Unfortunately today guns and gun control is an incredibly divisive topic. However, that doesn't change that there are millions of firearms owned legally by Americans nationwide. While I'm not going to get into the debate of whether something should be legal or illegal, the fact remains that shooting sports are an incredible hobby and guns are tools that when used properly can provide positive experiences for their owners. As a result, the trend is clear. There are millions of Americans who are becoming first time gun owners. This makes it essential that we take a look at safe operation of these machines.
Make Sure You Know How to Keep Guns Safe
Guns are dangerous weapons. They aren't toys. That should be obvious but unfortunately accidents happen. I still remember my first encounter with a gun in a friend's house as a kid. He was so excited to show me his dad's handgun that was tucked away in his father's sock drawer. Luckily nothing happened, but imagine if that gun was loaded and had gone off while we were playing with it?
Keeping guns safe is more than just trigger locks and gun safes, but it's still important to keep guns safe and locked away so they can only be used by properly trained operators. Talk with your kids and other people in your home as well. Education is key here people and it can save a life!
Consider Gun Safety and Firearms Owner Training Classes
Even though there's no requirement in most jurisdictions to have any sort of education or licensing when it comes to owning a firearm. Education is critical. Not only will it help you operate the weapon more effectively, safely, and more accurately - but it helps take the mystique away. Make no mistake. These are not toys. Guns are fun to shoot, beautiful to look at, and critical for their intended purpose - punching holes through things. However they aren't magical. Just like with me and my friend, many kids first experience with guns is because they wanted to see the thing dad wouldn't let them touch.
So, start firearms education early and create a positive relationship for your son or daughter early on in life. When you do, you'll have an exciting new hobby to share with them for a lifetime.
Wear Eye and Ear Protection
Just as it's important to keep guns safe in your home, it's critical to make sure you wear proper eye and ear protection. Many people don't think about it at first, but guns are loud and when they fire, small pieces of metal or even shells can fly out at you. It's so easy to carry around extra ear plugs or shooting earmuffs and a pair of glasses, so just make sure that's in your ammo gun case along with your ammo.
Today, there are a wide variety of hearing products available. This includes the classic in-ear "squishy foam" that is still probably still the best solution since it blocks sound from entering the ear by creating a physical barrier. However, newer products like the Peltor Sport Tactical 500 headset will deaden the sound as well as allowing you to have voice calls and even listen to music while on the range.
Know Why You Want a Gun
There's a lot of guns out there and they have different uses. Some are best as collectors items, others are intended for sports like shooting trap, and some are designed for shooting animals at long distances. Whatever your intended purpose (including for self defence) it's important that you know why you want a gun and how you intend to use it. This will make the process of choosing your gun a lot easier whether you buy it online or through your local FFL Gun Dealer.
This Can Be an Expensive Hobby
Regardless of what type of gun you buy and what you want to do with it, gun ownership can be an expensive hobby. When pricing out your gun purchase, make sure to factor in things like what ammo it needs as well as the cost of targets, ear and eye protection, gun safe, and even potentially the costs of belonging to a club to shoot at. Even handguns can be expensive to purchase, operate, and maintain so remember to take into consideration all the different costs.
Yes, You Can Build Your Own Gun
Teaching your son how to shoot is a great way to spend some quality father-son time together. I know it's something I enjoyed learning from my Father in Law, but to take things a step further - did you know you can also buy gun parts to build you own gun?
In high school, I remember one of my friends who's dad bought him a used car that they then proceeded to renovate and by the time it was finished the guy had a huge amount of respect and understanding for how that car operated. The same would be true if you built a gun together. As a side benefit, you'd also be able to know that YOUR gun was unique.
Check Your Local Laws Before Shopping
While gun ownership is constitutionally protected, different states and local municipalities have different rules of who can buy guns, how many, what type, and where you can buy them. While any federal firearms license (FFL) gun dealer knows their stuff and so do most reputable dealers, it's important that you do some research online as well. This will help avoid disappointment after shopping for hours ... only to find out that you can purchase the gun you dream of owning.
While the process of buying a gun can be complex and confusing sometimes, we really appreciate the transparency of reputable online gun dealers like GrabAGun.com who lay out exactly what the process is for buying a gun.