Friday, July 11, 2014

Education key to firearms safety


Education is key to firearms safety but Everytown seems to promote misinformation and propaganda. Let’s educate our kids instead.

1922, firearms safety taught in high school
1922 D.C. high school girls rifle team | PHOTO CREDIT: Wiki Commons

An organization named Everytown for Gun Safety recently began posting gun safety tips, pretending to promote Second Amendment rights coupled with some element of common sense gun safety concerns. They are a merger between Moms Demand Action (MDA) and Mayor Bloomberg’s group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG).

The collaboration among the groups is demonstrated by shared postings among their sites and pages. They seem to be using the same talking points and targeting the NRA.

Anybody who watched the movie Blackhawk Down may recall the scene where Captain Steel confronts one of the Delta Force operators. The operator left his rifle’s selector switch set to “fire”. The operator responded to the Ranger with “My safety is right here” as he twitched his trigger finger in the air.
There are several common sense rules to gun safety most soldiers and gun aficionados understand. Let’s review a few of them.
  1. Always treat a gun as if it is loaded.
  2. Never point a gun at something unless you want to shoot it.
  3. The first step in cleaning your firearm is to clear it.
  4. When not engaging a target, point the firearm in a safe direction. Remember rules 1 and 2.
  5.  Your brain is your first safety.
  6.  Your finger is your second safety. Do not put your finger on the trigger until you are ready and willing to shoot.
  7. Aim. If you are going to shoot, keep your eyes (and sights) on the target.
  8.  Keep your weapon clean and inspect it regularly to insure it doesn’t malfunction.
  9. Always remember the principles of marksmanship.
  10. Always assume the people around you don’t understand firearms safety.
They make sense, don’t they? If MAIG, MDA, and Everytown really wanted gun safety and not gun confiscation, they would promote education over irrational fear.
Of course, that would mean that they would also need to know a few things about firearms. The first thing they seem to have failed to learn is how standard, modern ammunition works. Look at Everytown’s recent infographic. One detail demonstrates their lack of knowledge. The bullet allegedly discharged from the firearm is still cased. Bullets don’t work that way.

Then there is this post on Everytown’s Facebook page. They couldn’t even pick a meme with credible information. If there is a pragmatic 100 round magazine for an AR-15 or M-4 available on the open market, please leave information in the comments section. There are several of collectors who may be interested. (post contained an info-graphic quoting Sen. Dick Durbin’s “100 round magazine” gaffe.)


Of course, it appears Everytown’s audience is comprised of people who failed their 8th Grade US Constitution tests. Rumor has it that many states discontinued the tests as a prerequisite to entering high school. Perhaps it is time states reconsidered and resumed educating our kids. Everytown wants uneducated people to believe that Second Amendment rights are like drivers licenses. There is no right to drive on public roads, at least not in the US Constitution. Driving is a privilege. Protection and defense of self, family, property, community, and country are responsibilities that necessitate the right to own and carry weapons. Yet, Everytown wants citizens to not know better. Here’s proof (info-graphic comparing firearms to automobiles):

If you have young kids, you want them safe. No responsible parent wants to unnecessarily endanger their kids. Children are naturally curious.

Many on both sides of the gun control debate agree that education is important when it comes to gun safety. That begs the question “Why do they not teach this in school anymore?”

Once upon a time, high schools had marksmanship teams. Sometimes the teams were part of a Junior Reserve Officers Training Course (JROTC) program. Others, it was its own sports team. High schools still teach basic wrestling, tumbling (gymnastics) and other sports. Perhaps they need to go back to earlier days when marksmanship was part of the curriculum. Teach kids how to safely handle a firearm, and they will be less prone to play with them, unsafely. In turn, they will be more prone to treat them like power tools; respecting not only their capabilities, but the potential for harm that comes with misuse. It is just like your shop class in junior high. Keep your fingers away from the moving saw blades! Wear safety glasses!
The schools do not need firearms to do so. Pellet or “BB” guns will suffice, though .22 caliber rifles would serve better, since they do generate a mild “kick” when they recoil.

A smart curriculum would include basic firearms safety. It would include dry fire drills that enforce safety and the principles of marksmanship. This way, kids would be better equipped to deal with firearms. The classes would also include basic classes in how firearms work, how to clean them, and how not to treat them as toys. It would reduce accidents and mishaps. An added bonus is that the teens would be capable of defending their families or younger siblings in the case of some recently released recidivist conducting a home invasion.

At the very least, the kids will walk away understanding which end of a firearm is the dangerous one. They will know how a gun actually works, the cycle of operation. They will know how to safely lock and clear a firearm and point it in a safe direction. Most of all, they will learn that keeping their fingers off of the triggers is the second safety on every firearm, their brains being the first.

“Knowledge is power” is a key meme to remember. So is “An armed society is a polite society”. Perhaps the most important proverb to keep in mind is “Fore-warned is fore-armed”.

Update: As of April 23, EverytownForGunSafety.org‘s Facebook page is no longer available. The page’s deletion may have been in response to pro-constitution and pro-gun rights advocates establishing gun safety pages on Facebook with similar names. It may have migrated to a new page entitled “Demand Action”, which bears Everytown’s logo.  The organization along with MAIG and MDA info-graphics may still be available on their sites.