We have a public service announcement, and for some, it may be a tough pill to swallow. However, we think education is vital, so we want to address a serious issue.
Look at any social media posts about gun law, defensive gun use, or something similar. You will find comments such as, ‘I am too lazy to read what this new law means, can someone explain it to me?’ Or the ever popular, ‘I don’t care what the law says, a Sheriff once told me…”. What about, ‘If I am traveling with my gun, do I have to…’? Ever seen this, ‘Am I allowed to shoot someone if they …’? We could list hundreds of examples, but you get the point.
Social media is a great place to share funny videos, pictures with your loved ones and read articles on topics that interest you. Heck, Facebook Marketplace is one of the best places to buy and sell stuff. I’m sure you can fill in a hundred other reasons why social media is fantastic, but soliciting legal advice is not one of them.
The troubling thing is that these comments are not just wrong. No, they are often dangerously inaccurate, so much so that acting on the recommendation of the social media mob could cost you your life or freedom. And the questions aren’t directed at professionals in that specific area of law, but the contrary. From every indication of the responses, people who are clueless on the subject are the majority giving advice.
Now we’re not saying that education cannot happen via social media posts and comments. There is some value to being able to reach out to a large audience and solicit feedback. There are a few considerations that we should take when doing so.
- Know the group you’re asking.
- Just because someone is in a holster group doesn’t mean they have a clue about self-defense laws. Even groups of ‘professionals’ have vast disagreements when posed with a question.
- Don’t stake everything on the responses you get.
- If it is important enough to ask, it is important enough to get the best answer. Comments may get you started down the road of doing personal research on the topic.
- Challenge your assumptions on the topic, and critically assess any advice that you are considering.
- Biases create blind spots that cause us only to see what confirms our inherent bias.
Again, every response is not always horrifically wrong. Sometimes smart people take the time to comment with thoughtful, constructive remarks. It is just that these people are the exception rather than the rule.
Don’t be apathetic in your education of gun law, instead put in the time and effort to be keen on the details. There are some fantastic books about self-defense and gun law that are written by experts. The kind that studies, stay up to date, and articulate the nuance that the social media crown often cannot. Two names that come to mind are Andrew Branca and Massad Ayoob. These guys don’t always agree. People who are challenging their own opinion on a topic seldom do. But they provide an incredible foundation from which you can understand the governing principles of self-defense law.
So, in summation, your life and your freedom are valuable. If not for you, they probably are for your family. Don’t trust such a valuable commodity to the social media mob. Being a great shooter is only one aspect of being a responsible gun owner or an everyday gun carrier. Stay safe and be smart.