In the run-up to Season 5 of his eponymous YouTube series, NRA Gun Guy Colion Noir is having something of existentialist crisis. “The truth is being a gun owner isn’t about being a gun owner at all,” Mr. Noir opines. Pardon my pedantry, but doesn’t that mean that non-gun owners are gun owners too? Someone should tell California legislators. On second thought, maybe not. Anyway . . .

desantis blue logo no back 4 smallMy definition of a responsible gun owner is someone who follows the Four Safety Rules, defends all Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms and isn’t an *sshole. (Some would say the third qualification disqualifies your humble scribe.) What’s your definition of a responsible gun owner?


  1. A responsible gun owner is a responsible person first. They treat everyone with integrity and have no desire to initiate force against others. Not all gun owners are responsible people, obviously, and not all responsible people are gun owners.

    • Ah, I disagree MamaLiberty. There is more to being a gun owner than first being “responsible”. The bearing of a personal defense weapon, for much of recorded history a sword, but more recently a firearm, has always been associated with being a free mature responsible adult, versus peasant, peon or slave. This is why a Liberal/regressive can be a “responsible” person in driving safely, having health insurance and being careful in the way they eat, but be vehemently against the bearing of a firearm, and be a worshiper of the state and it’s “monopoly of force”. This makes them the complete opposite of being responsible, when they leave one of the most important aspects of being a mature responsible adult in the hands of their “superiors”.

      I also believe there is another facet to being a “responsible” gun owner. That takes the other responsibility of being a free person. That is where the R.G.O. is not just responsible for ones own safety and the safety of his immediate circle of family and friends; but that they have taken that primal, primitive, lizard brain level of willingness to defend their personal “tribe”; to which they then transcend their own primitive tribalism, to embrace the idea that not just other Americans are deserving of the willingness to lay their down their lives in their defense; but that all human beings that are not predators deserve this same level of commitment.

      • Hmmm…. Thomas, where did I argue against any of that? And what part of integrity and non-aggression is not characteristic of the responsible person, as well as a responsible gun owner?

        I suspect you are reading far, far too much into the simple foundation criteria I cited. I think that the person without integrity and abhorrence of initiating force is not any kind of responsible person, let alone a responsible gun owner… whatever else they may be.

        • Maybe I should have said that I don’t disagree with your list, but that it was to generic.. The point I’m making is that a pacifist could be considered responsible, with integrity, definitely with non-aggression principles, but the pacifist is not a responsible gun owner.

          So while the qualities you list could be considered foundational to any responsible individual, what differentiates a responsible gun owner, versus a responsible pacifist?

  2. I am an asshole. I think I am a responsible gun owner. The fact that I now carry has changed me for the better. No longer do I get upset at stupid drivers. No longer do I put myself in stupid places, around stupid people, doing stupid things. My situational awareness has increased 10 fold. I used to think the Robert Heinlein quote that an armed society is a polite society was correct because if people see a gun they are less likely to be rude to the holder. Now I know that is backwards. I am polite BECAUSE I carry. Because I understand and respect the life altering power I carry with me. I am more polite because I am terrified of that power and pray I never have to use it.

    • ^ +1
      Ask my ex wife what an asshole I am; ask my current (and final!) wife the same question. The idea of shooting someone has nade me back the F*K! off, and mellowed my attitude greatly.

  3. Know the cost of any and all actions and act accordingly.

    Be a rational decision maker that acts when and only when the marginal benefit outweighs the marginal cost.

  4. It is not to be considered synonymous with legal gun owner. There are many gun owners who possess their firearms legally, but are grossly negligent with their handing and put others at risk. Likewise, there are many gun owners who own weapons in an extralegal fashion. This can be someone that chose not to register their firearm before a deadline, this can be someone who modified their weapon to better suit their needs, this can be someone who is a prohibited person but still goes on hunts with the guys.

    to me a responsible gun owner is someone who does right by his fellow man by not putting them in harms way (unless they put themselves there)

    • Removed_californian: “Likewise, there are many gun owners who own weapons in an extralegal fashion. This can be someone that chose not to register their firearm before a deadline, this can be someone who modified their weapon to better suit their needs, this can be someone who is a prohibited person but still goes on hunts with the guys.”
      “Extralegal?” as in illegal laws that are effectively ex post facto, specifically “Someone that chose not to register before a deadline?” I cannot see how that could be placing others at risk. “Modified their weapon to better suit their needs” is something I, and many others, are proud of. “Someone who is a prohibited person but still goes on hunts with the guys” [assuming you are thinking that a person prohibited from owning should NEVER associate with gun-owners on a hunt, rather than prohibited from shooting?] You’ve used a broad enough brush to cover about 90% of gun owners, I hope confiscation of that 90% isn’t part of your plans.
      I have to question whether “removed_californian” means attitude changed or just transplanted out-of-state?

      • My apologies if there are issues in interpretation. I’m not an English major. What was trying to say is that sometimes a state like California bans weapons of a certain configuration, making ownership of said weapon illegal. I am removed from my home both physically and politically I can assure you.

        Removed_californian: “Likewise, there are many gun owners who own weapons in an extralegal fashion…” I made a typo and skipped over the word responsible. Believe me, I’m no way in favor of any type of arms regulations that hinder our ability to own the weapons that we want *coughcoughHughesamendmentcoughcough*. Im in a free state now and enjoy not having to think about a bullet button. What I was trying to get at was that just because something is illegal does not make it immoral or inherently wrong.

        in no way did I mean that people who resist a ban are irresponsible. In no way did I mean that a person should exclude a “prohibited person” from their lives. In no way did I mean that modifying your property was an irresponsible thing to do.

        Typing off mobile and I don’t exactly get to see everything I put into the comment bar, nor do I do too much proof reading. My apologies for the miscommunication.

  5. The worst kind of @sshole is the @sshole who is completely oblivious to the fact they are a world-class @sshole.

    (Yeah, I am an @sshole…)

  6. A responsible gun owner is one who takes personal accountability and respects the tools with which he surrounds himself. He seeks to protect that life that he has been granted as well as others. This is why he lives safely. He doesn’t glory in bloodshed, but glories in the liberty of his fellow man.

    Being nice or owning guns doesn’t really factor in all that much. Though I do think not being an a-hole is important, as is exercising 2nd amendment rights.

  7. Someone should teach that young man a proper kneeling position. I was cringing when his elbow was propped on his thigh. Watching the barrel oscillate… Thinking, “crap, he’s gonna miss”

  8. A responsible gun owner is a gun owner who takes personal responsibility for his own safety and the safety of his family.

    Following the Four Safety Rules is being responsible for safety.

    Defending all Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms is self-preservation and thus “responsible.”

    Being an *sshole is the natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right of every American. So is being “deplorable.”

    And anybody who doesn’t like me because I’m “deplorable” can kiss my @ss.

  9. Responsible? Like knowing the 4rules? If I shoot some bad guy I’m “responsible” for that bullet or shotgun shell. Sorry but I have a right to be an azzwhole…

  10. 1. Don’t shoot anyone who doesn’t need shootin’.
    2. Don’t let your gun(s) get into the hands of someone who might break rule #1.

    That’s about it.

    Sure, there’s the four rules and all that, but it’s just a procedure to avoid breaking rule #1.

  11. I mulled this question while I was taking a math exam and I came to the conclusion that no set of rules covers it. The list would be infinite because the set of potential circumstances is infinite.

    So, without getting too philosophical about it… A responsible gun owner follows the way of The Life Giving Sword (or gun in this case). Calmness, kindness, rationality and discipline coupled with the ability to handle your business with a cold, clinical and methodical manner should the need arise.

    You don’t need to be a “warrior poet” but your gun is a tool meant to take life for the purpose of preserving innocent life. That’s a awesome responsibility which should humble you and cause you to constantly seek to improve all aspects of your life. The R.G.O. isn’t perfect but they seek improvement in everything they do because it makes them a better person, and by extension, a better POTG.

    • Right. True responsibility exists in having power and consciously choosing not to misuse it. Responsibility, like gun ownership, is an individual exercise, not a collective one.

      • Yes. Look at the road rage story from yesterday.

        Look, I’m not saying the guy was wrong to pull the trigger but a number of actions he took in that situation were not calm, rational or disciplined and that made the situation worse. A calm, rational and disciplined person doesn’t say “… the gun’s coming out and I’m going to put it to his (expletive) head.” to a 911 operator.

  12. Well, I was going to share my version of a “responsible gun owner”. Since I am stupid, crazy, and corrupt everyone is obligated to categorically dismiss anything I have to say. That being the case, I will not waste hard drive space on TTaG’s servers with my definition.

  13. “I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.”
    -Robert Heinlein

    I believe I am a responsible gun owner, because I understand that the above quote is true. And that it is true whether I like it or not, whether it works in my favor or not, and regardless of what I manage to get away with. A responsible gun owner is one who fully embraces personal responsibility, and fully applies it to gun ownership.

    • According to leftists, “responsibilities” are created only by the laws enacted. Czechs, and ‘free’ people wisely know that laws never prevent crimes, they only create consequences after it’s too late and IF perpetrator is caught..

      • Corollary:

        Police are historians.

        They rarely prevent crime.
        Their main job is investigate the scene of crime and write reports.

        Lesson to be learned:

        Be Prepared!


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