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Gallup Poll About Gun Control in the US

December 4th, 2013 by Melanie Ledbetter-Remy

More than a year has passed since the senseless tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. That event put all gun owners on high alert because it stirred up debate about gun laws in the United States and gave President Obama the ammunition he needed to renew efforts to make those laws stricter and to even ban certain types of firearms entirely. Immediately following the Newtown tragedy, 58 percent of respondents to a Gallup poll wanted stricter gun laws. In the latest Gallup poll concerning public attitudes about firearms and gun laws, that number has dropped to 49 percent. However, gun owners should not let down their guard just yet.

Majority Oppose Ban on Handguns

Every gun owner’s biggest fear is that a ban on handguns in the United States will become a reality. Naturally, every gun dealer in the country is worried about that too. The latest Gallup poll should alleviate those concerns to a certain extent. A full 74 percent of respondents are opposed to instituting a ban on handguns. Back in 1959, only 36 percent of respondents opposed such a ban, so a lot of headway has been made in the last several decades. It appears that gun stores do not have much to worry about, but that does not mean anti-gun activists have lost.

Who Supports Stricter Laws Concerning the Sale of Firearms?

Many people are opposed to making gun laws stricter than they are because they feel it is a slippery slope. The concern is that the laws will grow stricter and stricter until the sale of guns is effectively banned. Therefore, most gun owners oppose making the laws even stricter. In the Gallup poll, 49 percent wanted the laws to be stricter. 62 percent of people wanted stricter gun laws back in 2000, so things are loosening up a little.

It is sometimes possible to predict future trends by considering how different age groups respond to poll questions. In the case of implementing stricter gun laws, gun owners will be pleased to know that support is stronger among people ages 55 and over. It is weakest in the 18-to-34 age group. Younger people do not seem to think that gun sales should be hampered by stricter laws. Confusingly enough, however, 27 percent of those in the 18-to-34 age group support a handgun ban while 18 percent of those between the ages of 34 and 54 support such a ban. These conflicting results highlight the importance of continuing to fight for Second Amendment rights.

Attitudes about Gun Laws are Split Down Political Lines Too

There are some very glaring differences in attitudes concerning gun laws between liberals and conservatives, and the same is true about Democrats and Republicans. The Gallup poll asked people to classify themselves when responding, and the results are quite illuminating. 72 percent of liberals and 77 percent of Democrats support stricter gun laws while 33 percent of conservatives and 23 percent of Republicans support such laws. Meanwhile, 33 percent of liberals and 37 percent of Democrats support a ban on handguns while just 17 percent of conservatives and 16 percent of Republicans support such a ban.

While the poll shows favorable results for people from both ends of the spectrum, it also proves that attitudes about gun laws and gun ownership are all over the place in the United States. Anyone who has ever gotten into a debate about these issues knows how emotionally charged things can get. Anyone who is concerned about protecting their Second Amendment rights should not only oppose a handgun ban but should also oppose any efforts to make gun laws stricter in this country. There is little doubt that efforts to make gun laws stricter are made with the ultimate goal of banning firearms entirely.

Buying A Gun For Your Wife

August 21st, 2013 by Melanie Ledbetter-Remy

If you want to buy a handgun for your wife, there are a number of important considerations to keep in mind. Before you even visit the gun store, first consider two very basic questions: Does she want a gun, and will she practice and learn how to properly use it? If not, a gun is not a good idea. You may want your wife to have a weapon, but if she does not want it, does not feel comfortable, and will not practice, it is too dangerous. If the answers to these questions are “yes,” of course, then you can proceed with deciding what type of gun to buy.

First, every woman is different in terms of size, experience, strength, and preferences, just as every man is different. In general, most women have smaller hands than the average man, so hand size will be a factor. For this reason, it is essential that she be involved in choosing the gun. Even if she is completely inexperienced, she needs to see how it feels in her hand.

Before you visit a gun dealer, there are some important questions you should be asking yourself:

  • What if she’s a beginning shooter? If the gun will primarily be used to learn shooting, a good choice would be a .22LR, either a revolver or a semi-automatic, depending on personal preference. These are also relatively quiet, ideal if she wants to avoid extreme noise or recoil.
  • What if she plans to use the gun for self defense? If so, a .22 caliber is not big enough. She can learn on a .22, but try to work up to a larger caliber, such as a .380 ACP. Remember that all calibers feel different; even if she dislikes a .380, sometimes larger calibers are more comfortable and less snappy. They are noisier, but do not be afraid to have her try a larger caliber.
  • She is a small woman; doesn’t she need a small gun? For handguns, overall size is fairly irrelevant, except for hand size. If you are buying her a long gun, however, consider rifles and shotguns that have youth stocks. The biggest difference for smaller shooters is to learn good techniques for absorbing recoil.
  • What if she just wants to have fun at the range? Then find out what she enjoys shooting, perhaps by renting different firearms at the range and let her try out a variety of different sizes and styles. Once she finds a style she loves, she can buy one of that particular style. A lot of shooters find a .22LR to be a fun target shooting gun, especially since the ammunition is cheap enough to easily allow an afternoon of practice. However, it is a personal preference.
  • If she is experienced with long guns; what’s a good handgun? It is common for shooters who are experienced with long guns to feel uncomfortable with especially small handguns. Unless there is a specific reason to consider a small gun, a good size would generally be a handgun with a barrel at least four inches or longer.
  • What would be a good handgun if she is not mechanically inclined? If she knows how to drive or operate basic household appliances, she can learn the basics of any handgun. The problem is not usually with the student or the handgun; it is the teacher. If this is a concern, consider taking a class rather than trying to teach her yourself. This is good advice for both safety and your marriage.

In summary: take her shopping with you and have her try various guns. This is a very personal preference, and you simply cannot buy without her input. If you intend this to be a surprise, consider a gift certificate and then shop together.

What Every Hand Gun Owner Needs To Know

April 3rd, 2013 by Melanie Ledbetter-Remy

Owning a gun is not just a right; it is a responsibility. Guns are an effective way of protecting yourself, your loved ones and your property, but they are also dangerous if misused, uncared for or improperly stored. Before you ever set foot in a gun store to buy a handgun, you need to be ready to commit to the basic rules of gun ownership. Fortunately, a gun dealer does not just handle handgun sales; the dealer is often a gunsmith who can point you in the direction of where you need to go for proper training whether it is signing up for a course for a concealed hand gun license or a shooting range that offers classes.

The first thing every gun owner needs to know is how to properly make their firearm safe for storage when not being used. For a revolver, that means no ammo in the cylinders and the gun pointing in the direction where an accidental misfire will cause the least chance of harm. Companies like Colt have developed additional safety features over the years to prevent accidental misfires in the event of dropping the gun, but because revolvers lack a true safety, it is even more important to handle them carefully. For pistols, the clip should be out of the gun, the barrel should be pointing away from others, and the slide should be pulled back to show an empty chamber. With Ruger dominating the .22 rimfire pistol market, their target pistols are some of the most commonly encountered handguns on the range, and the company has invested heavily in safety. Trigger guards are also available to make the trigger of guns inoperable.

A responsible gun owner should also know how to properly clean and store their firearms. For those who find the process of cleaning their firearm daunting, a revolver may be a better choice as revolvers will typically require less care and are less prone to jamming. Begin by removing any ammunition from the gun and the area. With no bullets lying around, it will be far less likely that an accident will occur. Next, inspect the gun for signs of rust. Check the outside first, and then disassemble the gun to check the internal components. Clean out hard-to-reach places with a cotton swab, and use a cleaner approved by your local gun store. You can also buy kits with all the picks, brushes, cleaners and cloths included. Handguns should be cleaned from time to time to prevent deterioration and should also be cleaned after use. After cleaning, store the handgun in a proper location, free from moisture and at the security level necessary for your household.

A gun owner should know is how to fire their weapon. Part of gun ownership is respecting the weapon for what it is, and that means caring for it, acknowledging the threat it presents and understanding how to use it. New gun owners may find revolvers an easier choice because loading and unloading ammo is relatively simple. A .22 LR revolver is an excellent option for those new to gun ownership. The kick will be minimal, meaning you will be able to fire a box of ammo without any fatigue. Ammunition will also be inexpensive, so you will be able to practice more often. The kick when firing a gun is often intimidating to new gun users, but it is important to not anticipate it as this can cause you to jerk your hand back, making your shots less steady and will affect accuracy. Many gun ranges will have guns available for rental, so you can try out different models before making the purchase that is right for you. Regardless of what gun you decide to go with, be a responsible gun owner. A gun can save a life as easily as it can take one, but with proper respect and care, a gun can be a comforting investment.

The Constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Texas

February 18th, 2013 by Melanie Ledbetter-Remy

Most Americans visualize Texans wearing pistols on their sides just like John Wayne in the old Westerns. However, not every Stetson comes with a Smith and Wesson. Texas is actually not an open-carry state, but they do allow residents to carry concealed weapons if properly permitted to do so. It is actually illegal to carry a firearm in plain view unless they are on their own property or other private property and for the purposes of transporting the firearm to and from a dwelling or for hunting purposes.

Requirements for a Concealed Handgun License

Although Texas authorities cannot deny issuing a carry permit to qualifying individuals, there are certain requirements that must be met before an applicant can be approved to carry a concealed weapon.

• 21 years of age or active U.S. military status
• Completion of a state-certified training program
• Proper application through the Texas Department of Safety
• Payment of $140 ($70 for senior citizens, $25 for active or retired law enforcement officers)

Persons automatically excluded from approval include those who have the following:
• Felony convictions
• Class A or B misdemeanors
• Pending criminal charges
• Unsound mind as defined by Texas Penal Code
• Chemical dependency
• Delinquent child support payments
• Outstanding fines or other payments
• Active order of protection against the applicant

Background Check Provisions

To qualify for a concealed carry license, a background check must be obtained. The Department of Public Safety conducts criminal history record checks on all applicants within sixty days of receipt of the completed application. The applicant must provide the DPS with proof of age and residency, fingerprints, two recent color passport photographs, and an authorization to access records, among other documentation stating they have met the requirements of the application.

Texas has no official waiting period to buy a hand gun. The FBI has created a National Instant Criminal Background Check System that allows officials to instantly obtain a background check for applicants. If the background check comes back clean, the applicant is approved. If the background check is returned with a “delayed” status, the applicant may have to wait only minutes or could wait up to three business days to be approved to buy a gun.

Other Laws

The Legislature of the State of Texas by law retains the sole power to create and amend the laws pertaining to its residents’ Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms in lawful defense.” Cities, counties and other municipalities are not allowed to enact laws more restrictive than the state’s gun laws.

The Castle Doctrine provides civil immunity to persons using deadly force against attackers under certain circumstances. Referred to as the “stand your ground” clause, those people who are defending themselves either in their home, at work or in their car against someone committing a crime against them are considered within their rights to use their handgun against the attacker.

Texas has made provisions in their laws that protect gun firing ranges as well as gun suppliers and those owning a gun store and selling ammo. However, if it is known that a person intends to use a firearm unlawfully, it is illegal to sell or offer to sell, rent, loan or give any firearm to that person. This also includes individuals under eighteen years of age, whether parental consent is acquired or not. It is also unlawful to conduct gun sales with an intoxicated person.

While the Constitution provides a “right to keep and bear arms,” the Texas Legislature has put realistic restrictions on its residents for the protection of everyone. The application process and laws pertaining to concealed carry are straightforward in their intent to allow only those who would safely and appropriately use guns be permitted to carry them in public.

Why Stricter Gun Control Is Not The Answer

January 7th, 2013 by Melanie Ledbetter-Remy

When it comes to gun control, the dividing line is clear. Some favor banning all guns while others believe the best protection from a gun is another gun. The fact is, the gun screening process is fairly tight in most places in the country, especially when buying from a gun dealer. Anyone wishing to buy a handgun must submit to a background check, which includes screening for past criminal history and mental illness. In many states, this process can take up to three days. Restrictions may also apply on what kind of model is available for purchase. Some states also have residency laws and will not allow a person to purchase a gun if they are from out of state.

It is important to note that owners of guns are bound by the laws of the state they are in, not necessarily the state that they live in. Many states have laws that allow for permit holders in one state to carry a firearm in their state, but sometimes, these laws are not mutual. Beyond state regulations, there are also federal regulations that may be even stricter than state policies. With so many regulations in place, it is unlikely that most criminals purchase their firearms legally, and since criminals are generally unconcerned with the law in the first place, stronger regulations do little to discourage those who are already apt to commit crimes.

The best way to protect the populace is through education and safety. Teaching people to respect guns and proper storage of ammo goes a long way towards keeping accidental shootings down and imparts the severity of the consequences of using a gun in the first place. After shootings, handgun sales generally spike, demonstrating that even in a climate full of concern over stronger gun control, the populace still views a gun as the best form of protection against potential incidents.

In San Antonio, a recent shooting stopped short when the assailant was shot by an off-duty deputy. The assailant attempted to shoot several people as they fled from one building to another, and the gunfire drew the attention of the deputy, who used her own gun to incapacitate the assailant, putting an end to the assault. While the story got little media attention, it serves to highlight the fact that a gun carries only the intentions of its wielder.

For those looking to defend themselves, a trip to a local gun store offers more than just guns or the opportunity to buy gun supplies. The resident gunsmith can teach people how to care for their guns and can make repairs if necessary. Many gun stores have ranges and may even offer courses such as those necessary to obtain a concealed hand gun license. These courses can help long-time marksmen improve their skills and also introduce new shooters to proper techniques and safety as well as familiarize them with the laws in their state.

For those new to firearms, a few names stand out above the rest. Colt enjoys a long history dating back to the 19th century and has been instrumental in the development of the semi-automatic pistol and the production of popular semi-automatic rifles like the M16 and AR-15. One branch of the company focuses on civilian production while the other branch sells to the military and law enforcement agencies. While younger than Colt, Ruger is the fourth largest producer of firearms, and they enjoy a long and noteworthy reputation in the .22 rimfire market.

When it comes to gun safety, the answer is not stricter laws. An unarmed populace is easy pickings for criminals who do not obey laws in the first place. The way to improve gun safety is through education, through teaching others to respect firearms and determining when action is necessary.

News and Events

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