The 2nd Amendment is under more scrutiny and attack than ever before. This might sound alarmist. But this statement will likely always be true because the baseline for gun control keeps getting higher.

Every time some new control measure passes, that becomes the new minimum standard for gun control regulations. New efforts to enact more gun control start from that baseline and go up from there.

Hence, efforts to curtail our 2nd Amendment rights are always more severe than they’ve ever been. Since most gun control advocates reference metrics that will almost always indicate that we need more gun laws, it seems unlikely that attempts to infringe upon the 2nd Amendment will stop any time soon, if ever.

So, now is the time for exercising with extreme caution our 2nd Amendment rights and avoiding the sort of mishaps that get snapped up as justification for more thorough gun control.

Legislation often feels like it’s beyond our control. In some ways, it is. But there are things that all of us can do to help give gun owners a good reputation and protect our gun rights. And they’re easy steps to take.

Educate yourself

This isn’t new advice. But it goes beyond understanding the Second Amendment and staying up-to-date on what’s going on politically.

You also need to know how to use your guns efficiently and safely within your intended shooting context. And that includes safe storage and everything else that goes into being safe with guns.

Firearms accidents make up a huge chunk of the evidence that gun control advocates use to support the claim that stricter gun control measures are necessary.

So, it’s incredibly important that we’re all doing our part to ensure that there’s no chance that we could end up contributing to those numbers. Experiencing an accidental death from a firearm is tragic. But it also makes it more difficult to defend our 2nd Amendment rights.

Getting good information and being responsible with our firearms is important for our own wellbeing. However, it’s also important for the gun community of the whole.

And being educated makes it possible to take the next step…

Help other gun owners be more responsible

You don’t have to be a bonafide firearms instructor to give people good advice.

Obviously, don’t be a jerk. But, if you see someone doing something silly or they tell you that they do something unsafe with their guns, explain why it’s not a good idea.

Whenever there’s an accident or a video gets released of someone doing something really dumb with their guns, it’s a black eye for everyone who owns guns. And the people who are involved in these accidents or end up doing something ridiculous most likely know at least one person who could have advised them not to do what they did.

If we as gun owners don’t help each other make good decisions with guns, the government will do it for us. And we won’t like it, because the government is much more heavy handed.

Firearms safety in Oklahoma

Follow the laws, even if you don’t like them

This one tends to be a bit of a sticking point for many gun owners. It’s understandable. Nobody wants to follow laws that they believe are ridiculous, ineffective, or unconstitutional. That’s understandable. Especially when it comes to laws that are so difficult to enforce that you probably won’t get caught.

But simply refusing to follow the laws makes you a criminal, as far as the government is concerned. Then, if you mess up, and become a documented criminal, that could compromise your right to vote. We need as many Second Amendment voters as possible.

And people—especially politicians—often prefer not to listen to criminals, especially when it comes to talking about what laws we need (or don’t need).

Additionally, there’s a very legitimate question about your point of view if you’re simply not complying with the current regulations: how do you really know the gun laws are ineffective or ridiculous if you’re not even following them?

Yes, if it’s easy to break the law without getting caught, there’s definitely an issue with that law. Enforceability is certainly something to talk about in regards to gun control regulations.

But saying, “I don’t even follow that law!” certainly doesn’t legitimize your point of view. If anything, it prompts people to think that more aggressive regulation is the solution.

Coming from a position of, “I tried it. It doesn’t work,” brings much more legitimacy to your side of the argument.

The last thing we want is to prove to gun control advocates that gun owners are indeed a bunch of gun-toting crazies by doing exactly what the media says that gun-toting crazies do.

Sure, at some point, the gun laws may get so overreaching that active disobedience might become a viable option (or the only option). But we’re not there yet. It’s best to approach the issue cooperatively and cordially, at this point.

In conclusion…

All of this advice boils down to one word: responsibility.

Whether we like it or not, rights come with responsibilities. If we want the right to bear arms, we have to be responsible with those arms. We need to help each other be responsible.

The government is interested in managing large groups of people. That’s a primary function of government. So, we need to make sure that we’re all doing our part to make sure that the gun owning community—as a group—appears responsible and capable of safely wielding our right to bear arms.

And that starts with getting our own knowledge and behavior in order, then expands to helping others do the same.