You and I both likely believe in the freedom of Americans to carry weapons for personal and family protection as governed by the US Bill of Rights. That is never the issue here on this blog – what we’re more concerned with is the use, storage, and safety of gun use.
Here is an interesting story about how something so surprisingly simple have has contributed to one of the great tragedies of our time. Few people have a major problem with the prevalence of gun-heavy video games. Kids play them all the time – first it was Deer Hunter, then James Bond, now things like Call of Duty make virtual shooting ever more realistic.
Well, there may actually be a deeper, darker side to these video games that we previously thought – only, surprisingly, it might not have much to do with the kids who so commonly play these games. It has come to light that the Norwegian man responsible for the recent bombing and shooting crime may have used Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 to help train for his subsequent shooting at a political youth camp. He wrote in his inane manifesto published online just before the attacks that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was “part of my training-simulation.” He wrote that Modern Warfare 2 was ideal for target practice and training. Australian Newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald reports that Australian lawmakers are taking this information to heart and are calling for an 18 and over age restriction on video games that are excessively violent
As with all gun owners, we need to strive to be safe and respectful of weapons. In no way, should Anders Behring Breivik be looked up to in any way. He is a disgusting, irresponsible, and deluded man who used guns and shooting as a failed excuse for political protest. While we must be careful with guns that we have around the house with the use of gun safes, it is equally important that we teach our children and friends that gun ownership comes with a profound responsibility to keep others out of harm by storing and using guns safely and only when necessary for protection or in tightly controlled circumstances.
We recently wrote about the NRA’s rules for Gun Safety here
, and now we have the NRA’s rules for safely storing a gun in your home and elsewhere. This is especially important to know about in preventing accidental gun violence – especially among minors and children.Take heed when reading this and remember to be careful. One step to make sure you take is to ensure that you have an adequate gun safe
in your home or office. There are simple and easy ways to avoid accidents – just make sure you take the necessary precautions so that something terrible doesn’t happen to you or your family.
When using or storing a gun, always follow these NRA rules:
- Know your target and what is beyond.
Be absolutely sure you have identified your target beyond any doubt. Equally important, be aware of the area beyond your target. This means observing your prospective area of fire before you shoot. Never fire in a direction in which there are people or any other potential for mishap. Think first. Shoot second.
- Know how to use the gun safely.
Before handling a gun, learn how it operates. Know its basic parts, how to safely open and close the action and remove any ammunition from the gun or magazine. Remember, a gun’s mechanical safety device is never foolproof. Nothing can ever replace safe gun handling.
- Be sure the gun is safe to operate.
Just like other tools, guns need regular maintenance to remain operable. Regular cleaning and proper storage are a part of the gun’s general upkeep. If there is any question concerning a gun’s ability to function, a knowledgeable gunsmith should look at it.
- Use only the correct ammunition for your gun.
Only BBs, pellets, cartridges or shells designed for a particular gun can be fired safely in that gun. Most guns have the ammunition type stamped on the barrel. Ammunition can be identified by information printed on the box and sometimes stamped on the cartridge. Do not shoot the gun unless you know you have the proper ammunition.
- Wear eye and ear protection as appropriate.
Guns are loud and the noise can cause hearing damage. They can also emit debris and hot gas that could cause eye injury. For these reasons, shooting glasses and hearing protectors should be worn by shooters and spectators.
- Never use alcohol or over-the-counter, prescription or other drugs before or while shooting.
Alcohol, as well as any other substance likely to impair normal mental or physical bodily functions, must not be used before or while handling or shooting guns.
- Store guns so they are not accessible to unauthorized persons.
Many factors must be considered when deciding where and how to store guns. A person’s particular situation will be a major part of the consideration. Dozens of gun storage devices, as well as locking devices that attach directly to the gun, are available. However, mechanical locking devices, like the mechanical safeties built into guns, can fail and should not be used as a substitute for safe gun handling and the observance of all gun safety rules.
- Be aware that certain types of guns and many shooting activities require additional safety precautions.
Regular cleaning is important in order for your gun to operate correctly and safely. Taking proper care of it will also maintain its value and extend its life. Your gun should be cleaned every time that it is used.
A gun brought out of prolonged storage should also be cleaned before shooting. Accumulated moisture and dirt, or solidified grease and oil, can prevent the gun from operating properly.
Before cleaning your gun, make absolutely sure that it is unloaded.The gun’s action should be open during the cleaning process. Also, be sure that no ammunition is present in the cleaning area
Gun ownership is a tricky subject to broach nowadays. There are those who have grown up with guns, used for hunting. There are those who are vehemently opposed to guns and gun ownership. There are those who have witnessed first hand the need for guns for personal protection. There are those who believe guns are never the answer. As with many of these “hot-button” issues, there is never a single side and never an easy answer.
The best part is, though, that we live in a country where every man or woman can decide for themselves. For the most part, American values allow for the liberty to act as you like so long as your actions don’t infringe upon those rights of another human being. It means you can run around your backyard naked. It means you can sing at the top of your lungs. It means you can spread your thoughts and opinions far and wide. It means you can own a gun if you want to. And it also means that you can be vehemently opposed to gun ownership.
The one right that America doesn’t give out freely is the right to harm others – neither physical, emotional, or libelous harm. In that vein, anyone who decides that they value gun ownership and they value the protection that guns afford their owner, has to be able to say with certainly that he or she will not harm another individual. Of course, there are areas of the law that allow for the harm of another – such as in self-protection and in the protection of property.
Some other reasons I’ve seen mentioned include: an interest in the mechanics of firearms, for historical reasons, as an investment, because of the right our forefathers conferred on us, for self-defense, for social reasons, for target shooting, for hunting, and because you have a family history of gun ownership. There are merits in each of these reasons.
What do you think? Do you own a gun? Why do you own a gun? What do you do to make sure your gun ownership doesn’t harm other people?
Most of you already know about the NRA – the National Rifle Association. It is an advocacy group that lobbies for the protection of the Second Amendment (like we wrote about here) and the safe gun ownership that goes along with that right. The NRA DOES NOT advocate for the unlawful killing or harm of people. as such, they have outlined a guide to safe gun ownership and use. What other rules or guidelines do you follow to make sure you are handling your gun in a safe way? What advice do you have for others who are new to gun owernship?
1. ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. This is the primary rule of gun safety. A safe direction means that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off it would not cause injury or damage. The key to this rule is to control where the muzzle or front end of the barrel is pointed at all times. Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending on different circumstances.
2. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. When holding a gun, rest your finger on the trigger guard or along the side of the gun. Until you are actually ready to fire, do not touch the trigger. 3. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use. Whenever you pick up a gun, immediately engage the safety device if possible, and, if the gun has a magazine, remove it before opening the action and looking into the chamber(s) which should be clear of ammunition. If you do not know how to open the action or inspect the chamber(s), leave the gun alone and get help from someone who does.
3. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
Whenever you pick up a gun, immediately engage the safety device if possible, and, if the gun has a magazine, remove it before opening the action and looking into the chamber(s) which should be clear of ammunition. If you do not know how to open the action or inspect the chamber(s), leave the gun alone and get help from someone who does.
What do you think? Do you always abide by these rules?
There is a lot of talk about gun safety. There are talking heads on both sides shouting rhetoric; lobbyists from the NRA and those who disagree with the Right to Bear arms entirely; politicians from both sides of the aisles angling for their political careers and voters wishes.
If nothing else, Gun Control debate is complex and nuanced. On one hand, EVERYONE wants to protect the safety of innocents and children. On the other hand, the United States is founded on the right of its citizens to Bear Arms (as we wrote about here). The issue isn’t really whether or not we, as Americans, should be able to own and operate a gun (that’s a given right since 1791), but rather how we can control the sale, storage, and use of guns in the marketplace for the safest use possible.
Gun control debates have taken center stage in light of recent school shootings. The Columbine High School Massacre brought gun control to the forefront of public knowledge in 1999 when two students killed 13 people (not including themselves) on a horrible rampage. The teens obtained the guns from a friend of theirs who purchases the guns from an unlicensed seller. The teens were too young to legally obtain any of the numerous the guns they used, so how did they get them? And what could have been done to prevent the massacre?
The United States has enacted several laws aimed at preventing just these illegal actions from happening. There is really no telling if these laws are working or not, but you can do your part to help curb this sort of senseless violence.
- Legally obtain guns – make sure that your gun dealer goes through all the proper channels when you try to buy a gun. Background checks, permits, waiting periods, the whole thing. If your dealer doesn’t, report them to the police. You could prevent the unlawful sale of a gun to a minor or to an unsafe individual.
- Gun locks – these are especially important to prevent young children from setting off a gun unintentionally.
- Gun safes – forget about sleeping with a loaded gun in your bedside table. There are far too many accidents that happen to people and families who don’t take great precautions with gun storage. The only good answer is a reputable gun safe. Gun safes ensure that your guns will be kept out of the hands of children and unauthorized adults
More information from here, and here.
With Independence Day just around the corner, it is an especially important time to reflect on what it means to be an American. As an American we have rights that no other citizens in the world have. We have the inalienable aright to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence. We have the right to vote for a democratically elected government. We have the right to free speech and public opinions. We have the right to our own privacy. I’m certainly not a Constitutional scholar but I do know we’re pretty lucky to live in this county and have the rights that we do.
These rights are all written down in just a few documents: the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I’m sure most of you are aware of the Bill of Rights and many of you know what the amendments confer (“I plead the Fifth” anyone? – see, even the movies know how lucky we are!). Today, in honor of the upcoming celebration of the 234th anniversary of the founding of the United States of American, I’d like to touch base on a vitally important right: the Second Amendment.
The Second Amendment states, “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This right confers the ability for American citizens to bear arms – or own guns and other weapons – to use for the protection of the free State and in other lawful defenses – such as the defense of your home. America is one of the few places where citizens have these rights.
Because of the Second Amendment, you can walk into a gun store and purchase weapons; you can keep these weapons in your own to use for your own protection; you can protect your family and your home from intruders; you can protect your family and your property from those who’d like to do harm to them. All of these are vitally important parts of being American.
While not all Americans agree with this right (there is a fair amount of controversy about gun ownership and particularly about gun safety laws), it is an integral part of what it means to be an American and should be celebrated. Americans have been enjoying this right since 1791 – when the newly formed States ratified the bill of rights. The Fourth of July is so much more than a day off work and a fun picnic with friends and family – it’s a time to remember why we’re proud to be Americans. So, what are you most proud of?