We all want to protect what we love. 

No matter your age, your background, your ethnicity, or your religious affiliation, there is one thing that we can all agree on: nothing is more important than protecting what you love. 

Where we are divided is HOW we protect those things that are most precious to us. 

People who ascribe to the anti-gun rhetoric and agenda, and who belong to groups such as Moms Demand Action (MDA), Everytown for Gun Safety, and Giffords Courage to Fight Gun Violence, all proclaim that saving lives is at the core of their mission. We all can applaud and agree on that. Life is precious. And each of us can name at least one life we want to protect. 

But protecting what we love sometimes requires that good people stand against predators and murderers with the very tools that MDA, Everytown, and Giffords vilify: guns. People who understand that reality dedicate their own time, money, and energy to training themselves and others to be safe and responsible gun owners. This training and education is truly what will protect those you love.

People who value life and liberty belong to groups like The DC Project: Women dedicated to safeguarding our right to keep and bear arms. Members of the DC Project are the counter-voice to the groups that are solely focused on guns and laws. The DC Project focuses on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness by emphasizing education, not legislation, as the key to keeping our communities and our children safe. 

KidSafe Foundation is another organization that loves kids enough to empower them to be safe around guns. KidsSafe has trademarked the phrase “ZERO firearm accidents are the only acceptable goal!!®” and teaches age-appropriate safety training to children to ensure kids know to “Stop, don’t touch, run away and tell an adult!” if they find a gun, or if a friend is playing with a firearm.   

Reducing suicide is the goal of Walk The Talk America (WTTA).  By building a bridge between mental health professionals and responsible firearms owners in order to reduce suicide and increase the availability of trusted mental health care, WTTA is “paving the way by educating mental health professionals about gun culture and breaking negative stigmas around mental health for gun owners.”

Another solution-focused organization is Hold My Guns (HMG). HMG helps to reduce firearm-related deaths by partnering with local gun stores and ranges to offer safe and voluntary storage of firearms to people and families who want to temporarily remove guns from their homes.  As stated on HMG’s website, “While many organizations use ‘gun safety’ as a cover to take away your rights, our focus is to never compromise rights for the sake of ‘safety’.”

The anti-gun groups think that laws will make us safer. Each one of these groups condemns something they call “gun violence” and believes that laws will stop this kind of violence. One can only assume that the people in charge of these organizations are aware that guns, all by themselves, cannot cause violence. Surely, the people in charge of these organizations know that it is people who cause violence. Some use guns, others use knives, and still others harm their fellow humans with cars, bombs, and even clubs and hammers

Perhaps it’s not as catchy to say that their organizations condemn people who harm other innocent people; sometimes by using guns. 

Inherent in the brand names of these groups is the valuation of children, towns, safety, and courage. However, when we take a look at their methods of protecting these things they purport to hold dear, they have but one tool in their toolbox: laws. Laws they naively expect law-breakers to follow. These anti-gun groups believe that laws, more laws, and some as-yet not enacted magical laws will make humans who do not value and respect human life somehow value and respect words on a legal document stating that assault and murder are bad. Extra bad, apparently, if the murderer uses a gun. 

In addition to being anti-gun, these groups are anti-self-defense, anti-individual liberties, and anti-civil rights. They profess to protect life, and yet the results of their actions make it harder for law-abiding, responsibly-armed citizens to defend themselves against predators and murderers. It is well documented by the CDC as well as the Crime Prevention Research Center that, at least two million times each year, lives are saved by responsibly armed citizens, and 200,000 times every year women prevent sexual assaults because they were responsibly armed. 

Every one of the organizations mentioned is undoubtedly sincere in its mission to save lives and make our communities safer. However, laws piled on top of more laws are not making the difference we all seek. Teaching and training children from their youngest ages to respect firearms and how to be safe around them is as common sense as teaching them to be safe around kitchen knives. Helping people get effective mental health care, free from stigma and judgment, and allowing safe and voluntary storage of firearms for families going through difficult times and emotional turmoil or drug addiction offers real-world solutions for individuals where and when they need it most. And emphasizing education over legislation is how we all truly can protect what we love.