On The Subject Of Stupidity And Guns

Credit: The Atlantic
Credit: The Atlantic

For the record:

I am a gun owner. As I explained in an earlier blog I do keep a small cache of weapons here on the ranch by virtue of where I live – a mere nine minutes away from a police response should I ever have to call on them to get me out of a particular jam I find myself in.

Nine minutes is about eight and a half minutes too long. I and my family could be murdered several times over in the span of nine minutes so rather than rely on the police I’m resigned to taking matters into my own hands. The local police and sheriff’s deputies understand this and they know instinctively that if anyone calls 911 from here and it’s not a request for the paramedics or the fire department they’re to bring a mop, bucket and a liberal supply of body bags.

I pride myself on being a responsible gun owner and have no aversion to guns having been raised on them since childhood and having been trained in their proper use both in my civilian and military life.

And, yes, I am a Liberal who’s in favor of sensible gun control and background checks.

I also believe that guns are dangerous and they do kill people – that’s kind of what guns were designed to do in the first place. In fact, if a gun doesn’t kill someone it’s a defective gun. I ridicule anyone who refers to a gun as a “tool”; a hammer is a tool, a screwdriver is a tool, a chainsaw is tool and you wouldn’t work on your car or do home repairs with a gun so we can dispense with the ridiculous notion that a gun is a tool.

Having said that, guns aren’t something to shun or be afraid of handling if you know the rules (which there are four):

First, the gun is always loaded.

Even if you think it isn’t loaded, or it doesn’t look loaded you never assume it isn’t loaded. That way if you’re stupid enough to pull the trigger “just horsing around”, it goes off and shoots somebody there is no court in the land that’s going to give you a pass for that unless your name is Dick Cheney.

Second, you never point a gun at anyone or anything you don’t intend to destroy.

I take all the rules of gun handling seriously and treat them just as equally as the others. There are no rules that are more important or more special than any of the others and the one thing I always say is that if I ever have to pull a gun on someone or something (such as a mountain lion or a bear), I’m going to use it and someone (or something) is going to get shot.

Third, your finger stays off the trigger until your sights are on the target.

I can’t stress this one enough. I have seen one too many times people walking around handling guns with their fingers on the triggers where they end up shooting themselves in the foot, someone else or a stray bullet goes flying off in some direction.

In other words, if you’re not aiming at something don’t put your finger on the trigger. And check the safety.

Finally, know your target and what’s behind it.

I don’t really understand the fascination of some people who think they need a ridiculously large caliber gun capable of shooting through a rhinoceros. I once had a discussion with a friend of mine who was thinking of getting one of these hand-held bazookas for “home defense”, which is fine except he lives in an apartment in a major metropolitan city.

That bullet is going to go through the target, through the wall behind the target and possibly end up in the adjoining apartment, possibly in the tenant living there.

Now, out here in Farmville we can sort of get away with large, powerful guns but in the city (especially in an apartment) this simply isn’t going to fly. I suggested to my friend that if he was keen on home defense that perhaps he should look into purchasing a 12-gauge shotgun as this is the perfect weapon of choice for close-quarter combat.

As an added bonus, just the sound of racking a round in a 12-gauge is enough to dissuade all but the truly insane, stupid or suicidal.

Which brings me to this.

An Arizona woman died after her boyfriend accidentally shot off a handgun he had tucked into his waistband Tuesday morning.

Yes, once again, the final collision between the Second Amendment and outright stupidity happened today.

So this guy has his gun tucked in his waistband, goes to hug his girl, girl complains that the gun is making her uncomfortable so he chivalrously attempts to move the gun off to the side by pulling it out of his waistband (with his finger on the trigger and the safety off) and as he pulls it out he shoots her dead.


I’m just going to go ahead and say it after all the years of self-inflicted and accidental shootings that have graced our Emergency Rooms from coast to coast: it’s time to add mandatory gun safety classes for any and all gun purchases, provided you can pass a background check.


3 thoughts on “On The Subject Of Stupidity And Guns

  1. “it’s time to add mandatory gun safety classes for any and all gun purchases,…”

    It would largely be a waste of time at that point. There are people for whom “mandatory lessons” would go in one ear and out the other, and sorry, there is no good test I know of for ingrained irresponsibility other than a person’s track record, and sometimes when you know that it is too late.

    If you want those mandatory lessons then I would suggest a better alternative. Put gun training and safety training back in schools. Make sure everyone who gets a high school degree has some clue about gun safety and how to unload common guns before a kid gets his hands on it – or at least enough sense to call someone who does know how, but I forgot, you can’t teach common sense – you either have it or you don’t. Won’t stop the ingrained careless mindset, but might help some.

    The bottom line is that guns are used for good and bad and there are people out there who are candidates for the “Darwin Award” if you know what I mean. But according to some of the best research on defensive gun uses, Americans use guns up to 2.5 million times to defend themselves and property and up to 400,000 lives may be saved by guns (Kleck and Gertz).


      1. “[accidental shootings] which seem to occur just about every day these days…”

        I probably should do some research on whether the number of accidental shootings are going up, down, or staying the same before I shoot my mouth off! 🙂

        Honestly I don’t know for sure about that. My guess, and I stress “guess,” is that it might have gone up some in the last fifty years or so and I would probably attribute that to more people coming in contact with guns later in life, instead of growing up in families where guns are owned and used routinely, for example, for hunting. You have some person in their 20 or 30s maybe buying a gun for the first time with little background or knowledge of guns.

        Would be nice if your high schools of community colleges had low cost gun safety training in evening classes for adults, but given these places are “Gun Free Zones” that could be a problem.

        One thing though that have to take into account re perceptions of accidents. We have to at least take into account perhaps that the media will perhaps play up gun accidents more than in the past. Again, just a theory, haven’t don’t research to prove it. But my unscientific impression after six decades is that yeah, the media probably do play it up more now than in 1950. 🙂

        I came up with an idea the other day for universal background checks that I think many gun owners might vote for. Includes background checks even in private sales.

        Universal Background Checks

        Bear in mind that I would probably be most accurately described as a Libertarian/Conservative (if that is possible) and definitely belong to the “you can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead hands” crowd. Just thought of another idea that actually might be Constitutional. Let’s say that every adult who owns a gun is by default a member of the “unorganized militia” and require some minimal firearms training for that status? Maybe combine that with the background checks? Put it on a person’s driver’s license. Buy a firearm without call NICS (is in universal background check proposal above).



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