I am constantly asked questions about firearms. I started saving some of these questions with my replies. Here are a few of the most popular questions:
Q: “What qualifies you to write about guns and firearm safety?”
KK: I have been a hunter or target shooter over 50 years. We grew up in the country and I was shooting by age eight. I served as a hunter’s education instructor several years and have been on hunts all over the country without ever having a close call because of sloppy firearm handling – with the exception of an incident when I was 18 and stupidly loaned a buddy a deer rifle. He almost shot my leg off.
Q: “Does anyone really need more than one shot for hunting?”
KK: I have done a lot of hunting with blackpowder and that is a one-shot hunt. There have been times when a second shot would have been necessary and I didn’t have it. I think anyone shooting blackpowder or a single-shot rifle should practice several hours to make sure of a one-shot kill. I prefer more than one shot for deer, waterfowl or turkey in case it is needed. There is nothing worse than wounding an animal and watching it run away.
Q: “You are a member of the National Rifle Association, so do you believe that everybody should own a gun?”
KK: Guns are certainly not for everybody! Mentally challenged individuals should never have access to a gun, nor should criminals. Only responsible individuals that qualify should own a firearm.
Q: “But who should decide what qualifies any one as a legal gun owner?”
KK: As I already said, mentally challenged or criminals should not own a gun. But beyond that, who will make the decision of who should or should not be a gun owner. What will the qualifications be if it ever comes to this? That is a big can of worms that will someday be opened!
Q: “Why do we need all of these semi-automatic guns, aren’t they like machine guns?”
KK: Fully automatic and semi-automatic firearms are sadly all lumped into one big pile, but are two different things. A Model 12 or Model 1100 shotguns are semi-automatic and classic pheasant, quail and duck guns. There are many others. Assault-type firearms are legally sold as semi-automatic and many successfully hunt deer with these military-type guns.
However, some nimrods recently complained that individuals in the farm adjoining his thought they were Rambo and shot up a woodlot instead of going to a safe gun range. I have no problem with semi-automatic firearms when the right people own them.
Q: “How safe are we with bullets flying around? My family stayed indoors last Fourth of July because of all the guns going off. Isn’t that dangerous?
KK: Bullets shot in the air eventually come down. A little girl was recently killed in Missouri over this stupidity. Guns should never be shot for celebration. Firearms education should not only be for kids!
Q: “I think it’s terrible for anyone to own a fully automatic machine gun. Why won’t the government do something about this?”
KK: Only those with a class 3 license legally own machine guns, and there is a huge annual fee for that permit. No one with that permit has ever been convicted of a crime with any kind of fully automatic firearm in the United States. That being said, there are illegal machine gun owners and they are generally criminals.
Q: “So you are saying that young children should shoot their parents 'legally' owned machine guns?”
KK: No, we don’t ever want young kids shooting machine guns or other larger firearms. Kids should start out with guns that fit their size. For example, my brother and I started out with BB guns, the pellet rifles, next .22 rifles, finally 4.1 shotguns and eventually 16 and 12 gauges.
Q: “How can we end accidental shootings by children?”
KK: The first step in gun safety is education. Statistics show that kids brought up and educated about firearms have less firearm accidents than those with little or no knowledge of gun safety. Kids should start by taking the hunter’s education course followed by adult-supervised shooting at a gun range.
Q: “You have a lot of experience with guns and hunting. Could you still have a shooting accident?”
KK: Sadly, yes I could. Veteran hunters sometimes become too relaxed with guns and make mistakes. Problem is, these mistakes can cause serious injury or even death. All hunters should remember this and pay heed to the possible dangers.
Kenneth Kieser, a veteran outdoors writer and member of the Waterfowlers Hall of Fame and National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, writes a weekly outdoors column for The Examiner. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org