Anti-gun activist Heidi Yewman is carrying a gun for a month. Her rules are simple: “Carry it with me at all times, follow the laws of my state, only do what is minimally required for permits, licensing, purchasing and carrying, and finally be prepared to use it for protecting myself at home or in public.” In her Ms Magazine article, she describes the nervousness of her first day of carrying, and how easy it was to get the gun without any training or really anything more than a background check (which she seems to think is bad or something.)
First off, rules 3 and 4 conflict. Being ready to use a gun to defend yourself is more than having the gun and the mental readiness to pull the trigger. It means having the familiarity with your weapon to be able to use it effectively. As much as people like to think there can be a one-size-fits-all solution, there can’t be. People have different levels of comfort in dealing with firearms, and someone starting from the author’s perspective of fear of guns is going to need a lot more time and work to reach that point of comfort than someone that has grown up around guns.
And that nervousness you are feeling? That is your brain telling you that you don’t know what you are doing, and now would be a good thing to learn. Most people that aren’t out to prove a point would see that, and take a class, buy a book, or at least ask the guy at the gun store to give you a quick walk through. By the way, I do think that the store employee should make some effort to make sure that a person buying a gun has some idea how to use it, but the ultimate responsibility is still with the buyer.
Heidi works pretty hard to make the point that we just shouldn’t be allowed to do stupid things. Imagine for a moment an America where it was illegal to do stupid stuff. Fly in something heavier than air? Are you crazy? That electricity stuff can kill you, no experimenting with that, either. Every sport includes taking unnecessary risks. Frankly, I don’t want to live in a country that prevents you from doing anything dangerous.
In a country were we value freedom, sometimes you end up letting people like the author behave irresponsibly. But the fact is that there are not that many gun accidents, because the majority of people are more responsible than what she describes, and get the information and training they need.
I will be interested to see how a month of carrying goes for her.
If you don’t feel comfortable with your guns, please get training, read up on the subject, or spend some time with someone you trust. Better yet, do them all.