I’m not sure what’s worse …
Left-wing anti-gun zealots or irresponsible gun owners.
As an unapologetic supporter of the second amendment, I have no patience for rules or regulations that trample the rights of U.S citizens to keep and bear arms. This is unwavering for me. There’s no middle ground.
That being said, I also have no patience for gun owners who don’t respect firearms.
Guns are not toys, as any responsible gun owner will tell you. They are not meant to be worn as accessories, like earrings or bracelets, nor are they meant to be used in a way that violates the rights and safety of other citizens.
To give you an example of what I’m talking about, just this morning I read an article about a man who shot a neighbor’s 6-month-old puppy with a hollow point .22 because it was getting ready to take a crap on his lawn.
Not only is it unacceptable to kill an innocent animal (unless you intend to eat it or it’s a threat to your safety), but it’s also unacceptable to fire off your .22 in the direction of your neighbor’s home – which apparently was the case in this situation.
The sad part, aside from a child’s dead pet, is that every anti-gun liberal who sees this story is going to use it as yet another bullshit reason to dismantle the second amendment. And this makes it much harder for those fighting the good fight to protect the second amendment.
So today, I’d like to offer 5 ways gun owners can help defeat the anti-second amendment crowd.
Don’t be “That Guy”
Who’s “that guy?”
I’m talking about the guy that layers himself in camo, walks into a restaurant with an AK hanging off his shoulder, an unholstered 9 mm, and a video camera, throws a fit when he’s denied service, then posts a blog about it.
Although I fault no one for exercising his or her second amendment rights, when you act in such a manner, all you’re doing is pissing people off. If you want to help the cause, educate, don’t intimidate.
Quit your Whining
Some retail stores don’t allow folks to enter with firearms.
Whatever the reason may be, no amount of whining is going to change these store policies.
If Starbucks won’t let you in with your Glock, go around the corner to another coffee shop. That’s the beauty of a free market. You have choices. Make a statement with your purchasing power, not a boring press conference and a show of firepower.
Know how to use your Firearm
If I read another story about some nitwit who accidentally shot a family member or friend, I’m going to lose it.
If you’re new to gun ownership, please, please, please follow basic gun safety procedures. Always keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction. Don’t put your finger on the trigger unless you’re actually ready to shoot. Use the correct ammunition. Make sure your firearm has been cleaned properly.
I would also recommend getting in some good target practice time at the range before you head off into the sunset. There are few things more frightening than a gun owner with bad aim and bad instincts.
You don’t let your two-year-old get behind the wheel of a car, so please don’t be that person who puts a firearm in your child’s hand.
Guns are not photo props.
Be a Role Model
Few of my friends support gun rights. Most don’t understand why it’s important to protect the second amendment, and many can get pretty fired up about it.
The truth is, the issue of gun ownership scares a lot of people. Mostly because all they know about guns is what they read, hear and see in the media. Rarely do they have an objective viewpoint because rarely is objectivity found in the mainstream press.
While it’s easy to blow your top when trying to reason with these folks, remember that most of them simply haven’t been educated properly. And if you respond in a hostile manner, you’ll just push them further and further away.
I’ve found that the best way to deal with these folks is simply to lead by example.
Demonstrate proper gun safety. Show them what responsible gun ownership looks like. Don’t try to convince them they need a gun, but reassure them that they are in no danger when in the presence of a responsible gun owner.
To be honest, I’m tired of so many law-abiding gun owners being equated with lunatic behavior and violence. But the only way we’re going to shed this image is to act responsibly, without hostility towards the other side.
And when other gun owners act in an irresponsible manner, use that opportunity as a conversation starter. Use that opportunity to speak up against this behavior. Because in these instances, our silence can be deafening.
If we want to defend the second amendment, we must be a part of the conversation in both good times and bad.
We tend to be quick to sing the praises of the business owner who saved his customers from a robbery because he was properly armed. But we also tend to get very defensive when when innocent people are gunned down by folks who don’t represent most law-abiding gun owners.
Those people don’t represent us. And we should never be afraid to call them out on their violent actions. Because if we don’t, we’re no better than the folks who continue to trivialize the importance of the second amendment. In fact, we make their job easier.
The original version of this article can be found here.