Responsible gun owners are not just people who go to a gun store and buy the first gun they see. Most take specific steps to ensure that the gun(s) they buy are safe and the type of gun they need for their personal use. That includes making sure that every gun they bring home is in an accessible and secure place. Depending on the income of the family, some gun owners can purchase guns with built in safety devices, ensuring they are the only ones able to fire the gun.

The media loves to report instances of gun accidents, especially those which involve children. This gives them the opportunity to push their gun control agenda, while worrying non-gun owning parents that their child is a potential victim. Gun accidents are rare, but the vast majority of gun owners, especially those with children, are responsible people who take the safety of their children as seriously as they take the responsibility of gun ownership.

Gun safety begins with proper training and use of the weapon. The cardinal rule of using a gun is that you do not point it at someone unless you are going to shoot. Another rule of gun ownership is that all guns must be in an accessible but hidden place because it makes no sense to have an intruder be able to get to the gun before you do.

There is one fault that a minority of gun owners are guilty of – not reporting missing or stolen guns to the authorities. The reasons behind this are generally based on the fear of people finding out they have guns in their home, a fact they would prefer not to be made public. But these are the minority of gun owners, and theft of a gun is almost always reported to the authorities.

Many cities and states require gun locks for all types of guns, as much of a nuisance this can be for gun owners. In some ways it is understandable that gun owners do not like the idea of having government involved in their home life. Gun owners treat their guns as a bottle of poison when it comes to giving children easy access to their firearms. Both are to be handled only by people who are knowledgeable and experienced in their use. There is no such thing as a “safer bullet” so every gun is a potential killer.

Though not as true in the Jewish community, the issue of bringing up your children properly so they obey their parents is an important safety factor for gun owners. The broader American culture has families whose sons and daughters are gang members or who are rebellious against the parental authority. I am not talking about curios 5 year olds, but older children who do not understand and obey the parent’s when they are told of restricted areas of the home. The Jewish culture considers the age of 13 or 14 as the age of responsibility, and are treated as adults. Being responsible is the first practical step to gun ownership and gun safety in the home.

There are a number of simple things gun owners can do to improve the safe ownership of their weapons: keeping the gun unloaded but with the bullets nearby (a magazine is a good choice here), spending a bit extra to get built in safety devices with their new purchases, and making regular checks to see that the gun is where it was placed and has not been moved or tampered with.

Ted Nugent’s Facebook post and statement as a member of the board of the National Rifle Association has caused quite a bit of controversy in and out of the Jewish community. Let me first say that personally I do not pay much attention to American rock stars as a source of serious conversation or debate on important issues. Mr. Nugent is entitled to his opinion, and he is also entitled to be wrong.

It is clear Mr. Nugent is not aware of our group, nor does he know about what it is like to live in America as a Jew. The general perception of Jews by Americans and a large segment of the world is that we control economies and are sole purpose is to dictate political policies by way of financial influence. But Mr. Nugent does not understand what anti-Semitism is, nor does he understand that the Jews have a long history of being shot at by guns, so we understand the importance of guns as a way of defense and as a way of life whether we like it or not.

Attempting to connect guns and religion is an invalid argument. There are Christian groups in America who oppose gun ownership because they are pacifistic and do not accept the cultural norms of their religious belief system. Does this mean that these people are gun haters too or do they simply believe that while it is everyone’s right in America to own a gun, their choice not to should not brand them as anti-American or anti-Christian.

I might agree that there are politicians, Jewish and otherwise, who have their own personal or political agenda for opposing gun ownership. We have formed the Armed Jewish Federation precisely because we are very pro-gun ownership and are actively exercising our rights as Americans. Saying that we hate freedom is particularly offensive, for the obvious reason that Mr. Nugent has never known persecution and genocide on the scale the Jews have experienced for centuries. Basically, he speaks of things he knows nothing about.

If he would bother to look at the nation of Israel and see that the entire nation’s security depends on guns, he would get a better perspective of what Jews truly believe. If his comments were restricted to American Jews, then he has to provide more evidence rather than making broad statements with no facts to present as evidence.

Does he really believe that the reason his list of Jewish people have been placed in their positions of power because all Jews voted for them? Does he really believe that Jews follow in lockstep with elected Jewish officials? Every Jew, though united by religion, has their own mind and heart and the freedom to make choices based on what they personally believe, not by the dictates of politicians. Does he see how absurd that type of thinking is?

It may be true that certain Jews are prosperous enough to afford personal security and protection. Non-Jewish Americans of means have their gated communities and homes guarded by personal security forces. Does this make those people anti-gun and freedom haters as well? In the end, Mr. Nugent can be forgiven for having a bad day or simply speaking out of ignorance.

Here is a simple reality. The only thing you can use to defend yourself against a gun is another gun. There is no catching bullets between your teeth or being shot and somehow getting past the pain and heroically coming out on top. Ask anyone who has been shot with a fair sized caliber bullet.

The silly idea that taking away guns from law abiding citizens will reduce crime or that it will reduce gun violence overall is just plain dumb. Does any rational thinking person actually believe that disarming law abiding citizens will make them safer, or other people safer? Pro gun control advocates need to ask themselves how many felons are charged with gun crimes after they have served time in prison. Did they get their guns from walking into a gun shop and declaring their 2nd Amendment rights? No, they got the gun through illegal means. So why will that change by limiting or repealing the 2nd Amendment?

As a husband and as a parent, I have both a responsibility and a right to protect my property and my family. Anyone, armed or unarmed, who tries to violate my rights to property ownership and life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with or without again risks their life. There are people who are bigger and stronger than I am, so a gun is a legal equalizer. There is an unspoken specter of anti-Semitism that has been present in this country for a number of years. I do not want my wife or children going to sleep at night fearing for their personal safety.

Look at Chicago. People get shot from bullets fired from outside their homes. People are killed every day in the worst parts of the city. Why would I want to presume that those same people doing the shooting will not want to harm me or my family? Most of those guns that are used to kill other people are illegally obtained. Without a legal; weapon I am defenseless.

Do not talk to me about how the police will protect me if I call them. With an average response time of 8 minutes, it is not sensible to expect they will arrive in time to stop an intruder. All they will be able to do is try and console the victims and their families, fill out a report, and tack that at the bottom of all the other gun assault and murder cases they have pending.

It’s kind of the same with all other aspects of your own safety and privacy as well. It’s really up to you to take the steps that you need to take in order to protect yourself and your family. For example, don’t expect that what you put in the trash is safe – there are people who go through the bins looking for personally identifiable information that they can exploit, like bank account details, credit card numbers from statements and stuff like that. You need to make sure that they can’t retrieve that information from your trash, and really you need a cross cut shredder like these on Shredder Lab. They have a lot of guides to help you find the right one for your family’s needs.

I’ll talk about gun safety in a later post, but what is not safe is opening up your home and family to unknown dangers because there are not enough police and too many people who simply are evil and do not care for another person’s life or property. There are hundreds of examples where women have used a gun to kill an intruder because they are raising a family on their own or were stalked and presumed to be defenseless. There was no alternative for defense except for a gun in most of those cases, so it seems the only people who would oppose gun ownership are those who have neither home nor family to risk losing.

The entire case for the 2nd Amendment is not one of gun ownership as much as it is a deterrent to tyranny by the government. Back then, there were no tanks, helicopters, or nukes. Just guns, which were not very accurate by today’s standards. If you take a look at 3rd world countries and banana republics, he who controls the military controls the people. That is even true in some 1st world countries if you look at the recent coup attempt in Turkey. So being armed is essential to the freedoms Americans take for granted every day. As Jews, we do not take such liberties for granted.

The tyranny can take place on a number of governmental levels. Obviously the 2nd Amendment was created to encompass every state, so no matter where you lived the right to bear arms would not be infringed upon. But tyranny can take place at local levels, such as cities. Whether you agree with the Black Lives Matter movement that claims blacks are being singled out by the police for arrest and prosecution – and killing – their position is a reflection of the problems tyranny brings to a democratic nation. No one supports the shooting and murder of law enforcement officers. They, like the government, are supposed to protect the rights of the citizens. But if any level of government oversteps their lawful boundaries, then the Founding Father gave its citizens the right to stand against unlawful oppression no matter where it comes from. We have firsthand experience from history.

Many studies have linked the disarmament of a country’s citizens with an increasing oppression by the government – lawful or otherwise. It is foolish to ignore the reality, even if the country that has been disarmed is a democracy. The American Constitution and the 2nd Amendment are unique laws and rights exclusive to American citizens. Why do you think so many people want to come to this country and not Iran? Not for guns, but for the rights that are embedded in the Constitution, and can be enforced by the people through gun ownership.

Remember that the opposite of constitution is prostitution, and is what will happen to the rights of the citizen should be rights given to us by the 2nd Amendment be taken away from us – by law or by force. The government has the power to make laws, but those laws must be grounded in the foundational rights established by our Founding Fathers. There continues to be a debate about virtually every part of what the Constitution means in today’s culture, and attacking the 2nd Amendment is fair game for those who want to dismantle every citizen’s rights and return us to a ruling class of nobility – precisely the thing the colonists fought to be freed from.

If we have learned one thing from the Iraq chaos is that unless boots are on the ground, the territory taken cannot be expected to be held. Gun ownership makes keeping boots on the ground for a long period of time almost impossible – unless the country is turned into a police state. Some say that is already beginning to happen, and is why more and more people are buying and owning guns. We are not a bunch of gun nuts as the media portrays us, but people who know their rights and refuse to have them taken away by a government that seeks to control more and more of the daily lives of Americans.