We hear the term “Arming Yourself” all the time in conversations and in the news media and if you asked 100 people what it meant I would venture to say over 90 of them would say it means to carry a firearm. I want to offer a different perspective and hopefully give you something more to think about when you hear this phrase in the future.
“Arming Yourself” seems self-explanatory…it’s having a gun on your person either open or concealed carry. While this is true, it’s only part of what every gun owner needs to know when they hear the term.
When someone purchases a gun, the majority (over 50% in recent years) have done so for personal protection. You can debate this number but the concept is what is important…people are buying guns to protect themselves and their families. When someone buys a “tool” of any kind that they are unfamiliar with or haven’t used in a while, the first thing they usually do is to GET TRAINING on how to use it properly. I believe the same rule should apply when purchasing a firearm.
Purchasing a gun so you can “Arm Yourself” should also carry with it the thinking that you are going to get trained (or updated) on how to properly use it. And it doesn’t mean just firing off a few rounds at the local gun range at a target 15 feet away and calling it good. It means starting from the beginning and understanding three major components…
- SAFETY…what do you need to know to be safe with this firearm? What are the nuances of the firearm you need to know so you are completely safe carrying it, possessing it, and using it? This should be the first stop on the way to gun ownership for anyone…regardless of experience.
- USE OF THE FIREARM…what do you need to know to be able to shoot it effectively? There are nuances to every firearm and manufacturer that are important to understand after you have purchased a firearm. Knowing how to shoot it properly, how it will behave when carried and fired are critically important. For example, owning a 9mm handgun from Smith and Wesson isn’t the same as owning a Glock. They handle differently and they fire differently. Understanding this and putting hundreds of rounds through the gun is critical to being armed.
- THE LAW…do you understand the law with regard to owning a particular firearm? This is one of the most important areas yet one that often goes neglected from my experience. Maybe being an attorney brings this to light more often than with others but the issue is still the same…most gun owners know very little about the legal aspects of both a particular firearm and how/when they can use it and in what manner. Getting some training and “arming” yourself with knowledge of the law is more critical than ever in today’s world.
So the next time someone says they are “arming themselves” ask them what that really means and hopefully you can offer a broader and deeper aspect to this phrase. If every gun owner understood more about each of these 3 areas of “Arming Themselves” we would not only all be safer but we would have much more responsible gun owners. Training is the most critical aspect to owning a firearm…the rest is just administrative. When you “arm yourself” in this way, you will…Be Prepared. Be Smart. Be Safe.