A gun is not a toy

benjaminmarauderairrifleOne of my father’s most frequent admonitions was, “A gun is not a toy.”

Like almost everybody else in our small town, he owned and used a hunting rifle.   One thing he impressed on me was that the muzzle of a firearm should never be pointed at a living thing that I didn’t intend to kill.  That applied whether I thought the gun was loaded or not.

I am not a gun person, but my brother is.  During my last visit to my brother, we spent an enjoyable morning together shooting at targets on his favorite firing range.  Everybody was highly conscious of gun safety, and monitored me closely to make sure that I, as a novice shooter, did not make some safety mistake.

Guns are useful for many things.  They are useful for self-protection, for protection of livestock from predators, for the pleasures of hunting and target shooting and, sometimes in the case of poor rural families, for putting meat on the table.

But a gun is a tool, not a toy.  A gun should be treated with the same care and respect as any other dangerous machinery.  Too many people forget this, including the people who walk around in crowded places with loaded firearms, just to make the point they have a right to do so.

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5 Responses to “A gun is not a toy”

  1. lwk2431 Says:

    “…including the people who walk around in crowded places with loaded firearms, just to make the point they have a right to do so.”

    Presume the people you are referring to are the Open Carry movement people in Texas? If so, how do you know the guns are loaded? I would be quite surprised if they were.



    • philebersole Says:

      Good point. Now that I think about it, I admit that I don’t know of any fatal accidents resulting from people exercising their Open Carry rights in crowded public spaces. I still think such people are treating guns as if they were toys.

      I still think my late father was right — that you should treat any firearm as if it were loaded, whether you think it is loaded or not. The least bad thing that can happen for behaving otherwise is that you form bad habits.


  2. 3boxesofbs Says:


    Do you know that it is against the law to Open Carry a Handgun in Texas but not a Rifle or Shotgun?

    44 states allow some from of Open Carry; yet the reports of any incident involving Open Carry are very rare (as in almost impossible to find) – let alone someone ‘treating them as toys’.

    Open Carry Texas is using the Rifles and Shotguns to make a political protest; let’s change the law and allow citizens to carry handguns Openly…..good grief it gets to be 105 or more during the summer.
    Please keep in mind the sources of the images you probably see. I would bet they come from one of two sources’ the anti-gun media or the anti-rights cultists groups like Moms Demanding Attention.

    So doesn’t it stand to reason they will deliberately pick images to cast the worst light?

    And let’s put it into a little perspective, eh.

    Another week has come and gone, and once again we’re looking at something in the neighborhood of 40 reported GunFAIL incidents, 15 people who accidentally shot themselves, four home invasion shootings, nine child victims (including an 18-month-old who’s the youngest victim of the year, to date), six law enforcement officer-involved GunFAILs, etc., etc., etc.

    Oh…..sounds like big numbers – how many traffic accidents including fatalities do we have each week? More then 40?

    How about putting that 40 into the perspective of 55,000,000 gun owners?

    Bob S.


  3. lwk2431 Says:

    ” I still think such people are treating guns as if they were toys.”

    Probably the first thing to understand about the Open Carry (OC) activists is that these are staged _political_ protests aimed at changing the law in Texas. I would guess however that they have generated more negative impressions than anything else, and that is probably in large part due to the biases of the mainstream media. It is also in part due to these activists not having a clue on how the media was going to portray them.

    In Texas it is illegal to open carry a handgun in public. It has been illegal from since sometime in the 1870s except when “traveling,” which has been subject to much interpretation. Basically it is illegal in Texas to open carry a handgun.

    That is precisely what they are trying to get changed.

    In Texas it is legal to carry long guns in public just so long as you do so “in a manner not calculated to cause alarm.” I guess they thought their protests would attract reporters and they could explain their cause and get fair coverage on the evening news.

    Obviously a lot of these folks did not have much previous experience in dealing with the media, especially as related to issues dealing with firearms.

    In all the news coverage I have seen the OC folks always had the firearms slung and not in their hands. However the media focused almost completely on how afraid so many people were of them.

    I seriously think the OC folks need to come up with a better way to protest, but this has been an ongoing point of contention in Texas for quite a while. I guess they thought they just had to do something radical to get some momentum.

    As I said before, I doubt they ever presented the least threat to anyone not so irrational to wet their pants at the very sight of a firearm carried by someone who is not in a police uniform. 🙂




  4. philebersole Says:

    I started to write a long comment in response to the comments above, but instead I wrote another post. Here’s the link.



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