I was reading an article about an 8 year old boy who took a loaded gun to school (thinking it was a toy gun) and sold it to his friend for $3. A teacher saw this, confiscated the gun and called the police. The parents were arrested.
Until yesterday, I had never held a real gun let alone fired one… so it made me wonder about gun ownership. I have been hanging out and working with my friend ‘Donna Angevine’ for the past week and she took me shooting. Donna is an expert with guns so she spent some time and ‘drilled’ into me the rules about gun ownership… and I’ve learned them. In my own words:
- Always assume guns are loaded!
- Never point the muzzle at anything you’re not prepared to destroy or kill
- Keep your finger off the trigger until your target is in your site
- Know where your target is AND what is behind it
Donna showed me how a gun is put together, how to load a gun, the rules of gun ‘etiquette’, what can go wrong and a lot more besides. She made me really respect the gun before I got to even hold it.
So then we went to an outdoor gun range (in Arizona) and I got my first taste of shooting a gun.
I had a great time. I shot at targets and metal plates. I was surprised by the recoil even though Donna had explained it very well and I have to say I was pleased with my first session. But I did well and wasn’t intimidated because Donna spent the time with me and impressed upon me how dangerous a gun can be. She taught me the rules before she ‘let me loose’.
It was a great experience and has changed my views on gun ownership and the ‘gun’ community.
The night before I went shooting I talked to my friend Bill who told me a story of when he went to some friends and they had heard there was a cougar on the loose. They had a gun so thought they would have the gun ready in case the cougar showed up; but neither of them even knew how to load the gun. Bill helped them (Bill knows guns) but was concerned about their inexperience with a ‘loaded’ gun. They had never learned how to use their gun and therefore probably didn’t respect the nature of the gun.
When I was on the range with a loaded gun and firing it, I had respect. I knew what that gun was capable of.
So my question is, should people own guns if they haven’t even had the rudimentary training?
I know that I would not want to own a gun without a lot of training (and one lesson is probably not training enough). But I feel that even one expert lesson makes a huge difference.
If I owned a gun and hadn’t had the type of initiation Donna provided, I could have been just the same as Bill’s friends; a loose cannon wielding a deadly weapon, as well as a danger to myself and everyone around me.