Safety WITH Guns vs. Safety FROM Guns

A point I make often in brief comments on Twitter, but apparently have not stated up front on this blog, is that pro-gun and pro-gun control organizations have two fundamentally different approaches to #gunsafety and #gunsense.

Pro-gun organizations promote safety WITH guns. The National Rifle Association, its current troubles notwithstanding, really is the country’s first and foremost gun safety organization in that it teaches people how to live and act safely with guns.

To take just one example, when hunting accidents spiked with the post-World War II flood of new hunters picking up the hobby, the NRA created its hunter safety education program. And hunting accidents declined.

I have also previously written about my experience becoming an NRA Certified Range Safety Officer.

Pro-gun control organizations, by contrast, promote safety FROM guns. Because they view guns only as a risk factor for injury or death, the safest approach to guns is to avoid them altogether.

Recognizing that some people will own guns nonetheless, the next line of safety is to make it as hard as possible for people to access them — whether in terms of ownership in the first place, or in terms of storing guns unloaded and/or disassembled with ammunition stored separately.

NSSF Project Child Safe booth at 2019 SHOT Show. Photo by David Yamane

In the same way that organizations like the National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, and Walk the Talk America promote safe storage of firearms, I would be interested to see organizations like Everytown for Gun Safety and the Brady Campaign do on the ground gun education and safety classes.

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9 comments

  1. In general my reaction to the NRA is to spit on the ground, because they are balls deep in the societal and political farce that is ruining “it” for the rest of “us”.

    The training of NRA Range Officers is the exception. I have been dressed down in the proper manor, and afterwards, thanked the gentleman for his succinct guidance.

    Now when some one asks about one of the many Elephants in the room, (cue 1960’s racial overtone and foreshadowing)…..

    First thing that comes to mind, is why if the NRA is so concerned with “gun safety” is there not a major push for firearms training in the inner city’s where gun violence is reportabley so prevalent?

    I’m cynical enough to believe that there is a certain political economy of terror that helps maintain the firearms industry. Some may say just strange bedfellows…

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    • Totally understand the general perspective on the NRA. I would love to see more outreach by the NRA in non-traditional areas, but also recognize that the kind of gun safety education that pro-gun groups offer does not directly address the problem of intentional shootings that are the majority of injuries and deaths in inner-city neighborhoods.

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      • Well I’m of the opinion that you cant legislate respect into existence, but education can at least point feet in the right direction. I also have a hard time with the idea that preventable ,accidental injury’s and deaths are some how less common in inner-city neighborhoods. Unless of course gun control is actually effective in reducing lawful gun ownership in said inner-city neighborhoods….. So “Safety with Guns” isn’t a priority if only “bad people” have guns?

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  2. ” … I would be interested to see organizations like Everytown for Gun Safety and the Brady Campaign do on the ground gun education and safety classes. …”

    Actually they have some programs that are similar and more effectrive at saving lives than than range and gun handling programs. Everytown’s “Be Smart” and Brady’s “Ask” programs are way, way better than the NRA’s Eddie Eagle.

    And it’s bovine feces to say that the NRA supports any gun safety approach that would save lives in any general sense. Safe “gun handling”, yes. Public “gun safety”, hell no.

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      • Please do, if such data is out there. I can’t see how not properly securing guns is a wiser choice.

        We could take a big bite out of gun violence with a few tightly written federal gun laws. But our elected officials are the private property of the gun lobby.

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