If you're new to guns and thinking about making a big purchase, we can help you understand the responsibilities that come with firearm ownership.
Should I buy a gun? It’s a question most of us have asked ourselves and maybe even discussed with friends. However, the decision is rarely simple and can be incredibly personal. In this guide, we’ll walk through some of the things you should consider if you’re thinking about making a firearm purchase.
What Makes A Responsible Gun Owner?
We’re of the opinion the U.S. Constitution grants us the right to own a gun. But with that right come some big responsibilities.
It’s a never-ending responsibility. It’s a responsibility not just to yourself, but to your family, neighbors, community, and country.
It’s a responsibility to use the gun wisely and safely. You must ensure it’s never used recklessly, without caution, or by the wrong person. As a gun owner, you must properly secure your gun, safely away from curious children or reckless adults.
If you are considering purchasing a gun for any reason, be honest with yourself and consider these responsibilities. You should know your personal ability to follow through on your duties as a gun owner.
If you can meet these duties then most of us in the gun owning community will welcome you with open arms. By all means, we encourage you to exercise your rights under the 2nd Amendment. If you can’t, then you need to leave the firearm on the store shelf for now.
But how can you decide? Everyone is different, but if you ask yourself certain questions, and verify that your personal situation will align with responsible gun ownership, then you’ll know whether owning a firearm is right for you.
Questions to Ask Before Buying a Gun
Why Do I Want a Gun?
Perhaps the most important question you can ask yourself, you need to fully understand and contemplate why you want a firearm in the first place. Do you want to start hunting? Do you want to enjoy the fun, challenging, and rewarding hobby of target shooting? Do you feel you need a firearm for self-defense?
Understanding the reasons (and being completely honest with yourself) is crucial to buying a gun. This will not only help you decide what type of gun you should purchase, but it will help you come to terms with your real motivation for owning a firearm.
Don’t fool yourself; there are wrong reasons for buying a gun. Wanting to show off or feel tough aren’t great reasons to buy a gun. But even buying a gun just to be part of a group (such as a gun club) can be a wrong reason, especially if you are not properly prepared. Basically, this introspection will help you realize whether you are buying a gun for the right or wrong reasons.
Do I Accept the Responsibility of Gun Ownership?
You can’t take owning a gun lightly. So, you need to seriously consider whether you can accept the responsibility. Can you keep the gun locked up when you’re not using it? Will you be able to use it in a responsible manner? Will you be able to maintain disciplined proficiency with your weapon? If you have any doubts about your acceptance of the responsibilities that come with gun ownership, then you may want to reconsider purchasing a weapon.
How Will My Gun Be Secured?
This question is heavily tied to your acceptance of responsibility. You need to have a clear, detailed plan for how the weapon will be stored. Whether you are buying a semi-automatic handgun for personal defense or a single-shot .22-caliber rifle for varmint control, properly securing the weapon will help you maintain responsible ownership.
Will you have a gun safe? Where will that safe be located? Who will have access to the safe? Will it be a keyed safe or padlocked with an electronic passcode? Who, besides you, will have the keys or know the passcode? These are all questions you need to go through before buying a weapon.
Do I Have Time for Training and Practice?
Many people own a firearm but don’t take the time to practice loading, discharging, and unloading the firearm. This is especially true for self-defense weapons, which require a heightened level of care. If you are purchasing a home-defense firearm, you will need time to safely practice with the gun, preferably in a safe, supervised area, such as a private gun range.
If you don’t have firearms experience, you’ll also want to consider taking classes on the proper use of weapons. Bad habits can form easily, but taking regular classes will help you maintain a responsible level of gun ownership.
Typically, you can’t consider buying a firearm a one-time expense. If you rely upon a firearm, you need to maintain proficiency with it. That means time for the range. It also means money for ammo, classes and potentially repairs. If you carry, you’ll likely need to invest in a quality holster and maybe even a new belt or two.
These things don’t have to break the bank, but a $100 range membership and a case of bulk ammo every few months are costs worth considering.
What are the Gun Laws in My Area?
Finally, you should thoroughly research the gun laws in your area and decide if you are comfortable owning a firearm under any restrictions.
Regardless of how you feel about the laws, you need to be aware of the consequences of not following the law. You need to find out if the state or local government requires gun registrations. Do limits exist on certain firearms (such as magazine size or specific model rifle restrictions), and do you need a permit to purchase a gun?
If you are buying for self defense, you need to be even more thorough on making sure you are informed on the laws. Particularly, you should research state and local regulations for conceal-carry permits, castle doctrine, registration of handguns, and stand-your-ground laws.
When You Should Absolutely Not Buy a Firearm
We believe it is everyone’s right to own and use a firearm. However, there are certain situations when gun ownership just isn’t a good fit. If you fall into the following categories, most of us in the gun community would suggest you go to the range and rent a firearm rather than own and keep one in your home.
When You Can’t Store It Safely
Even if you live alone in a secure home, if you plan on leaving the firearm unsecured, you might reconsider gun ownership. Stashing your unsecured gun underneath a bed or behind a couch is not a safe practice. All guns should be properly locked away. After all, a break-in could lead to the firearm getting into the wrong hands which could have a tragic resolution.
If you are not 100% sure that the gun will stay secured at all times, then gun ownership is probably not right for your home. Perhaps you there are curious young children in the home. Maybe there are reckless teenagers who won’t practice safety procedures. If you have have any reason to doubt that the gun can stay secured, don’t bring one into your home.
When You Are Legally Cannot
This one is obvious, but we still need to mention it. If the law prohibits you from purchasing a firearm, then don’t. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms published this quick resource that’ll help you decide if you fall into one a category that legally cannot own a gun.
When You’re Buying the Firearm in a Rush
Purchasing a firearm, especially for people with little to no firearm experience, can take time. You’ll want to seriously consider this decision; you should never rush to buy a gun. These are acceptable reasons, but they do not merit a rushed, fool-hearty choice.
In the end, the choice to purchase a gun is personal, but because it can have a profound impact on yourself and the people around you, you need to make a well-reasoned, rational decision before purchasing a firearm. If you make sure the timing is right, the next step is trying out a few firearms and finding something you’re comfortable with. That’ll help ensure you make good on your commitment to be proficient as a firearm owner. Good luck out there and we’ll look forward to seeing you at the range!