Gun control activists believe that the only way to reduce violent crime is by getting rid of guns themselves, which not only puts them crosswise with the Constitution, but with the reality of living in a country with 100-million gun owners and 400-million privately-owned firearms. Guns aren’t going anywhere, and even cities and states that have engaged in decades-long efforts to make gun ownership taboo have only succeeded in creating a culture of untrained. uninformed, and often unlawful gun owners.
In Brandon, Mississippi, firearms instructor Jaron Smith is hoping to change that by bringing real gun safety courses to area youth in an attempt to cut down on juvenile violent crime.
In Smith’s opinion, one of the biggest aspects when it comes to preventing gun violence – especially among juveniles – is a lack of education about firearms and firearms safety practices.
“You don’t touch firearms without preaching safety first and setting ground rules you can take beyond any course or training to any situation that takes place,” he said. “First things first, always think of firearms as tools. Any time you use a tool correctly, there’s a consequence to that. So if I use a hammer to do anything other than hammer a nail, I risk harming myself or damaging property of some sort.”
Smith, who owns Run Your Gun Tactical, is a father of three, and believes that one of the keys to preventing teens from engaging in violent crimes is give them an education on the power and responsibilities of gun ownership.
He described firearms training as a means to combat gun violence as the “elephant in the room that’s never discussed.”
“Training is what’s going to alleviate some of this (gun violence due to negligence) and also just overall support from the community to put on different events or seminars or rallies of some sort (to get people talking about gun violence),” Smith said.
… Above all else, Smith said, respect for firearms – and others, for that matter – begins with instilling good character and establishing positive role models. Smith is a graduate of Vicksburg High School and attended Jackson State University before becoming an IT Specialist for a Mississippi-based restaurant chain. Although he lives in Brandon now, he still has family in Vicksburg.
If there are youth in the Vicksburg area who need support, Smith says is door is always open to help others.
“If you don’t have any person in your home that you can talk to, if you’re not comfortable going to the police, they can definitely reach out to me,” he said. “I’m on Facebook and Instagram and my contact information is on those pages. I’m part of a network of instructors as well, so we can find a way to help as best as possible.
“We can talk about more than firearms, we can talk about going to college, different trades and skills.”
Kudos to Jaron Smith for his efforts here. I think he’s absolutely right about training and education being able to reduce violent crime, and his desire to mentor kids who might be heading down the wrong path should be commended. Making guns taboo doesn’t make them go away; in fact it likely makes them more attractive and intriguing to teens. Removing the mystique around guns and replacing it with practical tips and training can go a long way towards changing the mindset that leads to acts of violence, and I believe that Smith’s activism can make a real difference in the lives of Vicksburg’s at-risk kids.