The RKBA is Not in Dispute, but ....

By George Devinny. May 20, 2020

The right to keep and bear arms is not in dispute but, there is one very important factor - knowledge and training. There are no apologies for outlining opinions below in order to further the promotion of responsible gun ownership.

Recent reports dealing with the substantial increase in firearms aquisitions in recent times highlights the fact that a great many people may be handling a firearm for the first time, with no previous experience at all. Safety is a number one concern, followed closely by proficiency in handling and use. The last thing that is needed that can provide reason for the anti freedom groups to add to their incessant bleatings, is reports and bad press about negligent discharges and resulting injuries or death.

A first step is to instill on a novice Col Jeff Cooper's four rules of basic safety:

1) - All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are.
2) - Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
3) - Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target.
4) - Identify your target, and what is behind it.

All rules are important but it may usefully be considered that #2 is the "catch all", whereby should a negligent discharge occur, then no living thing gets hurt.

Further to this is weapon familiarity. Imagine someone with a new revolver or semi-auto - do they actually have the slightest clue about the function? It should be a priority that a gun's mechanics and operation be fully understood, which should include where relevant the safe take down and cleaning methods plus knowledge of ammunition types and loading techniques. (Hopefully in many cases at least some introduction was achieved by an FFL at time of purchase.)

Beyond this is actual shooting proficiency, and to this end it is highly recommended that individuals seek some form of training. This could initially be as simple as finding a range where help might be found from a willing experienced shooter, in order to practice basic skills and safe handling. Enough at least to enable familiarity of operation and accurate fire.

Beyond this is the actual learning of defensive shooting skills as well as the law. By far the majority who carry for protection hope to never have to use their weapon in anger, but should always be cognizant of such things as situational awareness and legal considerations, including of course the essential safety rules. Ideally, for those with the time and financial ability, there are courses available from many reputable training establishments - a web search can find examples with costs and geographical locations. Some ranges may well have certified instructors available.

OK, this may all be "preaching to the choir" but If, as an experienced gun user you know a first-time owner, take the time to at the very least provide the benefit of your experience to school them in safety and weapon familiarity. That is just the beginning, but at least perhaps enough in itself to help mitigate the chances of bad things happening.


(This article is also archived HERE.)

It can probably be assumed that the majority of JPFO members and visitors are hopefully responsible and knowledgeable gun owners but, with many first time gun buyers in recent times it may also worth reminding ourselves of some safety matters such that hopefully, where possible, we can share our own firearms experience to help newcomers whenever possible.


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