After a series of interesting comments were shared over at Neptunus Lex about firearms purchases in advance of the Change, one of the other commenters raised an issue worth considering.
When you have little or no experience with firearms, and you purchase one, what are your responsibilities?
All of the firearms I know of are sold with information booklets, warnings, some sort of trigger locks, and extra information on safe storage mandated by our state. These should be read, but are only a starting point.
Get some training. Find a range and some experienced shooters, spend some time with them. Almost all the responsible gun owners I know enjoy helping a new shooter get started. Take an NRA sponsored safety class. Practice.
Our club offers a couple of days a year for inexperienced people to come out and shoot various types of firearms under the supervision of NRA range officers. Understand how your firearm works, in detail, so you will know when it is need of professional service. Determine what is the best way to store your firearm. All of this and more is your responsibility as a gun owner.
Guns don’t just “go off”. Someone put their finger on the trigger and pulled. When that happens, everything else is physics. The projectile leaves the barrel and travels until it is stopped by some force. If that barrel was pointed at something you did not intend to shoot, and you pulled the trigger, you were negligent. If you are lucky, you put a hole in the wall, the floor, or the TV. If not, you may have shot yourself, your dog, your child.
Those kinds of mistakes are irrevocable. An unsecured swimming pool, chemicals stored under a sink in a home with a young child, or driving irresponsibly fast on a public road can also lead to a tragedy. All the tears and regrets after the fact cannot unpull a trigger or put a safety cover on the pool.
Freedom always includes responsibility. It cannot be avoided. The right to vote includes the responsibility to be informed about the issues and candidates. The right to free speech includes the responsibility for what you choose to say. The right to bear arms includes the responsibility for what you do with those arms. I believe that all of us, as citizens, have rights. We all have to trust one another with the associated responsibilities. The alternative is giving up those rights and living as subjects of the State.
It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.
— Josiah Charles Stamp