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By Dave Jones

Are you responsible enough to own a firearm? Of course most people are going to answer a resounding yes to that question, especially if they already own one. But have you ever really thought about it? I did back when I was 21. And the conclusion I came to was no, I really wasn’t responsible enough to own a heater. What brought me to that conclusion, you might ask? . . .

I grew up around guns, as a lot of people did, and fired my first one around the age of 5 or 6 (under the watchful guidance of my father). I’m not even sure if knew how read at the time. It was a .22 WMR revolver. Of the several lessons taught that day, the one that stood out most was that the gun wasn’t a toy.

The years went by and shooting was a pretty regular activity as I grew up, always with an emphasis on safety and responsibility. In fact my firearms privileges were revoked for about a year once when I was thirteen for a major safety violation (that’s a story for another time).

Then I turned 21, could drink legally, was on my own and could do whatever the hell I wanted up to and including buying my own handgun. But I decided not to do — buy a gun, that is. Shouldn’t a young man of legal age who was raised around firearms and still went shooting regularly get his own gun? The answer for me was ‘no.’

Why? To start with, I was a hothead, the guy in the group who was most likely to start a bar fight. I was also prone to road rage. Letting other drivers know when they had pissed me off was almost a hobby. And then there was the aforementioned drinking. Short story, I was fan of it and did a lot of it.

So I was the last person on earth that needed a firearm. After all, there’s nothing more dangerous than a 19 year old with a beer in his hand and I wasn’t too far removed from that at the time. To say I was a little irresponsible at that point in my life would be like saying Hitler was a little bellicose. Fortunately, I knew this about myself but really had no desire to do much about it at the time.

I concluded that if I owned a gun there was a good chance I’d deliberately shoot someone in less than an absolutely necessary situation. So I decided I didn’t need to own one. I still went shooting regularly. If I needed a firearm for recreational use, Dad was more than happy to let me borrow one. He knew I knew what I was doing and that he’d taught me well. In fact I shot much more frequently than most of my friends who owned guns back then.

At the age of 30, my girlfriend of nearly two years (now my wife) and I moved in together just before Christmas. That changed the equation considerably. I now had more than myself to worry about. How would I protect her if someone broke in with ill intent? So again I asked myself, are you responsible enough to own a gun?

I hardly drank anymore and whatever it was that fueled my youthful anger had run its course — I had mellowed considerably. The conclusion this time was yes, I was more than responsible enough to own a gun. It was a realization that was both scary and exciting at the same time. I had always loved shooting. There were so many weapons out there I would love to own and I was at a point in my career where I had enough money to support such a habit. So yes, I decided, I would get a gun after Christmas.

I had discussed this with my girlfriend and she had no issues with it. She had been shooting with the family a few times and she’s working hard to get more more lead on a target than I am.

On Christmas we sat under the tree opening our presents and there was one that was rather heavy and overly large. I had no idea what it was. Turns out she had filled a very large box with bricks to add weight and inside the large box, in a small plastic case, was a shiny new Taurus 24/7 (Gen 1 — it was 2005 after all). I was a gun owner for the first time in my life.

My history with firearms had reduced the learning curve at that point to nearly zero and owning a gun just felt right. Comforting, like and old jacket you can’t seem to get rid of.

No, it wasn’t the gun I would have chosen had I gone shopping for it myself. Yes, I was aware of the reputation Taurus had for producing more than the occasional lemon. But you never know until you test it, I figured.  Seven years and thousands of rounds later, it still runs well. I have since embraced my love of firearms and shooting and the collection is ever growing.

If you’re reading this you probably already own several firearms and consider yourself responsible. Perhaps you know a young man like I was who may not be ready just yet. In fact, he may not know himself well enough yet to ask the question.

Please have them read this. Have anyone you know considering the purchase of their first firearm read this. The point being, despite the fact you have the right to own a gun, are you the right person to have one? If you’ve thought about it already, good for you. If not, maybe you should.

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  1. Gee you got your first gun a whole 7 years ago and now you’re an expert! Great! Yeah we need more guys like you telling us what to do and what to buy. Isn’t the Internet great?

    • John M: I don’t see anywhere in the post where he told us what to do or what to buy, you raging jackass. Go expend your anger somewhere else.

      • Hey jackass, he is always telling us what to do, buy and even think and he has had guns for a whole 7 years! Yeah, not in this post but that is what he does. What the hell can he really know? What he has read is all. I think it is really a way to make money for him is all. Sorry if he is your damn hero. To me he sounds like just another Internet expert.

        • I think you need to work on your reading comprehension.

          “…he is always telling us what to do, buy and even think…”

          Who, in your mind is doing all of this? RF? Dan? Neither of them wrote the article. Right under the lead photo, on the very first line of the post, it says “By Dave Jones,” and I’m pretty sure this is the first time his name has ever appeared on a byline here.

          Why don’t you park your righteous indignation, check your facts, and get back to me.

        • If you don’t like his recommendations, feel free to offer your own, to make specific and therefore useful criticisms, or to ignore the whole thing.

        • Expert or no, the dudes story should be taken on its own merits. Make sure you know yourself and be sure your mature enough to possess a firearm. Do you disagree with the message, or merely the messenger?

      • Matt, what is up? First we get our favorite troll, Mikey numbers, then this guy, John M.

        One of us (not me) had better change their deodorant!! LOL

        • Well, my two comments at 19:22 and 19:47 were bracketed around a shower, and he didn’t come back after the second one, so I guess it was me. Live and learn.

    • I had the same thought when another contributor here mentioned a few days ago that he hadn’t really started shooting until he turned 48.

      • So how much experience does a guy have to have, I wonder?

        Why should taking up shooting for the first time at age 48 or having owned guns for “only” X amount of years disqualify a guy from anything (other than youthful ignorance)?

        • This is my question as well. Where does John M draw the line? 10 years? 15? 20? How arbitrary can one get?

      • Good point! In 7 years I went from High school education driving a parts truck for an electrical company to practicing medicine…

      • I was thinking the same thing. My sister will soon have a PhD in Neuroscience and she has only been in school for 7 years. Not saying she is an expert, but she has gone to Sweeden to present her research to well regaurded people in the field. I don’t see how 7 years is not enough to understand and consider yourself well versed in a small mechanical device that has very little variation in the way it works from gun to gun. Additionally, he said he has been shooting since he was 5 and I never saw him say he was an expert.

    • John M, your comment reads much like Jeremiah’s comments to me a few days ago. It seems very over-reactive.

    • Mr. Jones is not new to guns. He has been shooting since he was five years old. Looks like you have the reading comprehension of a five year old.

    • Somebody call the bouncer, John M needs to leave.
      John M sounds a lot like the guy Dave Jones used to be.

    • WONDERFUL article. You display some sound (but rare) self-honesty.
      I wish it were contagious with other gun owner types.

      Your dad got through to you in spite of your younger self, see that?

  2. @Dave Jones, nice article. It made a lot of sense. Don’t be deterred by the tr0lls who love to post here in order to give meaning to their lives.

  3. Great read. I myself have been around guns off and on since I was a little boy. I was in the Army too – I almost always shot with my step-father and used his firearms. Not until I was 41 years old did I acquire a first firearm of my own – and 3 others since. I am now the ripe old age of 42.

  4. I would plead with folks to distinguish between a GUN and carrying a HANDGUN. There is at least in my mind a world of difference. Different machines. Different purposes. Differing requirements. Owning a gun goes from single shot 22 to class iii. I can think of dozen different REASONS for owning firearms. Be precise. All gun owners are not ccw ‘ers.

    • Indeed there is a huge difference from a single shot .22 up to a fully automatic NFA weapon. I own both of those and a lot in between. Which weapons I currently own and the fact that I carry a handgun were not relevant to the article.

      • Well re-read what you wrote. You didnt make yourself clear about what type of gun you were talking about.

        • Pretty sure when he referenced that he turned 21 and was old enough to drink, he stated that he was also old enough to buy a …. wait for it….. handgun.

  5. I whole heartedly agree with this article. A few months ago, a fellow gun owner and I were discussing with a non owner about what gun he should get. The first question we asked was he ready to own a gun? The second question was if he was ready to walk away from any potential confrontation before it got too heated because you have to never pull your weapon unless it’s a life or death situation. Long story short, our friend still isn’t a gun owner because he isn’t ready yet.

  6. I’ve either sold off my guns or stored them offsite twice in my life; once was because of an unbalanced live-in girl and once was when I was working at a college town bar and my somewhat isolated house became the de-facto after hours club. Both times it was just too difficult to guarantee preventing unauthorized/ill advised access. No big deal though, I couldn’t shoot at that house anyway, so having an offsite workshop worked out fine except for having to duplicate some tools.

  7. Hmhh…
    Responsible with guns already at an early age
    at the same time tons of irresponsible behaviour as a youngster.
    Sorry, but this does not fit!

    • How does it not fit? He never said he drank and drove, or lit of fireworks tied to cat’s tail for fun.

      It’s been a much shorter time for me, but I understand exactly where he’s coming from. For me, it was a tad different, because I owned four firearms during my “period of irresponsibility” (two .22s, a 12g, and a .38 Special). I even had a carry permit (Court order, long story) at 19.

      I first handled a firearm when I was 4 years old. It was an FEG R61 (and I want one really bad now). I’ve been around loaded firearms since then. I’ve been incredibly responsible with them, yet I’ve acted irresponsibly in other aspects of my life. It IS possible to be both, you know.

  8. Great article, I don’t think people ask themselves this question, or if they do, chances are they aren’t honest with themselves.

    I didn’t purchase my first firearm until I was 26. It was a Glock 22 and shortly after I bought a Bushmaster AR15 to go along with it. I was the responsible gun owner and fortunately I never needed to use either of them in a self-defense situation.

    A few years later In 2009 my mother was murdered while she was at work. Till this day that case is unsolved, I will not go into details but it has had a major impact on my life. Anyway, shortly after I started to realize something was not right. I was easily ticked off, always mad at the world, and had major road rage whenever I was behind the wheel. Hell, I didn’t even have to be the one behind the wheel; just being in the vehicle gave me road rage. By this time I owned several guns, most of them rifles with the exception of the 1 Glock. After a serious self-assessment I came to the conclusion I was no longer responsible enough to own a firearm. I was afraid that I would do something I would severely regret so I sold my Glock. I was not worried about the rifles because they stayed locked up and I only took them out when I went to the range.

    Today my anger issues are gone and I am a lot more composed than I have ever been thanks to some wonderful friends and a few family members. Even though I have experienced some unfortunate events in the past I believe I have become a better person because of them. Last month I decided I was ready for a handgun again so I went out and purchased a Springfield XDS.

  9. Good article, but perhaps some are more like I was.

    In my early 20’s, I saw no need for a gun. Being in good shape and a competent fighter, I could defend my family… but I worked a lot of hours, my wife was alone with our children, and the break-ins were increasing. SHE needed a gun, and she was afraid of using it. She learned over time.

    When I first showed her how fast an attacker could move 20 feet, that woke her up (note to old farts like I am now, what used to take a split second sometimes takes several minutes now, depending upon several factors. Mexican food dinner? HA! It takes a few minutes as I awaken from my slumber).

    I used to be the first one to “stick my nose” into a problem. I was competent enough to “fix” it, be it verbally or physically. Buying my first gun changed that. A lot. Rather than fulfill the image of “gun guys are tough guys,” I lowered it several notches. It was no longer a testosterone issue, and it was no longer a “I’m tougher than you” issue. I could kill you with the twitch of a finger. If I needed to, I would – but that’s when I went out of my way to avoid confrontations.

    Sure, I’ll get involved if I need to – but buying my first gun made me think a lot, and it calmed me down a lot, and it reduced my “involvement” a lot. It made me more cautious on when/where I pick my fights – because I don’t pick them. They do. And I wish they wouldn’t.

  10. I respect the fact that Dave Jones despite some “hot-headedness” and possible excessive alcohol consumption at one point in his life was able to recognize he should not own a gun at that time.

    As a more philosophical type, I often argue in general, that the majority of people who own guns are moral, rational individuals who innately understand the awesome responsibility gun ownership requires. But, as in all things social, the distribution of responsible behavior is really best understood via the “bell curve”. It is good to read the real-life challenges people actually face and to be reminded that somewhere along that bell curve, some folks have to come to grips with their short-comings as a Human Being, and even better to know that some do it so successfully.

    Thanks for having the guts to tell your story so straightforwardly.

    To the “haters” that posted here critical of Dave: RASPBERRY! to the nth power!

  11. Never to use/own/carry a Taurus (any Taurus for that mater) like the one you pictured…….. thats my policy.

  12. I think it boils down to a few factors if a person is considering to own a firearm. Proper mentality, Training, and Up-bringing. I’m sure there’s more to consider, but a responsible adult mentality is a must to own a gun, otherwise results can be fatal. Training is always good. Not required but it will always benefit a gun owner. Up-bringing depends on how and where a person grew up i.e. anti-gun or pro-gun family, exposure to firearms or not, etc.

    Everyone has the right to keep and bear arms. Should everyone own one? Probably not…

  13. hymmmmn, Interesting!…. [Everyone, grows up, Sometime?….]. Give the guy, a break!…[he’s just sharing, trying to help!] like or Agree, with it, Whatever?… As far as “Taurus Guns”, go; they were considered, a “Cheap, Inexpensive, Saturdat-Night, Specials”!… Than, they bought, the Brazillian Factory, off “Berretta”!… Now, Warrantying, “Every Gun, they Make”!… [Reason being, they make “Everything, for their Guns”, under tight Supervision, to retify, their previously “Bad Reputation”!… No Questions asked,! Returned, fixed, or replaced, with in 2 weeks!… [Knowing this, because, i personally had dealing with them!…]. Having, 2 Springfields, [XD & XDm, .45’s, Glock 19, and a few other brands]. Preferring, buying American, financially; But,going for the value. I bought 3 “Taurus”. Buying the Millenium, Pt 745, 6 shot , single stacked, fits in your hand; Soon replaced, by the “Millenium PT 145”, doubled stacked 10 shot, same small, fit in your hand, almost unseen, which Shoots, So much better, than the pt745, because of the weight! And, my “Judge”! The “El Juez”, version, Stainless Steel, with the Black Gripper handle, Gold Trigger, Gold Hammer, and Cylinder Slide. Liking the way, they both shoot, having No problems, with either; i’m happy!… Living here, in the Florida “Keys”, i could drive, to the Miami Branch, [a 1 hour drive to drop any off, if i needed, repair, ect.]. Just to cut down, on the return time!….
    Re-Evaluate, “Taurus”!… {I have!.. } For what it’s worth; Don’t criticise, without trying them, First!…

    • Captain George,

      I want you to try something. Type your posts in Microsoft Word or some other word processor and don’t post them on here until you have fixed all the red and green squiggly lines by a method other than the ignore button. I really want to read what you are typing, but I can’t understand a darn thing.

      • Charles5 and others: The complete randomness of punctuation and capitalization really is pretty comical, but is even more so when you realize that it comes coupled with nearly flawless spelling. The funny thing, to me, is that contrary to what I might have thought, I have absolutely no problem reading what he writes. Somehow I just manage to filter out everything but the actual words.

    • Somewhat difficult to read, but you get the idea-Taurus is a different gun company today than it was back in “the day”. Customer service which was notoriously lacking, is now the order of the day. Amazingly, even with the evidence before them, those that are biased against Taurus (or any other brand) will likely remain that way. For some reason that is beyond my comprehension, many gun folks believe they know ALL there is to know………CHANGE HAPPENS…………………

      • “For some reason that is beyond my comprehension, many gun folks believe they know ALL there is to know..”

        Are you including yourself in that assessment?

  14. I personally enjoyed the article. IMO the fact that Dave was even aware enough to ask whether or not he was responsible enough to own a handgun puts him head and shoulders above a lot of other people. I don’t however think that deep introspection should be a mandated requirement for owning a weapon, but it’s nice to see an honest self-examination like this one.

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