Becoming a gun owner is major responsibility that shouldn't be taken lightly. While most people purchase guns for personal safety and security reasons (according to a Gallup poll), it will only prove beneficial if you have the proper mindset and training. Otherwise, a gun will only create the perception of security – and that's not enough to stop an attacker from injuring you or your family.
Why Do You Want a Gun?
Responsible gun ownership begins with asking yourself this otherwise simple question: why do you want to own a gun? The Gallup poll cited above found that 60% of respondents own guns to protect themselves, while 36% own them for hunting, and 13% for recreational target practice.
If you plan on buying a gun for the purpose of protecting yourself and your family, you'll need to consider the effectiveness of the gun's ability to stop an attacker. Aside from the caliber of ammunition it uses, also take into account the round capacity of the magazine, trigger sensitivity, whether or not it has a safety, and its overall reliability when you pull the trigger.
Should I Obtain a Concealed Carry Weapons Permit?
This is another question you'll need to answer when planning to own a gun. Without a concealed carry license, you will typically restricted to “storing” your gun in home, with the exception of taking it to the shooting range or another private property (with the property owner's permission). A CCW license, however, will allow you to carry and conceal your firearm on your person's, assuming it's done within the legal boundaries set forth by your local jurisdiction.
Laws governing CCW licenses vary from state to state, with some states placing greater restrictions on it than others. You can check out some of our previous blog posts for more information on the legality of concealed carry weapons.
Practice Makes Perfect
Remember the saying “practice makes perfect?” Well, it holds true for gun owners. The more you get out there and practice, the more proficient you will become at drawing your firearm and hitting the target. If you're looking to buy your first gun, you'll need to plan practice shooting sessions. Perhaps you live in a rural, non-city area with plenty of land, in which case you may be able to shoot in your backyard (check your local laws beforehand). Even if you do live in a major city, though, you can always head to the nearest shooting range for some target practice.
You may also want to sign up for a shooting/gun safety course. Some indoor shooting ranges as well as certain police departments offer these courses for a small fee. A typical course will consist of a skilled shooter demonstrating and educating newcomers on how to shoot.
These are just a few tips to help you plan and prepare for gun ownership.
* Image used by creative commons license, credited to Scott Butner.