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Four Safety Essentials Every First-Time Gun Owner Must Know-GUNS 101

by Amanda Suffecool

As fears of the global pandemic spread last month, a stunning two-and-a-million guns were sold in the United States with 65% of those guns were going to first time gun buyers.  These new gun owners now have a tool, but with the lockdown and social distancing they don’t have access to training, or range time or the traditional abilities to learn about their firearms.  Because of this, a few friends and I put together a series of information that we want to share with the new gun owners along with this message:

Welcome to the firearms community. With the latest Gallup Survey, showing about 43% of Americans have a firearm in their home, you are well within the mainstream of America. We are simply people who believe in taking personal responsibility for protecting our homes and our families.

Second, you need education and training to use your firearm safely and effectively. The firearm is a tool. It won’t protect you, unless you know how to use it.

Safety is everything when it comes to firearms.

There are four essentials of firearm safety that everyone must know and follow.

1. Treat every firearm as if it’s loaded. When you pick up a gun, you are responsible for everything that happens next with it. Don’t trust anyone else’s word on a gun — check it yourself.  Develop the habit of treating a gun as if it’s loaded.

2. Never point your firearm at something you are not willing to kill or destroy.

3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are on target and ready to fire.

4. Always be sure of  your target and what lies beyond it.

As you search the internet for help, look for reputable firearms instructors with good credentials. One of the best online resources for this  Girl and A Gun website. It’s run by a woman name Robyn Sandoval, whose story may be relatable to many first-time gun buyers. She recently shared her story with me on the Self Defense Radio Network as part of a series called GUNS 101.

Robyn was “strongly anti-gun” for most of her life. It wasn’t until the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina she saw “a modern American city become debilitated overnight and first responders unable to help” that she realized she needed to be her own first responder.  

“I remember sitting on the couch watching the news and I saw a mother at the Superdome that was surrounded by death and destruction and despair  and she handed her two small children to a stranger getting on a bus and said, ‘Please take them and I’ll try to find you in a few days.’ My heart literally broke for her.  I turned to my husband and asked, ‘What do I have to do to make sure that is never me?’

“I had three small children who were relying on me and I had to do what I needed to do. And that is when I agreed to look into becoming a gun owner. But the whole process of buying a firearm was terrifying for me, trying to find resources and not being scared of the situation. Because  I really thought I was inviting a firearm into my home, was inviting an accident into my home. It wasn’t until I started seeing it as a defense tool, a tool of protection that changed my whole mindset about it.”

For more information on firearms safety and training, check out the new GUNS 101 podcast series on the Self Defense Radio Network.

Amanda Suffecool hosts the nationally syndicated radio show EyeOntheTarget, is an NRA-certified firearms instructor, and represents on the The DC Project, an educational, nonpartisan group of women from all 50 states who travel to Washington, DC each year to advocate for Second Amendment education over legislation. 

The DC Project
 is an educational, nonpartisan group of women from all 50 states that advocate for Second Amendment education over legislation. These women gun rights advocates know that gun rights are women’s rights and every woman must be prepared to be their own first responder. They are women gun owners who care about making firearms safety and education a top priority.


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