How US gun owners can prepare for new gun laws.
New gun laws
If President Obama is successful in tightening gun control and introducing new gun legislation, US gun laws may soon mimic gun control measures in Australia.
Police visited my home today to check the serial numbers on my guns match the gun serial numbers listed on the official Firearms Registry records. I was also required to prove I have safe storage facilities and that my firearms are stored according to the new gun regulations.
Gone are the days when gun owners in Australia were allowed to keep a pistol in a bedside table, and farmers are no longer allowed to keep a rifle hanging on a wall, ready to shoot foxes or wild dogs spotted through the window. New gun regulations changed the rules.
However, reports that suggest Australia's new gun legislation made all firearms illegal are wrong. We can keep pistols and other firearms, as long as we work within the new gun laws.
Safe storage of guns
Will gun control stop you from hunting?
Gun owners of America are faced with new gun laws. I have read about US gun owners complaining that new gun regulations will put an end to hunting as a recreational sport in America.
I find that very hard to imagine. Even in Australia, where the gun culture has never been as strong or high-profile as it is in the US, hunters are still able to own appropriate firearms and hunt. Irrespective of your age or gender, an adult who meets the criteria of gun ownership and hunts following the rules and regulations of State legislation can be registered to own guns for hunting.
Living off the grid, we rarely go on a formal hunt, but my husband and I do shoot rabbits. Rabbits and hares are introduced species that reproduce to plague proportions if left unchecked. Rabbits compete with kangaroos, wallabies and other native wildlife. Many farmers poison rabbits with baits. We don't. We believe it is kinder to kill them with a single bullet than to make them suffer a painful death from poison.
2nd Amendment and the right to bear arms
The politics associated with the gun control debate in America seems rather excessive from my position as an onlooker. I watch the news and read online forums containing reactions to the possibility of new gun legislation and new gun restrictions.
I am surprised to hear so many gun owners of America defending the right of ALL Americans to bear arms. I understand responsible gun owners wanting to protect their own interests when new gun laws are discussed, but I don't understand why so many object to new gun legislation that could prohibit a person convicted of repeated armed robberies, for instance, from owning a gun.
As long as responsible members of society are allowed to own firearms, what's the problem with enabling the police to arrest someone who is deemed unsuitable? If you can walk into a store and buy a gun simply by completing a Permit to Acquire document and showing your Firearm License, why do you care if a man who is guilty of extreme domestic violence is denied the same right?
Wouldn't you be doing his wife and children a favor if you made it more difficult for him to buy a gun?
I'm puzzled by the impression I'm given that individual gun-owners believe every trouble-maker and mentally unstable person in the entire USA deserves to own a Glock just because they want one. Do you really think like that? I like to think the argument citing the 2nd Amendment is more about politics than individuals protecting the right for law breakers to be gun owners.
Explore gun safe prices
My Top Tips for US gun owners
If you are a responsible gun owner of America and want to put yourself in the best possible position to retain your guns when gun changes are made, I suggest you anticipate new gun legislation and prepare accordingly.
Based on my experience when new gun laws were introduced in Australia as a result of the Port Arthur massacre here, I suggest the following top tips.
1. Safe gun storage is likely to be near the top of the list of new gun laws. If you do not store your guns in a rated gun safe, I suggest you start looking for one now. Prices of gun safes will either rise or fall after new gun laws require gun safes.
It is hard to anticipate whether local retailers will charge more for gun safes in America if new gun legislation makes owning a gun safe compulsory. Now would be a good time to look for second-hand gun safes on eBay or a cheap price on Amazon, before everyone else has the same idea.
The main focus of safe gun storage in Australia is preventing thieves who rob homes, offices and farms from stealing firearms. That makes sense.
2. Shoot in competitions. Sporting shooters survived new gun laws in Australia okay. Pistol owners who were not members of clubs and competing regularly found themselves at a distinct disadvantage. Most states in Australia require a sporting shooter to participate in about six competitions a year. Most regions in Australia, even small towns, have their own clubs where locals can compete.
If there's not a sporting shooting range near you, perhaps it is time you gathered some gun owner friends and established one. People who own pistols but are embarrassed by the thought they wouldn't be able to hit a target, with respect, should get out and learn to hit a target.
3. Ask questions and write letters. Have you written to President Obama and your local politicians offering your suggestions about what an acceptable definition of 'gun control' is to you?
Have you sent emails to your local media asking journalists to investigate what gun law changes are likely to be proposed for federal gun laws and local gun laws?
You can speculate and panic all you want, but if you want to have a chance to influence the outcome of decisions regarding US gun laws, you need to obtain as much information as you can ... and then respond accordingly.
4. Improve your aim. Foxes, rabbits and rats are considered vermin in Australia. We don't have rats where we live so I've never tried to shoot one, but foxes kill native wildlife and farmers' small animals.
Do I need a machine gun to kill rabbits or foxes? Absolutely not. With all due respect, if you are incapable of aiming a rifle at a distant rabbit and killing it with the first shot, you shouldn't have a more powerful firearm. If you cannot aim effectively, learn to shoot properly.
In a country like the US where shooting bears, deer and other large animals is part of life, I appreciate you're going to need a gun capable of executing the task quickly and effectively. But skill and accurate placement of the bullet is still paramount. It is lazy and unnecessary to compensate for lack of skill with automatic weapons that allow you to trail after a moving target.
Your forefathers managed to shoot bears long before the invention of automatic and semi-automatic firearms.
Cheap enough to put around your home!
5. Make your home safer.
I can't count how many homes I have visited where home owners don't take simple precautions to make their homes safer. Why do people with glass panels in their doors leave a key in the lock, making it easy for thieves and intruders to quickly smash one panel, put their hand through the hole, turn the key and walk through the door.
Gun owners who hear the glass shatter might reach for a gun and prepare to shoot them. But if you shoot an intruder, you are potentially taking a life. If you shoot them but don't kill them, then what? Call the police, call the paramedics, suffer the stress and trauma of wondering if the intruder or one of their friends will one day come back for revenge?
If you do kill them, what then? Call the police, wait for the dead body to be removed from your home, live with the guilt of having taken a life, and still suffer the stress and trauma of wondering if one of their friends will one day come back to kill you, or a family member, so you can suffer the way they do at the loss of a loved one?
Surely the easier and smarter option is to make your home safer. Lock your doors. Remove the keys from the locks. Close your curtains, particularly at night. Don't let outsiders watch you getting changed through your bedroom window, or become aware of where every piece of furniture is located as they watch you in your illuminated house, planning their future attack.
Buy solar-powered motion detectors to light up your outdoor areas. The lights are cheap to buy and cost nothing to run because they are solar powered. Don't blame the weather. The few days when it might not work are a poor excuse for not making an effort to make your home safer.
If you think you'll be unable to meet whatever the new gun laws require for gun ownership, you may be required to part with your gun. But even if you manage to keep your firearm after new gun legislation, any effort to make your home safer will reduce the likelihood of ever using it against an intruder.
The result of our gun and safe gun storage check.
Putting gun control in perspective
There is no doubt that responsible gun-owners should be allowed to keep guns.
Despite the introduction of gun control measures and new gun laws here, responsible people are still gun owners. I believe it is ridiculous to suggest that new US gun laws will be more restrictive than the gun legislation in Australia.
I do understand that this is a difficult time for gun owners of America. You feel your rights are potentially being violated by President Obama's suggestion of gun control. But I suspect there is a lot of scaremongering about what exactly 'gun control' will mean.
This is a time when individual gun owners should stop and give thought to why you own a gun, what you use it for, and whether or not the guns you currently own are potentially a danger within your community.
And then think about a wide range of other individuals within your country. Why do they own a gun, and what do they use it for? And are the guns they own potentially a danger to you, your family, and your (or their) community?
If so, is restricting their access to guns such a bad thing? As long as you can purchase firearms at a reasonable price from a retail outlet that offers product guarantees and all the advantages of consumer protection, do you really care if others who are not considered to be safe with firearms are forced to source guns on the black market at outrageously expensive prices - and then be arrested, charged and imprisoned for possession of illegal firearms, before they actually use them to cause harm?
It became evident during the change in gun laws in Australia that people own guns for reasons that may not immediately be apparent to us – or them. To demonstrate this point, I'm leaving you with a quote from a man handing over his pile of semi-automatic firearms during the Australian government's gun buy-back process. “Thank God, they've invented Viagra,” he said.
I was standing not far from him as another man walked up and slapped him on the shoulder. “They're not really castrating us, mate. It just feels like they are.”
Good luck to responsible gun owners of America. I suspect, whatever the outcome, any new US gun changes will not be as debilitating as some would have you believe.
Readers, please note: I notice that there is a constant stream of readers to this hub. Thank you for visiting and voting. I fully appreciate the reason for not leaving a comment, given the sensitive nature of this discussion. If there are additional issues you would like me to address, feel free to use the email facility on my profile page. :)
More on this topic by the same author ....
- New Gun Laws and Gun Control for Gun Owners of America
An open letter to gun owners of America. Quiet conversation away from the tsunami of emotion. Includes an active comments section where individuals reflect on the issues and implications of gun control in the US.