(This is the first of a series of posts about buying, owning, transporting, storing and using firearms. Think of it as: “What They Don’t Teach You in the Firearms Course.”)
I just bought my first gun. Now what do I do?
After three years of imagining, thinking, considering, evaluating, planning, analyzing, anticipating, reviewing, testing and training, I picked a Glock 17 pistol, the bestselling firearm of all time. I’ll explain the reasons for my choice later.
I paid the $762.69, including taxes, and had to leave the pistol at the store because I couldn’t take it home until the RCMP authorized me to transport it home. I thought I would have to contact the RCMP myself to apply, but the store took care of that. The salesman said it generally takes from two days to two weeks for a decision.
I was a bit anxious, wondering if the request would be accepted. (Similar to the anxiety of asking a girl on a date, wondering if she will say “Yes.”) I was also slightly freaked out about all of the things any responsible firearm owner should do to ensure safe handling, transportation and storage, in addition to respecting the specific requirements of Canadian laws and regulations.
For example, how was I to bring the thing home? For ordinary individuals (i.e., other than the police, military and those with carry permits), Canadian law says a handgun can be transported only if it is unloaded, made inoperable with a trigger lock or slide lock, and locked in a case or container. The gun came with a trigger lock and a slide lock, so I needed to find a lockable case. I used my motorcycle side-case, and loaded that into my car.
Would it be ok to leave the gun in the case in my trunk while I stopped at my buddy’s place for dinner? Could I stop for gas? Could I keep ammunition in the same case as the gun? Internet forums are full of opinions on these subjects, but I didn’t want opinions, I wanted facts. The RCMP booklet that I got with my courses to get the licenses to buy and own guns doesn’t answer these questions in a way that is easy to understand.
How about at home? I felt pretty confident about handling and storing the firearm by myself and for myself, but what about the person I live with, my girlfriend? She’s very supportive of my hobby, and nobody is more careful or conscientious. I needed to consider a bunch of risks or potential risks. I needed to make sure that my hobby didn’t increase risks to her safety, well being or peace of mind. It’s a big responsibility, and I hadn’t thought of it fully until after the purchase.
I bought the Glock on a Friday, and every day since then, I resisted the urge to call the store to ask if they had any news about my Authorization to Transport the gun home.
The next Thursday, the phone rang.
“Hi. This is [Store Name]. We have something for you to pick up.”
To be continued.