General Question

wildpotato's avatar

What advice would you give me about firearm ownership?

Asked by wildpotato (13596 points ) January 24th, 2010

I learned to shoot in college from some of my more rurally reared friends, and fell in love. With the Remington 870 Express Magnum 12 gauge, specifically. I’m interested in skeet shooting, not hunting. I live in New Jersey and have never taken a firearm safety class. My (unofficial) safety training consists of being told to keep very careful track of whether my gun’s loaded or not, and to point up at God or down at the devil if I’m not taking a shot.

I want to own a shotgun. So I need to know what I should do to prepare myself for this.

I’ve been looking at places to take safety classes, but I’m having trouble finding a place that offers something for shotguns, and not just rifles and handguns. Or should I just try out a handgun? I hear they’re quite fun.

Any advice or personal experiences you could offer would be helpful. Thanks, jellies!

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17 Answers

babaji's avatar

just say no

ragingloli's avatar

Don’t.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I’m very much against handgun ownership, but I can see the fun in shooting skeet. Is the Wayside Skeet Club near you? I would think that would be the best way to start.

poisonedantidote's avatar

buy a safe to keep it in. dont store it loaded.

but really, your use of the word “fun” suggests to me that you would be better off without one. im sure there are shooting ranges where you can hire one to shoot at their targets with. maybe even do the clay pigeon thing, that is actually quite fun.

i dont live in the USA, but i am in favor of the 2nd amendment. but im not in favor of guns being left in draws and open places. unloaded, in a safe with a separate smaller box to keep the ammunition in, thats fine.

dpworkin's avatar

You are far better off getting proper training on handling any weapon, especially a shotgun, hand gun or rifle. Better for you, better for those around you, and actually the more you know the better you get and the more fun you have. There must be a rod and gun club somewhere near you. There are two within walking distance of my very rural house.

Shield_of_Achilles's avatar

Gun control is being able to hit your target.

Buttonstc's avatar

I don’t know if you’re in the part of NJ that’s close to Philly, but there are numerous shooting ranges both in S. Philly and in Northeast Philly.

They’re listed in the phone book but I just got recos on the ones favored by cops in both locations. Just as any beat cop and they can advise you.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

I have yet to run across a class that was simply shotgun safety training. My best advice would be to take a hunters safety course (even though you don’t plan on hunting). Very little of the course actual has anything to do with hunting, the major focus is firearm safety. In the class they will go over shotgun, rifle, and handgun safety so it will be beneficial if you want to use more than just a shotgun in the future. I will also leave you with the best advice my dad gave me about shotgun safety: Until you are actually ready to pull the trigger, leave the action open. Whether the gun is loaded or unloaded, with the action open it is impossible for the gun to fire (and I don’t mean very unlikely, it is literally impossible).

I’m not surprised by some of the comments saying that you simply should not own a gun, it seems it’s quite the common misconception that anyone who owns a gun is simply an accident waiting to happen. However, I doubt these people have ever spent much time around guns, or about learning gun safety. If you take it seriously and spend some time and effort, you can learn to be safe with a gun and have fun while skeet shooting. I come from a family who has owned guns for generations. My dad taught me at an early age to be safe with them, and throughout all my years handling a gun I’ve never had an accident. In fact, no one in my family has. Simply saying that people who own guns are bound to have an accident is a ridiculous assumption.

Of course, there are always irresponsible gun owners, but by simply asking this question before getting a gun, I can see that you, @wildpotato, are on the right track to becoming a responsible gun owner.

Skeet shooting is a great pastime, and a ton of fun. I’m sure you’ll love it.

Randy's avatar

Common sense is the trick to dealing with any kind of firearm. NEVER store your gun loaded. That’s just asking for trouble. Take whatever safety class you can if you choose to do so. If you can’t find one specifically for shotguns, I’d suggest taking the rifle class and just mentioning to the instructor that you’re planning on purchasing a shotgun. safety is similar on the two

There are clubs all over the nation that offer skeet shooting. Some public, some private. There’s also the option of buying your own gear and just doing it yourself (or with a friend).

Handguns are very enjoyable. I would suggest at least shooting a box or two through a handgun to anyone that enjoys firearms.

Everything falls back to my first statement though. Use common sense when dealing with any firearm and please… PLEASE be EXTREAMLY careful if you have children.

Austinlad's avatar

Pu-leeeeze don’t. The world doesn’t need another shotgun owner.

wildpotato's avatar

@ragingloli Ok, my European buddy. I will explain:

I am your semi-typical inhibited East Coast American Jewish chick. Diminutive in stature, liberal in background, neurotic by nature, New Yorker reader, Jon Stewart worshiper, etc. etc. It’s as much a surprise to me as anyone I can think of that I love guns. I nearly hyperventilated on the trip up to the field in Bumblefuck, CO where I went shooting for the first time. We got out of the car and I thought I was going to throw up, but my friend took a few shots and I noticed that my dog was less scared than I was. And then he handed me his Remington and told me to make the tiny ball bearing at the end of the barrel a setting sun up against the little orange dot way out there in the snow, and I squeezed the trigger, and the little dot disappeared and my shoulder ached. And I was breathless and exhilarated, and all the stress was simply gone. It’s…an important experience for me. I know it is possible to be a responsible gun owner – it seems to involve metamorphosing my inhibition into respect for the weapon. And in my case, it would also involve not looking at it as a weapon – I have no interest in getting a gun for family protection or anything like that. Just skeet. Cool?

@others I live in Jersey City. I have a car, and am willing to travel up to an hour out for this. I am 24, and a determinedly serious person. I do not have children.

@jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities Thank you very much, and good call. That’s exactly my goal – to be a responsible gun owner. A hunter’s safety course sounds like the right idea – maybe they would even show me how to teach my dog about the line of fire. She obeys my “wait” command, but it would be better if she understood.

If I go to a range, would there be a chance I could rent the use of a handgun and an instructor’s help, just to try it out?

dpworkin's avatar

There would be a 100% chance.

galileogirl's avatar

If you are really interested in skeet shooting

http://www.njskeet.com/

Of course that means you are not just interested in flashing your shotgun around and will keep it in a gunsafe or better yet in a safe at the club so it won’t be damaged in a house fire or cyclone.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Wow, I never realized how terrified people are of using guns. I wish everyone treated automobiles this seriously.

Anon_Jihad's avatar

Definitely take some safety courses, even with supreme knowledge on the matter, there’s no reason to not take that extra care.

I prefer handguns over shotguns and miss my 1911 more than I would either of my arms if they were removed, but I was in tough financial times and had to sell it. Hoeever, my preference is not yours and I encourage you to seek whichever you prefer, shotguns have no equal in home defense in my opinion, and are far better at that than handguns,

A shotgun can be stored loaded with no problems if you take the proper care of your firearm, cleaning, proper storage, not playing with it, etc. When I lived with my dad I kept a Remington 870 loaded under my bed. Handguns though should never be stored loaded under any circumstances, if you fear of imminent danger, the loaded magazine can be kept in immediate proximity. Handguns are easily accidentally discharged and any existing deity knows I’ve done that more times than I should be allowed mistakes.

In case of company or the such who may have kids just remember to keep any room with firearms strictly off limit, if you keep them in your bedroom, get a lock for your room door, any accidents with your firearms, is unlikely to be attributed to anyone else.

TexasDude's avatar

@wildpotato, ignore all the folks in here with their “oh noes!11!11! guns r evil bad guns! bad!” drivel.

Learn the four rules of safety by heart and always abide by them.
Find a good range with instructors who will teach you the ins and outs of shooting. And also have fun.

@the haters, quit being so damn judgmental. Guns are safe and fun when used properly and the asker is pretty unlikely to go shoot up an elementary school, so please open your minds a bit and stop being so unhelpful and trying to prove how civilized you are by saying how icky you think guns are. We get it. /rant.

Nullo's avatar

The NRA offers safety classes. The Missouri Hunter’s Ed class (a joint effort by the Conservation Dept. and the NRA) was about ten hours spread over two days, and covered things like firearm types and terminology, handling, safety, etc. as well as rules for hunting. It was held at the local community college.

Handguns are fun, but I prefer the range and accuracy offered by long arms. Shotgun ammunition seems to be cheaper than pistol/rifle ammo these days.

Good general rules: keep the gun unloaded until you’re ready to shoot it. Treat it like it’s loaded and the safety’s off, even if it’s not. Don’t store the gun and the ammunition together. Don’t force the parts.
You don’t need to buy a safe (overkill, and them things be expensive), but a gun lock is a must. Or perhaps a locking gun case.

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