The following is an Op-Ed from Director of Outreach, Amber Parrow

The intent of the Second Amendment is protection and protection that pertains to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This we all understand and cherish. It is the protection of life that is classified as a form of safety, and is one of the most practical applications of the Second Amendment in our modern age. The need for personal safety has led to an increase of gun ownership especially when crime rises. We see this message and theme with the Second Amendment quite often; protect yourselves and your loved ones with a firearm.

Another Way to Think about Safety

Many times, when we think of the safety that comes from self-protection via firearms, it is in a reactive sense. Bad guy shows up, bad guy threatens life, and then a trained individual with a firearm can equalize the situation. However, there is another aspect of safety that needs just as much, if not more press: the proactive side. This is the foundation of responsible gun ownership that mitigates accidents, misuse, and malfunctions; this foundation is education, storage, and maintenance.

Knowledge & Education

Educated firearm owners take the time to understand the correct use of a firearm as well as how to safely handle one at home and on the range. This also covers the legal ramifications of firearm ownership such as knowing when to use lethal force, the protection of castle doctrine in self-defense scenarios at home and the workplace, and particular legislation for each state regarding open carry, concealed carry, and the transporting of firearms.

Locks & Storage

Part of responsible gun ownership is knowing the importance of controlling access to your firearms, who accesses them, and how they are used. Proper storage and locking devices are paramount in controlling access. Children need supervision to learn proper handling and safety, and until they are responsible, locks and safes are that barrier that guards against their natural curiosity. But control of access also protects gun owners from the legal ramifications in use of their gun by a felon, tragic use from those with mental illness, or anyone else untrained, irresponsible, or unfit to handle a gun.

Care & Maintenance

Another mitigation method is the proper care and maintenance of firearms. Regular cleanings and repairs are needed to keep the gun in working order so that malfunctions are prevented. Every gun owner needs to appreciate the physics that happens in firing a bullet and be well acquainted with the destruction possible from the velocity and penetration of a bullet.

Why Emphasize Proactive Gun Safety?

Even though we spelled out what many responsible gun owners already know, we wanted to define what would be considered proactive safety. In our discussion of firearms, preventing misuse and accidents involving firearms is something with which most people agree. This is why it is important to not only talk about reactive safety benefits but also the proactive side of safety.

Being Proactive is the Foundation of the Firearm Community

It has been the work of the NRA and various entities throughout the firearm community to build programs, products, and resources for all aspects of proactive gun safety. But having programs in place is not enough. This foundation of proactive safety is one of our most powerful messages that all can agree on. More than ever, it is the critical work of the firearm community to speak frequently of it, make sure their friends and family who own firearms are educated and trained. Our community to encourage the use of safes and locks to control access and keeping guns cleaned and in proper working order. It is when all this work is done, we can show the world that the modern-day gun owner considers the entire spectrum of proactive and reactive safety. This will provide a picture of responsible gun ownership that defeats the incorrect stereotypes of irresponsibility, chaos, and destruction that are propagated from a position of ignorance, fear, and control.