Know, Decide, Act.

I chose these three words very carefully when designing the logo for the Indiana Responsible Gun Owners website. Why? Because there are many things you need to know, decisions you need to make, and actions you should regularly take to be a responsible gun owner.

For example, if you own or carry a gun, how often do you review various websites containing state and federal gun laws? These laws are constantly being challenged and debated. They can change overnight, and you may not know it. You can’t let this happen. You don’t want to end up in jail or lose your life savings simply because you were ignorant of the law.

You must train and practice. Don’t just practice shooting. We all need to practice handling, reloading, cycling, clearing, cleaning, and storing our firearms safely and proficiently.

I am convinced that hitting a target is not the skill most likely to cause a gun owner a problem. Instead, from what I’ve seen as a Range safety officer, not knowing how to work the machine held in their hands is the number one vulnerability of a citizen with a gun. Situational awareness and training would be a close second. (could be the other way around)

We need to practice mentally and physically to handle a firearm and fire it properly. We also need to understand the various circumstances that could require an act of lethal force. There is much to learn and many decisions to make.

I remember when I bought my first gun. The older gentleman behind the counter looked me square in the eye and asked, “Son, could you kill a man?”

What a question. Ever since that day, I have been studying, reading books, attending classes and training events, and praying about that question on an ongoing basis. We have grave moral decisions we need to make before finding ourselves in a life or death self-defense situation. It requires significant thought work. It is not comfortable. It is not easy.

Most gun owners don’t take the time to read books, attend classes, watch videos, and think through and train for various scenarios. We want to encourage gun owners to approach this issue differently.

If you are new to gun ownership, I will encourage you to study the different types of guns and the different calibers of ammo. There is a huge experiential difference between standard size 45 caliber handguns and a subcompact 380. You need to know what those differences are, not just intellectually but physically. When you fire that weapon, your hands, arms, nervous system, and brain will experience that event differently based on which machine you are holding in your hands. Experience at the range will help you comprehend what this means.

Why do you own a gun? Where will you keep it? In a safe? By your bedside? How will you store it? Locked up? Loaded? Will you keep one in the chamber ready to fire? Does your gun have a physical safety button/switch? Will you keep the safety on? If you need to use it quickly, will you remember to turn the safety off? Have you practiced that? How often?

I think you get the idea.

We all have a lot to learn. There are many decisions to make regarding what, why, how, when, and where we might need to use a firearm. That’s why it’s so critical we take action right out of the gate and for the rest of our lives to prepare mentally, physically, and legally for acts of self-defense. For responsible gun owners, let’s make this our mantra:

Know, Decide, Act

Jim Anthony – IRGO Founder
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