5 Way to Help New Gun Owners
There has been a surge of new gun owners lately, and many more people considering buying a gun for the first time. Gun ownership is often a lifestyle change and it can seem very daunting if you go it alone. Would you like to help them, but aren’t sure where to start, or you’re worried you wouldn’t “get it right?” No problem.
Helping someone new to firearm ownership is essential, (yes, I said it), but it doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, it can be “EASYR” - don’t tell the teacher I didn’t spell “easier” correctly - than you might think.
Here are five things that can make it easier - got it right this time - for you to assist new gun owners. The main things to consider are being Effective, Adequate, Safe, Yourself, and to Reconnect. They are not listed in any particular order – other than to stress the cheesy acronym. Actually, they are all interrelated and will probably come up at various times in the process.
It’s easy to be effective. Start by putting your friend at ease by asking him/her questions. Why are they considering buying a gun? What are their concerns about guns? Do they have any physical or legal limitations? What questions do they have for you? Let them know that you don’t know everything, but you’ll help them find the right answer. Gun ownership may not be appropriate for them. But, if it is, don’t tell them what gun to buy.
Instead, guide them in finding what’s right for them. Explain the types of firearms and ammunition, as well as their primary parts and how they work together. If possible, have them rent several types at a shooting range or try different ones at a quality firearms training course. Once they decide on a particular firearm, review the owner’s manual with them. Explain the four basic firearm safety rules and show them how to disassemble, reassemble, and clean their gun. You can ask a local dealer for help, if necessary. Discuss proper firearm and ammunition storage. Their particular situation will guide you through the various options.
You don’t have to be perfect, only adequate. Just do your best. The only thing you MUST do is be safe. If your firearm safety lessons are sound, the rest will work itself out. Ask if they want to bring a friend or someone you know in their peer group. Review the safety and etiquette rules of the range before getting there. Call the range safety officer if you’re not certain. Demonstrate basic shooting fundamentals such as proper grip, sight alignment, and trigger control.
Start light. If possible, start with a gun that is not very loud and has little recoil. You can borrow, (if legal), or rent one if need be. Ask if they have any questions and are comfortable with proceeding. Show them first, then ask if they’re ready to try. Consider loading only one round. Work your way up to “bigger” guns when they’re comfortable.
Help them find quality shooting gear and range gear. You likely know how important this is. A proper gun belt, gun safe, quality holster, and firearm cleaning supplies make all the difference.
Discuss what to look for in quality professional instruction and help them find these classes. (5 Things You Need to Look for in a Firearms Instructor https://guntalk.com/news/training/5-things-you-need-look-firearms-instructor).
All is for naught if someone gets hurt. Would you want to fly again if the first plane you boarded crashed on takeoff? Review the safety rules often. One helpful way to remember them is “L. M. T. T.” Loaded – all guns are always loaded. Muzzle – never point the muzzle at anything you’re not willing to destroy. Trigger – keep your finger off the trigger until you’re prepared to shoot. Target – be sure of your target and what’s beyond.
Reinforce the fact that they are in charge. If they’re not sure something is safe, they can call a “Cease Fire” at any time. There are no penalties for being “too safe.” You’re not in a hurry. The goal is for them to learn and have fun…without getting hurt.
Be yourself. Relax, and have fun. You get to be a recruiter and ambassador of self-reliance. How cool is that? Just be patient and remember, even the best marksman was “new” once, too.
Contact them from time to time to see how they’re doing. Remind them that they are not alone. You are always available to them.
Don’t let all this worry you. As long as you’re safe, you don’t have to perfect, just adequate. Besides, you’re making a new shooting buddy and think of all the time you can claim for your “20 in 2020” project. :)
Finally, please realize that you are helping this person become more self-sufficient and responsible for their safety and that of their loved ones. It is an admirable thing that you are doing. You are making a difference! ~ Scott
Scott is a liberty/responsibility minded, retired enlisted military dude who is relatively new to the benefits of being involved in firearms, hunting, self-reliance/defense, and politics. As such, his understanding of how these things interrelate and strengthen every American is constantly evolving. These experiences fuel his passion for not just "gun rights," but for ALL rights and what it takes to defend them.