Sunday, April 5, 2020

Open letter to first time gun owners!

Here we are, 2020 with a new global disaster.  Everyone is freaking out.  There is no toilet paper to be found anywhere and everyone is buying guns.  The month of March saw the largest amount of guns sold in any single month ever.  Not even the panic buying under the Obama years matched the quantity of guns sold in the past month.
What made this different from previous years was not the volume of firearms sold, but that approximately 70% (maybe as high as 80% in some areas) were first time gun buyers.  This is unusual to see this many first time gun owners at one time. 

We the gun community, welcome you to the wonderful world of gun ownership.  But there are several things you must know and understand now that you have chosen to own a firearm.  What you see in the Hollywood movies does not prepare you for firearm ownership. 

First up, understand that a gun is not a magic talisman that will ward off evil because you possess it.  A gun is just an inanimate object that does nothing unless you the operator take action. 
Just having a gun does not make you safe.  Just pointing a gun at evil may or may not make evil go away.  Yes, evil does exist.  And sometimes evil comes wrapped in the package of a true psychopath who has no fear of you or of your gun.  You need to mentally, physically and emotional prepare yourself that you may actually need to use your gun as intended, as a deadly weapon. 

Which brings me to my next point.  Because a gun is a deadly weapon, this means the use of a gun falls under the category of a martial art.  You do not become skilled at any martial art by watching Hollywood movies or YouTube videos.  And no, shooting the .22 down on Grandpa’s farm a few times when you were a kid does not count either. 
In order for a gun to truly be useful,
Yes, you can self teach, but you will be better and safer in the long run with professional training.

I know obtaining training now is difficult as everything is shut down.  So in the mean time, do the following;  (this should include everyone age appropriate in your household)
1.    Read the instruction manual that came with the gun you purchased.   It will teach you how to correctly operate your firearm.
a.    If you didn’t receive an instruction manual, most manufacturers have them posted on their websites that you can download.
2.    Learn the safety rules and live them.  Guns are not toys.
a.    Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
b.    Do not point your firearm at anything you do not want to destroy.
c.     Keep your finger off the trigger until you are on target and ready to fire.
d.    Be sure of your target and what is beyond it. (Yes, bullet do go through walls)
3.    Use the power of the Internet and research and learn as much as you can about your specific model of firearm and even on how to use your firearm.
a.    Yes, I know I said YouTube is not a substitute for hands on training.  But giving the current circumstances, it may be all you get until we get past this issue. 
4.    Start dry fire practice. 
a.    In short, dry fire practice is where you practice aiming your firearm at a target and pressing the trigger.  This is done while the gun is unloaded.
                                               i.     DO NOT USE LIVE AMMUNITION FOR DRY FIRE PRACTICE.  Don’t even have it in the same room. 
                                             ii.     The use of plastic Snap Caps is acceptable. 

To wrap this section up, you must learn how to correctly and safely use your gun.  Go get professional training as soon as you are able.  Do not stop at reading books, Internet articles or YouTube videos.

Next I want to cover some miscellaneous topics that you may not be aware of.
1.    Do you have a place to lock up your firearm when not in use?  A heavy safe or locking steel cabinet that is bolted to the wall? 
a.    Yes, your gun came with a simple cable lock if you purchased it new.  But it can still be stolen.  Go buy a safe or locking cabinet you can bolt to the wall.
b.    There are now biometric lock boxes you can bolt to the wall yet have rapid access to your gun and keep the curious from accessing it.
2.    Did you buy a cleaning kit to clean and lubricate your firearm?
a.    Guns are mechanical objects that must be cleaned and lubricated from time to time to work properly.  Think of it as changing the oil in your car on a regular basis. (You do change your cars oil regularly right?)
b.    Your owners manual will teach you how to clean and lube your firearm.  Or someone has made a YouTube video about it.
3.    Did you buy proper safety equipment? 
a.    Specifically eye and ear protection?  This is important to protect your hearing and eyesight when practicing.
4.    Have you found a shooting range near you that you can practice at?
a.    Along with training you need to practice the skills you learned regularly to keep your skills sharp. 
5.    If you bought your gun to be carried concealed outside your house.
a.    Do you have the proper permit?  Many states require a permit and there is a process for it.  Your local Sheriffs office can help with this.
b.    Did you buy a good holster?  The $20 nylon gun sock is not adequate.  Do spend the money for a quality holster. 
c.     Do you actually know how to properly draw your gun from the holster?  This is one area where professional training is a great idea. 
6.    Are you aware of the laws of when you can lawfully shoot someone? 
a.    If you purchased your firearm for self-defense this is important to know.  You cannot just shoot someone because you felt scared.  You need lawful just cause, which can vary from state to state.

Finally, the political side of guns.  Unfortunately when you talk about guns, you get a large barrel of politics to go with it. 
I hope everyone of the first time gun buyers have learned a little bit about why the gun community fights so hard against more gun laws.  That most of the guns laws are stupid and unnecessary. 

That no, you cannot just buy a gun off the Internet.  No, you cannot pay extra to waive the 10 day waiting period before you take your new gun home.  That background checks already exist.  Yes, these are real questions asked by some first time buyers who where shocked these laws existed.
I guess politicians and anti-gun political activist don’t always tell the truth do they?  
Remember, when you felt the need to buy a gun for protection, politicians shut down many guns stores were sued by the gun community to reopen them.
I hope this experience has opened your eyes on why more gun laws are not needed.  And many of the existing laws need to be repealed.  And I hope you change your voting habits and stop voting for more gun laws and the politicians that try to take away your rights.

I’ll wrap this up with the following.
Again, welcome to the gun community.  I hope it is a positive experience.  That you get the training you need.  That you enjoy the shooting sports and maybe find a competition you enjoy and participate in as part of your practice sessions.
Welcome to a whole new world, I think you will enjoy the gun community and gun culture.  

-Gundude Mez
April 2020