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In just about any state, in one way or another, you can purchase a firearm. With the exception of a few states you can do this without a permit. You will probably find no one who is more passionate about the right of the people to own and carry firearms than I am. Yes, I'll be the first to tell you that when I purchased my first firearm back in the early 90's, I did so without any education or training. I only had that handgun for a few years before selling it to a co-worker. I'll talk more about private sales later on. I purchased my next gun in 2000. Same deal, just purchased it without any education or training.
I have a friend… No, this is not one of those situations where the "friend" is really me. My friend is out with his neighbor doing some target shooting on a Saturday. He's a long time gun owner and military veteran. He has a great deal of experience with firearms. After shooting at his target he stops and brings his gun down to the low ready position. His left leg and foot is forward of his right leg. As he's standing at the low ready, a large grass hopper flies from his right side and lands directly on his sun glasses startling him. He flinched, and in doing so, shot himself in his left calf just below the knee. The bullet exited out his left heel. The bullet went clean through and did not hit any bone, veins, or arteries. The good news, he's healed up nicely with no apparent long term issues. Also, there were no issues with law enforcement.
So what happened? He let his guard down and failed to follow one of the primary safety rules: "Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire. Take your finger off the trigger after you're done firing." He fired at his target, stopped firing, lowered his handgun and failed to take his finger off the trigger. Something startled him, and with his finger still on the trigger, when he flinched he naturally squeezed his hand, at which point his finger pulled the trigger. The first place to start is safety. You can never be too safe or to vigilant when it comes to safety, as this story illustrates.
The safety rules are not a "one and done" deal. They should be reviewed regularly and at each time one goes out to the range.
The next area to educate yourself is the gun laws of the state you live in or travel to. Not too long ago, Elizabeth Enderli, a resident of Texas, took a vacation to New York City. While there she went to the 9/11 memorial. Thinking that her Texas concealed weapons permit was valid in New York State, she asked a World Trade Center officer where she could store the two pistols she had in her back pack. She was arrested for violating New York state law. Had she done her due diligence she would have avoided any legal troubles. You can read her story here: Click Here
Another example of the need to educate yourself when you travel is the story of Shaneen Allen. She is another example of someone who did not know the law of the state she was traveling in. This is also a good example of a prosecutor who is anti-gun. You can read her story here: Click Here
In the last several years I've taken a couple of road trips driving through 4 other states. Before I ever went on the first trip I did my research and educated myself on the laws of each of the states, especially as it pertained to carrying open or concealed while driving a vehicle. A great resource that I utilized was the travel guides from Legally Armed (www.legallyarmed.com). I purchased a guide for the 4 other states that I would be traveling through.
If you own a firearm, whether you carry openly or concealed within your home and/or property or beyond your property, the legal system is not your friend. As a matter of fact, you should expect that the legal system will do all it can to destroy your life as you know it should you ever find yourself in a situation where you used your firearm. Yes, there are those very obvious legitimate cases where a person has used a firearm in defense of themselves or others and not been charged with any crime. Those cases are few and far between. The majority of prosecutors today would just as soon throw the book at you and have you locked up for as long as possible than look at you. To prove my point, read the story of a police officer who could not escape a zealous prosecutor: (Link to the story of the cop that got railroaded by a prosecutor)
Now, if a prosecutor is willing to do that to a cop, do you think that they would have any problem with throwing you as a civilian in jail? Do you have a huge amount of financial resources to defend yourself? I'm going to guess that most of us don't. Insurance is piece of mind. Should you ever find yourself in the aftermath of having used your firearm, you don't need the added stress of worrying about how you're going to pay for your defense. You don't want some court appointed attorney how doesn't give a rat's ass about you defending you, do you? It's worth the money in my book. In my opinion, if you own a firearm and you're not insured, you are a dumbass. Just my opinion.
I'm insured by USCCA. Do your own research. Get insured with the organization that makes the most sense for you. If you are financial able, don't go cheap, you'll never regret it if you need it. Do your own research and decide which company is the best fit for you.