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NAT’L – GUN SAFETY – You just panic-bought a gun. Here’s how to handle it safely.

You did it. You just joined the ranks of the millions of Americans who own a gun. I’ve had years of experience handling firearms — as part of my work in the military and law enforcement, recreationally, and for home defense. For many people, however, the novel coronavirus has been the catalyst for purchasing a first weapon. I want to be clear: Buying a firearm isn’t the same as stockpiling toilet paper. And it’s a grave — potentially lethal — mistake to simply toss a powerful weapon under a mattress or prop it up in a garage. Owning a gun introduces real risk. States with high rates of ownership experience significantly more accidental shootings, which often injure or kill children. Numerous studies show that access to firearms increases the odds of suicide. And a gun’s introduction into a home with domestic violence can have fatal consequences. (In fact, there are already reports of shootings with guns purchased during the coronavirus sales surge.) People who purchase firearms incur a share of responsibility to help mitigate these risks, and learning as much as you can about proper safety and the operation of your weapon is paramount. Under ideal circumstances, you’d have time to research and contemplate your purchase. But we don’t live in ideal times — and now you’ve got a new gun in the house. So what’s next? If you lined up for a gun in response to the coronavirus crisis, you bought a weapon for self defense, and you want to be able to quickly access it in an emergency. But the reality is: You won’t have eyes on your weapon at all times.  [full article]

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