Why Gun Owners Owe It To Other Gun Owners To Act Responsibly

I tend to take a view of the world that as long as you don’t impact others, I don’t generally care what you do. I mean, I may have opinions about what someone does, but if it doesn’t impact me or mine, I don’t lose too much sleep about it.

The one exception is with irresponsible gun owners.

Yet, I’m not really sure I think it’s an exception. The actions of an irresponsible gun owner may have ramifications on the rest of the gun community.

Take this guy, for example:

A man who authorities say accidentally shot himself at the Memphis Zoo in Tennessee has prompted zoo officials to review their weapons policy.

News outlets report the man shot himself in the leg while he was entering the zoo Tuesday.

Memphis Zoo Chief Marketing Officer Nick Harmeier says the man was reaching into his pocket for his ID but instead knocked into the gun which went off in his pocket.

Now, the only person hurt was the gun owner. It doesn’t sound like it was a life-threatening injury either, thankfully.

We also are lacking a lot of specifics about just what transpired, but we can make some educated guesses. As best as I’ve been able to figure out, the individual in question was carrying something like a Derringer or other firearm without a trigger guard in his pants pocket without the weapon being inside of a holster.

That’s the only way I can see a “bump” setting off a firearm unless there was some kind of mechanical flaw in the weapon itself.

While I’m not personally a fan of gun lacking a trigger guard for reasons like this, placing them in holsters helps to protect the trigger from such “bumps.” It means people don’t shoot themselves in the leg with their own firearm.

Yet this act may well have a negative impact on other gun owners in Tennessee. Because this guy didn’t take the time to keep his firearm safe from being bumped and discharging, other gun owners may well have to either skip visiting the zoo or potentially find themselves having to leave their gun behind.

The truth of the matter is that when gun owners are irresponsible, it’s the community as a whole that suffers. When someone shoots themselves in the leg with an unsecured pocket pistol, rules get reevaluated. When someone fails to lock up their guns and the neighbor’s kid shoots himself with it, we get a push for mandatory storage laws. If another kid steals Daddy’s unsecured AR-15 to shoot up their school, we get calls for assault weapon bans.

Now, there’s always far more nuance to these situations than is presented here, that nuance is typically also left out of the broader discussions. There’s no interest in the media to call out parents who haven’t taught their kids not to plunder through other people’s belongings, for example.

Look, we’re not going to get a fair shake from the media. We all know it. So why do so many act surprised when it happens?

If we’re going to combat a hostile media, our best defense is going to be to act above reproach. That means securing firearms when they need to be. Obviously, have them ready for access, but also have them out of the reach of prying hands who have no business messing with them. Use holsters, even if they’re not required by law. Don’t be idiots.

By failing to do that, you’re just giving anti-gunners ammunition they’ll then use to try and infringe on your constitutionally-protected rights. Don’t give them that chance. It’s not just you impacted, after all, but all of us.