Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Irresponsible Gun Owners

C-Ville, one of the local "free alternative weekly" papers, has a regular column called "Ask Ace." Written by someone calling himself "Ace Adkins," the author attempts to answer obscure questions submitted to the paper about Charlottesville and central Virginia. This week's question is about firearms training:
The world is getting to be a pretty scary place, Ace. I don’t know how I’m supposed to protect myself, for example, from the type of person who would carry an assault rifle to a presidential speech. Or in the event of the zombie apocalypse, which is also starting to look pretty likely. Where can I learn how to shoot a gun around here?—N.E. Oakley

I will ignore the lead-in, except to say that a zombie apocalypse is the more likely scenario.

"Ace Adkins" endeavours to answer the question "Where can I learn to shoot a gun around here?" Mr. Adkins lists two local shooting clubs where firearms training is available. One of the local clubs, Rivanna Rifle and Pistol Club, requires an extensive application process and a background check. To make his column palatable to the left-leaning readership, Mr. Adkins uses the restrictive membership requirements of this club as a cudgel to verbally assault non-member firearms owners. Here are his words:
Don’t let the prospect of an intensive auditing process discourage you, though. These safeguards are there for a reason: to separate the responsible firearms enthusiasts from everyone else in America who owns a gun.

The only responsible firearms owners are, according to "Ace," those who belong to a private shooting club which has very strict membership requirements. Everyone else who owns a firearm is an irresponsible trigger-happy boob.

I would remind Mr. Adkins that any adult who legally purchases a firearm at Wal-Mart (or any other retail store) is required to sign federal and state affidavits stating that he is not a felon, a fugitive from justice, a user of illegal drugs, abuser of legal drugs, subject to a restraining order, mentally incompetent, or otherwise unfit to own a firearm. Two forms of identification (at least one photo) showing the purchaser's address must be presented. Finally, a criminal background check is made, which the purchaser must also pay for. Virginia even requires a 30 day waiting period before a second handgun purchase may be made.

These days, all new firearms come with a locking device to render the firearm inoperable when installed. There are also various pieces of gun safety literature accompanying the firearm, which include language cautioning against easy access to firearms by children or irresponsible adults.

Owning a firearm is a heavy responsibility. It is an instrument of death, and demands respect. A fun time can easily turn to tragedy if carelessness, rather than caution, is exercised in its use. A simple idea to keep in mind is all firearms are always loaded. Based on this central premise, all other safety rules will easily fall in line.

There is no greater responsibility for a man than the safety and well-being of his family. A firearm is an effective tool to be used in this lofty endeavour.

No comments: