FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
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What are the safety rules for handling guns?
When studying firearm safety (and every gun owner should), you will no doubt come across the Ten Commandments of Gun Safety. These well-intentioned lists have serious drawbacks—no two lists are ever the same and there are many more than ten rules to follow for safe gun use. In addition, hunters must learn many rules that don’t apply to other shooters. For instance, a hunter should never openly carry game—it may make you an unwitting target of other hunters.
The Commandments of Safety are actually a way of saying, “Here’s how people have accidents with guns.” Each rule implies a kind of mishap. It’s good exercise to look at each rule and read between the lines to find its counterpart—the potential disaster the rule will help you avoid. For example, rule Number One translates into, “People have accidents with guns that they believe are empty.” Always keep in mind the prime directive: Take time to be safe instead of forever being sorry.
• Eddie Eagle (gun avoidance for youngsters)
— Stop, Don’t touch, Leave the area, Tell an adult.
• NRA (three basic rules shown here out of many)
1. ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
2. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
3. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
• NSSF (National Shooting Sports Foundation)
Project Childsafe (An overall review of firearms safety procedures)
1. Always Keep The Muzzle Pointed In A Safe Direction
2. Firearms Should Be Unloaded When Not Actually In Use
3. Don’t Rely On Your Gun’s “Safety”
4. Be Sure Of Your Target And What’s Beyond It
5. Use Correct Ammunition
• Gunsite Academy (Col. Jeff Cooper)
1. ALL guns are always loaded.
2. Never let the muzzle cover anything which you are not willing to destroy.
3. Keep your finger OFF the trigger until your sights are on the target.
4. Always be sure of your target.
• The Arizona Gun Owner’s Guide (five rules here out of fifty)
1–Treat every gun as if it is loaded until you have personally proven otherwise.
2–Always keep a gun pointed in a safe direction.
3–Don’t touch the trigger until you’re ready to fire.
4–Be certain of your target and what is beyond it before squeezing the trigger.
5–Keep a gun you carry holstered or concealed unless you’re ready to use it.
• Self Defense Preparedness Rules
— You must have a gun.
— Keep your gun loaded and ready to fire at all times.
— Focus on the front sight.
— The first hit counts more than the first shot.
— Use cover, concealment, movement and distance to your advantage.
What kind of gun should I get?
If you’re asking this sort of question, take a class first and read a book or two. You’re obviously talking about a first gun. You need to know a lot before you can responsibly handle your first gun on your own. Don’t take the advice of a well-meaning friend and get the gun your friend thinks is best—that’s like letting your friend buy your shoes. In a class, you’ll get to try out a few different types of firearms, and see which suits you best. Just like shoes, try before you buy. Hand size, body strength, what the gun will be used for, revolver or semiautomatic, weight, cost, size—a lot of factors play into making the right decision.
How does self defense work?
This is a question that can be studied for a lifetime. An endless supply of books and DVDs addresses that and related questions, the nuances, specific case examples (all of which are different, never anticipated, and never what the intended victim expected), tactics and strategy for avoidance and for winning (How To Survive a Gunfight, In The Gravest Extreme, The Concealed Handgun Manual, The Truth About Self Protection, No Second Place Winner, Principles of Personal Defense, many more, see these books here).
The following guidelines were developed to help convince people to avoid ever having to act in self defense, because of the enormous legal risks and physical dangers involved. Read some books. Take some classes, the best medicine. Learn more. A gun is not a talisman that protects you, it’s a tool you have to know how and when to properly use.
- If you ever shoot in self defense you must then defend yourself against execution for murder.
- When you drop the hammer you are cashing in your life savings for your lawyer’s retainer. Avoid this unless your life depends on it.
- It’s always better to avoid a gunfight than to win one.
- If innocent life doesn’t immediately depend on it, don’t shoot.
And if it does, don’t miss.
If you’ll recall, that argument was made when we started issuing permits in 1994, and it turned out to be false.
It’s been made in every state that has adopted a discreet-carry permit program, and it turned out to be little more than fear mongering or paranoia. People who irrationally fear firearms may suffer from a debilitating medical condition, hoplophobia, and may need to seek treatment.
The random-violence fear was voiced loudly when Arizona introduced discreetly carried firearms in eateries in 2009 and it turned out to be false.
It was made when make-believe gun-free zones were eliminated in National Parks in February and nothing happened. It was made again when make-believe gun-free zones were eliminated in state and municipal parks, and like all previous chicken-little-type fears, it was a myth. Those recurrent fears are strongly indicative of hoplophobic behavior.
The idea that law-abiding adults become homicidal if they can discreetly (or openly) keep and bear arms is abject nonsense and it’s way past time for the media to come to grips with that reality. Why would the media want to falsely scare the public?
In Arizona, only law-abiding adults can discreetly keep and bear arms under the new law. Only law-abiding adults can openly carry firearms in Arizona, under law in place since statehood in 1912. Be careful not to conflate criminal misuse of firearms, with the normal, routine, safe and honorable carriage and use of firearms by the citizenry. Be particularly careful about spreading phobic-based fear in places where news should appear.
If you’re afraid that someone with a gun will suddenly snap and go crazy, then people really ought to train and arm themselves. Next question please.
Perhaps this argument should be made for bicycles and skating, which are far more responsible for emergency-room visits than the shooting sports and legal firearms possession.
Everyone strongly supports training which is why the TrainMeAZ campaign was created. Every citizen should take a firearms class, learn to be safe, and become the nation of marksmen the Founders envisioned. Even if a person doesn’t and never will own a firearm, Arizonans believe the person should at least be trained for firearms safety. To make an analogy, you may not own a pool or live near water, but you should certainly know how to swim, because water can kill you.
Firearms training is not a proper place for government mandates however. The Constitution actually forbids that. And if the nanny state would ever presume legitimate authority to require enforced training and permits for bicycle riding (or swimming!), and create cartels of government-certified bicycle, swimming or firearms instructors you were required to meet with before you could pursue your interests (for your own safety of course, because it’s so dangerous), your personal freedom would be in grave danger.
Arizonans have been carrying openly without government-enforced classes and permits since 1912—do you see some need there that the rest of us have missed?
Vermont (1791), Montana (1991), Alaska (2003), and Texas (2007) have a partial or complete right to keep and bear arms discreetly without government interference, mandates or permits. Are you saying they have some problem we don’t know about? Arizona joined them in 2010, and despite the fear mongering (and lack of apologies,) experienced no problem whatsoever.
Eleven states issue discreet-carry permits with no government-enforced training requirement at all, and they’ve been doing fine all along. States like Pennsylvania, with one million permits in place, I can get you the list.
The media tends to confuse crime and vicious thugs, with decent Americans who exercise their rights. Isn’t it time for that bias to stop and for reality to set in? Guns are good. Gun save lives. Guns protect you. Guns are why America is still free.
Most reporters and editors implicitly understand that a license to exercise any First Amendment right would be completely unacceptable. The rest of the Bill of Rights follows the same rules and logic and is equally protected from government interference. Hmmm, a license to be a reporter? Why would an honest reporter object? Why indeed. If that leaves you in a quandry, I have the simple answer. info@TrainMeAZ.com
I can hear some reporters thinking (because many have posed this to me): A pen is not as dangerous as a gun. Tell that to Karl Marx. Tell that to the Russian Czars. Tell that to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, where the entire regime was overthrown based on spoken words with no shots fired. Tell that to the Washington state apple industry, which was destroyed for a season by a false Alar scare perpetrated by the news media.
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