New Gun (Owners)Opinion
OPINION — When the whole Covid thing started, which seems like years ago but was only March, a lot of people who’d never owned guns before started buying them. Honestly, that was a little baffling. At the time I wondered what was going on. Maybe they thought they were going to have to defend their toilet paper hoards. Or maybe they thought the country was about to descend into anarchy, and they would have to fight for food, or something. Which still might happen, if the rioting and looting and arsoning keeps going like it is.
And while I’m pro-2A, I have to admit the news about new gun owners was a little scary. Not that I think those people should be denied their constitutional rights, but owning a gun entails some responsibility. When someone buys their tenth, or fourteenth, or eighty-seventh gun, it seems likely they have a pretty good grasp of how to avoid shooting off any of their favorite toes. A first gun is a little different, unless the buyer has been educated about firearms already. And anecdotal evidence seemed to negate that possibility in many of these cases.
No one really knows for sure how many of the guns sold during the first half of 2020 went to first-time buyers, because NICS checks don’t require that information and the form 4473 doesn’t ask for it. But the estimates run into the two million range, and if that’s true, it’s likely that a good many of those new gun owners have little to no experience with firearms. Which is why I duck every time I walk out my front door these days.
Gun store and gun range owners were reporting that most of the first-time buyers were amazingly ignorant about gun laws. These were people who had probably supported gun control in the past, but because they suddenly felt a need for self-protection, they set forth to arm themselves appropriately. Store employees had little trouble identifying the neophytes, because of the questions they asked. And I’m not being rude at all here, but it’s pretty easy to spot a novice. They don’t even have to wear a T-shirt to identify themselves.
The first-time gun buyers, who had previously been pretty much against gun ownership, were universally surprised when told they had to fill out a form, pass a background check, and in some cases wait a suitable period before they could take their new noise maker home. It seems a lot of people believe what they hear from the mainstream media, about how easy it is to buy a gun. Not so much.
Matter of fact, Hayley Peterson, a journalist for Business Insider magazine, set out last year to buy a gun at a Wal-Mart, so she could complain that the current gun laws were too lax, and demand that the chain stop selling firearms. After several hours on the phone, she finally found a store in Fairfax, Virginia that claimed to have some guns, so she went there.
The inventory was sparse, and she was told she had to come back another time, because no one with the required training was available at the moment. So she went back two days later and went through the lengthy process of filling out forms and submitting to the background check. She was eventually told she couldn’t buy a gun, because the address on her driver license didn’t match where she actually lived. The rules are pretty strict. She finally gave up.
Which may be a good thing, with some folks. While people like me may complain that buying a gun is a lot of trouble, we will also admit that we don’t want it to be too easy for those who shouldn’t have them, such as burglars, car-jackers, murders, and journalists for Business Insider magazine. And that’s especially true if the new gun owner doesn’t plan to get training in how to operate their new purchase safely. Toes don’t just grow back, even favorite ones.
Take the fine citizens of the NFAC, for example. You know, those radicals who have been protesting lately, and have demanded that the U.S. give Texas to them, or else. Their leader, a fellow who calls himself Grand Master Jay, actually said that in a video that’s been going around. Seriously.
Everyone in the group carries guns, although they seem a little vague on how to safely handle them. They held a protest in Louisville, Kentucky recently, and one of them managed to shoot three of his fellow NFACers. Three. Don’t you hate it when that happens?
So that was embarrassing, especially since another video has emerged of GM Jay, offering his expertise about guns. He got just about everything he said in the video wrong, but he’s practically Sergeant York, compared to the rest of his group. And if that doesn’t scare you, it should.
If you happen to be one of the two million new U.S. gun owners, do yourself a favor and get some quality training. In the meantime, remember this: There are four basic rules for safe gun handling. Treat every gun as if it’s loaded. Never point a gun at anything you don’t wish to perforate. Never touch the trigger until you’re ready to shoot. Be positive of your target and what’s behind it. Follow those four rules, and you get to keep your toes. And so does everyone else around you . . .
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