Shootings by deranged individuals have once again puts guns, gun rights and gun ownership back on the conversation “front burner”. The question of who should be armed and training needed to be a responsible gun owner is invariably part of the discussion.
This may surprise some people who are not “into guns”. Whether you live in a “gun friendly” state or city, or not, accessibility to such gun ranges is a good thing.
Gun ranges teach gun safety as part of their business. In any range I’ve been to, there are always posters for orientation and safety classes. In them, they spend about 20% of the time talking about “use of deadly force.” The emphasis of these discussions is on how you want to avoid deadly force unless your life is in imminent and immediate danger, because, any time you shoot your gun in a conflict, you’ll wind up in jail.
A good illustration I heard… Imagine you’re at a big aquarium with your kid. There’s a large tank where you can look through the glass and see a great white shark, or go up one level and see it from the surface. Just to be a smart ass, you reach into the pool and splash your hand around. Oh, shit! That expensive Rolex your grandfather left you slides right off your wrist and sinks to the bottom. Would you jump into that tank to fetch your grandfather’s watch? Now, what if your kid fell in?
That illustrates an important difference. Property is not worth the risk, your life or that of a loved one is.
The Seattle area has a number of great ranges; Wades’s, West Coast Armory, Kenmore Shooting Range and a number of others. Whenever I’ve taken rookies to shoot at a range, they end up on an adrenaline high, and they feel very powerful. It emboldens them with a certain kind of swagger they’ve never felt before, and think, “Go ahead, punk, make my day.” Hollywood really plays up that sense of power, that, with a gun, you’ll be able to right the wrongs, set things straight, and put the bad guy where he belongs… in the morgue.
TV and movies never show the legal nightmare that someone who shoots in self-defense will endure. The “Deadly Force” lectures help temper these cocky notions. The phrase often heard is “It’s better to be judged by a jury of twelve then carried in a coffin by six.” I don’t want either situation, but a jury trial can ruin your life, too.
The people who are “into guns” are, in my experience, a very careful and cautious bunch. Paranoid? Sometimes. They don’t want to wind up in jail either, which is a certainty, even in a justifiable defensive shooting. More than anything, they don’t want their guns to be taken away by court order. That “sense of swagger” could be replaced with a swift kick in your life’s balls.
There are estimate (no hard numbers, mind you), that there are in excess of 100,000,000 gun owners in the US.
Gun ranges provide a sense of community, responsibility, and, education.
I walk away from the “Deadly Force” lecture hoping I’ll never have to use it.