So, you want to be the proud owner of a firearm. You want to execute your 2nd Amendment Rights as an American Citizen (if you are not a citizen of the USA, that’s cool. Substitute whatever laws or policies are applicable in your nation). Awesome (I mean that in all sincerity)!
However, RESPONSIBLE firearm ownership isn’t just a monetary exchange for a piece of physical property. Firearms are tools made for one purpose. That purpose is to end life (starting with humans then into game and prey animals).
The modern firearm has hit the pinnacle of its development. There maybe a few fillips in targeting or some tweaks in materials but we’re pretty much done with the big advances until “Phased Plasma Rifles in a 40 Watt range” are fielded and the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) figures how to tax it.
Not only are modern firearms designed to end life, they are now as efficiently lethal as engineering can make them. Have you noticed in the last 200 words I’ve made it a point to stress how efficiently lethal a firearm is? That’s because it is DAMMIT!
I see an overabundance of men who are incredibly blasé about firearms and their purpose. These men are easy to spot. They’re the ones with an Armalite Rifle platform (that’s what the AR in the AR model rifle stands for BTW) slung across their backs “in case they need it.” If you are in an area that you “need it,” the weapon should be loaded and slung in front of you; not across your back.
Unless you’ve enlisted or commissioned into the military, or you are a law enforcement officer (LEO), maybe you should go somewhere else. Then there’s the men who like to say, “If someone breaks into my home, I’m going to smoke their ass (with a head nod and a check to their belt line). You can’t outrun a bullet (with a chuckle).” I can guarantee these are men that have never seen real violence, let alone, had to commit it. They’ve never been in a struggle for their life. They’ve never had to make that split-second decision whether to pull the trigger or not. These are the men who haven’t thought about the ramifications of ending another human, or actually had to do it.
Take my word for it, gentlemen, ending a human life, even when justified, will change everything you are. There’s the man that existed before and the YOU that continues after. You can’t go back. If the shoot is unjustified (murder), even if it was a mistake based on a split second decision or due to your negligence the weapon falls into the wrong hands (let’s say of a child), it will be the worst thing that has ever happened to you.
Still want to own a weapon? Great! Do it responsibly.
Before purchasing a weapon, consider storage. Even if you don’t have kids, a responsible gun owner stores his weapons locked and secured (to a stud in the wall, bolted to the floor or even attached permanently to a heavy object if you rent).
THE RIGHT CHOICE
Buy the weapon that is appropriate to the application. For example, if you live in an apartment, don’t buy a rifle for your “Home Defense” weapon. Your neighbors will thank you, believe me.
Practice, practice, practice. Being accurate with a firearm is another form of Martial Arts, shooting a pistol accurately under pressure, is very difficult to master. Don’t get me started on long range shooting. Take classes, start with the basics even if you were born and raised with guns.
KNOW THE LAW
Learn your local gun laws and the laws regarding your rights and responsibilities when dealing with home invasion.
In no way am I trying to convince you not to pursue gun ownership. I believe in exercising the 2nd Amendment, responsibly.
You owe it to yourself, family and literally your fellow citizens. If the examples of irresponsible gun ownership I described early offended you, you’re probably the guy I was describing. And if you are, it’s not too late.
SFC (R) Matt Wagner is a retired Army Ranger with over 21 years of service. A veteran of multiple deployments that have spanned 17 countries over 5 different continents as well as the operational theaters of the GWOT. Matt has been in turns a combat leader as well as an Observer Controller-Trainer and an Instructor in Combatives, Close Quarters Marksmanship/Combat/Battle and a guest instructor in marksmanship at the US Army War College. Currently he spends much of his free time working with non-profits regarding Tactical and Strategic Veteran Suicide prevention (The Darby Project, RSR and The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention) and is a member of the Tactical Tailor Bataan Death March Pro-Team.