Owning a gun, and the firearm industry as a whole is a controversial subject in our country. In a very simple sense, there are two types of people; those who own guns, and those who think no one should own a gun.
Of course, even this belief could be labeled a myth, as it’s one that the media propagates on a regular basis.
But if you are confused about gun ownership in the US, you’re not alone. There are many myths that are highly pervasive in our society that would paint guns and those who own them, in a negative light.
If you want to own a firearm, whether it’s for self-defense, or to try out hunting for the first time, don’t let lies or myths hold you back.
Keep reading to learn about the most common myths that surround gun ownership today, and how to overcome them to become a proud, safe, new gun owner yourself.
1. Only Weirdos Own Firearms
People that don’t own any firearms often think that only weird, scared, unstable people own firearms. After all, most will never need to protect themselves with a gun, so why own one, unless you are weird, right?
The fact is, that most people who own firearms are normal people. They are responsible, hardworking, and have a level head on their shoulders.
Most people would never even consider using their guns in questionable ways. In fact, you would never even guess which people own a gun. Sure, some people are proud of the fact that they own guns, and tell everyone. Or they post pictures about their gun collection.
But the vast majority keep their gun ownership private. They don’t display their guns to the public. And they only pull them out and use them when necessary, such as when cleaning and maintaining them, or taking them to the shooting range to practice with.
2. Anyone Can Buy a Gun
Those who are against guns are those who fear them due to the latest headlines. They think that anyone and everyone can buy a gun.
But this isn’t true. In order to buy a firearm legally, a new firearm owner must be over the age of 18 for a long gun, and over 21 years of age and older to buy a handgun.
To complete a purchase, individuals must pass a background check. If you have a criminal history, you may be denied a purchase and cannot possess a firearm.
Are there ways around this? Sure, firearms are stolen and sold illegally all the time. But gun control laws don’t prevent this from happening.
To prevent stolen firearms from falling into the wrong hands, firearm owners should also purchase a quality gun safe. That way, if a thief ever breaks into the home while the owner is away, they cannot access the firearms.
This helps the gun owner from losing his property, and it keeps their local streets safe.
3. Strict Gun Control Laws Will Lower Crime
One of the most common gun control myths is that stricter laws, and firearm bans will lead to lower rates of crime. The truth, however, is that most violent crimes involving firearms are the result of stolen, and illegally possessed firearms.
It’s not the people who are purchasing firearms in a legal manner who are committing violent crimes. It’s those who steal or buy from someone who has stolen a firearm.
So focusing efforts on making it harder for law-abiding citizens to purchase firearms isn’t the solution.
Part of the solution is educating firearm owners, existing and new ones, to lock up and store their guns. As mentioned earlier, using a proper safe is one of the easiest ways to do this.
Also, not advertising your gun ownership will prevent you from becoming a target of theft. And firearm owners should avoid keeping guns in their cars. It’s hard to secure, or hide, firearms in a car. And cars are easier to break into than homes.
In fact, the more people who legally possess and know how to use a firearm, the more that violent crime and mass shootings can be prevented.
4. All Gun Owners Are Conservatives
While most gun owners would identify as Republicans and conservatives, it’s unfair to say that all gun owners are. Studies show that around 20% of gun owners identify as liberals.
Interestingly enough, with such an increase in firearm ownership since 2020, a large number of new gun owners are liberals. That could be due to the fact that many conservatives already own guns. But amidst greater uncertainty in the political and social realms, more liberals want to own a firearm.
And conservatives own guns for a wide range of reasons. While self-defense is among the most popular, many own guns for hunting or other shooting sports. Liberals, on the other hand, are primarily buying guns for self-defense.
5. Gun Violence Has Always Been on the Rise
With the constant stream of news headlines that aim to distort the image of guns and gun owners, one might be lead to believe that gun violence is on the rise. But in fact, over the last decade, gun violence has been dropping year after year.
Sure, with each attack and large-scale shooting, the news would have us believe that gun violence is worse than ever. But the truth of the matter is that gun violence has been declining, even as gun ownership rates have increased.
6. Guns Are Complicated
Many people believe that guns are complex machines that are hard to tamper with or customize. However, guns have been around for hundreds of years.
And while technology and manufacturing have improved quite a bit, the functionality of firearms remains similar to guns of old.
This means that there are few moving parts, and any gun owner should be able to disassemble their guns, clean them, and reassemble them on their own.
The simplicity of most firearms means that it’s also easy to customize or upgrade firearms with various aftermarket components. Hunters may want to try out different scopes or install a muzzle brake to reduce recoil in order to make follow-up shots.
Those who own tactical firearms like an AR-15 might purchase a AR 15 lower parts kit to either assemble their own rifle or modify their existing one. Those who choose to assemble their own might choose 80 lowers from 80 Percent Arms, as 80 lowers from 80% Arms are built better than the rest. Handgun owners might choose to add a laser sight to help improve accuracy or upgrade to an extended magazine.
So even if you purchase a popular gun, it doesn’t have to look or feel the exact same as everyone else’s. Just like with cars, guns can be customized to your unique preferences with relative ease.
7. Views on Gun Policies Are Divided
Many people think there are only two views when it comes to gun ownership; that guns should be widely available to anyone and everyone, or that guns should be completely banned from citizen ownership.
Whether you are conservative or liberal, or something in between, you probably have a more nuanced view.
For example, liberals might think that conservatives support easy gun purchasing and don’t care about background checks. But the truth is, that most conservative gun owners fully support universal background checks for all firearm purchases.
Gun owners care about safety, both personally and publically. They don’t want bad apples to be able to access firearms and are willing to support measures that would make it harder for bad people to obtain guns.
So, most people would agree whether they own a gun or not, that tighter background check measures are in everyone’s best interest.
8. Guns Are Mainly for Self-Defense
A lot of people think that most gun owners simply stock up on guns for self-defense and end-of-the-world scenarios. But while these people get the most amount of news coverage, there are many other uses for firearms.
Currently, there are over 11 million active hunters in the US. People hunt for a variety of reasons. But food procurement and a connection to the outdoors is high on the list for this significant population of Americans.
Americans have been hunting since the settlers first arrived here, hundreds of years ago. Native Americans, who have lived on the land much longer, survived primarily due to hunting for food.
Today, while people aren’t dependent on their hunting skills to survive, many are being drawn to the activity of hunting in order to establish a closer connection to the origin of their food. Wild game meat is among the healthiest food choices in the world, and more Americans, both conservatives, and liberals are interested in this process.
Shooting sports is also a common form of recreation for firearm owners. Whether it’s shooting at targets in the backyard or competitive marksmanship, millions enjoy time spent at a shooting range as a hobby.
Crushing the Biggest Gun Ownership Myths
So what’s the biggest myth of all when it comes to gun ownership? The biggest myth is that purchasing a firearm for yourself will make you somebody else.
But the truth is, owning a firearm doesn’t change who you are. It doesn’t mean you align with a certain political ideology. And it doesn’t necessarily associate you with a certain culture, belief system, or set of values.
You can own a firearm for your own personal reasons, such as hunting or self-defense. And you don’t need to let these limiting myths hold you back, so long as you are legally allowed to purchase a firearm for yourself.
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