Monday, April 25, 2005

Firearm Owner's Responsibilities

Your decision to lawfully own a firearm is protected from government encroachment by the Second Amendment found in the Bill of Rights. Very few who know what they're talking about would disagree with that statement.

Once you've decided to buy a gun, there are quite a few responsibilities that go along with that decision. The decision should be carefully weighed and thoughtfully considered. Please do not approach the decision to own a firearm lightly.

Have you considered all the responsibilities that go along with the choice to purchase your first gun?

I have been a Certified Firearm Instructor, NRA Recruiter and I am the Owner and Founder of a Web site called I have been shooting guns since I was a child. I have taught gun safety and firearm education since I was a mere 22 years old or so.

The responsibilities that go with a first gun purchase are many. A few of them, you might not have even considered before you opened the box that contained your first gun. Let me take you on a brief tour on what I believe are the gun owner's many responsibilities.

I will attempt to address these items in the order of their importance. It is up to the reader to hold yourself accountable. In owning a firearm, you're not only answerable to yourself and your family, but I believe you're also answerable to your community and your nation.

Here is my list of gun owner responsibilities:
  • Safety and Storage
  • Awareness of State and Federal Laws
  • Defend and Support the Second Amendment
  • Proficiency and Practice
  • Involve your Children

I will attempt to address each one and expand upon them.

Safety and Storage:

I believe the primary responsibility of a gun owner is to make absolutely certain that nobody is permanently maimed or killed because of a lack of knowledge or carelessness when it comes to gun safety rules, proper gun handling or storage of your firearm.

There are three basic rules of gun handling. I will not address them here in this blog. They are listed on my "Safety Rules" page.

If you own a gun, but cannot correctly recite the three basic rules of gun handling in their order of importance, you have not met your primary responsibility and you have some reading to do.

If you think there are only about ten gun safety rules, again, you have some reading and learning to do. I have an addtional forty seven (47) gun safety rules and tips on my "Safety Rules" page linked above.

As far as gun storage goes, you have a responsibility to keep your firearm away from unsupervised hands (especially little ones). I believe you also have a responsibility to prevent your guns from being stolen in a home burglary.

If your guns are in a glass case in your livingroom or den or there sitting in your bedroom bureau draw or closet readily discoverable by a home burglar, your responsibility in proper storage is not being met.

Firearms stolen from homes are one of the few major sources of guns used during the commission of a violent crime. You have a responsibility to reduce the possibility that your new revolver will not be used to kill the elderly couple down the street.

Safe storage of a gun and the quick accessibility of that gun in an emergency should be very carefully weighed and considered. Obviously if your gun is locked in a safe at all times, it will probably not be of much use in an emergency. However, a loaded gun set aside for emergencies with small curious hands in the close proximity is no good either. Please take the time to weigh these decisions very carefully.

There are many devices available on the market which can bar access to small curious hands, while keeping the gun pretty quickly accessible. Single pistol boxes, with quick combinations or fingerprint readers are just one solution. There are many others. Weigh them all carefully.

Awareness of State and Federal Laws

Are you familiar with all the laws of your home state and have a knowledge of the federal legislation that affects gun owners? My bet is that almost no gun owner in the country has a complete knowledge of the gun laws that they are supposed to obey.

There are more than 20,000 federal, state and local laws and ordinances concerning the ownership, purchase transportation and carry of firearms. One cannot possibly be aware of them all.

You should, however be aware of the basics. How far away from a home, business or street do you have to be to fire a gun? What is the proper process of selling a firearm in your home state? Are there any type of mandatory storage laws that you are forced to obey? You get the idea.

The Chief of Police's Guide to Gun Control Laws in the state of Massachusetts is more than just a few inches thick. Just to read the guide, would take you longer than reading the Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and the Silmarrilion all back to back and Tolkien's works are a lot more interesting than Massachusetts legislators.

Anyway, the best place to go for a basic knowledge of gun laws in your home state is either your state's NRA Affiliate or your local police department.

Defend and Support the Second Amendment

The very first thing that comes to your mind is probably the National Rifle Association, otherwise referred to as the NRA.

Yes, you should indeed consider joining the NRA. That's not just because I'm an NRA Recruiter either. The NRA offers many benefits. A good number of current NRA Members are probably not even aware of them all.

Go here, to my "NRA Membership" page to learn more about it.

Or go here, to join the NRA right now.

There are many other groups you can join and help fight for the Second Amendment and many of them are listed on my "Links" page.

Proficiency and Practice

Have ever considered carrying a concealed firearm in a public place? Now 38 states in the United States offer some degree of concealed carry.

Would you want someone defending themselves from a violent attack in a public place in your families' vicinity if they weren't completely proficient with their firearm? Of course not.

You have a responsibility to practice with and be efficient with a firearm. This is especially true if you are licensed to have your gun on your person in a public place.

Practice with your guns as often as time permits. Make time to do it. Join your local gun club. Make a gun range on your property as long as it's lawful to do so.

If you have a gun in your home, do you practice with it at least a couple times a year? Do you involve your children.

Involve Your Children

Please make time to involve your children. Telling them that your firearms are "off limits" is not a good idea. If you do so, they'll satisfy their curiosity when they're unsupervised. You know that as well as I do.

Also, you know as well as I do that you could spend more time with your kids anyway. Take them shooting. Have them learn the basics. Teach them about real American history and the Second Amendment and what it really means.

They see guns being misused nearly every day on television. The messages they're likely to get from school about guns I'm certain won't be very helpful.

If we don't involve today's children in our firearm hobby, we can kiss the right to keep and bear arms goodbye in the next generation. Teach them properly about guns, gun safety and our rights under the United States Constitution.

Get them a Junior NRA Membership today as a gift. You will not be disappointed in this decision.

Thank you for reading my latest blog. I'm open to your comments and suggestions at any time.

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Marc Richardson