Thursday, April 9, 2020

Guns and Safety

We've been writing this blog for a little over six years, so we've covered a lot of information that that you may not know about. There is a handy search box at the top of the page, but some things need to be emphasized so I'm going to re-hash an article from 4 years ago.

Americans are buying firearms and ammunition at panic levels. In the last report I saw, from March of 2020, there were more FBI background checks performed than at any time since the Brady Bill went through Congress. We're buying firearms at a rate that even the worst gun control scares didn't match; Black Friday and the lead up to Christmas have always been high sales times, but we blew through the record of 3.3 million checks done in December 2015 by 10% in March 2020. These numbers don't even account for the 23 states (as of this writing) that conduct a background check prior to issuing a purchase or carry permit that exempts holders from further background checks. I happen to live in one of those states, so my carry permit serves as proof that I can be allowed to purchase a firearm and no NICS check is required. Private sales are also not yet included in these numbers.

From anecdotal evidence, a lot of these gun purchases are by people new to guns. First-time buyers, many of whom have little or no experience with firearms, need instruction and help to be able to properly use and maintain their new tools. The first thing every gun owner or user (I've trained several youngsters that are not old enough to legally own a firearm) needs to learn are the 4 rules of gun safety:
  1. All Firearms are always loaded.
  2. Never let the muzzle of a firearm point at something you don't want to destroy.
  3. Keep your finger off of the trigger until you're ready to shoot.
  4. Know your target and what is behind it.
Lokidude covered these in the post I linked in the first paragraph, so go read that if there's some part that doesn't make sense.

If you are new to firearms and want an experienced shooter to explain the 4 Rules in person, or perhaps take you to a range and give you some hands-on assistance with getting to know your new tool, there are resources available:
  • Our own Erin has founded a non-profit organization to match new gun owners with willing teachers, regardless of sexual preference. Operation Blazing Sword was started to bridge the gap between the LGBTQ community and the gun community after the Pulse nightclub attack, and has grown to include everyone that requests help. We want you to be safe, regardless of your skin color, religion, sexual preference, or income level. Many of the volunteer instructors will help with more than just teaching the basics, but it varies by the instructor and their budget.
  • I'm not a huge fan of the NRA for political reasons, but they do have the longest track record of teaching people how to use firearms safely. They offer several levels of training through their certified instructors all over the USA, for a reasonable price. 
  • With the fairly recent expansion of concealed carry rights in many states, classes on basic firearms safety have popped up as a cottage industry all over the country. Check your local gun shops and gun shows, and you'll find fliers and business cards for small companies offering the training required for specific carry permits. Even is you don't want a permit to carry I strongly suggest that you get some form of training if you choose to own a gun.

We've covered several other gun-related topics (type “gun” in the search box) over the years, but the safety of new owners has become more relevant recently. If you're one of the new owners, welcome to the club and please feel free to ask questions. All of the writers here are gun owners; many of us have decades of experience and we're here to help.

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