Boy, the internet is just buzzing with Responsible gun owners letting everyone know how unfair it is to "punish" them for the actions of a Few Bad Apples. Lately I find it quite interesting to press a little on this issue of responsible ownership. Rarely are more than a few questions necessary to reveal that most individuals' conception of Responsible Gun Ownership means that they have never murdered anyone with their gun. While commendable, I'm not sure that alone qualifies.

I may have forgotten a lot since the last time I fired a gun (about two weeks ago, at a range) so I consulted an owner's manual (2010) from Smith & Wesson. As I recalled, the manual contains a very clear list of precautions to take with one's firearm to use them in a safe and responsible manner. The next time you encounter one of the internet's apparent millions of Responsible gun owners, try out some of the following.

1. Is your gun kept in a locked safe? Failing that, is it locked in a case? Or is it in your closet, in a drawer, under the bed, or lying on a table? A cabinet with a glass door that a 10 year old could break is not a safe.

2. Is your ammunition kept in a separate location, away from the firearm? Or is it in a box next to or under it? Or is there a loaded magazine right there? Or is it just flat-out loaded?

3. Is a trigger lock installed? This is required by law in some places and recommended by all manufacturers regardless.

4. If you have no safe and your house was burglarized, would your gun(s) be difficult to find? Or have you "hidden" it where a complete moron could find it (under the bed, in the bedroom closet, etc.)?

5. Have you ever fired your gun in an unsafe manner – in the air, indoors other than at a range, or without being fully aware of your background (i.e. in the dark, in the woods, etc.)?

6. Have you ever fired overpowered or hand-loaded ammunition beyond the manufacturer's specifications for safe operation of your gun?

7. Do you use hearing and eye protection at all times? Do you insist that others in your party do so as well before you fire?

8. When outdoors, have you ever fired intentionally at something that could cause a ricochet (a rock, the ground, etc)?

Some of these things fall into the "Only a Total Moron Would…" category, yet I'd be willing to bet that more than a few self-proclaimed Responsible owners have flouted some of these rules. Oh, they'll have lots of excuses posing as reasons – I'm experienced, I live alone, I know not to blah blah blah – but what they really mean when they call themselves responsible is, "I have never walked into a school with my gun and used it to murder children." This is certainly a key part of responsible ownership, but the bar is set a tad higher. The data would be impossible to collect, but I'm sure that we could find plenty of Very Responsible people with loaded guns laying in a closet or dresser drawer. You know, real responsible-like.

Be Sociable, Share!


  1. c u n d gulag Says:

    The Fourth Amendment?
    The Fourth Amen…
    That's SOOOO pre-9/11 and Patriot Act!
    Get with the times – we are secure in pretty much FECKIN" NOTHIN' anymore!
    Or, have some people forgotten?

    And if I remember right, it was the NEW Conservatives who gave-up that liberty and right for some post 9/11 security.
    The old ones used to be the ones who used to scream bloody murder about privacy rights.
    THOSE were the Conservatives I used to love to talk to and argue with.

    This new breed is too Manichean.
    They're all on the side of God and Jesus, and we're all humpin' or bein' humped by Satan, whose army we Liberals are all, apparently, a part of.

  2. mothra Says:

    One of our state legislators open-carries on the house floor. Welcome to Utah

    Shit. Our GOVERNOR carries–concealed, though.

  3. bb in GA Says:

    I hate that Patriot Act and its children…Notice that it was passed when people were all het up about 9/11. There's a lesson in there for the current emotional storm.

    And I don't care about the jurisprudence on administrative violations of the 4th. I know how its been used by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) in the building code enforcement biz by governments. Been in the inspection game before.

    I don't care if the damn cat lady has crap running out her windows, the government needs to get a warrant and show some evidence in front of least some ol' recorder's court judge before they push her out of the way when she answers the door.

    The rules now make it so they (AHJ) can come in and poke around on the flimsiest pretexts just cause they want to.

    Old school, old fool


  4. Ed Says:

    Yet somehow, 99.9% of the small female population manages to go about their day WITHOUT carrying a loaded gun.

    If "Stand Your Ground" isn't enough to prove what's wrong with your logic, I don't know what to tell you. If you're incapable of feeling secure without having a loaded gun at the ready, go talk to a therapist. I no longer feel compelled to play along with the idea that we should just trust the judgment of people walking around armed. An awful lot of them seem like paranoid, privileged white sociopaths whose idea of being threatened is "I saw some black people." You seem to think that the rest of society should just trust you. Well, you're a stranger. We have no reason to trust your judgment.

    You choose to carry a gun. Your argument implies that you think you have to, as if it's an obligation. If I argued "I can't feel like a man unless I have a gun, because my mother didn't raise me right and my uncle raped me", how would you respond? You'd be on board with that argument, right? You wouldn't perhaps think that I have issues unrelated to "needing" a gun to defend myself?

  5. bb in GA Says:

    And all I ask from your side is to sell it.

    Get the votes to change the Constitution and not be party to attempts to pass un-Constitutional ends-justifies-the-means laws just to fight a holding action.

    Same same for all the Pro-lifers who want to outlaw abortions.


  6. Eric Titus Says:

    For responsible gun owners, I'd recommend supporting legislative efforts to make sure that guns are not used irresponsibly and with awareness of potential consequences.

    First, join the effort to eliminate "Stand your Ground" and similar laws, which encourage the irresponsible use of firearms, often resulting in unnecessary deaths.
    Second, there's an effort to reduce magazine sizes and reduce rates of fire. As you probably know, semiautomatic weapons are dangerous to responsible gun owners, since only criminals tend to use them in public places.
    Lastly, encourage gun-owners not to fantasize about violence or consider guns to be a first resort in self-defense. Guns should, as Nick points out, only be used when the target has a gun and has shown clear intent to kill.

    There is an organization that is working to prevent responsible gun ownership called the NRA. If your political representatives have any association with this organization, I suggest you ask them to reconsider.

  7. Death Panel Truck Says:

    I've never owned a gun, and I don't ever plan to get one. I'm not going to live my live believing that there is someone hiding behind every rock, tree or bush just waiting to take me out. I think people who carry concealed weapons are paranoid, and I refuse to live my life that way. As Deep said above, there is about a "0.00000001% chance that some homicidal maniac will come into your bedroom on any given night." If it happened, and I did have a gun on my nightstand, if the intruder is pointing a gun at me and saw me reaching for mine I'd be dead before I ever got to it. So what's the point?

  8. Death Panel Truck Says:

    "You seem to think that the rest of society should just trust you. Well, you're a stranger. We have no reason to trust your judgment."

    I have a female friend who carries, and I don't trust her judgment either.

  9. JoyfulA Says:

    I lived in a poor big-city neighborhood for a couple of decades, often waiting for a bus before dawn, taking the subway at night, or coming home late after dark. It never occurred to me that I ought to have a gun to protect myself (an average-size female); none of my friends or neighbors had a gun that I knew of, and the only guns I ever saw were worn by cops.

    What are all these people who need their guns so afraid of? Is it just old-fashioned cowardice? "A coward dies a thousand times; a brave man dies but once" was a motto I grew up with, and living every day scared of the big, bad something or other is a life I couldn't bear.

  10. Southern Beale Says:

    This conversation reminds me of that "Real Housewives of Orange County" season a couple years back which featured a Hummer-driving gun-lover who bragged about all of her guns she kept at the house; they even shot footage of her at the gun range. Then two episodes later we find out this woman suffers from severe post-partum depression and had suicidal thoughts.

    There just are no words.

    Anyway, an actual scientific study showed that women are actually at greater risk living in homes with firearms:


  11. sluggo Says:

    congrats you are the Bernard goetz of gin and tacos. Shooting that gun will get you months of lawyer meetings even if 100% justified.

    Drop that gun and it will be even worse.

  12. Neal Deesit Says:

    A co-worker who had been an FBI special agent once recounted a discussion that he'd had about guns with a couple of his fellow brand-new agents and an old FBI hand .

    A newby: "What kind of a handgun should I buy for personal protection?"

    Old hand: "A blue steel snub-nosed .38, but make sure it doesn't have a front sight on the barrel."

    Newbie: "Why no front sight?"

    Old hand: "Because, when somebody takes it away from you and sticks it up your ass, it won't hurt as bad."

  13. Xynzee Says:

    There's a new meme making the rounds about a shooter at The Hobbit.

    The obvious going unmentioned are:
    A) How did the shooter get a gun in the first place.
    B) The person who shot him was an off duty sheriff.

  14. Ed Says:

    Yeah, let's see the numbers on women carrying for personal protection. Number who use it on themselves or have it used on them, vs. successful self defense uses. And that doesn't even count instances of using it as the aggressor.

  15. eau Says:

    Am I missing something? I am reading comments from the likes of ladiesbane & seatea, who usually make a lot of sense, but the sensible bits of their arguments seem to be… not present. This is disappointing.

    @Ladiesbane: You seem to be supplying personal anecdotes to counter data. The numbers say your weapon is likely to be used against you, or not at all. The numbers say that high rates of gun ownership and availability correlate with high rates of gun crime and spree killings. The numbers say that gun control works, and works well. What evidence do you have – apart from personal anecdote – that counters this?

    @SeaTea: "…they are currently spending flooding every available outlet with demonizing anyone who owns any kind of firearm."

    That's not really what's happening, is it? Especially here at G&T. I think your persecution complex may be showing.

    I make these comments not to pile on. It's just that I have come to expect better, based on the strength of your arguments on other topics. If nothing else, doesn't it bother you that you agree with bb? Personally, when I find myself in that situation, I re-assess.

  16. Elle Says:

    This figure is obviously very out of date, but I couldn't find a more recent one over breakfast.

    In 1998, for every one woman who used a handgun to kill an intimate acquaintance in selfdefense, 83 women were murdered by an intimate acquaintance using a handgun. [Cite]

    This paper from 2006 also has some narrative and data about the ways in which guns are used in households in which there is domestic abuse. From surveys of women in domestic abuse shelters, guns are used by intimate partners to control, threaten, and coerce women, even if those women are not shot or shot at. Women in domestic abuse shelters are more likely to report there being a gun in the house at all than women in the general population.

    I don't know if this came up in the other thread, because I was away and haven't read it yet, but I would entirely support limiting access to guns for men convicted of domestic abuse or who are the subject of restraining orders. However, it would seem from this abstract that such provisions in law are not well used.

  17. Nick Says:

    Ed, I'd actually be interested if you could find something like that. The meme about guns for self-defense is "the bad guy will just take them away from you," which always seemed silly to me. I realize criminals aren't always the most rational of actors, but I can't imagine a lot of them taking the "Bitch, you won't pull the trigger" gamble.

  18. bb in GA Says:


    In logic and rhetoric I think that you are guilty of committing the 'Genetic Fallacy' It is a an old Southern tradition for sure, as your momma would say 'Consider the source,' but momma was wrong.

    It has a percentage going for it, but just because 'bb' argues for something doesn't make it automatically wrong

    "Even a blind hog etc etc…"


  19. ladiesbane Says:

    @eau: my deep-rural childhood and urban adulthood have (had) a lot of overlap with guns being used in a safe and responsible manner, in ways that directly improved my safety. I don't expect my anecdotes to persuade anyone of anything or change their minds, just as other people's experiences might inform me or might not. But do you see why all the statistics in the world don't weigh much compared to direct personal experiences? Who discounts his or her own reality after reading something in a newspaper?

    The really tiresome part of all this for me is that I have argued with my gun-loving friends for years that gun ownership and ammo purchase needs to be more regulated, better regulated, and profoundly limited in certain circumstances, with severe punishments and permanent revocation of rights for gun abuses. They think I'm nuts, but I keep trying. And I haven't even owned a gun in years, although not by preference. My ex-husband deplored guns and would not take a course in gun safety, and I wouldn't keep a gun in a house with someone untrained. And where I live now, gun ownership is regulated in really useless ways rather than effective ones, and you have to be law enforcement or military in order to get a carry permit. I am neither. But I won't break the law, even though it would be very easy to do so, and barring a highly unlikely disaster, would never be caught.

    Not having a gun doesn't keep me awake at night. I understand the chances of it being an issue here are slim, given variables of my current situation. But just as I wish gun maniacs would look beyond the raving blowhards of the anti-gun side when they make silly or irrelevant points, I wish my fellow lefties would recognize that not all pro-gun people are maniacs, and that there is such a thing as safe and reasonable gun use, even if you don't like, enjoy, or approve of guns.

    Again, I don't expect any person to have a change of heart or mind based on anyone else's experiences. But ranting, wholesale dismissals of people who have different experiences is not as productive as listening to each other and trying to see where the other guy is coming from.

  20. bb in GA Says:

    yeah, your fellowship of the Left Ring is sagging a bit after they kinda read you out of the club….


  21. ladiesbane Says:

    bb, they're not sagging, I am, since I'm getting the same sneering contempt from my gun-nut friends. Silly of me to throw a dinner party that includes militant carnivores and morally indignant vegans — they literally won't sit at the same table together. I know I'm supposed to pick a side and drink the Kool-Aid, but I just can't.

  22. eau Says:

    @ladiesbane: Damn wordpess ate my lengthy reply. Short version: Seems we agree on more than we disagree on. As a wise and sadly passed friend used to tell me, "If both sides are pissed at you, you're probably on the right track". Seems appropriate to your experiences. Thanks for the thoughtful reply.

    @Nick: I will resist the temptation to tell you to do your own damn research, and instead point you towards one Arthur Kellermann. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Kellermann

    @bb: Have a happy Christmas, big guy.

  23. ladiesbane Says:

    Tusen takk, eau. I hope you don't catch my leprosy for your kind words.

  24. Nick Says:

    Two things, eau: First, had you actually read my post, you would realize that I wasn't asking "is a gun more likely to be used against a criminal or for suicide?", I was responding to Ed's inquiry regarding women who carry–i.e., is a woman who carries a gun more likely to use the gun against an attacker, or have the gun taken from her by said attacker?

    Second, Kellerman's methodology and ability to draw conclusions both suck. Read through the bit after the bullet points on the 1993 study–"Once [information regarding whether the gun used in the shooting was owned by someone in the home, or whether it was brought in by whoever did the shooting] was taken into account, it was found that the effect of household gun ownership on the risk of homicide could not have been more than 6% of the effect that was estimated by Kellermann."

  25. eau Says:

    @Nick: I am not sure which random assertion, moving goalpost, or lazy cherry-pick to address here.

    There are many sites out there, just a google search away, that will break down gun violence and various gun control approaches into sets of numbers for your easy perusal. Make use of them. Or don't, it's your choice.

    Though I think we all know what you'll choose.

    Good luck to you.