I know I’ve written several posts lately on gun control, but it’s a subject that’s pretty close to home in that my “other half” is not only a gun owner, but also a supporter of the NRA (and thus, has a rather slanted perspective).
I am not totally against guns as I have owned and used them in my younger years. However, things have changed over time and gun ownership is not what it used to be.
If you’re tired of reading about this topic, you can just click away now.
Recently I did a bit of research into the state laws related to gun ownership and I noticed something that seemed to be missing in each of them.
The majority of states do NOT require a course in actual gun training and safety to purchase a gun.
Nearly all states require some sort of “background check” and will then issue a “license or permit to carry.” Some have a “waiting period” before the gun can be released, and a few require the potential owner to take a written “safety exam.” Some ask the potential owner to sign a waiver allowing access to mental health records.
Laws also vary depending on the type of gun (handgun or large gun) being purchased. Some large gun purchases have no restrictions.
There are even MORE variances among the states that I haven’t addressed here. In other words, it’s a conglomeration of “laws” and requirements that only the person who lives in that particular state would know.
What I want to point out in this posting is only the following states require any type of gun safety training:
- Massachusetts requires safety training of all applicants. This includes instruction on: (1) the safe use, handling and storage of firearms; (2) methods for securing and childproofing firearms; (3) the applicable laws relating to the possession, transportation and storage of firearms; and (4) knowledge of operation, potential dangers and basic competency in the ownership and usage of firearms.
- In the District of Columbia, an applicant must complete a firearms training and safety class and demonstrate knowledge about firearms laws, safe storage of firearms, and requirements for storage.
- California requires anyone purchasing a handgun to obtain a Firearm Safety Certificate, which means the applicant must pass a written safety test and, subject to limited exceptions, be required to perform a safe handling demonstration with the firearm in the presence of a certified instructor.
- Connecticut requires safety training prior to issuance of any firearm permit.
- Hawaii requires handgun permit applicants to complete an approved course that focuses on the safe use, handling and storage of firearms and firearms safety in the home.
- Maryland applicants must complete an approved firearm safety training course that includes instruction on state firearms law, home firearm safety, handgun mechanisms and operation, and an orientation component that demonstrates the person’s safe operation and handling of a firearm.
- Rhode Island applicants who wish to purchase a handgun and do not have a concealed handgun license and are not a member of law enforcement must complete a basic two-hour handgun safety course.
In my opinion, Massachusetts has the most comprehensive requirements (especially #4).
While the other states I listed require that a potential gun owner knows how to handle a gun and about its safe storage (especially if being purchased for personal safety), knowing something is far different than demonstrating your capability of actually firing the gun and hitting your intended target.
The thousands of people who are now purchasing and carrying guns in the wake of the mass shootings are, for the most part, totally ignorant of how to use a gun.
The NRA argument that the number of deaths at a mass shooting would be less if someone had a gun, carries little to no weight … UNLESS that person knows how to remove the gun from the holster, release the safety, point the gun, and shoot the perpetrator WITHOUT missing (because every stray bullet can kill).
And this can only be accomplished if the person has had actual training on using a firearm … and this knowledge has given him a clear head and accurate aim.
(Sidenote: The ignoramuses who “open carry” their “assault” rifles may know how to crawl through the brush to shoot a buck, but that’s a far cry from shooting a human being in a moment of stress.)
While I would prefer to live in a country without such easy access to guns, it’s simply not possible so I must endure the mentality of those who think guns are the answer to the dangers of society and who, in most cases, are incapable of actually knowing how to use one to protect themselves and those around them.