Mis-informed Gun Owners that I’ve Met and Liked

20140106-094451.jpgAt a New Years party, about an hour after the count down, boyfriend and I found ourselves sitting around a fire with our hosts. They are smart folks, long time friends and deeply rooted southerners (which is why the following conversation surprised me). As will happen around SHOT Show time, my brain is in complete gun-mode, therefore (and I’m not even sure how it happened) the conversation turned to firearms. Our hosts and the other guests may have baited me into a debate by saying,
“I hate guns!”
“I have them, but I wish I didn’t.”
“I wish we could be rid of them all!”

Of course I HAD to respond, “I hate violence, but dude, guns are fun.” I have no qualms about baiting them in return. The group looked at me and blinked. Then the host launched into a story about the time his iPad and revolver were stolen out of his car. When he finished he tried to illustrate the feeling of violation he had gotten from the experience. I said, “You must have felt sick knowing that you put a gun into the hands of a criminal… Not that it’s your fault that you were robbed, but why did you leave the gun in your car?”

Since I was right, he changed the subject. He asked, “you’re a reasonable person, aren’t you in favor of background checks at gun shows?” At this point I realized we needed a vocabulary lesson. To my host, I explained the difference between a sale between a FFL and buyer, and a private sale and showed him how gun shows were not a “safe zone” where laws were different. Once again I was made aware of the media’s ability to skew the public’s understanding of reality.

Having made gun sales as both a private buyer/seller and as part of a retail operation, I explained to our host that a background check could not ensure a person’s future plans with a gun. So I used 4473s as required by law, but not when selling privately. He asked me if I felt guilt for potentially arming a criminal. This question seemed more extreme than any of his others, and a little accusatory. You see, I feel no guilt for selling a gun to a private person with a Georgia Drivers License and a Firearms Permit. However, I’d prefer to know that the person who is buying my gun had recently passed a background check and is “qualified” to own a firearm. Based on the current laws, I have no other options (especially if I want to keep all of the money from the sale, without paying fees and charges). So what’s a girl to do?


  1. Actually, I find even the phrase “However, I’d prefer to know that the person who is buying my gun had recently passed a background check and is “qualified” to own a firearm.” quite offensive.

    You are speaking in terms that the anti’s do – automatically assuming that the purchase of a firearm is primarily for nefarious purposes and that it needs to be ‘checked’ before hand to prove it’s not.

    Again, if background checks are effective (i.e. they can PROVE that a person trying to purchase a gun is doing so for nefarious reasons), then why haven’t we already used that information to put them back in jail, where their known danger to society can be mitigated?

    I cannot comprehend that logic. “This person is too dangerous to own a gun. If they were to have a gun, we’re 100% sure they will commit a crime with it, but we’ll let them walk around society and hope that a cash register alerts us first!”

  2. I’d have just asked your friend whether he felt guilty for actually arming a criminal, as opposed to a hypothetical that entails you conducting a sale with qualified individuals who have valid firearms permits and are thus allowed to have a firearm. The difference between you and your friend is that you followed common sense and the law, and while your friend may have followed the law, he did not follow common sense by leaving his gun in the car, unsecured, where a thief could steal it. Of the two of you, he was the one who actually armed a criminal.

    Though truthfully, I would probably only be comfortable with private sales if they were somebody I knew quite well.

  3. I’ve yet to see where a background check has stopped any crime from occuring. Even the latest news medis hyped shootings could not have ended with a background check.

  4. Whether the guy had his gun in the open or in a lock box in his vehicle, it is gone. The question I would’ve asked: “Was the iPad sitting in plain view?” As for private gun sales, I would want to see a firearm permit or license (state dependent). I would also file a firearm sale form to remove me as the owner (available for free in WA). If the party intending to purchase refused to allow that, there would be no sale.

    1. So you agree with the anti gunners contention that the government should track the location of firearms. A bill of sale would provide you the same safety net, without involving the government in your private business.

      1. A “safety net” may offer me protection against legal liability but if I could do more, I would. I guess I just believe in looking out for my neighbor as well as myself… If that means I’m an “anti” then so be it

    2. I think you missed the whole point, the state or federal government has no valid reason to know the owner of a gun. Can you point to any criminal investigation that has relied on gun ownership information from gun registration or NICS background information?
      We all know that there exist “criminals” that have guns and are dangerous to us, being the “good guys with a gun”, however, there is currently no way to know who will “someday” commit some criminal act. So, there really is no way to determine to the degree necessary to remove basic human rights with current understanding of criminal behavior.
      The only proven solution is to have the ratio of “good guys with guns” to be greater than “bad guys with guns”. The only person (other than the criminals) that is guaranteed to be at the crime scene and has any reasonable chance of stopping the crime is the victim and that chance depends on being trained and armed.

  5. Two things:1- As a matter of friendly conversation, it is difficult at times to balance the rudeness of a response against the antagonism of the questioner. It seems your encounter with this person was borderline confrontational on their side and you responded with admirable restraint. One would like to persuade folks to our side of the discussion rather than alienate them. That said, he sounded like an a$$ and maybe deserved a snide remark or two as a reality check.
    2 – No one should have to suffer the expectation of being a mind-reader. For a private sale, one can pay for an FFL to handle the transfer OR take steps to document the transfer for future reference (i.e. photo copy the driver’s licence). Beyond that, I’m not going to answer ‘what-if’ questions about what’s in the heart of man: evil or good.

  6. Sometime last year, I handed my business card to a neighbor, so that he would have my phone number, He looked at my logo – a S&W “hammerless” Safety revolver – and the “Defensive Use of Firearms, LLC” and remarked, “I hate guns.”

    I replied, “I’m not particularly fond of automobiles but I’d hate to have to make do without them.”

    “I see your point.”

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