This post is a continuation of the conversation Mark and Bonnie had on firearm safety. I noticed that we were getting a lot of amazing comments from a recent firearms post that we shared on Facebook, and Mark and Bonnie, graciously offered their expertise. It was a pleasure to speak with them both, and I hope you enjoy the conversation.
I have heard a lot on the news about the “stand your ground laws” in the US. Do you think that would apply in this particular situation?
M: One thing that people can do is research their state laws regarding “stand your ground.” Laws can vary between states. If someone is trespassing on your property, but he or she is not committing a violent crime against you directly, you could hypothetically stand your ground and defend yourself and your property.
M: However, don’t instigate the issue. People have the responsibility to de-escalate the situation. Even threats or an expression of violence is not enough to warrant you shooting someone. You will need to be able to explain this to a court of law. As I mentioned, you are not a police officer. The best thing that you can do is stay calm and try to de-escalate the situation. The moment you can, stay in a safe place, behind a locked door, and let the police deal with everything.
How much do people need to practice to keep their skills up-to-date?
M: I usually visit the range a couple of times a month to practice, but it is like riding a bike. You never really lose those skills, but it is important to stay sharp. It is important for the legality and morality of gun rights, use and ownership, for best practices.
How can people learn more about maintaining (cleaning, keeping it functional) their weapon?
M: You can go on youtube. They have everything there. Just plug in your gun type on YouTube, and you have a ton of information at your fingertips. You could also try going to gun store or the gun range for help. The attendants and staff are always willing to help.
Do you think there are some differences in gun ownership across locations?
M: In Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Washington D.C., there is high gun violence rates, but they also have serious restrictions on guns. You could so take a look at Houston or Miami, that have each gone through significant changes over the years. Feel free to review the statistics for yourself. You can clearly see that violent crime has gone down in states with CPL.
If you could boil down firearm safety to a few key points, what would it be?
M: The number one safety and protection device you have is your own brain. Solve the problem before it is a problem.
B: Being on your cell phone is stopping people from being aware of their surroundings. If someone around with bad intents, these people can be an easy mark. Put the phone down. It is not that important. Wait until you get to your destination. Awareness is half the battle. Learn situational awareness and basic self defense. Education is key.
Is there ever a case where people should take extra precautions with their firearms?
M: The NRA doesn’t want everyone armed. There are people who maybe should not own a gun or have an interest in it. If you have people in your home or space who is mentally unstable, or who will go into the safe to do unsafe things, you need to take extra care with securing your firearms or decide if that is the best choice for your home. You do not necessarily have to buy a gun to protect yourself.
If someone is not comfortable with firearms as yet, are there other options that people can leverage for personal safety?
M: Certainly! While it is a great option, there are other ways to protect yourself as well. People can sign up for self-defence classes. Pepper spray is another option as well.
B: Loud whistles can help too. I highly recommend them. You always want to let people around know that you need help. Criminals don’t like attention.
M: People could get defence keychains as well. Mace can be powerful, but it is tricky to apply.
How can people go about getting their permit?
M: Each state has different laws in place. Here’s a link to all the requirements in Michigan. MANY offenses can get you disqualified from having a permit, including conviction for assault, stalking, reckless driving, having a personal protection order against you or involuntary commitment to a mental health facility. Anyone who says it’s easy to buy a gun in Michigan, has never bought a gun in Michigan. It’s a whole process, and it becomes even more complex if you have a CPL.
B: Actually, with a medical marijuana card, you are permanently banned from owning a firearm, even after you give it up. It is so important to research what rights you are gaining, or even giving up, when acquiring a new licence.
M: Here in Michigan, there are about half a million cpl licences issued. It is important to demonstrate that you are an upstanding person or a law-abiding citizen. You do not have to prove a need for a CPL. Most people have their permits for a long time, so once they go through the hoops, they stay law abiding citizens.
How much do people typically pay for a permit?
M: It depends on your state. Check with your local government website for the rules and regulations on acquiring a firearm.
What advice would you give to women acquiring guns or self-defence weapons?
B: Get the tool that is going to work best for you. If you can’t handle a .357 magnum, don’t get one. Get what works for you. Most gun ranges have many different models in different calibers to rent and try right there on the range. See what works best for you.
M: Before you buy a gun, BUY A SAFE! Then, get training. It doesn’t matter if it’s a gun, pepper spray, etc. Get self defense training too. I do.
I understand that if you participate in Free Women’s Shooting event, where ladies can learn how to handle a gun. How could ladies take advantage of similar programs in their area?
M: You can contact the NRA https://competitions.nra.org/competitions/. Every gun range and store should have information on instructors. I will be volunteering at this event next year as well.
Thank you so much for reading this piece. That concludes this interview. I hope you enjoyed this article. If you would like to share your take or suggest content to explore, please leave a comment below or connect with us on social media. You can also e-mail me with post ideas, feedback and BB&W interview requests at [email protected]. We are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more posts like this one, please subscribe to our website.