's not so simple. Guns leave a wide variety of forensic evidence that allow investigators to find out if you actually shot Invader-Man in your home, or if you shot him outside and drug him in. Self-defense however, does not. There is no evidence left(assuming you don't beat him to a bloody pulp), that you actually were defending yourself inside your home.
I agree people should get self-defense training(in a non-military-lead manner), and that people should be required to annually or bi-annually submit to gun-use and gun-safety tests if they own one(or more)(though in the US that will raise 2nd Amdenment questions). But then, the people invading homes are people would would probably take these classes as well. There is no greater guarantee that knowing kung-fu would give you any advantage over an invader who also knows some form of martial arts. While guns can be acquired illegally, they are still expensive, even more so illegally, and they are an expense that many robbers do not take. As well, if the invader owns the gun legally, it can be easily traced. Where a person learned karate from cannot.
So, while I agree that people need to be trained to defend themselves better, I think that there is great value in "brandishing" a gun in self defense. Particularly within your own home. An invader may or may not be scared of any supposed "martial skill", but they can recognize a gun, and they know what it can do. Some guy in a funny pose threatening to "kick his ass" if he doesn't leave, that's a bluff people will readily call.