The Public Eye

We must remember that the general population has little to no idea about the facts regarding firearm ownership. Those who do are often fed biased information through mainstream media. The stereotypes regarding gun owners are strong and unjustly applied to the good men and women who enjoy the sport and protection firearms provide.

I went to the post office to deliver a C&R rifle. As a non-licensed dealer, I must know and abide certain restrictions that would otherwise be moot for bona-fide dealers. For example, I may not ship a handgun – under any circumstances. I must go through a common carrier such as FedEx, UPS, etc. Additionally, it’s necessary to notify the carrier that a firearm is inside the box. Upon declaring the good as a firearm, the Postal clerk is obligated to ensure that the firearm is unloaded. To know the rules is nice, so you know what to expect. I also think it projects a professional attitude when you’re not just as confused as they are.

“I want to ship this box via priority mail and I’m disclosing that the box contains a firearm.”

She looked as if she had seen a ghost.

This was entirely new to her (this is Sacramento County, California – what can you expect?). She tells me to wait one moment and comes back with the regulation book so that she knows whats required. She measures the box to ensure it’s 26″ (I’m assuming that she was reading the definitions of the USPS regulations §11.1.1e) and then requests me to open the box to ensure it’s not loaded. With a long line of people behind me, I requested to open the box in another room. She allowed me use the back office to pour the peanuts and unwrap the paper covering the rifle. As she watched me undo my careful packing, she said…

“I hate guns. They’re so scary.”

Until then, I didn’t realize that I was representing the entire gun owner population.

The fear of firearms is a result of someone breaking one or more of the four rules of firearms safety or doomsday stories created by the Brady Center and company. I told her it’s relatively natural to be uneasy of things that are not familiar – it’s OK to be scared. As I showed her that the gun was not loaded, I discussed the four rules of firearm safety and showed her the basic mechanics of the Marlin 69A lever action rifle to take away the mystery. I offered to let her hold it, but she declined. Nonetheless, she did mention that it was interesting and appreciated the walk through – she seemed genuine.

We are the role models and always under public scrutiny. It’s imperative that we maintain our path on the high road and show that we aren’t the scum the media makes us out to be. I’m likely speaking to the choir, but be mindful of what you represent and how you carry yourself. You never know who you might run into.

I’m certain her attitude would not have been as positive had I acted otherwise.

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Categories: Firearms, Guns

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2 Comments on “The Public Eye”

  1. October 26, 2007 at 7:33 pm #

    Nicely done.

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  1. Open Carry in National Forest « - May 5, 2008

    […] we’re likely to agree that most people, like at a post office, are generally unaware of current gun laws, it remains to be very important we maintain our […]

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