On Saturday, one of my friends came up from North Kackalackie with his kids and we all went to the local Gun Show. A wonderful time was had by all. My friend was looking for a hunting rifle, and I was planning on just looking around at the neat stuff- unless something caught my eye, of course.
Being a guy, lots of stuff caught my eye. I firmly resisted temptation, however, and virtuously spent my time searching for a rifle for my friend. Somewhat to my surprise, I found one, and turned aside to call my friend over to take a look. In the time it took to turn around, call his name, and wave him over, someone else popped up and bought the rifle first.
At this point, I was in a bit of trouble. My primary excuse for not lingering at any given table and possibly buying something was gone. Nonetheless, I squared my shoulders, girded my loins, and … capitulated to the siren song of a very nice weapon whose existence had been completely unknown to me prior to that moment. Drat and other comments!
Those few of you reading may relax- I am not going to wax rhapsodic about the virtues of my new pistol, nor will I post pictures. That would result in anti-gun whackjobs to start screaming about “gun porn” and pro-gun wingnuts deriding me for my choice and advocating the benefits of their favorite boom-stick.
Instead, I’m going to talk about responsibility.
A weapon is merely a specialized tool. Tools have their uses. There is a time and place for using any tool. Using a tool for something other than its intended purpose risks damaging the tool and possibly the user. A firearm is a very specialized tool, designed to put holes in things at a distance. Period. Full stop.
Like all specialized tools, a weapon by itself is useless. Someone has to make the weapon operate. If the person operating the firearm does not know what he/she is doing, they risk putting holes where they did not intend to put holes. All too often, those holes end up in the operator or people who just happen to be close by. It is therefore the responsibility of the operator to make sure the firearm only puts holes where he/she wants them- and nowhere else.
Fortunately, this is not terribly difficult. A modest amount of basic firearms training- with emphasis on safety- is generally sufficient to give most people enough familiarity with a given firearm to prevent the more egregious mistakes. Regular practice with a firearm should be used to hone these skills and reflexes to where safe operation becomes automatic. It is the responsibility of the gun owner/operator to know how to properly (and safely) use the weapon.
Part of this responsibility involves un-learning everything you have learned from the movies and TV. A firearm is not a magic wand. Simply waving a gun around does not make you a Man, nor will it automatically gain you respect or authority over others. Anyone who thinks this way- or acts as if they think this way- is not a responsible gun owner. People who act this way are merely fools.
Another responsibility for gun ownership is to avoid frightening others unnecessarily. If your state allows this, get a concealed weapons permit. Even if “Open Carry” is legal where you live, think twice before doing so. My Grandfather once told me, “Never carry a gun if it could get you into more trouble than it can get you out of.” This is sound advice. Think about your reasons for wanting to carry a firearm before choosing to do so. I will not provide a list of “good” or “bad” reasons to carry- that is an individual choice. Just think about it.
And finally, let us discuss the responsibility of using the weapon. Carrying a weapon means that you have accepted the responsibility of making the right choice under intense pressure and with lives in the balance. If this responsibility is too much for you, don’t carry a weapon. If the possibility bothers you, think about it seriously before deciding whether or not to carry. If you carry a weapon and don’t use it when you really need to, all you’ve done is given a Bad Guy another weapon. On the other hand, if you are blithely certain that you will react properly at the Point of Decision and are not a combat veteran, you probably shouldn’t carry a weapon. Knowing when not to use a weapon is just as important as knowing when to use it.
Current status: Armed and Gregarious
Current music: Kashmir by Led Zeppelin