By Steve Sorensen
The Wrong Hands for Guns
I’ve never been shot, but maybe I’ve been lucky. A close call came many years ago when I was walking up the trail along a local trout stream with a buddy. He tripped, and as he lurched forward to catch his balance he jammed the barrel of his .22 rifle into the soft spot right behind my earlobe.
Like I said, maybe I was lucky — if there’s such a thing as luck. I was lucky his finger wasn’t on the trigger. If his finger was on the trigger, I was lucky he didn’t pull it when he instinctively tightened his grip as he stumbled. If he did pull the trigger, I was lucky the safety was on. The lesson? With guns in our hands, never, ever depend
Years later I met a local eye surgeon in the woods. He looked at the shotgun I was carrying and said, “Guns scare me. I’ve seen what they can do.” I’ve also seen what guns can do, and they scare me, too.
Guns by themselves don’t scare me, but guns in the wrong hands do.
What are the wrong hands?
- Careless hands are the wrong hands for guns. Careless hands are hands attached to an unthinking mind. On the day my friend jammed the barrel of his gun behind my ear, he was carrying the gun in a cross-body position. Had he (or I) been thinking, he would have been pointing the gun the opposite way. Think! Should the gun in my hands be cross-body, or shouldered, or pointed down and forward, or up
- The hands of bullies and show-offs are the wrong hands for guns. Some people are victims of their own machismo. In their own minds they’re as invincible as Muhammad Ali in his prime. Ali is said to have told a flight attendant when refusing to buckle his seatbelt, “Superman don’t need no seat belt.” She calmly replied, “Superman don’t need no airplane either. Now buckle up.” It doesn’t hurt to be reminded, especially when around firearms, that none of us is Superman.
- The hands of an angry person are the wrong hands for guns. A chip on your shoulder is best left home when hunting or target shooting. A fight with the wife or the boss isn’t a good prelude to shooting. Anger sometimes clouds judgment. Firing guns to blow off steam is a bad idea. Better to head for the golf range.
- The hands of a person influenced by alcohol are the wrong hands for guns. Excess alcohol impairs judgment, and handicaps a person’s ability to assess his impairment. I’m bothered when I see lots of alcohol consumed at a hunting camp. It’s not a matter of opposing alcohol. It’s the same issue as beer cans on the floor of a car – alcohol can unintentionally weaponize a person.
- The hands of a criminal are the wrong hands for guns. Poachers and felons lose their gun rights for good reason. Lawbreakers can be motivated to attack those who might expose their lawlessness.
- The hands of a person who doesn’t respect others are the wrong hands for guns. The inability to consider the rights of others, the lack of common courtesy, and the notion that anyone who is in the woods is in my way reveals attitudes that invite trouble.
- The hands of a person who doesn’t respect guns are the wrong hands for guns. People must be taught respect for guns. In a day when young people see thousands of murders on television, in video games, and in the movies, we’re desensitized to the seriousness of firearms. We need gun safety to be mandated in our schools. But now I’m beginning to dream.
No, guns don’t scare me as much as hands scare me. It’s the hands that are unpredictable. In the proper hands, a firearm is a tool that can bring enjoyment. It can accomplish honorable goals. It can protect people. In the wrong hands, it can bring needless suffering and tragedy.
Next time you handle a gun, ask yourself, “What kind of hands are mine?” Make sure they’re not the wrong hands for guns.
About Steve Sorensen
Award-winning outdoor writer and speaker Steve Sorensen loves the Havalon knife, and has been a fan of knives since he begged his dad for a hunting knife when he was six years old. His articles have been published in Deer & Deer Hunting, Sports Afield, and many other top magazines across the USA. Invite Steve to speak at your next sportsman’s event, and follow his writing on his website, www.EverydayHunter.com.
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