We are arming to the teeth these days it seems.
Between the boosted coverage of homicidal maniacs and the implied and/or perceived threat of the government limiting Second Amendment rights, more people seem to feel the need to own guns.
The evidence is everywhere, from empty store shelves to a headline in Thursday's Daily Post that said people were enrolling in droves to take a gun safety class. While I'm perfectly OK with the former, it's the latter that really pleases me.
No matter where your opinion lies on the right to bear arms -- I'm staunchly in the pro-Second Amendment camp -- I think we can all agree that if people are going to have guns, then they ought to be properly trained in the safe handling of them. That should apply, no matter what type of weapon a person has.
One of the bigger irritants to us on the pro-gun side is this attempt to classify certain guns as more deadly than others. A derringer can kill you as easily as an AR-15 rifle. You can squeeze off rounds with a semi-automatic pistol just as fast as you can with a semi-automatic rifle -- and they're all semi-automatic by the way, i.e., one squeeze of the trigger fires one bullet. Resist all attempts to convince you that Bushmasters and other semi-automatic rifles are somehow fully automatic machine guns, because it's simply not true.
But one trait all firearms do share is that they can be deadly. And that's why people need to be properly vetted and trained in their use.
While we on the pro-gun side need to vigorously defend our rights, we also have to be practical. Should we ever concede to registry, a list of who owns what and where they keep them? Never. But anyone who has ever applied for a concealed weapons permit has been through an FBI background check, so it's ludicrous to think the government doesn't know those applicants at least had the intention of owning and carrying a gun. And while we're at it, we have to admit that some folks are not stable or responsible enough to own weapons of any kind, so a background check -- a real one, conducted with intensity -- should be something we support.
But most importantly, all of us who own guns must take it upon ourselves to promote safe and responsible ownership, even if that means mandatory safety classes and licensing. You have to take classes and be licensed to do lots of other things -- to drive, practice law or medicine, to scuba dive. You even have to be licensed to style hair, and while I'm sure some folks have had hair days when they wished they were dead, to my knowledge no one ever died from a bad haircut.
But someone could die from the mishandling of a firearm. That doesn't help the pro-gun cause, and it certainly doesn't help the deceased, so promoting responsible ownership has to be a cornerstone of the cause.
I, for one, am glad to see that many are already choosing that path.
Email Nate McCullough at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.