Responsible Gun Owners Need to Get More Assertive About Policing Our Own

Gun Negligence
Responsible Gun Owners need to get more Assertive about Policing our Own

USA –-(Ammoland.com)- We see a lot of news stories about people protesting against or worrying about “Gun Violence”.

Most often, this is from what would clearly be considered the Anti-Gun side of the issue in the United States. Witty Pro-Gun people sometimes remark that we also are very much against “gun violence”. A less intellectually engaging, but still appropriate response might be that we should all be against all forms of “violence”.

At the far end of the spectrum are Pro-Gun people least likely to actually win anyone over to our side who want to beat their chest and remind everyone, accurately but needlessly at this point, that “Violence is Sometimes the Best Answer“.

This week, I'm more concerned about how gun owners feel and act about Gun Negligence.

I made two long social media posts this week, both of which were met with almost universal support from my (somewhat cultivated) audience and with a tiny amount of fear and derision from within the gun community.

4/24/18: Prompted by the outcry to hold the father of the Waffle House Killer in TN criminally responsible for giving him guns.

While we are all talking about how the Father of the Waffle House shooter should face charges (and he certainly should!), take a moment to think about who YOU might know that should be talked to about their access to firearms.

  • Aging family member showing signs of dementia?
  • Struggling Veteran who might need support/intervention?
  • Friend with a drinking problem that insists on carrying a gun all the time?

As Firearms Owners, particularly those of us interested in the defensive use of guns, we need to be braver as a community about confronting those people in our lives who might be needing a conversation about responsible ownership, training or doing without guns in their immediate control, at least for a period of time.”

4/25/18: Prompted by a story about an instructor who injured THREE Students while trying to “teach them gun safety”.

“Gun Violence? How about we protest against Gun Negligence?

As a community, we need to be Much More Assertive about policing our own. I’m tired of hearing that, by pointing out that some people shouldn’t own guns, much less carry them in public, we’re “giving ammunition to the anti’s”. Let’s keep in mind the concept of the Cover Up being Worse than the Crime. 

I’d rather give The Earth some valid figurative ammunition and have them understand why Education about Gun Safety in Public Schools is common sense than give real ammunition to an overconfidence and under skilled gun owner.

It’s okay to admit that some people aren’t ready for Concealed Carry and that some aren’t ready to own and operate guns on their own. I gave some obvious examples in a post yesterday… and I was pleasantly surprised to see how many people “got it”. The contextual reference of the father of the waffle house Killer makes my point pretty obvious: Like Freedom, Free Speech and all the other Rights protected or granted by The Constitution, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms must be exercised responsibly and can be sanctioned. We shouldn’t need to “prove” that we deserve these rights, but we absolutely should vehemently protect them by engaging in and promoting their responsible exercise.

That starts by not being afraid to call out the incompetent, negligent and/or reckless amongst us.

There is a world of difference between “should not” and “should not be allowed to”…. if we aren’t comfortable pointing out the former, there are people lining up to enforce the latter. Too many people afraid of responsibility or accountability will ask “who am I to judge?”…. which is nothing more than abdicating the judgement to someone else. If you See Something, Say Something. Fight irresponsible or negligent gun ownership.

I am a staunch proponent of “Constitutional Carry” primarily because it should be the obvious interpretation of the 2nd Amendment… I have also seen the positive effect it has on promoting training and continuing education inside the firearms community. When you don’t tell people they are “trained” after a worthless class, common sense drives them to seek out training. Once freedom is in place, people worry less about slippery slopes and they encourage others to seek training as well.”

Both of these posts get to the point of the original title of this blog: “Responsible Gun Owners need to get more Assertive about Policing our Own.”

I have long said that I am much more interested in educating gun owners to be better prepared and more responsible than I am in trying to change an anti-gunners mind… but, let me tell you a secret: If we gun owners were generally more responsible, there would be fewer anti-gunners. Furthermore, the anti-gunners that were still around would have much less to point at in regard to tragedies and negligence.

Author and Gun World Pundit Grant Cunningham had this to say when sharing one of those posts his audience:

“I've taken the keys and driver's license away from an elderly parent who could no longer drive safely. I've also removed firearms from that parent's home, for the same reason. Yet, for some reason, too many people in the “gun culture” see those as two separate situations, one they'd be willing to do and one which they'd hesitate to do. I take the possession of firearms seriously, and I encourage others to do the same. Not just for themselves, but for the people around them as well. Sometimes we need to “police our own”, and as I'm fond of saying: If we don't do it, someone else will — and we won't like the results.”

He's right, ya know?

Child Deaths 2000 2015 Average
Child Deaths 2000 2015 Average

Also this week, Deryck Poole shared this fact chart, showing that people interested in protecting kids have more important things to worry about than school shootings. Again, if we focus on Policing our Own, it is apparent that have a lot of work to do inside the world of the legal gun owners when it comes to protecting our kids from the danger that firearms can pose. We are just as pre-occupied with the sensationalism of school shootings. I believe that less talk about Arming Teachers and more talk about responsible carry, staging and storage of firearms is in order? According to one set of statistics provided at what I consider to be a politically neutral website:

  • From 2006-2016, almost 6,885 people in the U.S. died from unintentional shootings. In 2016 alone, there were 495 incidents of accidental firearm deaths.
  • Accidental gun deaths occur mainly in those under 25 years old. In 2014, 2,549 children (age 0-19) died by gunshot and an additional 13,576 were injured

Of course, you can find a plethora of stories in the mainstream media about gun negligence. A simple Google search of “accidental deaths firearms kids” found these stories from CBS, Newsweek, USA Today, National Review, and CNN . Regardless of the political leaning or agenda of any of those publications, there are far too many examples of firearms negligence and irresponsible ownership underlying their stories. Just this month a 5 year old found a gun owned by a concealed carry permit holder and started playing it. He killed his 6 year old brother. On the same day, a mother shot her sleeping 5 year old daughter.

The mistakes we see far too often don't just involve poor handling or storage, they also involve reckless behavior and poor tactics. Last year, an armed homeowner mistaken as a threat was shot by a responding Police Officer in Pennsylvania and another man was sentenced to over 8 years in prison for accidentally killing his neighbor while firing a gun negligently at a man who had just stolen his truck as he was driving away. In cases like these, it's the tactics and techniques involved in the use of defensive firearms that must be addressed.

Basic Gun Safety Rules
Basic Gun Safety Rules

The Firearms Education that we need as gun owners and the standard that we should be holding each other to goes far beyond an overly simplistic set safety rules, a gun lock shipped with every gun or a mostly-worthless required course for a CCW Permit. We need a cultural shift to worry less about the politics and more about the responsibility. We need to be less afraid that we are “giving the anti's ammunition” when we call out bad actors and sanction irresponsible gun owners and more worried about the next tragedy that occurs when we don't speak up.

As I mentioned in one of the social media posts, I am far too often reminded of the idea that the Cover-Up is Worse Than the Crime when I think about how we sometimes react by downplaying the dangers of irresponsible firearms ownership or fail to capitalize on learning opportunities presented when accidents do occur or mistakes are made.

True Stories of guns being discharged at gun shows or in gun shops are often only shared in hushed tones. Negligent discharges at large trade events are sometimes swept so far under the rug that those bringing them up a few years later are often accused of making them up or spreading rumors! A few years ago, after a gun was accidentally fired in a booth at the Great American Outdoors Show, I heard that representatives from a pro-gun organization was going around asking all the other vendors in the area not to talk about the incident on social media or otherwise, with threats of not allowing them to attend the following year if they did! The facts of these incidents being shared can educate others so that these mistakes might be avoided. If nothing else, talking about them is a reminder of the risk involved with gun ownership and gun handling… which should encourage education.

Join me in the fight against Gun Negligence.

If you see something, say something. Yesterday, I had to tell someone that I thought they shouldn't carry a firearm in public until they got more training and practice with their gun. There is a huge difference between “should not” and “Should not be allowed to” when it comes to the right to own and carry firearms. The former is common sense, the latter is a legal restriction. It is not easy to hand someone their gun in pieces and tell them (in front of other people) that I honestly think they pose more a danger to themselves or others by carrying a gun than they stand a chance of successfully defending themselves with that gun. I am passionate about firearms education and the preparation for personal defense.

I have spent over two decades working in the firearms industry and been a full time educator in this arena for over 15 years. I gave that man my informed opinion. I hold no power of law to enforce my opinion, I didn't “turn him in to the authorities”, I didn't steal his gun… But, I did take a pretty dramatic action to ensure that he and others knew what my opinion, as an educated and experienced firearms professional, was. My organization also offered to provide further education and guidance in the very near future.

We did what we thought was right as responsible members of the firearms community. I hope you will dedicate yourself to doing so as well. I often hashtag “With Rights Come Responsibilities”. I think that we all need to be “Responsibly Armed“. Two years ago, my company chose as the motto for our annual Training Conference (and thus the theme for the following year) “Ius et Onus”, translated as Rights & Responsibilities”. In 2017, our motto was “Veritas et Utilitas”… “Truth & Utility”. If you know the truth, but you don't use it or share it with others in a way that can help them, you aren't doing your job.

Personally, my mantra of late has been “Protect What You Love”. If you aren't encouraging all the gun owners you know to be responsible ones, you may very literally be endangering yourself and those you care about… you may also be endangering our right to keep and bear arms.

-RJP


Rob Pincus
Rob Pincus

About Rob Pincus

Rob Pincus has been educating people about defensive shooting and related personal defense topics for over two decades. He is the Executive Director of Personal Defense Network and the owner of I.C.E. Training Company. He has authored several books, produced over 100 training DVDs, appeared on several TV & Radio shows and trained military, law enforcement and armed individuals around the world. His advice focuses on efficiency and practicality based on his own experiences and continuing research of both real world events and cutting edge training practices. www.icetraining.us

  • 25 thoughts on “Responsible Gun Owners Need to Get More Assertive About Policing Our Own

    1. If you dig deep into the kids involved in accidental shootings you see that a majority of them are in families and situations on the edge of the law. It’s extremely rare that it involves a licensed concealed carry holder, frequent sport shooter or hunter. True it is a tragedy when a child is accidentally shot, but it is rare and the NRA and Eddy Eagle are working to make it even rarer. The tragedy in Florida happened because someone at the FBI made a conscious decision to sit on the information that would have prevented the shooting. That person is as guilty of the murders as the shooter but that person has a political agenda and is a true believer. By sitting on the info and letting the “tragedy” play out, they generated millions of dollars worth of free press for their cause.

    2. There is absolutely no excuse for a child to have access to a gun. once or twice a year you here about a young child picks up a hand gun and the worst happens. The left throw themselves on floor with there hair on fire when it happens. The jist of of Robs point is we need to be more careful how we handle our firearms around children so we don’t give even MORE fuel to the antigunners. When the 7 yr old shoots the 5 yr old there is no excuse PERIOD!

    3. Strong article. Agreed – Violence is violence, regardless of the weapon employed. It’s like, “would you rather be shot or stabbed or beaten?” .. how about “none of the above?” … in any case, a “right” is not some sort of “carte blanche” thing you get to do no matter what … rights come with responsibilities. I have a right to keep and bear arms, but that right comes with a heavy burden of responsibility to ensure that *my* arms are not used in criminal enterprise, are not accessible to my children or others who are not equipped to use them responsibly, and so forth. I am “pro gun control” in the sense that I am for holding firearm owners (including myself) responsible for the safe and secure storage, handling, and use of firearms – that’s what sound “gun control” means to me.

    4. The Man Just made a few Points
      of Being Safe and Responsible .
      Don’t go off the deep end. Think !
      1 life lost to an accident is 1 too many,
      If it was by car or gun or hot dog .
      This is a site about guns so that’s where
      the comments point to . Yes we need to
      be safe while eating a hot dog too !
      Just keeping things in perspective !

    5. Dear Mr Pincus,
      You completely lost any semblance of credibility right here and I stopped reading:
      “We are just as pre-occupied with the sensationalism of school shootings. I believe that less talk about Arming Teachers and more talk about responsible carry, staging and storage of firearms is in order?“
      You are so far off, you must be on another planet than the one I’m on to say something like this. For the vast (and I mean VAST) majority of anti gunners this IS the issue. Did you happen to catch the March that just occurred weeks after the Parkland shooting? That really wasn’t a march against negligence with guns from gun owners. The Parkland murders weren’t negligence. That was a mentally deranged individual, not a concealed carrier. To claim that concealed carriers, who BTW are some of the most law abiding citizens, or any other gun violence issue is the problem is WRONG, period. It’s a shame Rob, because the rest of your message was good. The above quote just completely came off the tracks, and I no longer wanted to hear your opinions.

    6. While firearm safety is important, accidental firearms deaths in children is way down the list for causes of accidental deaths in kids. 3000 kids and teens a year are killed because they were texting while driving. More kids drown in buckets than die from accidental shootings. More kids choke on hotdogs than die by accidental gunfire. The gun control crowd likes to throw around statistics, but what they don’t say is that they consider anyone under 26 to be a “child.” Fact is, unless you and your kids are involved in the illegal drugs and gangs trade, they are more likely to be killed while texting than accidentally shot.

    7. “GUN VIOLENCE” is a made up word which actually does not exist any more the TRUCK VIOLENCE
      MAN is the only one to blame for violence and but some just can’t comprehend that.

      1. Gun violence is real. I have an evil AR-15 that fell over and violently attacked my Benelli Performance trap shotgun. The Bernelli was just minding its own business and now is scared for life.

      2. I know you guys are all Tongue-in-Cheek… BUT, how do you feel about the “Sometimes Violence is the Answer” T-shirts and Memes? “gun violence” is an actual thing.

        1. Ok first, yes, “gun violence” is a real thing. But why do we label it “gun” violence? Do we call stabbings “knife violence” or trucks running down pedestrians “truck violence” or punches that kill some one “fist violence”, and on and on? No and that’s because anti gunners need a catchy phrase that says it all. Now, the “Some times violence is the answer”, well that IS true! Now would I wear a shirt that says that? Do I agree with wearing slogans like that? NO. Same reason I don’t wear any 2A slogan clothing or have bumper stickers on my car. As a concealed carrier I don’t want the extra attention that those things bring to me. I DO NOT want to stand out in the crowd.

    8. Goodbye, Ammoland. You have worn me out with blaming responsible gun owners for all the problems of society.

      1. Bye Mikail, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out. You know there are people you can talk to about your psychosis.

        1. Hey Roy, How’d it feel to be blamed for the Parkland shootings and all mass shootings for that matter by Mr. Pincus?

          1. You are showing your paranoia again. Seek professional help before you end up on the news. And I thought you were leaving, do you need help packing?

            1. Really Roy? Do you talk to everyone you disagree with like that? I assure you I am not paranoid (whatever that has to do with my comment??) and I think you being like maybe 10 years old (my assumption from your well thought out, “adult” sounding post) doesn’t place you in any position to be diagnosing me as someone who will “end up on the news”. Grow up and then come back and make an actual contribution here, thanks.

    9. Why do some people always throw veterans into the mix as people that should not own guns. The left has certainly managed to create and spread that illusion.

    10. The only thing I disagree with in this article is the statement, “If we gun owners were generally more responsible, there would be fewer anti-gunners.” Not to put too fine a point on it but gun ban organizations and most gun ban people are mostly about the control, not the guns. Their stated objectives are clear and they will not cease their push for citizen disarmament until we are ALL good obedient little vassals of the collective.

      Yes, we gun owners should practice and insist on safe firearms handling and stewardship from everyone who owns a gun. I do, as does every gun owner with whom I associate. BUT, and I can’t state this too forcefully, this action alone will NOT change a single gun banner’s opinion and goal to eliminate civilian ownership of firearms.

      Practicing safe gun handling and storage is a must. Its only use however, in the struggle to secure true 2nd Amendment freedoms, is to keep from giving ammunition to our gun control enemies.

      The reality is that until each and every gun owner is willing to stand tall in this struggle and actively work in the cause with a meaningful commitment of personal time and money, we will continue to lose ground against the enemies of Liberty.

      Rust and evil never sleep and if we want to win this war for the hearts, minds and future of this great nation and its people, we must also be relentless in the cause. The slide to tyranny has begun and once again it will require the efforts of true patriots to “mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor,” to halt the decay and lethargy that has set in. Stay strong in the fight; it is never finished.

    11. We teach our children to stay away from the water, then we teach them to swim. We teach our children stay away from the road, then we buy them a bicycle and teach them road safety. We teach our children to never touch a gun, then we hope they never see or touch a gun. Huh? What is wrong with that? Education is priceless and may save your child’s life, teach them about guns!

    12. When Oklahoma got concealed carry I had already carried for over twenty years without the blessing of the State. I got my CCW license and my wife expressed an interest in doing so herself. I told her that she was not equipped to carry concealed for a number of reasons, primary of which is security of the firearm. She admitted I was right. She has access to the firearms left out of the safe at home and is capable of using them. She is fine with that paradigm. And let me add that when the grandchildren of other kids are at the house, any gun I’m not wearing is locked up.

      1. Roy is 100% right, if you are not wearing your firearm, then lock it up.

        Many options for IWB holsters these days so no excuse to toss it in a desk drawer.

        1. Unless of course, you are home with no children and no crazy people. Sorry, but we live in America. No one in my house is under the age of 25. No one is crazy. No one is an addict. No one has delusions of paranoia. Lock your guns up all you want, but my home is my castle. I don’t need to internet “expert” telling me how I should live.

    13. Safety First !
      If You Can’t Be Safe Handling One !
      You Need to Choose a Different Type ,
      of Defensive Tool ! Less Lethal Alternatives ,
      Would Be My Guess . The Life You Save !
      May Be Mine !

        1. you missed the point
          it’s not about me coming to your house.
          it’s about people who DO have KIDS in
          their homes with unlocked guns !
          I get it, Mine are all over also.
          But no kids, no untrained hands around.
          When grand kids are here their locked up !

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