So, yesterday the wife and I were taking a drive in the country, and we passed the billboard pictured above on Route 22 just outside of Pittsfield, MA. The number of daily suicides committed by using a gun is actually somewhat above 70 such events this past year, but I think you get the point.

              Because Route 22 in this area is a long-time favorite for hunting deer, plus the towns tend to be rural villages where lots of residents engage in outdoor sports, this billboard is on a road which gets a lot of traffic from people who own guns.

              The billboard is sponsored by a Brady in a partnership with the Ad Council, and is described in a website called End Family Fire, which covers what is referred to as “a shooting caused by someone having access to a gun from the home when they shouldn’t have it.”

              The website is basically a promotion for what is referred to as ‘safe storage,’ which means that all guns located in a home should be locked or locked away. This idea of safely storing guns has become the nonplus ultra narrative for the gun-control movement, the idea being that getting rid of guns is a violation of the 2nd Amendment but keeping guns away from kids or people suffering from mental distress will help bring gun violence numbers down.

              This whole idea of gun owners being more ‘responsible’ or behaving in a ‘safer’ way with their guns is about as stupid and devoid of reality as any idea the gun-control movement has ever come up with to deal with the 125,000 injuries and deaths suffered every year by Americans who shoot themselves or get shot by someone else with a gun.

              One way or another, I have been involved in the gun business for more than 60 years. During that time, I have probably met and talked to more than one-thousand-gun owners, and that’s a minimal number by far. I have also owned retail gun shops in South Carolina, New York, and Massachusetts, so my knowledge of how gun owners think about their guns and how they behave with their guns is pretty deep and wide.

              I have never met a single gun owner who didn’t understand that bringing a gun into their home represented a serious risk. But for all kinds of reasons, having a gun handy is a risk that gun owners are willing to accept.

              Does the acceptance of gun risk make these gun owners behave in an unsafe way? No. It simply reflects the degree to which most of us accept all kinds of risks in our daily lives. When was the last time I stopped for a yellow light? When was the last time I stayed on my diet for more than two consecutive days?

              Do I know that by walking out of my house and leaving a loaded gun in the top drawer of my clothing chest or my desk that I am creating the possibility that someone will ultimately end up doing something terrible with that gun? Of course, I know that, and I try my damnedest to always lock all my guns away.

              But I’m human. Sometimes I’m careless. Sometimes I forget. So, telling me that I should always lock my guns away is preaching to the converted. Except sometimes, even the most ardent converts don’t listen to the sermon, okay?

              Incidentally, of all the advanced (OECD) countries, the United States ranks about the same as five or six other countries in terms of the overall suicide rate. None of these other countries, places like Sweden, Belgium, Austria) have anywhere near the number of privately-owned guns that we possess, and Japan, with a suicide rate almost exactly the same rate as our rate, has a civilian population which is totally and complete unarmed.

              There is only one way to reduce gun violence to an acceptable (read: zero) level, which is to get rid of the types of guns which are used in most of the intentional shootings that occur every year. Yesterday, 23 people were shot and one killed when gunfire erupted at a Juneteenth celebration held at a strip mall in Willowbrook, IL.

              Think this wouldn’t have happened if the guns that were shot off had been safely stored?