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Hello all,

I just wanted to get the opinion of some other forum members on new gun owners.

Obviously, we now have a lot of new gun owners, as panic buying has kicked in over the last couple of weeks. First, I'm very happy that many new people are exercising their 2nd Amendment rights, and I wish them all well.

I was on the phone with a relative earlier this week when I told him about my last trip to the gun range... the person in the lane next to me appeared not to be familiar with some of the basic safety rules, and was also having a lot of problems with the fancy black rifle he had with him. The range master did come help him, but it still made me a bit wary, so I left a bit early.

My relative responded that I was an arrogant, elitist [email protected]#%$, and that I should have minded my own business. I explained that I did nothing to this person, and explained that when shooting, you have to be aware of yourself AND others around you as well. My relative said that you only learn my making mistakes, so it wasn't a big deal. I reminded him that mistakes with firearms can be deadly, and said that gun owners should take responsibility and learn about their firearms (such as reading the owner's manual) before coming to the range.

Unfortunately, this didn't persuade my relative, and the conversation went totally downhill from there. But now I'm wondering if my perspective does need some adjustment. Was I wrong, or just being prudent?
 

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Upon observing your fellow shooter's difficulties with his rifle, you could have struck up a conversation with him/her and helped/instructed him to both of your advantage. I won't go so far as your relative in my criticism but, yes it is snobbish and elitist of you to take the position you have taken and downright foolish to not have intervened if you observed unsafe acts committed.
 

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Your relatives comments are irresponsible and unreasonable. He or she lacks the understanding of firearms safety. Each and every respected organization that handles firearms from my local police departments to the US military would disagree with their comments. You should take them to the range and teach them good firearms safety or get them to take a training class. Attitudes like your relatives are one of the things that give firearms owners a bad name.

Bob... in Colorado
 

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Our local range is closed but, when open, it does not have a range master. Therefore, all members are expected to uphold the safety rules and help others do the same. I have been reminded by others when I have made an oversight as I have also done to assist others. I don’t know the context behind why your relative responded to you as they did but, from what you shared, they are way off base. Your range safety master handled the situation which is their responsibility. You felt unsafe and left, your choice and nothing wrong wit it.
 

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It's hard to judge a matter if you didn't see it yourself, but it sounds like you reacted about like I would. An older gent was holding his .357 with the barrel pointed straight at me a couple years ago. I admit I was pretty excited when I told him about it. He said it was unloaded (like that made a difference). I moved to get out of the line of fire, but he just turned the barrel back on me. I complained to the President of the club, but nothing was ever done. Some clubs only give lip service to safety, others are serious about it. I applaud those. Some new people just don't want any help, they are so embarrassed about their inexperience. Others welcome advice. There are times though, when discretion is the better part of valor, and it's just best to leave.
 

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I have people calling for guns, and you can tell that they have never owned a firearm before, these are the same people that only a few months ago wanted everyone's guns taken away, all of a sudden when life smacks them in the face they become concerned about themselves, I have to laugh at them and just say hope you learn a lesson from all this and remember who you vote for and what they stand for, good luck to you.

The only hope I have because of this pandemic ,maybe just maybe we will educate some to see the importance of protecting or constitutional rights.
 

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Was I wrong, or just being prudent?
You were being absolutely prudent and responsible. Your relative's comments were misguided and likely uninformed. A live range is not the place for learning firearms safety.

Most of us have stories of unsafe range acts and, in my most recent example, I provided "feedback" to 3 foreign college students who were pointing an AR in unsafe manner while taking selfies. I later related the incident to the range owner so he could better manage his range staff.

Good job! 👍
 

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Safety first...safety second...safety always. It is paramount...even if it hurts someone's pride.
 

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You were wise. Guns, chain saws, and dynamite require training because they leave no room for error - one mistake can lead to death.

I had some guys drive up to what I thought was a little known shooting spot out in the desert this weekend. They saw me shooting my rifle, backed up, and parked behind some bushes 25 yards away. Then set up their target at about 90 degrees to where I was already shooting. Basically any strays would be flying across my line of fire. I was mad, but finished up and left.

The problem is there is NO training for anyone anymore. Not the military (like 11% join), not hunter safety courses (a fraction of Americans hunt today comparatively), not ANYTHING. They saunter into a gun shop, buy an AK or AR, and 40 or 80 rounds, then drive around in the country looking for a place to try it out. I don't want these yahoos trying it out around ME!
 

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It's hard to say about the guy at the range. Some people you can just look at and know there is no point in trying to help or teach them anything. I might have tried to talk to them and ask them if they wanted a little help. I might not have. Either way, When I don't feel safe at the range I'm gone. Your relative would be on my I forgot they where still alive list. A bunch of mine are on that list, including my brother. Your relative was wrong in my opinion. I'm from Pennsylvania so we get alot of Yahoo's and I saw it in a gun magazine Hero at the range. Most of these people are not new gun owners.
 

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It's why I'm starting to like our controlled range a little bit. They have several Range Officers that watch like hawks. I always liked plinking out in the woods and now desert. The problem is SO many have guns now, and you can't shoot in the city limits. So every weekend my road sounds like a war zone (we're just outside the city limits). That desert cattle tank I was shooting at I found a year ago, it's way back on some dirt 2track roads. But sure enough, between last time 3 weeks ago, and this time, someone had brought an old kitchen stove out there, shot it all up, left it sitting there. And some glass windshields. And a metal car hood. And..... $%^&* heads....gonna ruin it all for all of us.
 

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I believe help and support from the range officier carries more weight than from another shooter. If the range officier observes unsafe behavior he or she has the authority to make you up shape up or ship out! Any comment from me probably is taken with a grain of salt. I worry about the new gun owners as well. I think that the ranges need to take time to check out first timers to their facility to insure they understand how to safely operate the firearms they have brought to shoot and understand the range rules. In the boxing ring the ref instructs you to protect yourself at all times and that's also a good rule to practice when you're at the range.
 

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I had a firearms instructor once tell us at the beginning of his class (International Military and LE students) that pointing a gun in his direction would likely get you shot. My impression was He and his training staff meant what he said. Extreme? Sure but you got the idea gun safety was to be taken seriously.

You don't get "overs" once the round leaves the barrel no matter how good your intentions. Your relative is clueless. I've left a range more than once because of the antics of other shooters. And a couple of times as an RO I have asked shooters to leave the range as I considered them unsafe.

But...what I don't do or at least very seldom do is offer instruction to someone unknown to me. Various reasons for that but typically there is way, way to much ego involved to have a good learning experience in that environment. New shooter feels embarrassed having done some thing wrong and typically I am likely to be pretty unhappy if the safety issue bothers me enough to intervene. Much better IMO to not say a word, just pack it in and leave.
 

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My relative said that you only learn my making mistakes, so it wasn't a big deal.
People do indeed make mistakes, and there's no reason to stick around if there's a clear risk of dangerous mistakes. There's a beer joint a few miles from our house and I try not to drive that road at closing time, but I don't think that makes me arrogant or elitist. I'm just minding my own business, which is to stay clear of people that could make their business into my business in a very unpleasant way.

Darwin rewards the prudent.
 

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