As a Libertarian-minded citizen, I have always respected a person’s right to keep and bear arms. Ingrained in the founding of our nation, the people’s right to firearms is a notion that I understand and embrace, but up until this year, I never knew what it was like to own a gun and spend time around gun owners. It was an eye opening experience.
From the minute I walked into the first gun store in search of my first firearm, a realization quickly hit me: these people are not crazy. In fact, they were some of the friendliest, serious and safety-conscience people I have ever met. Every firearm was treated with care and safety-checked before handling by customers and store employees. The process was organized and efficient and the salespeople were patient and eager to help. They seemed to enjoy what they do.
Although typical of other industries, nobody attempted to “oversell” me a caliber of gun that I was not confident and experienced enough to handle. The advice was dead-on accurate and consistent between gun stores: start small, learn how to properly and safely handle the gun, then upgrade to higher calibers when you are ready. This is not a race, and you are not impressing anyone by shooting a caliber that is not right for you. That advice is sound.
There I was, talking to card carrying members of the NRA about purchasing my first weapon, and it was surprisingly stress-free. No pushy sales people, no hard selling. This was serious business, and I felt how seriously everyone in those stores took the act of shooting a deadly weapon. It wasn’t child’s play. It wasn’t about killing. It wasn’t about destroying. Gun ownership is about legitimate personal protection and being safe and responsible while doing so, no exceptions.
Eventually, I walked out of one of the stores with my first gun. While pleased with the decision that I made, I was saddened to realize first hand who gun control laws actually effect. Gun control affects these people, not the criminal. They affect serious, safe and law-abiding citizens, not killers. Those who work and shop at gun stores are not the problem, but they are – unfortunately – the ones who gun control laws largely effect.
Why? Because they are law-abiding, that’s why.
Although I have always respected the right to bear arms, this experience has illustrated to me just how detrimental gun control is to our society and what little it does to improve the safety and security of the American people. Just like drugs, guns will always exist in our society. Take guns away from law-abiding people, and the government single-handedly turns us into sitting ducks for those who would do us harm.
Like shooting fish in a barrel.