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ESSENTIAL GUN-OWNER BASICS: What You Need to Know About a Gun in Your Life

We sold over two million guns last month. First time gun owners bought a third to a half of them. This is an overview of what the gun culture looks like. If you’re an experienced gun owner, then please share this with our new friends.(RM)

Hello and welcome if you are a new gun owner. You’ve joined the gun culture. (Yes, there is one.) Some people are familiar with firearms. For others, owning a firearm is as much a cultural adjustment as the computer revolution was for our parents and grandparents.

Our experience living with firearms goes back hundreds of years, and we’ve learned a lot. Some of the recommendations for new gun owners seem obvious, and some of the rules seem foreign. Trust me that each recommendation was learned through hard won experience. You’ve started a lifetime of learning. Enjoy the ride.

Most of you bought a handgun for personal defense. Here is a rough outline of what lies before you.

Safety — They taught you how to safely load and unload your firearm at the store where you bought your gun. If you bought your gun from another source, then call a gun shop and ask if they can explain the basics to you. You also want to learn about personal protection equipment for your eyes and ears. Tip — If you’re a brand new gun owner, ask the gun shop how they want you to case the gun as you carry it into the store.

Storage and storage laws — You need a way to safely store your gun. Those details depend on where and how you live. At least you need a gun bag… probably a gun vault… but maybe you need a gun safe gun vault

Target practice and range etiquette — You are eager to go shoot your gun. Read the owner’s manual first. You can always find a copy online or from the manufacturer. You might want to go to the range with an experienced friend if this is your fist time. Learn the rules of the range.

Gun-safe your family — Your home is gun-safe for children and visitors because of the way you safely store your firearms. Now is the time to gun-safe your family by explaining how they should behave when they see a gun in a stranger’s home. The training is different depending on their age and experience.

Learn concealed carry – Many states have licensing requirements to carry a firearm in public. Start learning about that now.

Presentation from concealment — You need to be able to quickly and safely present your firearm from a concealed holster. You need to present from concealment even if you want to open carry or carry off-body in a purse or bag. Presenting is very different than shooting a gun from a bench at a shooting range. You need professional training … and no, Youtube is not professional training.

Legal education — You are carrying a lethal weapon at home and in public. Take a class on the legal use of force to fully understand your rights and responsibilities.

Defensive combat skills — By now you have learned to safely operate your firearm. That means you are not a danger to yourself. A defensive combat class is where you learn to fight with a gun to defend yourself.

I describe this outline as a sequence, but each new step often involves a review and refinement of earlier material. What would you add to the list?

Originally published:


Share with new gun owners — or with veteran gun owners who might need a reminder.

Rob Morse

Rob Morse works and writes in Southwest Louisiana. He writes at Ammoland, at his Slowfacts blog, and here at Clash Daily. Rob co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast, and hosts the Self-Defense Gun Stories Podcast each week.