Firearm training, knowledge more effective than new laws

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There are many instances when I am tempted to respond to an article in the Norwalk Hour but don’t because I’m too lazy to make the effort or feel a response would be pointless. The March 12 front page article titled “Gun Safety Grabs Spotlight” however is one that cannot pass without a response.

Hopefully it goes without saying that as a parent my heart goes out to the parents of Ethan Song who died an unnecessary death over a year ago as well as to the parents of the friend at whose house his death occurred.

When I first began my lifelong interest in firearms and target shooting fifty some odd years ago the mantra that was drilled into me was to “treat every gun as if it were loaded.”  Period.  No exceptions. Anyone today who does any shooting at an NRA sanctioned range knows that now the first three immutable laws are: 1. Always make sure the gun is pointed in a safe direction, 2. Always make sure your finger is not near the trigger until you are ready to shoot and 3. Always make sure the gun is unloaded until you are ready to shoot. There are obviously more but when those first three are permanently ingrained in the mind of a shooter there is not a lot of room for a firearms ‘accident’ to occur.

Our State legislators are busily working to create yet more laws and regulations to make us all safe and punish those who transgress. Interestingly many are already ones practiced by responsible gun owners, locking guns in a gun cabinet out of sight and reach of those who have no business handling them as well as keeping ammunition separate from the guns. Responsible gun owners know and practice these things without need of the State.

Sadly, as evidenced by Tuesday’s front page article, you cannot legislate stupidity. Guns are a valid and dynamic part of our history and heritage.  To date, our legislators seem mostly interested in curtailing or banning our American rights to enjoy and utilize firearms. This is perhaps understandable given our current political landscape and the reality that probably most of our representatives have never handled a gun or experienced the satisfaction of mastering the skills of breathing, sight alignment and trigger pull with the end result of placing a small chunk of lead in the X ring of a bullseye target.

I would like to respectfully suggest that instead of working to destroy our shooting heritage, our elected representatives, if serious about safety, add to Connecticut’s reputation as a gun safe environment by promoting training and shooting opportunities so our citizenry can learn the basics of gun safety.  There are many qualified men and women with the many hours of time and study necessary to become certified instructors or range safety officers that, if offered the opportunity, would be willing to give of their time for such an endeavor. I would challenge our legislators that if gun safety is your goal, please reach out to those of us in the shooting community that believe training and knowledge are far more effective than more laws and regulations.

Thank you for your kind attention.


Bruce Root

Range Safety Officer


Steve March 30, 2019 at 9:29 am

Why is making people responsible to properly secure a firearm somehow interfering with our “shooting heritage”? My sense is that the writer properly secures his firearm and advises others to do so. You can’t stop “stupid” but you can make people responsible when they are stupid (and cause another serious harm or death) and maybe make a dent in how often people do “stupid” things (like text and drive or leave a loaded firearm available to young people)

Piberman March 30, 2019 at 9:36 am

There’s overwhelming evidence the vast majority of violent gun episodes in the U.S. are committed with illegally owned guns used by shooters lacking either civilian or military experience. Witness the 6,000 gun homicides annually in our inner cities that fails to attract serious attention. No amount of gun legislation will be helpful in curbing either the circulation of illegal guns or their use until Legislators impose serious penalties for illegal possession, use and carry.

Legislators in CT can’t even get their “courage” up to require gun safes used in California and throughout the developed world. Nor can they impose serious efforts to reduce illegal gun use/possession in CT’s inner cities that plague their populace. So the Legisaltors make noise and hold rallies.

Kenneth Werner March 30, 2019 at 10:39 am

It’s hard to argue with Bruce’s position that training and good safety practices are essential. But not all gun owners are responsible and rational. We need both sensible regulation and energetic training and safety programs.

Scott Vetare March 30, 2019 at 10:47 am

As a range safety officer myself, I agree with Bruce wholeheartedly, but I also agree with Steve and Kenneth on how there are definitely ignorant gun owners that make us good gun owners look bad. Everybody who owns weapons should have enough common sense to keep it I’m getting into the hands of a child. I don’t think we need new laws, more laws just common sense. And I know you cannot take a class in that.

M Murray March 30, 2019 at 11:42 am

Our society for some reason has decided that individuals are no longer held accountable for their own actions and stupidity, we must look for others to blame. It’s not the drunk who is responsible for making the decision to get behind the wheel and kill someone, we must blame the bartender who served him, the bar onwner who hired the bartender, and so on. It’s not the adult who bought the cigarettes that have the warning on the side of the pack and decided to smoke them and got cancer who is to blame, it is the manufacturer who legally made the product with the warning right on the label who must pay. And now it is not the fault of the youth who illegally took the key and unlocked the gun and loaded the unloaded gun that was legally stored and misused a product that caused harm. It should be the fault of the adult who properly locked up the unloaded gun because someone else broke the law by going through numerous steps to break the law and cause injury. And yeah, let’s blame the gun manufacturer too and cause more burden on other legal gun owners.

Unarmed March 30, 2019 at 12:01 pm

“Guns are a valid and dynamic part of our history and heritage.” TRUE..The U.S. ranks high among the most violent, barbaric nations in all history.

Only law enforcement and security personnel should be issued gun permits. No one else should be allowed to have a gun.

M Murray March 30, 2019 at 12:39 pm

Criminals. Don’t forget criminals Unarmed. They will always have them so they can take things whenever they want. And they will never go to jail for long in the liberal state of CT where everyone deserves 4th and 5th chances.

Okeezy March 30, 2019 at 12:58 pm

Well stated. The left’s thirst for ever more bigger government, confiscation of private property and threats to our liberties begins with infringing on our second amendment rights. A responsible well armed society is crucial to the health and sustainability of our democracy.

Ron Morris March 30, 2019 at 5:43 pm

Those that say that strong gun laws do not work may want to check the FACTS.
In 2014, the latest year for which final statistics are available, Australia’s murder rate fell to less than 1 killing per 100,000 people—a murder rate one-fifth the size of America’s. Just 32 of those homicides—in a nation of 24 million people—were committed with guns
11,004 Gun Murders in US vs. 26 (equiv. 130) in England Annually.

You can give all the excuses that you like but the numbers do not lie.

John Levin March 30, 2019 at 10:26 pm

“Only law enforcement and security personnel should be issued gun permits. No one else should be allowed to have a gun.” I think that this was the intent of the original framers, when they indicated a “well regulated militia”. I think all the gun lovers in america today are welcome to maintain there loves, but they also should be required to belong to a well well regulated militia. Israel is an excellent model.

Marija Bryant March 31, 2019 at 10:32 am

There is in the country a dysfunctional love affair with guns as tools of power and machismo – for both men and women. My humble suggestion? Paint all guns pink. No camo. No military looking stocks. No “manly men” ads. How powerful is some addled adolescent going to feel slinging a “my little pony” rifle over his back to go out and shoot his classmates? And here’s the best part, the pleasure of target shooting that the reasonable gun owners described in earlier comments stays the same. And, clearly, you can still defend your home and property with a pink gun. It’s all in the marketing….

Bryan Meek March 31, 2019 at 1:44 pm

I wonder if any of the half million Syrians killed by their government wish they had a 2nd ammendment.

Steve April 1, 2019 at 5:34 am

You don’t think any of those half a million Syrians had guns? There was, and is, no gun shortage in Syria. Many were rebel forces. Having a gun didn’t protect them from the onslaught of weaponry of the govt.

Tim April 1, 2019 at 6:52 am

Ron. your numbers are for total homicides, not just gun related deaths. The biggest drop in gun related deaths in Australia occurred in 1996 when they offered the gun buy-back program. From 2005 forward there has not been a decline in gun related deaths even with the 2014 new law. See the attached article and go to the bottom of the page where there is a chart showing gun related deaths over the years.

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