With the whirlwind of a year 2020 has been, we have seen a number of records in firearm purchases throughout the year. There has been a tidal wave of new gun owners, most seeking to protect themselves and their families from the the threat of civil disorder due to heightened racial and political tensions as well as the COVID-19 pandemic causing record unemployment and food and supply shortages that could/may ultimately lead to people desperately looking to just survive.
This has ultimately left us with tons of newer gun owners with no basic understanding, no training in firearm safety, and no idea on what it takes to be a truly responsible firearms owner.
A prime example of this is with the most recent negligent discharge of a firearm owned by a new gun owner that left a Las Vegas 3 year-old boy dead...
As a refresher and for context: According to media reports the person responsible was new to owning a firearm, had no experience with firearms, had no training, and had only shot the firearm twice (towards the mountain). She hadn't even loaded the firearm herself, her boyfriend had loaded it for her.
At the time of the fatal negligent discharge, she stated she gave the firearm to her younger sister to look at. She then got it back in her possession, removed the magazine and ultimately pointed the firearm and stated to her sister that it (the firearm) isn't even loaded (not realizing a cartridge was still in the chamber) as she pulled the trigger, thus striking her three-year old son in the head, a short time later he would be pronounced deceased at a local hospital from the gunshot wound.
Now that you're caught up... It's time that we have a serious discussion from within the firearm community about incidents like this.
It is incidents like this that shine a bad light on responsible law-abiding firearm owners.
It is incidents like this that those on the other side of the aisle, the anti-gunners, use as fuel to promote their anti-gun agenda.
It is incidents like this that put those in the middle who seek actual reasonable (yes I am going to say it) common sense gun safety laws/measures on an island between those other two groups.
Finding a balance between these three groups has been like that of trying to hit a bullseye on a dime 1,000 yards away, blindfolded... damn near impossible and improbable.
I say near impossible because though highly unlikely it could by some miracle be possible.
While we from within the firearms community/industry grumble about how the anti-gunners are always trying to find a way to limit (and even strip completely) our God given right, a right emboldened by the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, we offer little in ideas or answers to counter the calls for the draconian type gun laws from them.
Instead we go on the defense and say "we already have this and that law and they don't work, all they do is punish responsible law abiding citizens and do nothing to stop the stupid, irresponsible or ill-willed".
Meanwhile the anti-gun side just says see, even they (we) admit that what we have isn't working so we need new laws for this or that.
In essence, all we on the Pro 2A side are doing is teeter-tottering back and forth with them while they gain more and more weight as we get stuck high in the air with no footing beneath us as the others dig a hole deeper and deeper under us that is just ready for us to fall off into and from which we may never be able pull ourselves out of.
It's time we start thinking of better ways to counter their arguments and provide answers or remedies while at the same time biting the bullet saying yes we see you have a certain point and we see where you are coming from but new laws that do nothing but infringe on a law abiding citizens inalienable right to bear arms is not the way to go about it.
You can already see it, this tragedy and others like it will be used to push some new law amid calls from the anti-gunners to push their agenda just like they are using 1 October to push for the repeal of state preemption.
Where can we do better? How do we from within the community/industry come together and offer ideas, answers and changes to those calls in a tactful and meaningful yet vocal way that will somewhat appease or silence those calls (I know a long shot there) without being overbearing or forceful to our side and that does not involve infringing on our right and that punishes everyday responsible law-abiding firearm owners?
Where and When do we (if we do or will at all) take initiative from within to seek out those changes and take personal responsibility as individuals and as a community as a whole for the failures to act or help in preventing such tragedies and in turn having them turned against us?
When do we stop playing the there's nothing more I could have done card when did we really do all we could have?
How do we truly become effective in doing our part and stop being complacent in letting our ideas fall short, not take at all or fall on deaf ears?
This is not at all to say there aren't those in the community or industry that aren't trying or haven't tried, I know I have seen some good ideas out there that have fallen flat or that have yet to take a hold.
Let's start with this maybe... In order to accomplish this we need to target the problem where the problem is at: the gun owners.
Now hold on before you go blowing your top and putting together a strike team to find and silence me... I'm not talking about the gun owners that already take things like training, safety, and responsibility seriously.
I am talking about reaching the myriad of other types of gun owners outside that group, which is really a multi-edged sword. How do we reach those from outside the community who do not often or never follow industry media and/or groups like those that exist on Facebook or websites like ours?
On one side there is the new or prospective gun owner. With them it is really hit or miss but it is often a little easier to reach them as most are open to learning and taking firearm ownership seriously.
On another side there is the complacent gun owner... they are usually the hardest to reach. Owners in this group often don't give two thoughts when seeing/hearing anything even remotely related to gun safety or training related.
They are often in the mentality of "I already am a safe gun owner" or "I already went to this or that class and I am good" and don't often seek to further or reaffirm their safety knowledge and skills.
Then we hit the darkside of the spectrum, the irresponsible gun owner and those who have nothing but ill intent... those that have no intention of learning or hearing about gun safety rules or laws. They want their gun (for whatever reason) and that's that. They are going to do what they want to do and no one is going to tell them otherwise. They are pretty much impossible to reach, or are they?
So seriously I ask, what can we do? What are some ideas? How do we do our part and continue to try and do our part no matter the size of mountain before us or winds that push against us?
For those within the industry and community, how do we get those onboard that are resistant to change or go along with newer ideas? How do we reach the unreachable?
What Will It Take US to Do on Our Part to Combat the Push for Further Gun Control Due to the Uneducated, the Ignorance, Stupidity or Malintent?
Is there anything more that can be done on our part? Does it Look Like:
- Stressing training, safety, and responsibility during the point of each and every purchase? I mean STRESSING, not just simply suggesting...
- Do go as far as providing some of that basic training and fundamentals during the purchase, especially to new gun owners?
- Do we ask purchasers to know and/or prove they know not only the four basic rules of firearm safety but the basic knowledge of how the type of firearm they are purchasing operates before allowing a purchase?
- Dare I say it... do we start to actually require basic firearms safety training, awareness, refreshers? I don't like having to "require" anything to exercise a fundamental right and bite my tongue hard as I write that... can we make it happen without requiring it by law, is that even possible?
- Providing more visual information with each purchase? If so how do make it enticing for everyone to read let alone abide by, especially for those in the latter sides aforementioned above?
- Does making any of those or other ideas an actual law help make it easier for FFLs to do such things instead of making it an awkward ask or business policy? Or should the industry just take it upon themselves to provide and/or require such things?
These are just some random thoughts meant to spark a conversation. I am sure the conversation will get heated and for those of you willing to just chime in and say this or that is ridiculous, try offering ideas instead of belittling the other person.
Have a meaningful conversation because this is a conversation that needs to be had and is serious... Our right to keep and bear arms for the protection of ourselves, our families, our freedoms, and our country in the future depend on ideas and answers today not criticism.
Most importantly, don't just let it stop at the end of this or any conversation... take action and lead the way, provide real answers and solutions that can truly work.
As for us, our business/website is the first step in our part to help provide an answer to what more can be done. It was created to provide a semi-neutral portal, a one-stop shop of sorts, where people from outside and within the community can more easily find information, training opportunities, and more while connecting with each other if they so choose while giving industry professionals an avenue to share their knowledge, expertise, and businesses with the masses.
It's still a work in progress (as evident by all the constant little changes here and there, it still has a ways to go) and it will always be a work in progress as that is what is necessary to keep up with ever changing times.
Is it enough, probably not and probably will never be but we firmly believe it's a step in the right direction.
If you want to join in this discussion, have something to say, want to share your ideas or thoughts, discuss why certain ideas could be bad, or how we can further improve on some ideas or ideas that are falling short... go ahead and register for an account and start discussing this in the discussion area provided below.