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.
Range Safety Officer