For most of you, a trip to the gun shop is like a child’s trip to Disney; You don’t ever want to leave. With these trips come unwritten rules of how to conduct yourself while browsing the fine selection of
firearms and accessories. Remember that each employee at the shop speaks with many people a day, a lot of whom are new to firearms. Knowing and abiding by these unwritten rules will ensure a smooth, safe and respectful transaction.
1. Look at one firearm at a time-
I have been in a gun shop multiple times and witnessed a customer doing the following: “Let me look at that one, that one right there, this one over here, oh and definitely that one!” While it may be beneficial to compare them side by side, it is recommended to have just one on the counter at any given time.
2. Never cover anyone with the muzzle-
As per the 3 NRA Rules of Gun Safety, the gun is always loaded. Being in a gun shop does not make this rule any less irrelevant. When handling any firearm ANYWHERE, never let the muzzle cover anything you
aren’t willing to destroy.
3. Don’t dry fire or ‘slam’ the slide without asking-
I know you want to play with your potential purchase, believe me I understand! 9 times out of 10, if you want to dry fire or release the slide with the slide release, the employee will say ‘go ahead’. It’s always a good idea to ask first though, because after all, it’s their property until they sell it to you. You may also be unaware that dry-firing the firearm in your hand is actually bad for that particular firearm. Please, ask
4. If you’re trading in a gun, bring it in it’s case-
Instead of walking up to the counter with a firearm in your hands, put it in it’s case and let the employee take it out and safety check it. This seems like common sense to me, but I’ve seen it done the
other way numerous times. We’re dealing with firearms here, not jeans you’re looking to return.
5. Always, without exception, safety check a firearm as soon as you pick it up-
I don’t care if the employee just showed you it’s clear. As soon as you pick up a firearm ANYWHERE, the first thing you should be doing is a safety check. This policy does not change in a gun shop.
6. Know about the firearms you’re interested in purchasing-
Do some research online before you go to the gun shop. You probably have an idea of what you’re looking to get, so check them out before you go see them. Even the best employee may not know all the answers to every single product they carry. It’s a good idea to be informed ahead of time to make sure you know exactly what you’re looking at.
7. Take someone who in knowable in firearms-
If you’re new to firearms, you might want to take a friend who knows the ropes, it may help your feel less intimidated by the whole process.
8. Haggling is generally ok, but don’t go overboard-
If you find a firearm on line for $500 and your dealer is selling it for $589, asking for a few bucks off isn’t a bad idea. Asking them to price match however, might not be your best option. Remember that
the online purchase may have other fees such as shipping, and they generally don’t have as much overhead as your dealer. He needs to keep his doors open, so haggle respectively.
9. Don’t talk about anything illegal-
I’m not even going to explain this. Just…don’t do it.
10. Be respectful and courteous-
Gun Shop employees see a lot of people every day, and many are new to firearms and don’t follow the rules. I hear of ‘angry’ employees all the time, and my feeling is that they come across this way sometimes because they have people all day long doing everything on this list. Give them a break by
knowing the proper Gun Shop Etiquette.
Once you are involved in any altercation where your firearm is involved, you come under intense scrutiny by police, prosecutors, and, depending on the circumstances, perhaps even a jury. It’s just a harsh reality.
And one of the most important elements of any self-defense case is the ability of the defendant to convince the jury that he/she was a “faultless victim.” You were an “unwilling actor,” a “reluctant participant,” an innocent who didn’t create, or escalate, the circumstances that led to your having to defend yourself.
Note that this particular requirement is not always expressed in actual statutes, but is rather a long accepted principle of what is frequently referred to as “common law”—a term loosely defined as, “law
based on custom and general principles and that, embodied in case law, serves as precedent or is applied to situations not covered by statute.”
As in all law, what those words mean will depend on how they are interpreted by the jury empaneled on that day. But obviously, if you initiated the confrontation (i.e. road rage or some other provocation) which
eventually escalated into a deadly force scenario, you will have a difficult time claiming self-defense.
Note that “the other guy started it” is no defense. Even if you didn't initiate the incident, your obligation to “avoid the danger” doesn't end there. The jury wants to see someone who attempted to disengage, throughout the event, and only resorted to deadly force when no other avenue was available.
Here is a perfect example of what not to do. A man pulls into his driveway after work, and noticed four young men loitering in the street in front of his house, cursing loudly. He had two young children in
the house, so he asked them to “please tone it down.
He went inside, and after seeing several more young males arrive, he called police, voicing his concerns. Good move. But when he saw the group double in size, he panicked. Instead of waiting for police, he
grabbed a rifle, walked out the front door and stood on the front steps, cradling the gun in his arms, telling the youths, “You’d better leave; the cops are on the way.”
Bad move. When police arrived, they drew their guns, screaming at the homeowner to “Get on the ground!” Why? Because the moment he walked out that door, he became the “armed aggressor.”
Now, having no criminal record, the homeowner could be offered a deal to plead guilty to simple misdemeanor assault. But that is hardly comforting. A firearms-related conviction, even a misdemeanor, could haunt him forever, perhaps even destroying his career.
So, even if you didn't provoke the initial confrontation, do everything possible to continue being seen as the faultless victim.
This post is not intended to replace the advice of an attorney, please consult an attorney before using any information contained in this post.
Posted by Buckeye Firearms Association, by Jim Irvine, Monday December 22, 2014
Governor John Kasich signed HB 234 (Allow Noise Suppressors While Hunting) on Friday, December 19. It will become effective after 90 days, or about March 20. (We will update the article when an official date is published.) A signing ceremony was held at the statehouse to allow the many people involved to witness the signing of this significant piece of legislation.
Photo top: Linda Walker (BFA), Gov. John Kasich (R), Ken Hanson (BFA), Sen. Larry Obhof (R) (background) and Mr. Hanson's children.
HB 234 started out as a simple bill to allow the use of suppressors while hunting. Suppressors are legal. Hunting is legal. Essentially the only questions was, “should it be legal to chew gum and walk at the same time?” This bill should have swept through the statehouse quickly, but confusion about what a suppressor does (it’s not a “silencer”) and myths about their use by poachers and assassins (not anywhere near as often as Hollywood portrays) caused delays. There was also confusion about the process of addressing the issue legislatively versus via hunting regulations. As a result, time, money and energy were needed to pass as simple of bill as one could have on firearms.
In any lame duck session, it is common to combine or “Christmas tree” bills by hanging on other provisions in a bill that legislators think will pass. This session was no different. Portions of HB 203 (Concealed Carry & Self-Defense Law Reform), HB 191 (Align Firearms Definitions), SB 338 (Concealed Carry Reform), and HB 454 (Rule Modification for Concealed Carry in School Zones) were amended into a giant substitute bill in the Senate, as it became apparent that only one gun bill was going to reach the Governor’s desk this session. Unfortunately, the HB 454 sections were removed before passage, but some other provisions were picked up.
Representatives Cheryl Grossman (R) and John Becker (R) obviously deserve thanks, as it was their bill that completed the process and will become law. Senator Joe Uecker (R) has also been outstanding to work with as his bill, SB 338 was introduced, fast tracked, delayed, modified, and finally died. His work on his bill allowed for amendments into HB 234 before passage. Senator Uecker is certainly a team player who put in significant effort that resulted in a better final product for gun owners.
Representative Terry Johnson (R) also deserves huge credit for his work on HB 203 - another bill that will not become law, but his work getting his bill through the House with a strong vote under difficult circumstances deserves strong mention. Johnson never quit on his bill, the contents, or the ideals he continually strives for. He has worked three firearms bills though the Ohio House, but only HB 495 became law (last session). It would be easy to overlook Johnson, but that would be a huge mistake. His work on the issues made it possible to amend large sections of HB 203 into HB 234 in the Senate. Johnson is a consummate professional who puts the cause of restoring our Second Amendment rights above himself.
Chairman Bill Coley (R) has had his work cut out for him in the Senate Civil Justice Committee. With many gun bills, extreme emotions, and little time, he packed the most amount of meat he could into one bill and moved it through his committee. While he was not able to bring all groups on board, changes were made at the behest of the NRA, Buckeye Firearms Association, Buckeye State Sheriff Association, Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, American Silencer Association, and numerous legislators. That is a tall task, especially under the time constraints of a lame duck session.
In the end, HB 234 is a fairly complicated 88 page act that is the product of many people’s hard work. We must also thank Speaker Bill Batchelder (R), Senate President Keith Faber (R) and Senator Larry Obhof (R) for their leadership in passing a good bill, and coordinating efforts to bring it all together on time.
As we have done with past large bills, we will cover various aspects of the bill in a series of articles to help gun owners understand the various changes to Ohio law.
Here are the issues addressed in HB234:
Each of these is an improvement to current law for gun owners. While different people will benefit from different sections of the bill, no group of gun owners is being harmed to help out some other group. Some provisions of this bill will take time before the benefit is felt by many people, but in time we expect this bill to benefit most gun owners.
Lastly, we thank all gun owners who took the time to call/write/email their elected officials. A special thanks goes out to those who worked on campaigns for endorsed candidates. Without grassroots support for the work we do, we would not have the success we’ve had.
Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman, BFA PAC Chairman and recipient of the NRA-ILA's 2011 "Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award" and the CCRKBA's 2012 "Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award."
We who can legally permitted and trained to carry in public have a special responsibility to focus on the task at hand, but also to remain vigilant, aware of the world around us: comings and goings through the
door of the restaurant, the backpack by the door with no owner, the man sitting in a parked car for hours.
This is called “situational awareness” and it is much different than multitasking. Situational awareness involves being attentive to what’s happening around us in order to understand how “things” in the
immediate environment—information, events, and one’s own actions—will or might impact us. Inadequate situational awareness is a primary factor in accidents attributed to human error.
Situational awareness is especially important when information flow is unusually high, such as a loud movie theatre or outdoor concert. I remember cleaning and reassembling an M16 rifle while a drill
sergeant shouted out orders. It was exceedingly hard because the brain said multitask: pay attention to the authority figure and rebuild the rifle. Of course the sergeant was performing a service, in a way, teaching what combat might be like when fear combines with a thousand extraneous inputs, any one of which might lead to death. What we eventually learned was that only through extreme concentration could we assemble our M16. We learned, in other words, to drop the drill sergeant into the background, to be aware but only to focus on reassembling the rifle. We learned situational awareness and we got the job
Only one thing can truly occupy your mind at any given time. In a fast food restaurant you try to eat the burger without letting the tomato squeeze out and onto our shirt and pants, all while fetching extra ketchup for the kids and talking to the spouse.
If you remain situational aware you have a chance to respond effectively. One who is multitasking—talking
to a spouse, fetching the ketchup, and fiddling with a cell phone, not a chance.
When you carry, you have a responsibility to focus, to stop believing that you can multitask and to remain situational aware. Put the cell phone away!